Joan Groome, Executive Director, Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce
Are you a Native of New Jersey?
No, I was born in Yonkers and later lived in New York City. When I told my mother I was getting married and moving to New Jersey, she said, “Oh you poor thing!”
How Did Your Career Progress Over the Years?
I became a partner in Winchell’s Ski Shop in the early ’70s. After Winchell’s, I worked for Talbots and then spent 20 years as the Development Director for the YWCA. Upon “retiring” from there, I volunteered with the Chamber, and they offered me the job as Executive Director.
How Has Ridgewood Changed?
The storefronts have changed, but the integrity of the town remains the same. We’re building a parking garage and apartments, so I hope these changes will lead more people to shop and dine here.
Describe the Success of the Chamber’s Networking Meetings
Nine years ago, we had one networking meeting a week. Now we have five. The women’s group is very successful because it is high energy with a lot of caring and participation. They serve as a resource for women to help each other. Men’s groups have great camaraderie, but women’s groups are relational.
Cooking Instructor/Caterer/Private Chef – Creative Cooks
How Did You Get Started Cooking?
Growing up in Florida, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. As one of six kids, we rarely ate out! When my parents divorced, I took over the cooking duties.
What Inspired you to Create Your Business?
As a single mom on a tight budget, I needed to use my knowledge of the ingredients I had on hand and turn them into a meal.
My kids attended Lincoln School in Wyckoff, and I got the idea to offer after-school cooking classes. My daughter made flyers and passed them out at recess. I now run programs at the Wyckoff Y and in several other towns. In 2008, I applied to be a contestant on the “Rachael Ray” Show, and, although I was a runner up, I have been invited back several times. I’ve also appeared on “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Chopped.”
What Are You Doing Now?
My new cookbook, “Join my Table” was just released in February, and I recently introduced it on the “Rachael Ray” Show. I continue to teach cooking classes and I also cater events and private parties.
What Do You Want Your Students to Learn?
How to create food by thinking for yourself rather than following a recipe. Use your senses and creativity to discover how you can make your food taste even better!
Kim Hewitt Cooper, DO
Valley Diagnostic Medical Center in Ramsey
What is Your Primary Healthcare Philosophy?
As an osteopath, I am all about preventative care. A healthy lifestyle is the best medicine!
What Message Do You Try to Convey to Your Patients?
To take accountability for their health and change their habits to gain better health.
How Do You Personally Live that Philosophy?
For my 40th birthday, I wanted to run the New York City Marathon. One of my patients has two children with cystic fibrosis, so he invited me to run for his CF charity, Breathe Team. I was so motivated by his 23-year-old daughter who was on oxygen while waiting for a lung transplant. Her family then asked me to be her primary care physician. She is followed by scores of specialists—yet they chose me to be her primary care doctor. I ran that marathon for her in 2019, and she has since received a lung transplant and is doing well. My husband, Matt, and I are both running for CF in 2020!
What’s Next for You?
I see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I want my kids to see how to stay healthy and that hard work pays off. I can’t see myself doing anything else—although my secret ambition is to get a gig as a network medical correspondent!