Holly Lyttle: Beyond The Grant Member Spotlight

Meet Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member Holly Lyttle

By Janet Mazur Cavano

Where do you live?
Oceanport, New Jersey

Describe your occupation
I’ve had two careers. I was originally an in-house organizational consultant for AT&T, specializing in leadership and team building. I retired when my kids were in school. I then volunteered for various non-profits, and eventually got a master’s degree in non-profit management from Columbia University. I’ve also chaired three local boards over the years — The Junior League, the Monmouth County Arts Council and Family and Children’s Services. I have 25 years of board experience.

When did you join Impact 100 Jersey Coast and how did you discover us?
I heard about it mainly through word of mouth and I liked the idea right away! So many of my friends were joining. This is my fourth year — I joined in 2017.

How active are you in Impact Jersey Coast?
I’ve served on two Focus Area Committees (FACs) — Children and Families as well as Environment, Parks and Recreation for which I am now the vice-chair. I’ve gone on a number of site visits and talked to the people running the non-profits and that’s where you truly see the need out there! That’s the importance of being on a committee.

So, what keeps you coming back/rejoining?
The grants are so transformational! Your contribution does work; it’s an exponential thing. Also, when you hear the reports at the annual meeting and see exactly what the grantees have done with our contribution — it’s amazing! There are so many good causes in the world — Unicef and other global organizations — but we need to remember our local community. If we are not going to step up and take care of the most vulnerable in our backyards, who will?

What would you tell a woman who is thinking about joining?
Your contribution combines with others in the best possible way AND you will meet the most amazing women, one after another! I am awestruck with everyone I’ve met, and we all learn from one another.

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve received?
When I was in the 8th grade, my grandmother told me, “Always smile.”  Things are going to happen to you in life, good and bad, yet if you smile and keep a positive attitude, people will treat you better no matter what. And it works.

What’s the most recent book you read?
I just finished Mitch Albom’s “Finding Chika.” It was a quick, easy read about helping people in Haiti. The author and his wife adopted a Haitian orphan.

What’s something about you that most people don’t know, a fun fact or two?
I can juggle! I led a class in creativity at AT&T and taught people to juggle! I don’t have a lot of hand/eye coordination, but I learned it for the course.

Also, when I was on the board of the Association of Junior Leagues International in 2002, I took a personal tour of the West Wing of the White House. We weren’t actually allowed to step into the Oval Office, but I did peek in and I found that it’s a lot smaller than you would think.

Alison Ertl: Beyond The Grant Member Spotlight

Meet Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member Alison Manser Ertl

By Janet Mazur Cavano

Alison Manser Ertl
Alison Manser Ertl

Where do you live?
Brielle, New Jersey

Tell us about what you do for a living
I’m the publisher of Star News Group, a family-owned business. We publish two weekly newspapers, The Coast Star and the Ocean Star, and Night and Day Magazine. We cover local news in 16 communities and our reporting staff is one of the largest in New Jersey! I oversee the day-to-day operations, everything from changing the light bulbs to picking up the mail and keeping everything running from circulation to ad sales. We have offices in Manasquan and in Point Pleasant Beach.

When did you join Impact 100 Jersey Coast and how did you discover us?
I joined in October, 2018. I had heard about Impact from the press releases that were sent to our newspaper, and I thought “Wow! This is really interesting. What a great concept!” I had done research beforehand and then all it took was one meeting!

A representative from 180 Turning Lives Around, Impact 100 Jersey Coast’s inaugural grant recipient, made a presentation about the Family Justice Center and I was struck by the fact that Impact made that happen! Also, the members were a smart, knowledgeable, friendly and caring group – that just sold me. I joined on the spot!

How active are you in Impact Jersey Coast?
What’s funny is that the “no-guilt” aspect is very appealing to me. I’m pressed for time – I have a young family and I’m running a business, plus I’m involved in Chamber of Commerce activities. Yet, when they were looking for someone to host a membership event, the energy and excitement caught me off guard and I said, “I’ll do one!” We hosted it at a restaurant, invited a bunch of friends, and had a really nice turnout!

What would you tell a woman who is thinking about joining?
It’s the best bang for your buck! It’s a great opportunity to maximize your dollars and your time to truly make a difference in your community. You can make your voice heard, make your contribution and network with like-minded women -it’s all that rolled into one!

Your favorite Impact 100 moment?
My first annual meeting – that night really solidified it for me. Hearing all the applicants making their pitch and being so passionate! And I could not believe how packed those rooms were with members…it keeps getting bigger and bigger, like a groundswell, picking up more and more women as we go along. I even got my mother to join!

What’s the best life advice you’ve gotten?
My dad has been my mentor; we work together and he’s given me a lot of practical advice over the years and the one thing he has instilled in me, is that “You’re more capable than you realize!” It’s an underlying theme to the way we run our organization. You can always exceed your goals and expectations. You are capable of so much more than you think!

