By MADDY VITALE
Mary McGuckin, manager of the major philanthropic donor societies at Shore Medical Center, received the 2021 “Salute to Working Women” during a luncheon Thursday at the Ocean City Yacht Club.
The honor is awarded each year by the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. While McGuckin was selected to be the 2020 recipient, the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. The award recognizes women in business for their outstanding professional and personal achievements.
Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, recognized past recipients of the prestigious award in her opening remarks.
She then said of McGuckin, “Mary is such a special treasure to all of us and it really is a special day in Ocean City to honor her, and to honor all working women.”
One of the programs McGuckin oversees is the Lightkeeper’s Society, which provides 24/7 concierge-like benefits to the medical center’s major gift donors. She also oversees the Grateful Patient program that supports and identifies caregivers in the institution through peer recognition and community awareness.
The married Ocean City mother of two works with people who wish to leave a planned gift or bequest to the hospital through the DiOrio Society.
Scott Halliday, of Ocean City, who serves on numerous local boards and organizations, introduced McGuckin, saying she has grace and a strong work ethic.
“Mary has a great gift for working with the patient programs, individuals, families and extended families,” Halliday pointed out. “We have witnessed her work ethic with grace and ease for many years. Each and every person matters and she makes the difference for Shore Medical Center.”
Before McGuckin accepted the honor, she said, “I am pleased, honored and humbled to accept this honor. I can’t express how touched I am to share this platform with you.”
She added, “I am grateful to live in a community where there are so many amazing people who inspire and support me.”
Christina Renna served as the keynote speaker.
She is the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey.
Before introducing Renna, Gillian called her a “strong, powerful working woman, who is also a wonderful friend to our Chamber.”
“She understands the business community, the government, and how they can work well together,” Gillian said. “She is an advocate for small businesses and is a go-to person to get things done.”
Renna told the crowd that there is not one definite of a working woman.
A working woman is your stay-at-home-mom, is “not just someone putting on a blazer and going into an office each day.”
“Every working woman should be saluted today,” she said.
Prior to being with the Chamber, in 2010, Renna was tapped by Gov. Chris Christie to serve in his administration, serving in several different capacities including director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
She spoke of how she resigned amid the political scandal in the administration known as Bridgegate.
While she told the crowd that she thought she would never recover from the stigma of the scandal despite not doing anything wrong, she did.
Renna picked continues to thrive in the workforce at a job she loves.
“As a working woman, and for those who struggled during the pandemic taking care of family, we salute you as well,” Renna noted. “And the biggest salute should go to the mentors.”
Dignitaries in attendance included, Mayor Jay Gillian and Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, City Council President Bob Barr, Vice President Councilman Michael DeVlieger and Councilman Keith Hartzell and city officials including Police Chief Jay Prettyman.
During the ceremony, there was a break from the awards remarks to listen to a college paper written by Ocean City resident Sara Davis about why she loves living in the resort.
Michele Gillian read the paper to the audience.
Davis, 23, got up to the applause of the attendees to accept flowers and smiled for photos.