Location: Woodbury Heights, NJ
Isabelita “Lita” M. Abele
Under CEO Isabelita “Lita” M. Abele’s leadership, U.S. Lumber, Inc. has grown a client list that includes the likes of DuPont, Philadelphia Gas Works, both Philadelphia Eagles stadiums, Temple University and the Freedom Towers redevelopment project. “I believe in strategic partnerships, quality control, supporting minority and women-owned businesses, and in the delivery of outstanding services, even if that entails answering my cell phone on a Saturday and making personal visits to client construction sites,” says Abele.
Fun Fact: Abele sits on the board of trustees for Rowan University and has worked to create an exchange program between Rowan students and the University of the Philippines’ College of Engineering.
Originally from the Philippines, Abele had a tough start to life in America. “Finally landing my ticket to the Big Apple, with nothing but hopes and dreams in my pocket, I became a housekeeper, was mistreated and held against my will by my first American employer,” she says. “I reflect on those days with sadness and discomfort, until I remember that I triumphed in the end.” On her journey to becoming a business leader, Abele learned many lessons, such as relying on observation, avoiding secrets and asking for help when it’s needed.
Abele regularly provides lumber, office equipment and monetary donations to the Philippine Community of Southern New Jersey’s new community center, and she continues to fund scholarships for less fortunate Filipino children looking for opportunities in higher education. “I believe that education is the foundation for all growth,” says Abele.