GARDEN STATE LEADERS IN BUSINESS, CULTURE, AND THE ARTS SHARE FAVORITE TYPES OF EXERCISE, SUPERHERO ALTER-EGOS, AND WHAT INSPIRED THEM TO ENTER THEIR INDUSTRIES

BY ERIK SCHONING AND ELIZABETH HAZARD PHOTOS BY TOM ZAPCIC, ALEX BARRETO, AND VIOLET MAYER PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

Tom Scott
President and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System centrastate.com

Tom Scott, president and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System, has presided over one of the most unique and challenging times in the healthcare industry. During the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, Scott helped guide CentraState’s response to the crisis and their vaccine rollout, while still finding time to oversee a 284-bed hospital and its 2,600 employees.

Scott is an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience under his belt. Since joining CentraState in 2015 as chief operating officer, he has overseen the company’s transition to an integrated electronic medical record system and helped launch a solar initiative that produces 70% of the hospital’s electrical needs. In addition, Scott serves on the Board of Trustees of both NHJA Business Solutions and the VNA Health Group, and he is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Scott is deeply rooted in the local community; prior to joining CentraState, he oversaw hospitals in Pompton Plains and Paterson. Every state has a different healthcare landscape, and Scott’s firsthand experience of serving patients in New Jersey has allowed him to thrive. He lives in Manasquan with his family.

Northwell B22 SPREAD

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
My father was a superintendent of schools and my mother was a nurse. So I combined their roles for a career in healthcare administration.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF EXERCISE?
I enjoy biking, kayaking, taking walks with my dog, and playing ping pong with my kids.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
I don’t really consider myself a superhero. The true superheroes are all the employees that have persevered these last two years in the face of so much. I see my role as supporting them in the face of adversity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN O’CONNOR, DC
President at Velocity Chiropractic and Sports Rehab / velocitychironj.com

For husband-and-wife chiropractic duo John O’Connor and Jessica Horowitz, wellness is more than just a job: it’s a lifestyle. As co-owners of Velocity Performance and Sports Rehab, which is expanding this year to become Velocity Wellness Institute, the couple has built careers on the notion that feeling good can change your life. Dr. O’Connor knows that fact firsthand: as a young athlete paralyzed by a bad reaction to an MMR vaccine, he found chiropractic care to be the most effective tool in treating his symptoms. Today, he and his wife are able to help patients from all walks of life look and feel their best.

Velocity Wellness Institute is an all-in-one center, including traditional sports rehabilitation, anti-aging, aesthetics, and regenerative medicine and hormone optimization therapy. Drs. O’Connor and Horowitz are able to help a broad range of patients, from injured athletes to older individuals looking to increase their mobility and quality of life. Their state of the art facilities located in Red Bank, Fort Monmouth, and Freehold are the culmination of 20-plus-year careers in an evolving industry.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
When I got sick as a kid, there wasn’t a clear cut treatment path. We tried chiropractic, and I would go from having double vision in my left eye to being able to see. Those were some amazing things that as a young kid, I was just blown away. So I always knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare and something where I could help people who thought they might otherwise not have any hope.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF EXERCISE?
Over my 30-plus years in fitness, I would say that I’m a high intensity interval training fitness enthusiast. In my time as an on-court basketball trainer, I always had to do high intensity training to keep up with the athletes.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
I would say Captain America. I was a skinny, scrawny kid that got sick and I had an eye patch and a cane. I committed to fitness and wellness and whatever I could do to help myself and help others. I loved that Captain America never gave up, never quit, and he became this superhero. He never lost sight of the fact that he just wanted to help others. That’s what I’d like to be thought of or remembered as.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Lee Pizzo
Owner, Believe Beauty Co. believebeautyco.com

Jenny Lee Pizzo of Believe Beauty Co. said it’s her mission to make her guests feel catered to at her Sea Girt salon. “As stylists we play the role of a rockstar every day, and we want to instill a sense of confidence in our members,” she said.

She noted that at Believe Beauty Co., the everyday mantra is “Life is your runway,” and not only does she want to make people look good, but to feel good, too. The membership-based salon offers everything from makeup to blowouts, color, cuts, and more. With over 20 years of experience as a cosmetologist, Pizzo said it’s her goal to deliver a personable and quality service to her members every day. “We’re not just in the business of providing services and products but building relationships, stories, and magic.”

