FREEHOLD, NJ – On Tuesday, Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry and County Surrogate Rosemarie Peters, Esq. joined an esteemed group of women to speak on a panel titled “Trailblazing Women – Breaking the Glass Ceiling” in honor of Women’s History Month at the Monmouth County Courthouse.
“My father and husband have both played the roles of hero and mentor in my life, they have always been supportive of me,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “I went on to think I could do anything I want and be anything I want to be and here I am today.”
Director Burry was invited to participate on the panel organized by Superior Court, Monmouth Vicinage Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton. Also participating on the panel were Appellate Division Judge Mary Catherine Cuff, (Ret.), Presiding Judge Patricia Del Bueno Cleary, Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters, Esq., and attorney Michelline Davis.
Panelists spoke about how they got their beginnings in their careers and shared their experiences with breaking the glass ceiling.
Judge Thornton opened the panel as moderator by referencing a point made by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, at a TED talk on why we have too few women leaders: “(Women) are not where we used to be, but not where we should be.” She believes women should fight for what they want by working with men as allies and being advocates for other women.
Surrogate Rosemarie Peters spoke fondly on her career and path into politics. “Why not give it a try, lots of other people have.” After looking back on her political achievements she noted, “It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The County has been very open to women in politics.”
Monmouth County leadership broke the glass ceiling in 2008 when Mrs. Burry served her first term as freeholder director alongside three female elected constitutional officers: Sheriff Kim Guadagno, Surrogate Rosemarie Peters, and County Clerk M. Claire French.
She spoke about how she lives her life by the philosophy of Edmund Burke, “All that’s needed for a democracy to fail is for a lot of good people to do nothing.” She believes that women have a great capacity to empathize and compromise in order to achieve a productive result.
Director Burry left the audience with a strong remark, “It’s important to have that self-confidence and to always believe in yourself.”