About WCEC

Serving over 50,000 women in NJ for the past 15 years – Meet the Team

Our mission is to provide the tools for women to successfully own, operate and grow their small businesses, thereby investing financially, intellectually and emotionally in their community.

The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship [WCEC] helps elevate women to business success through education, counseling, mentoring and entrepreneurial training. As a non-profit organization, we provide women with the business education and financial literacy programs to enable them to build sustainable companies while offering them the power of and access to like-minded professionals with whom they can share trials and celebrate successes.

That's the strength, beauty and purpose of the WCEC. As New Jersey's premier advocate for women entrepreneurship, WCEC is your partner ~ positioning you for business success through education, consulting, networking resources and entrepreneurial training whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner.

Our programs educate, motivate and keep you on a growth track. Serving women across New Jersey, the Center provides the following programs:

Start: The Women’s Business Center (WBC) hosted by the WCEC

  • Provides more than 150 classes, seminars and individual counseling sessions each year for more than 5,000 participants, including loan packaging and business plan reviews for women business owners at three levels
    • Aspiring entrepreneurs
    • Start-up businesses
    • Established businesses seeking growth
  • Hosts an annual Shark Tank style Business Plan Competition
  • Provides access to start-up micro loans designed for low and moderate income women for whom traditional lending is not an option.
  • For more information please contact the WBC at info@wcecnj.org or call 973-507-9700

Grow: The WBC FastTrac® GrowthVenture™

  • Our FastTrac® GrowthVenture™ program equips established profitable entrepreneurs with the business skills, insights, tools, resources, proven strategies and processes for healthy growth.  
  • The program will help:
    • Carefully review and evaluate important aspects of the existing business
    • Explore next stage growth, future opportunities and exit strategies
    • Reshape the business for long-term profitability and improved performance
    • Discover the operational systems needed to support a growing business
  • Download Flyer
    Click here for upcoming schedule
  • For more information please contact Nichole Russell at nrussell@wcecnj.org or call 973-507-9700

Succeed: The WCEC PowerUP™

  • A Facilitated Growth Program, this is an in-depth 12 month structured training curriculum defined by business leaders and experts to help women-owned businesses move from $100,000 to the $1-$2 million range and qualify as a successful small business. This program is offered as individual groups of 8-14 non-competing business owners and provides business advisory leadership and mentoring in 3 hour monthly meetings.
  • The purpose of the group is to help each other, with the support of other women business owners, to grow their businesses:
    • Discussion of pre-assigned reading material and work-book exercises, focusing on how to specifically apply it to their business (goals, objectives and strategies)
    • Discussion of current challenges or opportunities  they are facing and an action plan to tackle and achieve the goal
    • Creation of a specific focus for each participant for the upcoming month with accountability to the group
    • Regular round table discussions, shared resources, contacts and support
  • Are you ready to grow your business to $1 Million and beyond? Click here.
  • Reserve your spot in an upcoming group by submitting an application to Nichole Russell at nrussell@wcecnj.org or call 973-507-9700

Influence: The WCEC Women of Influence [WOI]

One of the most powerful tools business owners and executives have is access to the right people. Join our elite group of Women Executives and Business Owners.

The WCEC Women of Influence offers an opportunity for successful business leaders to have access to each other while providing them an opportunity to pay it forward to women enrolled in WCEC programs.  This is a membership group of highly successful entrepreneurs, c-suite executives and other accomplished people who receive the following benefits of membership:

  • Peer-to-Peer networking at WOI events
  • Access to women leaders
  • VIP receptions prior to WCEC events
  • Access to WCEC Speaker Forums
  • Opportunities to be showcased
  • Option to become a mentor to a WCEC client
  • For more information please contact Rana Shanawani at ed@wcecnj.org or call 973-508-9700

To learn more about the WCEC please download our Digital Brochure

Meet the Team

Rana Shanawani

Rana ShanawaniEmail Rana Shanawani
Executive Director, WCEC

Steve Maiorano

Steve Maiorano Email Steve Maiorano
Program Director, WBC

Nichole Russell

Nichole RussellEmail Nichole Russell
Grant Manager, WBC

Board of Directors, WCEC

Alyce Hackett

Alyce Hackett
Lifestyle Resources, LLP

President, Governance Board

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Alyce Hackett is the incoming President of the Board of Trustees for the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship (WCEC) in New Jersey. Alyce is a facilitator for the WCEC Quantum Progressions presents The Women’s Advantage® Forum in New Jersey and New York. Alyce is President of Lifestyle Resources, LLC, a full service Financial Planning company.

For 30 years Alyce has held several positions of governance for the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) in county chapters, regions and final as state president. She has dedicated herself to working with women in entrepreneurship from starting their business to growing and building their businesses. Alyce is a founding member of the WCEC.

