Rosanna Imbriano is a strategic marketing consultant, entrepreneur, speaker, and the founder and executive director of Sempre Avanti, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Cedar Grove, New Jersey.
Born in Italy, Imbriano’s passion for her culture, heritage, and empowering future generations is what drove her to establish Sempre Avanti (www.SempreAvanti.org). The organization is a resource center for everything Italian and a place where Italians or Italian-Americans can come for information, resources, translations, products, and services, just to name a few. Under Imbriano’s direction, those in need will find people willing to help, who are like-minded and who speak the same language.
Imbriano also owns R.I. Consulting, LLC, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, that she launched in 2001. As a marketing strategist, she helps business owners and nonprofits market themselves in nontraditional ways to attain optimum growth. RI Consulting guides its clients on formulating business goals, developing cost-effective strategic marketing plans, and managing the plan’s implementation.
In 1982, Imbriano began her entrepreneurial career with the opening of Rosanna’s Health Spa in Bloomfield, New Jersey. She owned and managed the health spa for eight years.
Imbriano is also a founding partner in the Contessa Club, Inc., a prestigious club for individuals of wealth and power. The Contessa Club is organized and centered around the splendor, luxury, elegance, and sophistication of worldwide destinations. It provides exclusive member-only access to luxurious shopping and travel experiences.
As a frequent speaker at events, Imbriano presents on marketing concepts, including marketing on a shoestring budget, how to develop win/win strategic marketing campaigns, how to foster in-kind sponsorships to grow a business or organization, and her specialty—developing strategic alliances.
Among her prestigious awards, Imbriano received the Teal Heart Award from the Essex Chapter of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) in 2005. She served as the chapter president of NJAWBO Essex from 2006 to 2008. She was recognized as one of the NJBiz Best 50 Women in Business in 2009. And was honored as Business Champion of the Year 2014 by Sisters United Enterprise (SUE).
In addition, Imbriano has been involved on numerous nonprofit boards such as the Rutgers-Newark Small Business Development Center Advisory Board (2006–2008) and president of the Cedar Grove Education Foundation Board of Trustees (2008–2013). She is a 1981 graduate of Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, with a B.A. in economics.
From the largest corporation to an independent venture, Matilde Pope’s business experience crosses several industries—from the computer industry, to high-end fabric and wall covering, to legal services, and finally to travel.
Starting her career in the mid-1980s, she joined one of the most successful and largest corporations of that time—IBM. Matilde was quickly identified as a fast-track executive candidate and commenced her management career in her 20s. She managed the marketing support, admin, and accounting for Fortune 500 clients. From there, she went on to manage the U.S. Operations of an English company, Arthur Sanderson, which manufactures and markets fine wall coverings and fabrics. After her success in corporate America, Matilde was instrumental in helping to start a new business from the ground up and serves as its Vice President of Operations. The company, Continental Corporate Services, Inc., provides document filing services to corporate attorneys.
Today, Matilde owns and operates her own Cruise Planners franchise in North Caldwell, New Jersey, where she assists travelers, individual, and groups with their vacation plans, such as cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and tours throughout the world. Matilde puts her travel expertise and inside info on the travel business to work for her clients, and she also writes a monthly Tour and Travel column for a local publication.
Matilde’s parents were born and raised in Italy but emigrated to Uruguay, where she and her two sisters were born. The family moved to the USA when Matilde was four years old. Raised in an Italian-immigrant household, she has a deep love and pride for her Italian heritage and ensures keeping the Italian traditions alive in her family.
Donna M. Dispenzere is currently an Associate Product Manager for a company that specializes in juvenile licensed bedding, pillows, beach towels, and bath accessories. Prior to this, she worked in the Apparel Industry in Pre-Production for Talbots, Inc. Donna is a graduate of Montclair State University with a B.S. in Business with a concentration in Retail and a B.S. in Fashion Studies.
Donna has always been passionate about Italian and Italian-American culture. Her favorite things include traveling to Italy, partaking in the gastronomical aspects of Italian culture, and collecting Venetian masks. She was recently involved in the formation of the Young Professionals Group for the Center for Italian & Italian American Culture in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. She served as moderator for the group’s Facebook page, where she regularly posted relevant news articles on Italian culture, job opportunities, and professional development advice. She also participated in the planning and execution of networking events for the group.
