For high school seniors, this time of year can create anxiety—and a flood of questions.

“What will college be like?”

“What are the first steps once I arrive?”

“How do I network? Or land an internship?”

Next week, nearly 100 seniors from Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School will have the answers to all of these questions (and more) after visiting Temple University.

The students will engage in a networking social event called “Project: Career,” where they will meet with marketing students and faculty from Temple’s Fox School of Business, and dozens of local business leaders.

“The event is like the speed-dating equivalent of networking,” said Drew Allmond, assistant professor of marketing at the Fox School. “Cristo Rey’s students will shake hands, introduce themselves, and exchange business cards with our students, faculty, and area business professionals. They will share their career goals, and Fox’s marketing students will offer tips on navigating college, building networks, and beyond.”

This is the second year of the workshop between Temple’s business school and Cristo Rey, a private high school located in the city’s Germantown section. Cristo Rey combines traditional academic schoolwork with professional work experience. Each student, from grades 9 through 12, works a real job for real wages five days each month. This affords Cristo Rey students the professional development opportunities they need at the next level, and substantially reduces the students’ tuition expenses at the school.

“The impact extends beyond that,” Allmond said. “Our students get the chance to act as mentors, instead of as the ones being mentored. And Cristo Rey’s students earn valuable networking skills that transfer to the next level—college.”

What: “Project: Career” student networking event

Where: Temple University’s Fox School of Business—Alter Hall (1801 Liacouras Walk)

When: Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 (2:30-4 p.m.)

Who: Seniors from Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School will receive professional-development coaching from students and faculty at Temple’s Fox School, and dozens of local industry professionals.

Day-of contact: Drew Allmond, assistant professor of marketing at Temple’s Fox School of Business, will be available for interviews on the day of the event, and can be reached at 215-806-0287. Joanna Wusinich, Cristo Rey’s director of work-study programs, also will be available.

For more information and to schedule an interview, contact Christopher A. Vito, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations, at cvito@temple.edu or (215) 204-4115.

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Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05, at Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse. (Photo: Ryan Collerd)

When Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05, was a kid growing up in Baltimore in the 1980s she cut comics out of newspapers, glued them to construction paper, and tried to sell them.

Back then, there was no way of knowing she’d one day open a comic book shop, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, in Philadelphia. Or that Ira Glass would interview her there for an episode of “This American Life.” Or that MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates and Civil Rights Movement icon and Congressman John Lewis—both of whom have recently been involved in comics, with the Black Panther series and March, respectively—would visit and stroll Amalgam’s shelves. But even as a kid, Johnson was a gifted entrepreneur and her family knew she was destined for something amazing.

“I always marched to my own drum and I was always business-minded,” recalls Johnson. “My mom would joke that she’d never have to worry about me being broke because I’m a hustler. I had a very crafty grandma who taught me how to knit and crochet and embroider. And anything I learned how to do, I’d try to make money from it. I would even make things out of Play-Doh and sell them. I’ve always been entrepreneurial.”

When Johnson moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University, she initially wanted to study dance. But her sister, an actuary, convinced her to major in accounting at the Fox School. After graduating in 2005, she briefly worked in retail and as a bookkeeper for a nonprofit and a local community newspaper. She considered becoming a certified public accountant, but the thrill was gone.

“I enjoy accounting,” she explains, “but I couldn’t do it all day, everyday. There’s a part of me that loves sitting and staring at spreadsheets, but I need a creative aspect to my work.”

Johnson, while a student at the Fox School, had the idea of opening a comic book shop. She’d fallen in love with comics after watching the X-Men cartoon in her youth—especially the character Storm—and she dove headfirst into Philly’s comic book scene. She became a regular at Fat Jacks Comicrypt. After scoring new books, she’d read them over hot chocolate at the nearby coffee shop, Crimson Moon.

“I loved nerding out in public,” she says, “and being at a coffee shop thumbing through a comic was really cool. When Crimson Moon closed, I had the idea for Amalgam. I didn’t have a place to go, so I thought it would be great if the comic book store were a coffee shop and a community space, too. That was the rough idea, but I was still in school then and not thinking about it too seriously. It was my pipedream.”

