Mary Dougherty usually hands out awards every year for the Morristown Women in Business.
But she found herself on the receiving end Wednesday, when the networking group she co-founded surprised her with a Founders Award.
“Mary is the best kind of leader there is, because she inspires people by her unending commitment to wanting to make things better,” said emcee Ivy Charmatz, an executive producer for News 12 New Jersey.
Dougherty’s roles as a businesswoman, church member, community volunteer and First Lady of Morristown add up to an example worth honoring, Charmatz said.
“Together we all do this. We all make this community great. Everybody comes together and rises up to say this is who we want to be,” said Mary Dougherty, thanking the organization’s members for helping her grow personally and professionally.
The award was presented by Mayor Tim Dougherty, Mary’s husband, in the Mayo Performing Arts Center’s Starlight Room.
Deb King of Discovery Map received the Melody Whitelaw Award from the nonprofit, which also honored Swain’s Frame Shop & Art Gallery for its longevity and welcomed newcomer En Masse Coworking .
“I believe in the business world…connections are so important to making us thrive. What we love the most about this business is the connections that we make, the friends that we’ve made, the stories that we hear about businesses,” said King
She and her husband Peter started their local tourist map five years ago, and they are expanding to Montclair.
The award is named for Melody McGinley Whitelaw, better known as Chef Melody, radio personality and “Caterer to the Stars.” She co-founded the Women in Business in 2013 with Mary Dougherty. Whitelaw died in 2015.
“Through her business, Deb connects everybody. Just like Melody,” said Mary Dougherty, who is a realtor.
Swain’s has been a fixture on South Street since 1964. The secret to its success?
“We just do good work!” said Sally Vokes, who joined her husband in the business in 1979.
For others starting out in business, Vokes advised: “Persevere. Just stick to it. And work hard.”
En Mass Coworking opened in January in a 5,000-square-foot facility on High Street. The business, which rents temporary work spaces, is adding another 7,000 square feet, said owner Merri Sheh.
The Basking Ridge resident retired from an insurance marketing job, and launched her venture in Morristown because she and her husband enjoyed dining here, and felt good every time they visited, she said.
“We wanted to contribute to that and be a part of that,” said Sheh.