Conference Recordings & Resources

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The first day of the conference was live, in-person at the Stress Factory in downtown New Brunswick, where we had an opportunity to network with exhibitors and colleagues. Attendees also participate in discussions with local officials about collaborative best practices, as well as industry experts about hospitality and nightlife and navigating the changing office market.

These conference sessions were recorded and are available below to view.

Welcome & Plenary (Watch Recording)

Title Sponsor

Welcome & DNJ Update:  

Robert Zuckerman, President of Downtown New Jersey, opened the conference with a year in review for the organization and downtown revitalization.

Plenary Discussion:  

We were joined by a panel of local officials to discuss best practices in collaboration between town and downtown.


Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Helmin J. Caba, Mayor, City of Perth Amboy
  • Sheena Collum, President, Township of South Orange Village
  • Betsy Driver, Mayor, Borough of Flemington
  • Moderator: Jef Buehler, Leader, NJ Neighborhood Preservation Program (and DNJ Board member)

Quick Reference Resource Page>


(We apologize for the technical snafu, but the live video feed for this session does not begin until about 18 mins in. The audio and embedded video about NPP work fine before the 18 min mark, so you’re not missing any content.)

Downtown Hospitality (Watch Recording)

Session Sponsor

It’s not news that hospitality and entertainment are major drivers of economic development, but is your downtown doing all it can to capitalize on demand? And, is your downtown handling the potential downsides of these uses? Panelists discussed ways municipalities and downtowns can attract hospitality and entertainment businesses, while also ensuring that entertainment activities do not become nuisances to other businesses and residents.

Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Michele Alonso, AICP, PP, Director of Planning and Redevelopment, City of Asbury Park
  • Paul Muir, President, Guild of Clinton
  • Shoshanna M. Page, Senior Policy Advisor and Communications Strategist, Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s Office, City of Newark
  • Douglas Schneider, Restaurateur and Chair, New Brunswick City Center
  • Moderator: Emily Manz, SVP of Business Development, Invest Newark (and DNJ Board Member)

Quick Reference Resource Page>

The Office Conundrum (Watch Recording)

The increase of work from home has caused a great deal of uncertainty, both in the office real estate market and to the small, local businesses that serve office workers. In this session, we delved into the real estate repercussions and discussed what’s next for office assets. We also explored strategic partnerships and other innovative activities to help local businesses weather the storm.

Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Peter Bronsnick, Executive Managing Director, Managing Principal – New Jersey, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Meghan Hunscher, President and CEO, Morris County Chamber of Commerce
  • Citi Medina, Founder, =Space
  • Sejal Sharma, Director of Business Development, RWJUH Somerset
  • Moderator: Vanessa Quijano, Director of Communication, NJ Community Capital (and DNJ Vice President)

Quick Reference Resource Page>

Friday, December 2, 2022

The second day of the conference featured live, virtual discussions about art, film, and marketing.

The sessions were recorded and are available below to view.

Arts and Culture as a Catalyst for Economic Investment and Vitality (Watch Recording)

Local economic vitality is connected to the activities of the arts and culture sector in many ways. Join us for a discussion about how arts, culture, and creativity can improve a community’s competitive edge, create a foundation for defining a sense of place, attract new residents and visiting populations, contribute to the development of a skilled workforce, and spark investment in our communities.

Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Ann Marie Miller, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, ArtPride New Jersey
  • Leon Rainbow, Artist, aerosol illusions
  • Daryl Stewart, Founder & CEO, Daryl Stewart Productions
  • Lea Weingarten, Principal, Weingarten Art Group
  • Moderator: Natalie Pineiro, Executive Director, Downtown Somerville (and DNJ Board Member)


Quick Reference Resource Page>


Setting the Scene for Local Film Production (Watch Recording)

Showbiz has returned to New Jersey. Find out what bringing film production back to the Garden State means for main streets and about the opportunities to grow an ecosystem involving the film, television and digital media industry.

Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Al Kahwaty, Co-Chair, Passaic County Film Commission
  • Joe Marra, Production Coordinator, NJ Motion Picture + TV Commission
  • Elizabeth Parchment, Director of Marketing and Chief Diversity Officer, NJ Motion Picture + TV Commission
  • Kathleen Miller Prunty, Mayor, Township of Cranford
  • Moderator: William Noonan, Business Development Director, Choose New Jersey


Quick Reference Resource Page>


Virtual Networking (No Recording)

Participants grabbed their lunch and joined us for an informal opportunity to catch up with colleagues. 

How to Make Your Downtown Famous (Watch Recording)

Implementing a PR campaign to promote your downtown can do wonders for your brand. This session covered the essential components of effective and engaging downtown public relations initiatives that promote retail, economic development, tourism, new business, and job growth. From press releases to storytelling, experts shared their knowledge on how to pique the media’s interest in your downtown.

Panelists (speaker bios>):

  • Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, President, Suasion Communications (and DNJ Board Member)
  • Robin Lapidus, Executive Director, The Flemington BID
  • Michael Shapiro, CEO, TAPinto
  • Jennifer Tripucka, Founder, The Local Girl Media Group


Quick Reference Resource Page>


Approved for 7.5 AICP CM continuing education credits.

Thank you to the conference
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