Vivian Belen Volunteer of the Year Award

Vivian Belen


  • Brenda Cunningham and Mary Jo King (2015)
  • Marie Zimenoff (2014)
  • Sophia Marshall (2013)
  • Kathy Harber (2012)
  • Pat Criscito and Kathy Sweeney (2011)
  • Marcia Baker (2010)
  • Donna Tucker (2009)
  • Bonnie Kurka (2008)
  • Sally McIntosh (2007)
  • Kathy Sweeney (2006)
  • Sherri Morgan (2005)
  • Ann Baehr (2004)
  • Sally McIntosh and Linda Matias (2003)

Vivian Belen was a founding member of The NRWA and served as the first ethics chair. She was one of the exceptional people who we are blessed with getting to know. She was one of the driving forces in the early years that made The NRWA the success it is. She was willing to do whatever she could to keep the organization moving forward as well as help members succeed in their business. She lost her battle with cancer just prior to me taking over as president of the association. It was appropriate to honor Vivian by offering the Vivian Belen award to the most outstanding volunteer within The NRWA.

Greg Bridgeman, NCRW
President, The NRWA, 2001-2003

Vivian Belen

As we approach the 10th year of the founding of The NRWA, we cannot help but reflect on one of our co-founders, Vivian Belen. What can I say about Viv? First and foremost, she was a friend, a friend who was always there for me, and I hope, I was always there for her. Sadly, Vivian passed away from cancer several years ago, a cancer that re-emerged following what was thought to be a successful treatment of Thyroid cancer. We heard the news at our Las Vegas conference that she was about to have surgery to remove a brain tumor. The shock was overwhelming!

She was supposed to be in Vegas, our third annual conference. We needed her there – to be our cheerleader, our strength, our common sense, and the calming force we relied on. Of course, upon hearing the news, all our energies were directed towards Vivian. There was not one person at that conference who did not think about and pray for Viv. Luckily, she came through the surgery, and went on to wage a massive fight over the next few years.

Vivian Belen’s impact on this world was a great one. She worked tirelessly as a counselor at BOCES, in New Jersey, working to prepare disadvantaged and special needs youth for self-sufficient lives. At the same time, she built up her private resume business, cared for her family, and still took time to ensure that The NRWA continued the mission she helped define – to provide a standard of excellence, integrity, and ethics to the resume, and in turn, the larger careers community.

Deborah Dib, a co-founder of The NRWA, recalls:

My overall memories are of Vivian being just the most freely giving professional – and she was so warm and welcoming to me and Doug as newbies in the business. Without her vision of a PARW New York Metro chapter, I'd likely never have met any of you and surely would not have the knowledge or business I have today.

She was a catalyst without being abrasive. She was a charming but determined force for education and community as a way to build a better business and great relationships.

Were it not for her initial idea, there would be no NRWA, or PRWRA (CDI), or even CMA. And that means countless successful resume pros and coaches would be less successful or perhaps not even exist. She was a true pioneer and a great lady.

The NRWA created the Vivian Belen Award to honor those who have given selflessly to the organization, in many cases, without the “title” of board member. They exemplify everything Vivian believed in. They continue to do her work. To ensure that we follow the code of ethics she helped formulate, practice fairness and honesty, and continue mentoring and educating peers and colleagues.

As The NRWA moves forward, we cannot help but look back and remember Vivian and hope that we are doing justice to her vision. I too remember your smile Viv and am smiling up at you.

Thank you Viv!

Submitted by Judy Friedler (2006)

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