MAPLEWOOD, NJ — On Sunday, May 7, Robert A. Marchman, Tricia Zimic and The Woman’s Club of Maplewood will receive Maple Leaf Awards for their extraordinary volunteer and community service.
“Whether the volunteer work of this year’s recipients has been given for service to maintain and preserve the character of Maplewood, contribute to the care and well-being of Maplewood’s children and adults, preserve and enhance the reservation, enhance Maplewood’s diversity, or the celebration of 100 years of continuous service, these volunteers are exceptional individuals whose dedication and service have made Maplewood a better place to live,” awards Chairwoman Mary Devon O’Brien said in a press release. “This year’s Maple Leaf Award recipients includes relatively longtime dedicated residents and volunteers of Maplewood.”
The 49th annual Maple Leaf Award Ceremony and brunch, which will be held at Pantagis Renaissance on Route 22 in Scotch Plains and will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m., so people should plan to arrive earlier in order to find seating. Reservations and payment in advance are required. For attendance information, call Mary Devon O’Brien at 973-763-4135.
Zimic grew up on Long Island in Huntington, N.Y., and was drawn to Maplewood in the early 1990s when she fell in love with a “fixer upper” Tudor house nestled into the woods of South Mountain Reservation. She and her husband, David Segarnick, have lived in Maplewood for 24 years with their two daughters; both Maxine, 26, an energy attorney living in Washington, D.C., and Lahna, 24, who is completing her master’s degree in social work degree in Baltimore, went through the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
After graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she studied illustration with several well-known illustrators including Maurice Sendak, Zimic illustrated many children’s books, including Simon and Schuster’s “Nancy Drew,” other tales and movie posters. In 2007, Zimic created a permanent, 80-square-foot ceramic mural relief called “The Academy” for Maplewood Middle School. A collection of her work in white porcelain, featuring “The Seven Deadly Sins” and “The Seven Virtues,” employing a satirical approach to the follies and fumbles of mankind using baboons as her metaphor, is on exhibit in Berc’s Gallery, Maplewood.
As her girls grew, Zimic had time for longer walks through the reservation with her black Lab, Dashi. Inspired artistically and ecologically on these walks, she asked herself: “Where is all the wildlife? Why isn’t there understory growing under the trees?” According to Zimic, ecology became an integral part of her art “as I started a reforestation project in the South Mountain Reservation, I needed to learn as much as possible in order to bring harmony back to the reservation. I wanted my art to show just how bizarre it would be if our native animals actually came back to their lost habitat.”
Zimic’s passion in the reservation started first as a volunteer and then as a community leader in reforestation. Zimic worked to return the reservation to a healthier ecological state; by the time Zimic moved to Maplewood, white-tailed deer had largely destroyed the forest understory and only invasive species, such as stilt grass and knotweed, remained. To help restore the 2,100-acre reservation’s ecology, she helped spearhead both the removal of invasive species and the planting of native species. The reservation is drastically improved today thanks to these efforts.
Zimic has been a board member of the South Mountain Conservancy for the past 10 years and recently was named its vice chairwoman. Working closely with SMC Chairman Dennis Percher, she has been involved in a range of decisions and actions to protect and enhance the ecology and infrastructure of the reservation. During 2008-2009, she helped oversee the planting of 42 forest regeneration sites as part of a 20-year forest regeneration plan which was a $1 million Green Acres program championed by the SMC and planned and executed by Essex County. As program manager of the 14-acre Wildflower Preserve and vice chairwoman for forest regeneration, Zimic spends numerous hours per week for roughly 10 months of the year in the reservation. While other arboretums in the area have full-time staff doing this work, Zimic leads teams of reforestation volunteers. During the past three years, instead of using herbicides, she and her volunteers have covered and maintained 35,000 square feet of thick black plastic to kill off an infestation of Japanese knotweed on the southern edge of the preserve.
Each year Zimic finds dozens of willing volunteers, identifies new native plants by driving to native plant nurseries in Pennsylvania to obtain them, oversees the elimination of invasive species, plants new native plants with the help of her volunteers, and envisions new projects for the preserve. Some of her project ideas include creating original trails and bridges in the Wildflower Preserve, a vernal pond at the dog park, a pergola at the entrance of the preserve, an insect habitat, three cairn trail markers, and a covered memorial bench created by a craftsman in upstate New York. Hundreds of native plants in and around the Wildflower Preserve have been added each year so the public can stroll at leisure to admire the fecundity of nature.
Drawing on her talents as an artist, Zimic founded and curates the Wildflower Sculpture Park, an annual rotating exhibit of artists’ work showing in the South Mountain Reservation. She meets with potential exhibitors, reviews their work and encourages submissions during January; after reviewing submissions, these selections are sent to the county for approval. She then works with the artists, the county and an SMC board member with specialized construction knowledge, to finalize arrangements for these unique artworks.
Robert A. Marchman
Marchman, a native of Brooklyn, has lived in Maplewood the past 26 years with his wife, Fay, and two sons, David and Travis, who variously attended schools in the South Orange-Maplewood School District before departing for college. Pursuing a political science major, Marchman graduated magna cum laude from Allegheny College and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He received his juris doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, after which he attended the Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.
Before joining the New York Stock Exchange in 1989, Marchman was a branch chief in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in Washington, D.C., where he started his legal career in 1983. In 1989, he moved to the NYSE’s Division of Enforcement where he was first a director, then managing director and ultimately vice president in 1994.
There Marchman headed the NYSE Regulations Enforcement Division and Regulatory Risk Group. During his tenure at the NYSE, he directed several high profile and significant securities regulation disciplinary actions, including the research analysts’ conflict of interest and specialist trading ahead cases. He also served as chairman of NYSE Diversity Council from its inception in 1999 until his departure from the NYSE; in this, he led initiatives such as recruitment and retention efforts, mentoring, financial literacy programs and outreach to communities of color.