As a teacher in her early career, Alyce learned to educate many different types of people by communicating in a way that made them comfortable and created a sense of personal accomplishment. Using this ability to listen and clearlyunderstand her client’s life situation and financial aspirations, Alyce has helped her clients not only define their goals but achieve them.

Alyce is a Certified Financial Planner who has worked for over 30 years helping small business owners and individuals reach their financial goals. She believes in working as part of a team with attorneys and accountants for the benefit of her clients.

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Robin Berg Tabakin

Robin Berg Tabakin, Esq.
Technoforce, LLC

Immediate Past President, Governance Board

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Robin Berg Tabakin is Owner and Managing Director of Technoforce LLC, where she consults on a variety of issues, including employment training, workforce development, and supplier diversity. She also has previous work experience as in house counsel for a real estate development company.

She is a co-founder and board member of the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the New Jersey Government Records Council (GRC) and is a member of the SupplierDiversity Development Council (SDDC) of the NJ Board of Public Utilities.

Ms. Tabakin served two terms as State President of New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) and is currently a New Jersey Leader for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). She has also served on PSEG’s Supplier Diversity Advisory Council.

Ms. Tabakin holds an MBA from Rutgers University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of the New Jersey Bar.

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Marcela Zuchovicki

Marcela (Marce) Zuchovicki
Jalima & Associates (Jalima Aranis)

Treasurer, Governance Board

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Upon graduating as a mathematician and Actuary in Mexico and studying at UCLA, Marce became an Assistant Professor teaching Calculus and Linear Algebra at the Universidad Anahuac in Mexico. During that time she also taught financial computer models for executives at IBM and financial literacy in Mexico.

Fluent in five languages, Marce has managed and developed multimillion dollar programs for the National Institute for the Indians in Mexico, UNICEF in Mexico, USA and Europe, Evaristo Valle Museum in Spain, Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra) in Florida, and the American Field Service Intercultural Programs in NY (AFS).

As a business owner Marce built an arts management company (EFAL Artists) with a roster of 250 artists from all over the world. EFAL Artists operated in the USA, Mexico, Portugal and Spain. In the 90’s while living in Europe she sold her business and came back to the United States to become the Development Director of the Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra). During that time, Marce opened a new Health and Wellbeing Business called ͞Fit for Life͟ in Sarasota, FL operating out of the offices of ALLSTATE Insurance.

Marce joined AFS for the second time in her career in 2000 as their National Director of Development. At the end of 2004 Marce created a new mission driven company in the specialty coffee industry, Jalima Coffee. For the past thirteen years, Marce has been the owner and CFO of Jalima Coffee, (www.jalimacoffee.com) a sustainable, ecological, mission driven and educational coffee company. Also, while building Jalima Coffee, Marce became the CFO and Strategic Advisor for Taste of Crete, an importer and producer of specialty Greek food (www.tasteofcrete.com).

Thanks to the counseling and support she received from the Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI™)-The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University in Newark, in 2010 Marce founded Jalima & Associates (www.jalimaandassociates.com), a virtual CFO/bookkeeping and Strategic Advisory company that provides integrated cost-effective CFO & bookkeeping services as well as strategic planning & counseling to small, medium and large size companies worldwide.

Marce currently manages day to day operations of her business strategic management, bookkeeping and CFO services for Jalima & Associates and operations management for Jalima Coffee as well as being a business coach for the E-Biz Center of the NJ Small Business Development Center. Marce is also a business coach and teaches courses on business best practices, accounting, bookkeeping, strategic planning and finance for Rising Tide Capital, the EPI Program at Rutgers University and the Rutgers Veterans program. In 2012, Marce was a business plan counselor and business coach for the Obama’s Jobs Act through other SBDCs in NJ. In 2014 and 2015 she was the SBA instructor and business coach for the Emerging Leaders Program in NJ.

Marce created in 2011 a strategic retreat program called The JALIMA SWOTT Retreat and Resilience Program ™. This program is designed to allow businesses to assess their strengths/weaknesses, and through a process of eliminating waste and improving performance/best practices, a business/corporation can make a meaningful change to their operations and its talent, resulting in significant growth for the company. Marce uses proprietary continuous improvement models inspired on current resources available in the market as well as Jalima’s innovative programs. In 2012 Marce launched JALIMA Talent Collaboration Tool, a personality assessment and workshop program that helps companies create better teams in their workforce.

Marce gets great pleasure from motivating, inspiring and providing best practices inspirational stories at her speaker engagements activities. As a Speaker Marce, has presented for many years at the Coffee and Tea Festival in NYC, At Annual Conferences all over the world such as Save Latin America, Symphony Orchestras, Jewish Organizations and Board retreats.

