Elisa Charters, a stalwart for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and a dedicated alumna of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has been appointed to its Board of Trustees.
Charters, a first-generation college student-athlete who attended NJIT with support from its Educational Opportunity Program, said, “I cannot express how extremely proud I am in this moment — as a daughter and first to attend college, as a mother of a daughter and son, as a wife of an NJIT alumnus (Brian Charters M.Eng. ’93) and most especially as a Latina advocate and professional representing other multicultural women who led before me and those who will follow.”
Charters is a principal in the consultancy EAC Business International and president of Latina Surge, a national nonprofit advocacy organization that she co-founded in 2015. Her NJIT roots run deep, as she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees here, has served on the Board of Advisors of its Martin Tuchman School of Management since 2014 and this year became a charter member of its Hispanic and Latinx Leadership Council (HLLC). The HLLC partners with corporate leaders and prominent community and professional organizations like the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of N.J. as it seeks to enroll more Hispanic and Latinx students and fuel NJIT’s drive to earn the federal designation of being a Hispanic-serving institution.
Charters personifies NJIT’s actionable goals in its strategic plan, as the university works to achieve DEIB across its core priorities of students, faculty, research, resources, and prominence. As the third Latina to serve on the Board, this appointment represents another concrete step toward progress.
“The Trustees and I look forward to the significant contribution that Elisa will make,” NJIT President Joel S. Bloom said. “She embodies the best of NJIT: smart, driven, passionate, and a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion. And Elisa’s dedication to her alma mater is exceptional.”
In addition to her degrees at NJIT — a bachelor’s in environmental science/science, technology, and society in 1992 and a master’s in environmental science/chemical engineering in 1993 — Charters holds a master of international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a graduate certificate in commercial real estate, development and finance from New York University, professional certification in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University’s ILR School and ABA paralegal accreditation from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Charters has also served on the Essex County Planning Board; Columbia University’s Task Force on Belonging; the Latino Alumni Association of Columbia University, where she is president; the Board of Advisors of the Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University; and the Board of Regents at Delbarton School. She’s passionate about volunteering to serve women and children at risk, as a global network leader within the Lean In organization, a sustainer of the Junior League of Montclair-Newark, and a Latino Action Network Steering Committee member.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s appointment of Elisa to NJIT’s Board marks her third gubernatorial appointment. She previously served as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the N.J. Health Care Facilities Financing Authority under former Gov. Chris Christie and on the N.J. Minority and Business Advisory Board under former Gov. Jon Corzine.
Earlier in her career, Charters spent 14 years at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which hired her directly from NJIT’s Career Development Services. While there, she held a series of progressively responsible roles — from management fellow to lead negotiator for site acquisitions and operations in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center and ultimately, assistant comptroller for Port Commerce financial services. She also served as president of the Port Authority Hispanic Society, a Latinx employee affinity group.
Charters began her term as a Trustee this month. NJIT’s 15-member board is chaired by alumnus Robert C. Cohen ’83, ’84, ’87, the president of digital, robotics, and enabling technologies at Stryker.