In June 2010, Marchman joined the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as executive vice president and head of the Market Regulation Department’s legal group in the continuation of a career devoted exclusively to protecting the interests of the investing public. At FINRA, Marchman serves on the company’s Executive Diversity Leadership Council.
His community service includes service as league commissioner of the South Orange-Maplewood Packers Pop Warner Football League; member of Maplewood Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee, the South Orange-Maplewood Awareness Council, the School’s Diversity Task Force, the Maplewood Township Zoning Board; and board member and chairman of the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. Marchman has served on a variety of committees in the SOMSD and is a lector at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange.
Marchman is involved in numerous other charitable organizations and civic affairs, including as a member of the Allegheny College Board of Trustees; as northeast regional board chairman of Operation HOPE and board member of the Council for Economic Education, which both encourage financial literacy for children and adults; a board member PFLAG, an organization providing support to members of the LGBT community and their families; board member of the NSHSS Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for underrepresented high school students in the sciences; and a member of the University of Pennsylvania Law School Board of Managers. He has also served on the Concerned Black Men, a nonprofit organization providing role models and greater opportunities for inner city youth, as well as the Urban League of Essex County.
As the first black executive vice president at the NYSE, Marchman serves as a role model and inspiration. He has received several awards and accolades, such as Savoy Magazine’s “2016 Top 100 African-Americans in Corporate America”; Rainbow PUSH/Wall Street Project 2016 Distinguished Career and Diversity Champion Award; Upstanding’s 2016 International Top 100 Ethnic Minority Executive Power List; University of Pennsylvania Law School 2012 Alumni Award of Merit; National Multicultural Institute’s Leading Light Diversity Award; NV Magazine “Wall Street” Achievement Award; Allegheny College Alumni Award; Harlem YMCA “African-American Achiever” Award; Junior Achievement Volunteerism Award; The Urban League of Essex County “Dare to Dream” Award; The South Orange Civic Association “Beloved Community Contributor” Award; CCR’s Visionary Community Leader Award; Wall Street in Black “Industry Pioneer” Award; Operation HOPE Chairman’s Award; and the Youth About Business “Commitment to Excellence” Award.
Woman’s Club of Maplewood
In 1890, club women across the United States established the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, coordinating 20,000 women in 200 clubs, a number which grew to nearly a million women by 1920.
The Woman’s Club of Maplewood was established in December 1916 as an organization to further women’s common interests and dedication to their community. Founder Mrs. Clayton Lee wrote: “Almost as soon as the club was organized our country was plunged into war. We took part in all the Liberty Loan drives, organized the Red Cross in Maplewood, originated a system of communication so that we could reach every person in Maplewood within two hours time.”
The Woman’s Club also helped to finance the Home Guard. By 1922, the club had 700 members, 15 committees and eight departments; in 1927, the Junior Woman’s Club was established, growing to 50 members. In response to the growing need of women who also worked outside the home, in 1963 the Evening Membership Department was created.
Serving area needs, the Vaux Hall Baby Clinic was created in 1923, and by the following year there were 102 babies on the visiting list. The program moved to the new Community House in 1927 to provide more space for the baby clinic and to provide space for a Girls’ Club to meet, with Americanization classes, a thrift shop and a food pantry, among other activities. In 1929, club President Gloanna Wallace MacCarthy referred to the Vaux Hall house as “our outstanding civic endeavor. From a small community center … in one room over a garage, this social work has grown by leaps and bounds.” Funded by local advertisers, the Members Chat was developed as a communication medium and magazine through which the women could share poetry and articles.
Establishing a balance between social activities, fellowship, education, community and charity service, the women improved their lives and the lives of those around them. Whether raising money for scholarships and charity, or funding the World War II Grumman fighter plane named “Miss Maplewood,” or its civics-legislation department’s initiation in 1957 of the murals project for the Town Hall, the women of the Maplewood Woman’s Club have had a powerful impact on Maplewood.
Although the Woman’s Club had started a very ambitious project of a building fund in 1918, the club meetings moved at first from one location to another before settling on a room above the Maplewood Theater which became the first official clubroom. By 1923, the Woman’s Club had purchased the land for the future site, and a couple years later, despite some concern about the financial scope of the building project, the women decided: “It is an opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime to be able to say one has helped to build an edifice that is going to stand for our children and their children.”
In 1928, architect Clifford C. Wendehack was retained to design the clubhouse in Colonial, early American style. The 1925 November, Members Chat said that the clubhouse would be a place for learning, fellowship and service for its members. For the community, “To begin with it would be a living monument to civic pride, the materialization of the keen vision of far-sighted women who have worked faithfully and given bountifully, unbiased in its views, where all are welcome. Its auditorium would be available for such entertainments as would reflect credit on the town, such as concerts, receptions, lectures, dances, card parties and meetings for town organizations. To sum it all up, it will stand for helpfulness, sociability and a center for civic interest.”
Today, the women of the Woman’s Club of Maplewood, including the EMD, have continued the vision, mission and goals of the early founders.
“Our attention remains supporting educational endeavors, particularly locally,” current President JoAnn Aponte said. “We work with shelters that aid battered women and their children, Make-A-Wish, and schools for handicapped children.” Recently, more than 1,000 hand-knitted items, ranging from baby hats, lap robes and throws for chemotherapy patients, were donated along with hundreds of new books to the library. In addition, scholarships are donated to Columbia High School, and the Woman’s Club plans to be a significant part of the Maplewood Library Foundation’s campaign.