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While most 23-year-olds were still trying to figure out who they were and where they were going, Lauren Zisa was already running her own business, supervising employees, brokering business deals, and meeting hard deadlines.
In the past five years, Lauren has turned The County Seat newspaper, the bimonthly publication she founded with her family, into a vital part of Bergen County. She has also managed to turn journalism on its head, reporting on critical local issues in a positive manner. Instead of digging for dirt and going on smear campaigns, Lauren and her staff strive to bring the good news of Hackensack and other communities to the readers.
A native of Hackensack, Lauren graduated from Rutgers University in 2002 with a business degree. She attained an MBA, also from Rutgers, in 2005. She began her career as a marketing analyst for the Children’s Place, later becoming a sales analyst for Movado.
In 2003, at 23, Lauren and her family created The County Seat newspaper, working out of their home. In September 2003, the barebones operation moved into office space at 77 Hudson St., where the business thrives today.
The County Seat originally began serving only the residents and businesses of Hackensack, but after the first two years, Lauren’s tireless dedication paid off and the paper took a major leap of faith: expansion. South Hackensack and Maywood readers were the next to receive The County Seat, followed by those in Rochelle Park and Teterboro. In its third year, the paper expanded to Paramus and brought in shareholders. After acquiring The Bergen Insider of Teaneck in April 2007, The County Seat also expanded its circulation into Teaneck.
More than 60,000 copies of The County Seat are now mailed every two weeks, reaching more than 160,000 readers.
Lauren’s boundless energy allows her to be involved in the chambers of commerce in Hackensack, Paramus, Teaneck and the Meadowlands. She serves on the board of the Hackensack Rotary, is an active member of the Commerce and Industry Association, as well as the 200 Club of Bergen County. Lauren serves as a board member of the Junior League of Bergen County and as a member of the Youth Advisory Committee for the Suspension Alternative Program.
Lauren particularly enjoys working with local children. She relishes the time she spends acting as a mentor for student interns from the Bergen County Academies, River Dell Regional High School and Paramus High School.
Three years ago, Lauren and her mother, Gail, started an annual art show for kids in third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades, rounding up sponsors and collecting free gifts for all participants.
Through the Hackensack Rotary, Lauren helps sponsor the donation of dictionaries for Hackensack third graders. She is also involved in the Bergen County YMCA Sports Awards Banquet Committee, helping select outstanding athletes from across Bergen. She serves as a board member the county’s Youth Advisory Committee, working to link government agencies with non-profit organizations. The County Seat also sponsors a Hackensack Baseball prep league team each year.
The paper is a premier sponsor of the Hackensack Street Festival, the Blue and Gold Taste of Hackensack, and the Hackensack Farmer’s Market.
Lauren and her husband, R.J., live in Hackensack. In her leisure time, Lauren enjoys playing tennis, golfing and traveling.