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When Getting Away is the Best Way to Get Business Done

The Edge for July 2017

An Exclusive Article for NJ ChamberEdge

Spring Lake

The most successful leaders know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to step away from business for a while. Since it's July, we asked New Jersey executives to tell us their favorite Garden State vacation spots. And we asked them why getting away makes them better business leaders. Here is what they said:


Listening to the Seagulls at the Jersey Shore Provides Perspective

Hagaman Bill

As a resident of Spring Lake, all I need to do to get away is to walk down the street to the beach. There’s nothing like a peaceful, early morning in a beach chair with a cup of coffee. Looking out over the vast, beautiful ocean and listening to the seagulls reminds me how blessed I am to live on the Jersey Shore. It helps to clear the mind and gain perspective.

– Bill Hagaman, Managing Partner and CEO of WithumSmith+Brown


Sunfish Pond is Good for Relaxing, Recharging and Remembering

Sunfish Pond

When I want to unwind, I hike Sunfish Pond along the Kittatinny Ridge portion of the Appalachian Trail. Sunfish Pond, the southernmost glacial lake along the Appalachian Trail, is one of New Jersey’s hidden treasures. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1970 after the site was nearly destroyed in the 1960’s as part of the Tocks Island Dam project that was ultimately cancelled.

My first trip to Sunfish Pond was as a 12 year old Boy Scout, hiking up the ridge from our scout camp on the Delaware. I still remember the sense of awe from seeing the frigidly cold 44 acre expanse once we reached the top.

Dennis ToftSince then, I have been back for day hikes and longer backpacking trips to explore many different trails up to the pond. Each time I learn and see something new. There is nothing like breathing in fresh air in a beautiful natural environment to clear one’s head and make one realize how important it is to preserve nature’s gems. This experience helps me relax, recharge and remember why I became an environmental attorney -- to help ensure there is a balance between the protection of our environment and the evolving needs of a modern society. At the end of these trips, I am energized to pursue my practice and help my clients.

– Dennis M. Toft, Chair of the Environmental Group at the law firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi


A Walk among Exquisite Sculptures Challenges the Senses

Aldona AmblerThe Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township provides an opportunity to get outside and take a refreshing walk among exquisite sculptures, a wide variety of foliage and meditation gardens. I particularly enjoy the Johnson sculptures that depict day-to-day life in a past, much slower century. When you are weighing options for a significant business investment or a work problem, a visit to the Grounds for Sculpture can challenge your senses and clear your head.

– Aldonna Ambler, President, Amber Growth Strategy Consultants


Time in the Sun, Sand and Ocean Paves the Way for Relationships

Paul MardenTo unwind, I go to Long Beach Island. The sun, sand and ocean can relax anyone. Plus, you can forge great memories of being with families and friends at the beach.

Having balance in your life between work and play helps you keep perspective. All of our colleagues, clients and business partners have varied interests outside of work that help them unwind. People who smell the roses and share their experiences (tend to) cultivate more interesting and deeper relationships and that helps them develop trust with those around them.

– Paul Marden, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey


Cape May Keeps the Mind Open and Ready to Go

Swan Lighthouse New Jersey Cape May Wetlands

Marjorie PerryThree or four times during the summer, I camp out at a bed and breakfast in Cape May. I look for new and interesting antiques, handmade jewelry, and taffy candy is a must. Then I bike to Sunset Beach to top off a wonderful, hot summer day. That means I get a hamburger with everything on it. It’s relaxing, and it keeps my mind open and ready to go when I return to the office.

– Marjorie Perry, President and CEO, MZM Construction & Management


Interviews and submissions are edited and condensed.

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