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Service Above Self in her DNA

Lisa Sammataro - Dedicated to “Service Above Self” long before joining Rotary.

The 1989 Council on Legislation established Service Above Self as the principal motto of Rotary because it best conveys the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service.

Rotarian Lisa Sammataro exemplifies that motto by her years of volunteer service.

Lisa grew up in Massachusetts as the youngest of four children. She and her husband John first met in high school as students at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. When Lisa wasn’t studying, she could be found in the ballet studio practicing technique or rehearsing for a performance. After high school, Lisa was eager to leave the suburbs and experience city life. She left for the Big Apple to attend Columbia University, where she was part of the first co-ed graduating class.

During college, she worked at the news desk at Time magazine on nights and weekends, then landed a job in the publicity department at Simon and Schuster after graduation. During her years in book publishing, she represented many celebrated authors including boxing great Muhammed Ali, Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough, feminist icon Betty Friedan, literary giant Phillip Roth, and the beloved New Jersey mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark. She has great memories of escorting her authors to book signings, launch parties, interviews and media events.

After college, she and John reconnected and were married at the chapel on their high school campus in 1988. They lived in Manhattan; Astoria, Queens; and Park Slope, Brooklyn before settling in Ridgewood in 1994 with a baby in tow. They found Ridgewood to be the ideal place to raise their three daughters, with a vibrant and close-knit community, excellent schools, and easy access to the city. While the girls were young, Lisa was involved in forming the Parent Association at The Village School, a Montessori school in Waldwick, and she enjoyed volunteering as an ESL tutor at the Ridgewood Library. For several years she worked in operations and logistics for Our Chance International, a local 501(c)3 organization that led medical missions to Ghana, Haiti and India, and she had the memorable opportunity to accompany the surgical team to Ghana in 2007.

In 2010 as the girls were getting older, Lisa decided to get into real estate sales as a great way to draw upon her natural penchant for serving others while promoting the communities that she knows and loves. She is one of the founders of Keller Williams Village Square Realty in Ridgewood where she quickly developed a thriving real estate practice with her commitment to service above self.

In 2013, Lisa was invited to the Rotary Club of Ridgewood AM by Rotarian and local home inspector Neal Lewis, who Lisa knew through her real estate business. Lisa was well acquainted with Rotary as her father had been a Rotarian for 25 years. She joined the club that year, soon after joining the board, then serving as Club President in 2019 - 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. Undaunted by COVID-19, the club expanded its community service projects, grew membership, and reached its fundraising goals to support local nonprofit organizations and help those in need.

Lisa has been a driving force behind many of the club’s outreach and charitable giving such as the monthly food drive for the benefit of Social Service Association of Ridgewood and Father English Food Pantry in Paterson. In addition, she organized the club’s collection of hundreds of pounds of plastic resulting in the donation of more than a half dozen park benches made from the recycled materials.

Our club and the community are fortunate to have Lisa who has brought her long held belief of “service above self” to benefit all of us!

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1 Comment

Paul Leshinsky
Paul Leshinsky
Apr 03, 2023

Lisa is an amazing individual. Passionate about her community, her friends, her surroundings and her job. She contributes on so many levels to so many that it is difficult to enumerate. I'm so happy to see her accomplishments and service to others so eloquently noted in the article that she is so deserving of. We are all fortunate to have her in our community.

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