It took a terrible tragedy to push Johnson’s plan forward. When her mother died, it caused her to re-evaluate her life goals. She decided she needed to do something daring, something that would make her happy, and so she grabbed her dream and ran with it.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse. (Photo: Ryan Collerd)

In December of 2015, Amalgam Comics & Coffeeshop opened its doors along the Frankford Arts Corridor in the Kensington neighborhood. The space is hip and fun, with exposed brick walls, high ceilings, industrial flourishes, colorful furniture, and thousands of comics. She knew it was wise to diversify, and so Amalgam includes a coffee shop where people can read and sip hot chocolate, just like Johnson did back in the day.

Amalgam is much more than just comics and a café. There are nightly events, including readings, workshops, signings, open mics, comedy shows, and book clubs. The program calendar at the store is already jam packed, and business is about to get even busier. Earlier this year, Amalgam was one of 33 projects chosen to win a prestigious Knight Foundation grant. The project? Creating Amalgam University.

“It’ll allow us to have dedicated, enhanced space for programming,” Johnson says about the grant. “Our hope is to create a multipurpose room and to provide affordable comic book education, including writing, penciling, coloring, and professional development, such as how to pitch comics and put together a portfolio. We’ll especially be targeting underrepresented groups, including people of color, women, and people from the LGTBQ community.”

It’s been an exceptionally busy first two years. Johnson has juggled running the shop, managing nine employees, expanding the business and programming, and fulfilling dozens of interview requests from the press. In addition to being interviewed by Glass, she has been featured in articles by NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, and The New York Times. One question everyone asks her is when she’s opening another store.

“I’m making sure this one’s sustainable before I think about opening a new one,” she laughs. “We’re still a very small business, so I’m watching everything that’s going out and coming in, and if I know the store’s going to be quiet, I’ll work a shift by myself. We’re expanding so fast, but when I first saw this building, I knew immediately I wanted to turn it into an educational space. I had all these ideas, but I never dreamed we’d be able to do them so quickly.”

“And now it’s all happening.”

Ariell Johnson. (Photo: Ryan Collerd)

What Ariell’s Reading

Godshaper, by Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface

“It takes place in a world where the rules that govern science and technology stop working, so there are no modern conveniences. Instead, everyone has their own personal god that fulfills what technology used to. The class of people capable of shaping gods are godless themselves, and live as vagabonds, so there are interesting parallels with current events, mainly discussions about immigrant workers.”

Frostbite, by Joshua Williamson and Jason Shawn Alexander

“It’s a post-apocalyptic world where scientists were trying to fix global warming but they messed up and froze the world. The new currency’s heat, and frostbite is this highly contagious disease where people turn to ice. To reduce chances of spreading it, they have to burn entire cities down. It’s interesting because there are still people denying climate change today, and who knows where we’ll be in 20 years.”

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Miriam Rosenhaus, Jessica Rothstein, and Josh Caton of Bucket.

Jessica Rothstein describes herself in many ways.

“I’m a confident problem solver. I gravitate toward problems that are meaningful to me. And I’m not afraid to fail.”

One word is notably absent from the Fox MBA’s self-description. “I don’t think of entrepreneurship as a personality trait,” Rothstein explains. “Everyone is entrepreneurial these days—it’s what the workforce is calling for.”

Rothstein may not use the word herself, but of all the careers she tried, entrepreneurship was the one that stuck. “I studied mechanical engineering at Lafayette College, and by the time I was a sophomore I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer,” she says. She stayed engaged in her education by designing a water filtration system for a small community . “We tested it with a family in Haiti,” she recalls, but decided against pursuing the project after graduation.

Instead, Rothstein worked as a consultant, helping companies design better products and use their resources more efficiently. “I did that for about two years, and one day I got a call asking if I wanted to play lacrosse for the Israeli national team,” she says, laughing. “Someone was going to pay me to travel the world. How could I say no?”

Israel was an incredible adventure full of new experiences, but Rothstein was still the same problem-solving adept. “The organization that hired me was trying to develop the sport of lacrosse in Israel,” she says. “At that time, they were growing very quickly but their structures weren’t built for that growth.” Rothstein became the interim director of business development and helped the organization restructure to accommodate that growth.

