In recognition of March as National Women’s History Month, the Atlantic County Advisory Commission on Women is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories” by highlighting four local women who positively impact the community.

Laura Powers Batchelor of Mays Landing is the chief marketing officer at Atlantic Cape Community College. She serves on the President’s Cabinet and is responsible for the college’s marketing and public relations efforts. Batchelor spearheaded a student-centric marketing strategy, coordinated the redesign of the college’s website to ensure ADA accessibility as well as the college’s rebranding to increase exposure.

Elaine M. Hawkes is the co-founder of WEHA Gospel 88.7 and 100.3 FM, a Stellar award-winning radio station broadcasting in an urban gospel format. She and her husband also established Hawkes Janitorial Contractors and Moving Services. Hawkes includes ministry principles in each of her business endeavors. The Egg Harbor Township resident also believes in giving back to her community and leaving a strong and stable legacy for her children, grandchildren and future generations.

Michelle Washington Wilson is from Newtonville and has been writing, performing and storytelling for more than 30 years. She is an active member of the NJ Storytelling Network and the National Association of Black Storytellers and has traveled throughout North America and the Caribbean sharing her stories. Washington Wilson also wrote a two-act play, “Dusty Days Gone,” a story of migrant workers on farms during the 1950s. She served on the Atlantic County Library Commission for 18 years and is a retired adjunct professor.

Cindy Christy Fertsch is the co-founder and editor of Shore Local Newsmagazine, available in both print and online, that highlights the people, places and events that make Atlantic County a great place to live, work and visit. She manages production of the publication with the support of a team of columnists, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. Fertsch of Egg Harbor Township is also the co-founder and executive director of Heart of Surfing, a nonprofit organization that offers free surfing and recreation opportunities for families with autism. Heart of Surfing is completely volunteer driven and has been recognized locally and nationally.

“We hope by highlighting the accomplishments of these successful women, we will encourage others to reflect on their own stories of women who have been meaningful in their lives,” stated Advisory Commission Chairwoman Lori Vermeulen said.

The Atlantic County Advisory Commission on Women was established in 1994 and is comprised of 15 volunteer members who help to improve the lives of women and girls in Atlantic County. Current members are Birdie Cody, Stephanie Davies, Lisa Eisele, Amy Houck-Elco, Cristine Knight, Jean McAlister, Nicole Milan-Tyner, Rhuby Mozelle, Dorrie Papademetrious, Yolanda Simms, Mona Tally, Millie Tate, Lori Vermeulen, Fran Wise, Staff Liaison Karla Guy and County Commissioner Maureen Kern.



Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.