Donna is actively involved in volunteering for Orphaned Pets, Inc., an animal rescue group. She enjoys volunteering at adoption events where she can interact with the animals as well as help them find their forever homes.
Gregory H. Iannarella is an instructor of Freshmen English at Seton Hall University. He also tutors adults and adolescents in English composition for English as Second Language and offers private SAT tutoring for students on thinking critically as well as on the linguistic sections of the SAT. As a freelance editor, he helps writers fine-tune their manuscripts.
Greg earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Seton Hall in 2012, where he is pursuing a Master’s in English with a focus on fabulist creative fiction. He is also doing research on quantum physics, time travel, food, and medicine in Victorian and Romantic British Literature, focusing on Dickens, Thackeray, and Byron.
As an intern at Open Road Media, a publishing company in New York City, Greg was responsible for working on major marketing campaign projects as well as heading social media landscaping. He has also worked as assistant social media manager for the Center for Italian American Culture. He currently serves on the Sempre Avanti Board of Trustees.
He writes and has published short fiction and is the recipient of an American Literary Merit Award in the short-fiction category. His writing style draws direct influence from the most famous Italian author, Italo Calvino.
His interest in Italy stems from its rich story-telling culture. All of the Italian he knows comes from translating famous Italian works, such as Pinocchio, Crick e Crock, and Dante’s Inferno. He hopes to offer cross cultural linguistic aid to anyone who finds strong interest in communication and linguistic art.
Donna Ruccia Thompson is the publishing director and owner of Woodpecker Press, LLC (est. 2008), a publishing company dedicated to helping business owners self-publish. To that end, she publishes the Big Bold Business® Book Series, which features short, easy-to-read chapters of business insight and advice written by business owners. WP also provides editorial services to publishers and public relations services for authors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
Her passions are publishing and public relations. Donna loves helping her clients understand publishing and the benefits of adding that “published author” credential to their list of achievements. Her business background together with her extensive career in publishing allow her to bring her unique combination of insight to every project.
Donna’s publishing career spans more than 35 years, including ten years (1993–2003) with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, where she was a managing editor in the Technical Publishing Department, eight years with Industry Publications, Inc. (1978–1985), where she was associate editor of two trade magazines, and two years in the early 1970s with the American Electroplaters Society, where she was assistant editor of a trade magazine. She also owned drtEnterprises, LLC, for 18 years (1985–1993, 2003–2013), a freelance editorial services and PR firm that was merged into Woodpecker Press in 2014.
Donna has been a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association since 2009. She is a long-time member of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) (since 2005) and served on the MetroEast Chapter Board of Trustees for seven years (2005–2012). She has also been a member of the Association of Women in Communications (2008–2013) and has served as a trustee on the Rutgers-Newark Small Business Development Center Advisory Board (2006–2008).
She received the NJAWBO Teal Heart Award in 2007, was named NJAWBO Essex Businesswoman of the Year in 2009, and earned the NJAWBO MetroEast Trailblazer Award in 2014. She’s a 1976 graduate of Caldwell College with a B.S. in business administration.
Donna was elected to the Cedar Grove Board of Education in 1999, serving as vice president (2000–2001) and president (2001–2003). She cofounded the Cedar Grove Education Foundation, Inc., in 2003 and served as its president from 2005 to 2008.
Sebastiano B. Locascio, Jr., was born in Montclair, New Jersey and grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He now resides in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, with his wife Antonella and two sons Sebastiano and Marco. He has strong ties to his Italian heritage in the Montclair area through his association with the Saint Sebastiano Society, which he has been a member for over 40 years and currently holds the office of Corresponding Secretary. He is also associated with the Caldwell Knights of Columbus, the Cedar Grove Elks, and various other Italian organizations in the Essex County area.
Sebastiano brings his strong financial background to Sempre Avanti with over 40 years experience in banking and private & public companies. He currently holds the position of Senior Credit and Collection Analyst at HD Smith, a family-owned pharmaceutical wholesaler.
Sebastiano also has strong ties with friends, family, and colleges in America and Italy, which brings a large network of businesses to Sempre Avanti. He graduated Bloomfield College with a degree in Finance, Economics, and Marketing and was elected into ALPHA SIGMA LAMBDA (National Honor Society).