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
I’m inspired to not only make people look good, but to feel good! Believe Beauty is a vibe; women don’t just “come” to my salon, but they join. It becomes a part of their weekly routine and regime. I want everyone to feel catered to as a guest at the salon. I feel as though my inspiration now is to pass the torch to the next generation of stylists, delivering a personable and quality service every day.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF EXERCISE?
My favorite type of exercise is dancing! There is nothing better than music to motivate us. Ballroom dancing is one of my favorite hobbies.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
She’s not a superhero, but my alter-ego is probably Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. I grew up watching her sense of style, and she’s someone I typically relate myself to. Or, I’d have to say Jennifer Lopez, too. I take pride and poise in my daily life; and I hope to continue being a mentor and asset to the industry as well as a sister to my salon family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiran Patel, MD
Interventional Pain Management Specialist spinepainny.com

For Dr. Kiran Patel of the Spine and Pain Institute of New York, pain management is all about the patients. Living with chronic pain can take an emotional toll as much as a physical one, and Dr. Patel has made a career prioritizing the individuals who come to her seeking relief.

“There is nothing more satisfying than helping patients live a fuller life, whether that’s resuming their usual hobbies, allowing them to play with their children, or simply walking and standing for longer periods of time,” Dr. Patel said.

Dr. Patel completed an anesthesiology residency and interventional pain medicine fellowship at Columbia University, on the heels of an internship in internal medicine at Yale after receiving her medical degree from New Jersey Medical School. She specializes in treating back and neck pain caused by arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and pain following spine surgery. When not seeing patients, Dr. Patel finds time to serve on national advisory committees, publish work in scientific journals, and participate in clinical research.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
I embarked on a career in interventional pain medicine because during the course of my medical training I realized that pain and subsequent sacrifice of functionality most directly impacts a patient’s quality of life. I wanted to focus on implementing ways for patients to improve their functionality and decrease their pain.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF EXERCISE?
I usually break things up and rotate through a variety of workouts including running, boot camp classes, and spinning, but my favorite type of exercise is the Lagree Method, which is a type of low impact, high intensity pilates using a specialized reformer machine. This is a form of exercise I often recommend to my patients who suffer from spinal pain.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
My superhero alter-ego, as cliches as it sounds, would be Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman always fought for what she felt was just and right, and I like to think that I do the same for my patients, helping them find what they need to overcome their pain. Also, Wonder Woman was known for being compassionate, caring, highly opinionated, and competitive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Ibarra
Operations Manager, Lombardi Plastic Surgery Center lombardiplasticsurgery.com

As operations manager for Lombardi Plastic Surgery Center, there’s no job too big or small for Jonathan Ibarra. From managing multiple locations and overseeing all the day-to-day operations for the industry leading plastic surgery centers, Ibarra acts as a staff and patient concierge as well. He said his mission is to make each patient feel like a VIP and create a warm, welcoming environment once they walk in. He’s also the one to put out any fires. “There’s no situation I cannot smooth over,” he said. Ibarra noted the best part of his job is working with the patients. “I’m not the one doing the work, but I’m the one making that connection between the staff and the patient. You hope that you’re a little piece leading to that patient’s feeling of happiness and confidence.”

Ibarra feels fortunate in his role with Lombardi Plastic Surgery Center, a position he’s held for five years. “I’ve worked for many surgeons in different roles. Dr. Lombardi is different. He is truly the best of the best. I feel privileged to work with him. I’ve learned a great deal from his work ethic. I’m very fortunate; not everyone gets to work in a great environment and here it happens organically.”

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Aesthetics is constantly evolving and exciting. I love interacting with patients and building relationships based on trust…that’s the beauty of working for the best in the industry.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPES OF EXERCISE?
When I am not on my Peloton (#teamcodyrigsby), I enjoy hiking with my fiancé Eric and our pug Bella.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
Superman aka Super Multi-Tasker Lombardi Plastic Surgery Center’s staff and patient concierge that treats everyone like a VIP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ellis, MD
Founder, Keep Glowing Medical Spa keepglowingmedicalspa.com

Dr. Michael Ellis, or Dr. Mike, as his patients call him, opened Keep Glowing Medical Spa in Tinton Falls in 2020 with a goal to concentrate on aesthetic medicine. “After working in the hospital during COVID, I saw the restrictions placed on doctors,” he said. “Now I get to take a step back and make sure patients are not just prescribed medicines, and that we can treat the cause of the problem. The goal is to get patients off medicine and prolong their lives.”

Dr. Ellis is heavily involved with the NFL Performance Lab, where he focuses on medical and neurological developments for the improvement of health and mental wellness. He takes pride in the organization’s efforts to give back to the community with youth empowerment camps, with a goal to help children cope both in sports and life. Dr. Ellis said that they plan to have 55 satellites locations throughout the country in the areas surrounding NFL stadiums. Ever an innovator in his field, he will launch the world’s first body contouring franchise MELT Body Contouring in late 2022. In regards to MELT, he said, “We provide a service that has immediate results with long-term benefits.”

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
My desire to help people improve their quality of life as well as the way they look.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TYPES OF EXERCISE?
Weight-lifting.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO ALTER-EGO?
Wolverine because I have a tough exterior, but deep down I am a good person.