West Ward Council member of the township of Irvington, New Jersey
Charnette Frederic is the West Ward Council member of the township of Irvington, New Jersey. She was elected on May 8th, 2012. She became the first Haitian-American Councilwoman in Irvington and Essex County. Mrs. Frederic is committed and passionate about serving the community. She is married to Joseph Betissan Frederic with one amazing son.
Mrs. Frederic earned an associate degree majored in Biology at Essex County College, 1999. She acquired her Bachelor degree majored in Biology minored in Chemistry at Rutgers University, New Jersey, 2001. Mrs. Frederic obtained a Master in Healthcare Administration (MHA) from Seton Hall University, New Jersey, 2005. She had a New Jersey licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Since 2002, Charnette Frederic is a Senior Scientist at Roche Molecular Systems, a division of Hoffmann-La Roche, Diagnostic Company.
Mrs. Frederic is serving as a Treasurer of Neighborhood Health, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing preventative health awareness to New Jersey community. Since 2008, she is the secretariat of Fondation des Cazaliens D’Outre Mer (FOCOM), a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping communities in Haiti, particularly Cazale. She is a member of National Action Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Durand Block association, and American College of Health Care Administrator. Mrs. Frederic is serving as the President of the Florence Avenue School Parent Teacher Association (PTA). She is part of Irvington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). She is also a member of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON).
Mrs. Frederic participated to various training including Ready to Run, Campaign Training for Women at the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, New Jersey. She founded Charnette Frederic Civic Association, a non-profit organization committed to create opportunities for people to come together to have fun and celebrate the community, coordinate activities, and develop projects to promote community involvement.
What led you to pursue your career?
My family has been the key factor for the woman that I am today. My father provided me with the opportunity to study in renowned schools in Port-au-Prince. By the age of 5, I entered Saint-Trinite, and later I attended College Saint Pierre. I came to Irvington, New Jersey in 1996. Strong in education belief, I managed to attend college in the United States at the age of 17. At Essex County College (ECC) my desire to become an accomplished woman was set ablaze. One biology course with Prof. Johnson at ECC was enough to fall in love with science. Within three years in half, I was done with both my associate degree at ECC and my bachelor degree at Rutgers University. With a long list of pharmaceutical and Research companies in New Jersey, finding a career in science was stress-free.
How were you able to get started?
Having a very strong educational background from Haiti I was ready to tackle every task that life had set for me in the United States. Self-motivated, I accomplished my best at ECC and continued to excel at Rutgers University where I obtained a bachelor degree in Biology and minored in chemistry. Following my employment at Roche Molecular Systems, a division of Hoffmann-La Roche, Diagnostic Company, I obtained a masters degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA) while working.
When did you realize you were making real progress with your career?
Early on, I was very organized and focus on my education. When I graduated and succeeded in everything I undertook, I knew that I was on the right path. All I have to do now is helping others to do the same.
1) What have been some of your professional highlights?
- Employment as Scientist at Roche Molecular Systems
- Obtaining a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA) from Seton Hall University.
- Being elected as the first Haitian-American West Ward Council member of the township of Irvington.
2) What have been some of the challenges you had to face?
The major challenged I faced was speaking English upon coming to the United States. This concern became more poignant when I was started tutoring biology, chemistry and French at Essex County College. However, while doing so I bettered my speaking abilities and eventually overcame it.
Do you personally know other Haitians in your field?
Yes I do, in both the scientific and political fields. During the election, I met with various elected officials and once I was elected, I joined the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON). From the scientific world, I have not connected with Haitian-American in the field, but I know for certain we have plenty of scientists.
Do you feel as though you’ve helped break barriers?
I strongly believe so. I am the first Haitian-American Council member. And this is just the beginning; I hope to break even more barricades and go down in history.
What do you feel is next for your career?
I want to become a Principal Scientist at Roche Molecular Systems; as far as the political world is concerned, I intend to have a bigger and greater impact.
What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
My advice to them would be to follow your dreams and keep pushing forward. Remember that you are responsible for your education and success in life; if you keep pushing for what you want you will eventually be successful. There are no ridiculous ideas, wishes or aspirations just put your mind, dedication to it.
What do you think can be done for Haiti to develop financial assistance without having to be reliant upon others in times of crisis?
It is important to plan. We often hear the saying, “If we don’t plan, we plan to fail.” I believe that we have to design a plan for Haiti to be financially sound. Haiti received financial assistance from around the world; the money has to be spent in places that can have great impacts. As a council member, I understand my objective is to enhance Irvington quality of life by making sure the town is clean and safe. Perception is crucial in the world that we are living; somehow we have to define a plan for Haiti to change the perception. In times of crisis, we have to prepare.
Do you believe a campaign highlighting the positives of Haiti would be worth exploring to take away the stigma of it being impoverished?
I strongly believe that because the Haiti that I know is not being televised. The degrading, demeaning campaigns that are being led to exploit Haiti do not do justice to the stunning and striking Place that I grew up in. Of course, there are a lot of needs just like any other places, but that does mean that people are not living. One more reason that the country has to invest in things that will last for centuries to come.
Would you recommend NAHP to Haitian students and professionals? Why?
I most definitely would. I applaud the work that you are doing which is putting Haitian professionals in the spot light. I suppose that it would be great encouragement to our upcoming society, the teenagers, to show them that regardless of how our mainland is perceived and viewed, we as Haitians can accomplish something against all odds.