Meanwhile, Rothstein was also working on a personal problem. “I loved Israel but I missed my friends! Social media lets you talk with people, but I missed sharing experiences,” she recalls. Rothstein started sending her friends scavenger hunt-style tasks to complete. After each task they would send her pictures and stories, allowing them to build new experiences together from across the world.

“When I came home in 2016 my friends and I realized we were on to something,” Rothstein says. Bucket was born, a mobile application designed to bridge the gap between digital communication and in-person connection.

In 2016, Rothstein decided to pursue her MBA. “I was looking for places that had resources for a start-up business,” she recalls. Rothstein had heard of Ellen Weber, executive director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at the Fox School. “Ellen was one of the first early-stage investors in Philly, and she is a leader in the investor scene here,” Rothstein says. “I knew that I wanted to work for her and get to know her.”

Rothstein found the connections she was looking for at Fox. She began working for Weber at Robin Hood Ventures, a network of angel investors that Weber runs. Her team continued developing Bucket, winning the Laura Bush Seed Fund Grant from Temple University and receiving over 1,000 social media likes in one week.

Rothstein has even had opportunities to use her experience to help other companies through Fox. As part of her MBA capstone through Fox Management Consulting she worked with bSafe, a mobile safety application which allows users to quickly notify friends and family when they have safety concerns.

“Tangibly and intangibly Bucket mirrored bSafe. Starting a business always has some of the same aspects and ambiguity,” Rothstein explains. “You are constantly sprinting in one direction and hitting a wall, so you go the other way. You never know what you’re going to hit, so you’re also trying 50 different angles. That’s the mindset you have to have when you’re working on a project like bSafe because the problem will change every day.”

bSafe engaged Rothstein and her colleagues to design a market launch strategy for the app and create an investor deck, which Rothstein was uniquely positioned to do. Through her work at Robin Hood Ventures, Rothstein reviews dozens of new business proposals each week, deciding which projects will pass to the next stage.

“I have exposure to 40+ incredible people in that network who are early-stage investors and take the time to explain their decisions to me, and have trust in me,” Rothstein says. “That has given me some tangible skills that I was able to use with bSafe.”

MBA student teams work with project executives, experienced professionals with specific expertise in each project area. “I’ve worked with two incredible project executives-Nicole Naumoff last semester and Tess Kristensen this semester. In some ways, I’ve learned more from them than from the actual projects,” Rothstein says.

Rothstein has also loved working with her MBA cohort. “The Temple program is not the typical MBA class of former consultants and bankers. Every person in our class comes from a different background and is passionate about something different. That’s the number one thing I’ve really enjoyed.”

This spring as Rothstein graduates she will be entering a rotational program with Comcast and preparing to launch Bucket publicly, but she already knows that more start-ups are in her future.

“My dream is to open a theme park run completely on kinetic energy that serves people with physical disabilities-a therapeutic theme park. Overcoming physical challenges is hard work and I’d like to help people who are on that journey.”

Call her what you will—problem solving, curious, visionary, or entrepreneurial—Rothstein bears watching. Wherever she goes you can bet that innovative solutions to nagging problems will follow close behind.

Hundreds of dedicated MBA students like Jessica Rothstein pass through Fox’s doors each year. Put their energy and experience to work on your next business challenge through Fox Management Consulting.
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The talented, diverse, and driven Class of 2021 at the Fox School of Business are poised to become the next generation of innovators and business disruptors. They arrive highly-accomplished and are excited to hone their skills with the help of our top-tier faculty, market-driven curriculum, and professional development opportunities.

In fall 2017, the Fox School redesigned the Bachelor of Business Administration Core Curriculum to weave critical thinking, communication, and quantitative reasoning skills into the fabric of core business knowledge. The redesign team continues to work with students, alumni, faculty, staff, and employers to integrate these skills across the curriculum to better position Fox undergraduates for success post-graduation. These four freshmen are among the first to participate in the enhanced curriculum.

Watch the video below and read on to learn more about these four freshmen who are ready to change the world.

Nasir Mack

  • Hometown: Philadelphia
  • Age: 18
  • Major: Business Management
  • Career goals: CEO, creative director, project manager
  • Hobbies: Public speaking, reading, writing
  • Hidden talent: Making music, playing violin

Meredith Orme

  • Hometown: Royersford, Pa.
  • Age: 18
  • Major: Business (declaring Accounting)
  • Career goals: Grad school, then Certified Public Accountant
  • Hobby: Competitive horse rider
  • Hidden talents: “I can bake pretty well and I love to make handmade gifts!”

