With a background in communications, lobbying and running nonprofits, Regina Hopper says she knows how to modernize a business. She plans to do the same for Miss America.
“The latest chapter of my career has been about taking organizations and industries with a strong base and bringing them into a new era,” the new president and CEO of the Miss America Organization told The Press of Atlantic City.
Hopper is currently senior vice president of global public policy for GRIDSMART Technologies Inc. and previously has been president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Natural Gas Alliance and executive vice president of the United States Telecom Association.
“In many respects, Miss America doesn’t differ from the other jobs I’ve had,” she said. “The thing that makes it different is that I was a participant and it’s personal. I want to do everything I can as president and CEO or as a volunteer like I was in the past to make Miss America as successful as possible.”
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Name: Avery Wythe Age: 20 Hometown: Port Republic School: University of Notre Dame Platform: Show You C.A.R.E. Talent: Dance
Name: Christa Steiner Age: 19 Hometown: Beach Haven School: Manhattan School of Music Platform: ART for smART Talent: Broadway Vocal
Name: Lauren Staub Age: 24 Hometown: Avon School: Montclair State University Graduate Platform: It Starts with a Script: Tackling the Opioid Epidemic Talent: Vocal
Name: Disha Dass Age: 23 Hometown: New Milford School: Rutgers University-Master of Education Candidate Platform: “One Billion Rising” Talent: Piano
Name: Sophia Vicari Age: 21 Hometown: Magnolia School: Fairleigh Dickinson University Platform: The Princess Promise Talent: Vocal
Name: Michelle Wanner Age: 19 Hometown: Sea Isle City School: St. Joseph’s University Platform: Puppies with Professions Talent: Dance
Name: Alyssa Sullivan Age: 22 Hometown: Cape May School: Rowan University Platform: Peer Challenge Commit 2 Character Talent: Vocal
Name: Amanda Rae Ross Age: 22 Hometown: Egg Harbor School: Stockton University Platform: Autism Acceptance Talent: Dance
Hometown: Ocean City
School: Belmont University
Platform: Anxiety and Depression — Ending the Stigma
Name: Julia Magill Age: 21 Hometown: West Deptford School: Rowan University Platform: Feeding our Families Talent: Lyrical Dance
Name: Olivia Cruz Age: 21 Hometown: Vineland School: University of the Arts Platform: Love Through Laces Talent: Dance
Name: Madison Welsh Age: 19 Hometown: Westville School: Neumann University Platform: SPIN-Share Positive Instead of Negative Talent: Tap Dance
Name: Jacqueline Algarra Age: 23 Hometown: Marlton School: Holy Family University Platform: The National Eating Disorder Association and Body Positivity Talent: Vocal
Name: Annelise Malgieri Age: 21 Hometown: Branchville School: William Paterson University Platform: No Mind Left Behind: A Mental Health Awareness Initiative Talent: Dance
Name: Hannah Marie Vendetta Age: 21 Hometown: Pitman School: Rowan University Platform: Save Your Lungs, Save Your Life Talent: Polynesian Dance
Name: Jade Glab Age: 18 Hometown: Belmar School: Brookdale Community College Platform: Fit, Fun & Fabulous – Health Eating Habits Talent: Opera
Name: Ashley Terpak Age: 19 Hometown: Sparta School: County College of Morris Platform: Eating Disorder Awareness – Alex’s Story Talent: Dance
Name: Jessica Milne Age: 24 Hometown: New Milford School: Fairleigh Dickinson University– Graduate Platform: LGBTeen Advocacy Talent: Vocal
Name: Katrina Biss Age: 23 Hometown: Pompton Lakes School: William Paterson – Grad School Platform: Erase the Stigma-Substance Abuse Awareness, Recovery & Prevention Talent: Vocal
Name: Jessica Ervey Age: 21 Hometown: Andover School: Centenary University Platform: Hope Garden for Domestic Abuse Talent: Jazz Dance
Name: Alexandra DeForge Age: 19 Hometown: Brick School: Wagner College Platform: Minding Your Health-Striking Down the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Talent: Vocal
Name: Ria Gulati Age: 22 Hometown: Fair Lawn School: Rutgers University – Graduate Platform: “Use Your Life” – Discovering Your Best Self Through Volunteerism Talent: Hindi Jazz Vocal
Name: Jessica Indio Age: 23 Hometown: Hammonton School: Fashion Institute of Technology Platform: The Wealth in Health: The Payoff in Healthy Living Talent: Dance
Name: Jaime Gialloreto Age: 18 Hometown: Woolwich Township School: Loyola University Platform: Don’t Get Nutty: Food Allergy Awareness Talent: Dance
Name: Marielle Marlys Age: 20 Hometown: Wall School: New York University Platform: Be Smart, Don’t Start Talent: Piano
Name: Justine Murray Age: 19 Hometown: Denville School: Syracuse University Platform: Ready, Set, Vote Talent: Vocal
Name: Amanda Peacock Age: 18 Hometown: Williamstown School: Montclair University Platform: Distracted Driving Awareness: Just Drive #ItCanWait Talent: Vocal
Name: Kyra Seeley Age: 21 Hometown: Middlesex School: Rutgers University Platform: Shining A Light On Mental Health Talent: Irish Step Dance
The Miss America Organization has been reorganizing since a December email scandal caused CEO and Board of Directors Chairman Sam Haskell and several board members to resign.
Former Miss America 1989 Gretchen Carlson was first announced as chairwoman of the board in January. Then, several former Miss Americas and state titleholders were elected to the board. The latest announcement of Hopper as president and CEO of the Miss America Organization and Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent-Tripp as chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Foundation finalized the all-female leadership of the scholarship competition.
“This is meant to send a signal. If you look at who’s managing and leading the organization, everyone on the board has had some role with Miss America,“ said Hopper.
Hopper said focusing on the accomplishment off the Miss America winners and the state titleholders is one way the MAO board has tried to modernize the organization, a sentiment Vincent-Tripp shares.
“My mission is to focus on future scholars,” said Vincent-Tripp, “and also considering explaining scholarship beyond the pageants.”
The Miss America Foundation handles the scholarship fund awarded to competitors. Vincent-Tripp, an assistant attorney general in Florida, said she is working with her board of trustees, as well as Carlson and Hopper, to learn how the foundation works and how it can be expanded.
“We can really do a lot moving forward,” said Vincent-Tripp.
Once a critic of the pageant, the National Organization for Women is supporting the MAO’s new regime.
“I am delighted to see the new leadership at the Miss America Organization. May they reshape the image of the organization for our #TimesUp world.” said Deb Huber, president of the New Jersey chapter of NOW.
Since December, the MAO has released little information on the actual competition held annually at Boardwalk Hall. In April, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved $4.325 million for the 2019 Miss America competition, as part of the final year of a three-year contract. But an official date for the competition and televised broadcast has not been announced.
“Atlantic City is not just the birthplace of Miss America, but it has been a part of the Miss America family,” said Hopper. “The first thing we wanted A.C. to know is Miss America is appreciative of Atlantic City.”