In 2016 Marce received the Rutgers Annual Entrepreneurship Ellis Still EPI Alumni Award. In 2015 Marce was named one of the top Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ. In 2014, Marce received the Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year, George Perrott Macculloch Award for Leadership and was nominated for the David Sarnoff Award for Advocacy & the Community Engagement. In 2013, Marce received the Mentor of the Year Award in NJ. Marce serves on the Board and is past president of the Rutgers University EPI™ Alumni Association; Marce also serves on the Advisory Board of the Market Research Center at Seton Hall University and provides volunteer services to students, faculty and clients of the Center and the Business School. Marce is a Money Manager volunteer for Senior and Disabilities Services in the State of NJ and also volunteers as a trilingual doctor’s aid for a free health clinic in Phillipsburg, NJ.

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Siobhain Towell

Siobhain Towell

Secretary, Governance Board

Mary Repke

Mary Repke
Coakley Business Class, LLC

Board Member

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Award-Winning Chief Marketing Officer who excels in corporate and entrepreneurial organizations focused on Consumer Product Marketing Strategies & Social Media Campaigns, with more than 20 years of marketing and sales leadership experience in developing competitive sales and marketing strategies, bringing new innovative products to market and implementing business processes into measurable results for companies ranging from a privately held manufacturer to a multi-billion-dollar global electronics leader.

Mary’s ability to zoom in on the critical needs of a consumer and interpret them into desirable products is her career trademark with a long track record of success in product development, sales and marketing to broad and niche markets. Mary delivers growth and profitability with direct experience in B2B based sales channels in the Flag industry (Annin Flagmakers), Luggage (Coakley Business Class LLC), Consumer Electronics (Sharp Electronics), and Office Products (Faber-Castell). She has spearheaded business development programs at times of industry transition helping the company and its customers grow.

Mary always had a passion for quality business bags and briefcases but found over the years that most of the brands on the market were designed for men…and women just used them. This suppressed frustration reared its ugly head in 2002 when the airlines decided to institute a two bag carry on limit…and counted a woman’s hand bag as one of those bags. Mary founded Coakley Business Class, LLC. The innovation behind the Coakley® Collection is the patented and trademarked dual functioning features and pocket organization system that allows a woman to offload her handbag items and organize her work tools into a stylish business tote that can multi-task the way they do while performing as a second carry-on bag when traveling. www.coakleybags.com.

As Director of Marketing at Sharp Electronics, Mary lead the sales and marketing introduction of the first PDA’s by targeting three specific markets (men, women and teens) and addressing their unique needs. This increased sales and brought Sharp into new market channels. She also spearheaded a collaboration with Microsoft to create the first open platform PDA paving the way for the development of apps.

As the head of Marketing at Faber Castell Corporation, Mary developed Uni-ball pens into the number one selling brand for over 10 years through constant innovation. Her most important contributions were the creation of Fashion Inks (allowing us to write with Purple, Aqua, Orange, Berry, and Hot Pink) and see -through barrels so you knew when your ink was low. Mary created a brand empire by segmenting the market based on the writing needs of the many different user groups and creating business models for each of the company’s sales channels.

Mary holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, a 1998 recipient of TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) Award and was recognized by Wideband Technology Magazine as an “Influential Industry Leader” in 1999. Mary was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2005/2005 by the Women’s Business Center and New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners.

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Judith Sheft

Judith Sheft

Board Member

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Judith A. Sheft is the Associate Vice President Technology and Enterprise Development at the New Jersey Innovation Institute at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is responsible for managing the university’s Office of Technology Development and creates programs and policies focusing on patent creation, intellectual property valuation, strategic use and protection of IP assets.

She is also involved with economic development having responsibilities for management of the university’s high technology business development accelerator/incubator, the Enterprise Development Center, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center and the HealthIT Cluster Connections program.

Prior to joining NJIT, she had been a founding member of Licenz Group, an IP consulting firm that focuses on assisting companies to maximize the value of their IP portfolio. Before that she had worked as the Intellectual Property and Compliance Vice President for Agere Systems, the semiconductor subsidiary of Lucent Technologies.

Ms. Sheft has a BS and MS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois and an MBA in International Business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She has an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (UIGV) in Lima Peru.She received the NJIT Overseers award for service in 2009, in 2012 was recognized a Garden State Woman of the Year in the professional services category and in 2015 was named one of the top 50 Business Women in NJ by NJBIZ.She is on the Board of Advisors to the NJIT Murray Women’s Center. Since 2007 she has been a member of the NJ – Israel Commission and she serves on the Board of the New Jersey Entrepreneurs Network and Einstein’s Alley.

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WCEC: Women's Center for Entrepreneurship Corp.
  • 229 Main Street
    2nd Floor
    Chatham, NJ 07928
  • phone: 973.507.9700
  • email: info@wcecnj.org

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA's funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and limited English proficiency will be made, if requested at least two weeks in advance by contacting Women's Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. at 973-507-9700.