LJ Troilo

  • Hometown: Havertown, Pa.
  • Age: 19
  • Major: Entrepreneurship, Marketing
  • Career goals: Serial entrepreneur, thought leader
  • Current businesses: Symbie (social networking app) and eThree (sales engagement platform)
  • Claim to fame: Joined rapper Travis Scott onstage at concert and knew every word

Robert Zurzolo

  • Hometown: Medford, N.J.
  • Age: 19
  • Major: Finance, Entrepreneurship
  • Career goals: Wealth management sales or investment banking firm in mergers and acquisitions
  • Dream: “To retire from the financial field after 15 to 20 years and work as a high school math teacher in my hometown.”
  • Current business: Has run landscaping company, Robert Z Properties LLC, since freshman year of high school
  • Hobby: “I love to travel. I went to Switzerland this fall and Italy this summer.”
  • Hidden talents: Good cook and ping pong player
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Home healthcare is a growing need for many Americans. But is it delivering on its promises? (Photo: MyFuture/Flickr)

Americans are growing older—and their caretakers need to decide the best and most cost effective way to care for them.

Since 2011, nearly 77 million baby boomers have become eligible for Medicare. For the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, home healthcare (HHC) is a convenient and cost-effective solution that avoids the necessity of receiving care through hospitals and nursing homes.

HHC meets an important demand in the healthcare system. Experts have found that close to 90 percent of Americans wish to spend their final time at home. But how does the care HHC providers deliver compare to that of larger health institutions?

In collaboration with investigators at the University of California at Irvine, Dr. Jacqueline Zinn, professor in the Fox School’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, has received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to investigate the cost effectiveness and quality of care provided by home healthcare agencies.

Over the last decade, the home healthcare field has seen dramatic increases in patients, care providers, and spending. The New York Times reported that individual states spend close to $200 billion of their own funds on Medicaid, making it the second biggest item within their budgets.

As projections continue to rise and healthcare technology advances, patients should be aware of their care options.

“What we don’t know is whether or not the technologies that lead to additional growth impact the quality of care delivered,” said Zinn. “In other words, do larger facilities have better quality associated with growth? What is the optimal [home healthcare] agency size with respect to cost and quality? These are the questions we hope to answer.”

Home healthcare not only includes rehabilitative care after surgery, but hospice care and palliative care, which is dedicated to relieving people’s physical and emotional symptoms after facing life-threatening illnesses.

“Healthcare is on track to become 20 percent of the GDP,” said Zinn. “That means one in every five dollars generated by the U.S. economy will be in the healthcare sector.”

Alongside her fellow researchers at the UC Irvine, Zinn aims to discover valuable insights for patients, government, and health institutions, and home healthcare agencies alike by learning more about this under-researched field.

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Temple University’s Fox School of Business remains the nation’s leader in online MBA and online undergraduate business programs.

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Fox School’s Online MBA program No. 1 in the nation, according to the publication’s 2018 rankings of the best online programs.

The Fox School attained other impressive returns from U.S. News & World Report‘s 2018 online rankings, which were released Jan. 9. At the undergraduate level, the Fox Online BBA retained its No. 2 national rank, where it was ranked by U.S. News in 2017.

“Convenience and flexibility are critical components of high-quality, online-based programs. And as these programs grow in popularity, we at Fox are proud to deliver programs that are yearly ranked as either the best in the nation or among the best in their respective categories,” said Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat. “Our Online & Digital Learning team has embraced the Fox School’s mission of providing user-friendly and high-quality online curriculum across the undergraduate and graduate levels, and these rankings are a reflection of their continuous efforts.”

U.S. News, which provides the nation’s premier online business program rankings, scores programs based upon the following criteria: student engagement; peer reputation; faculty credentials and training; student services and technology; and admissions selectivity.

The Fox Online MBA, the only Philadelphia-based program to have been ranked among U.S. News‘ top 50, incorporates a face-to-face component. It opens with a weeklong residency at Temple University’s Main Campus, and features a leadership course, networking, team building, professional development and special events.