What keeps you sane and balanced?
I try to carve out small amounts of time for myself every day. I also have a weekly yoga practice and I recently started a 21-day meditation practice. It’s led by Oprah and Deepak Chopra and you do it on your phone. I also try my best not to add to a plate that’s already so full, but I don’t always succeed!

Tell us something people may not know about you!
I’m involved in the gluten-free and celiac disease community as a mom to two girls with celiac disease. My girls and I enjoy baking and re-creating dishes as gluten-free at home. I’ve become passionate about educating myself about autoimmune disorders, such as celiac disease, as well as being an advocate for better research and options for those who have an autoimmune disease.

Blog: Sharing to Succeed

At Impact 100 Jersey Coast, we pride ourselves on our hyper local focus. Awarding grants solely to local non-profits, we bring local women together to foster a culture of giving and create transformational changes close to home.

Impact 100 Pensacola Global Conference

We Are Part of a Worldwide Movement

How easy it can be then to overlook that we are a critical part of a worldwide movement, a movement reaching far beyond our own back yards. Equally important is how much we can learn from and share with our counterparts elsewhere. This point became crystal clear in October when seven women from Jersey Coast traveled to Pensacola, Florida for the annual Impact 100 Global Conference, “Sharing to Succeed.”

The objective was to connect members from all over the country and abroad to share ideas and “explore aspects of our unique philanthropy model.” About 150 women converged at the Pensacola Beach Hilton for the three-day event.

Deirdre Spiropoulos, president and co-founder of Jersey Coast, describes the conference as a complete eye-opener. Having attended for the first time three years earlier, she was struck by how much our group has since grown, She compared it to the feeling one has when entering college as a nervous freshman versus returning as a confident senior.

“We felt very validated!” she said. “We followed the model, we grew very fast, and now we’re not just asking the questions but also answering them and imparting OUR knowledge — we’re active participants.”


Look Out for Impact 100 Global’s Fresh Rebrand

Perhaps the most important news to emerge from the conference was the rebranding of the organization on a global scale. If you go to Impact 100 Council you will notice a fresh design. Gone is the green and blue logo, replaced by a bold purple design. This design is one small aspect of a larger mission to create uniformity and ultimately elevate the Impact 100 Global brand.

“Having the Impact 100 brand uniting us all to bring about national recognition — it’s a great thing!” said Michelle Peoples, a Jersey Coast member since the group’s inception. What struck her most from the conference, however, involved the expanding role of technology, whether it’s communicating with members, marketing, or managing financial and administrative operations. “Technology is the key to our success,” she said.

For Denise Liotta, an Advisory Group and inaugural member currently serving as sponsorship chair, the most important takeaway was how much “further ahead” our group is than many others.

“I came away inspired by our own leadership,” she said adding that it was also useful to learn how other groups handle a variety of issues.

“This has been extremely helpful in our first four years and will continue to give us perspective as we grow,” she said. “And, as one of the most successful Impacts, (as measured by membership relative to time in existence), it’s important to share what we have learned.”

Impact 100 Jersey Coast is a Youthful Chapter!

In addition, Liotta noted that Jersey Coast has one of the younger demographics, which is not the case overall. “A number of other Impacts have trouble attracting younger women and feel at a disadvantage because of it.”

Karen Waltz, Operations Chair for Jersey Coast, is a case in point for this idea.

“As the youngest person there, women seemed interested in speaking to me about my personal interest in Impact and the ‘millennial’ perspective,” she said, adding that she met an impressive variety of women at the conference — from different age groups, regions and backgrounds.

However, her most inspiring takeaway goes back to what we’re all about in the first place.

“It was overwhelming to hear about the total funds we have contributed to non-profits over the years and how much change we women have made in our local communities!” she said. “It really showed me how one woman, one donation, one vote really makes a difference.”

To learn more about the global Council, you can subscribe to their newsletter here.

Fast Facts about Global Impact

  • Since its inception in 2001, Impact 100 has donated more than $45 million to worthy causes and nurtured dozens of chapters from start-up through maturity.
  • There are more than 50 Impact 100 chapters across the U.S. and Australia, and one in the U.K.
  • In the USA, Florida has the most chapters – eight!



News: Deirdre Spiropoulos interviewed on Lou & Liz in the Morning on 94.3 The Point

July 12, 2019: Impact 100 Jersey Coast’s Co-Founder and President, Deirdre Spiropoulos, interviewed on the Lou & Liz show on 94.3 The Point

Last week, Deirdre Spiropoulos headed down to the sunny Asbury Park boardwalk to chat with 94.3 The Point radio show hosts, Lou and Liz, about Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

Huge thanks to the Lou and Liz in the Morning show for such wonderful support!

Read Liz’s blog post on Impact 100 here >> https://943thepoint.com/how-women-from-monmouth-county-can-make-a-huge-difference/

Listen to the interview below