“What makes our Online MBA program truly special is the ability to tailor it to students’ needs and interests,” said Dr. Darin Kapanjie, academic director of the Fox Online MBA and Online BBA programs. “We are listening to the market and developing a diverse group of concentrations, dual-degree options, and international immersion opportunities for our online population. As the online market expands, we also are expanding our educational opportunities to meet the needs of tomorrow’s business professional.”

The same technological support, award-winning faculty, educational prestige, and career development resources are available to students enrolled in Fox’s Online BBA program. The Fox Online BBA stands alone as the only program from the Philadelphia region to rank among U.S. News‘ top 100.

“Our Online BBA is AACSB-accredited, offers six unique majors, and incorporates a live component during which students can interact with one another and their professors via weekly web-conferencing,” Kapanjie said. “These facets of our program have helped set it apart from the competition.”

About the Fox School of Business

Celebrating its centennial in 2018, the Fox School of Business at Temple University is the largest, most-comprehensive business school in the Philadelphia region, and among the largest in the world, with more than 9,000 students, more than 210 full-time faculty, and more than 65,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International—a distinction held by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools—the school offers BBA, Online BBA, Global MBA, Part-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Online MBA, Specialized Masters, PhD programs, and an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration, on campuses throughout the world. Its reputation as one of the country’s largest top-ranked business schools, based within one of the world’s great urban universities, allows Fox to leverage faculty research to shape business practice in the 21st century.

For more information and to schedule an interview, contact Christopher A. Vito, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations, at cvito@temple.edu or (215) 204-4115.

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Allison Francis Barksdale at the 2017 Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Conference. (Photo: Melissa Kelly)

Imagine being thankful your husband allowed you to attend a business meeting. Many of you probably rolled your eyes, but this used to be a common occurrence. While we’ve come a long way, we still have far to go to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The good news is many women are creating their own paths through entrepreneurship.

According to the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, women comprise 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. At the Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Conference, hosted by the Fox School of Business at Alter Hall, we learned that many of today’s female executives are building diverse and inclusive organizations.

The League, which holds an annual conference, is an advocacy initiative that addresses the growing challenges and interests of entrepreneurial women in the Greater Philadelphia region. It was co-founded by Dr. Elizabeth Barber, associate dean of Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, senior vice provost for strategic communications. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), under the leadership of Ellen Weber, executive director, co-hosts the event.

Fox Focus spoke to two of the conference speakers. Here is the advice Judith von Seldeneck, founder and chairman of Diversified Search, and Allison Francis Barksdale, EMBA ’00, CEO of RISE Leadership, have to offer women who want to start their own companies.

What advice do you have for women starting their own business?

Judith von Seldeneck: Have a good idea for your business. Something that fills a viable, current need. Take it slow, one step at a time. Stay in control of it. Be wary of partners or owners. There’s time for that down the road. Do the work yourself. No delegating early on; hire others to work for you when you can afford it. Have someone you trust who has no interest in the business but who is smart, good at things you aren’t, who you can learn from. You must learn it somehow early on if you don’t have it.

“I know that the inclusion of additional voices—diversity—will lead to better decision making in our global economy.” – Allison Francis Barksdale

Allison Francis Barksdale: I thought I had to do it all on my own. It is so much easier now that I am willing to seek help and follow the examples of others who are experts in areas where I am not. It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel. You can find mentors and other resources. Take advantage of all that is available. You can learn from things on social media (such as LinkedIn), your alumni association (such as the Temple Women’s Network), and lots of other opportunities.

We’ve seen some inspiring stats about women in business. How do you feel the world has changed for women over the last few decades?

JVS: When I started, I was almost a unicorn, constantly dealing with men, competing with men, which I actually enjoyed being the only woman. Now I am surrounded by strong, successful, younger, executive women, and there is indeed encouraging news for women in business: over the last decade, the number of women-owned firms increased 45 percent, compared to just 9 percent for the national average. Female ownership of businesses is up almost 10 percent over the last decade. But there is also one big, troubling statistic to go with all of that cheery news: Women start 38 percent of new businesses, but still only receive between 2 and 6 percent of all venture capital funding. That’s an issue because it tells me that banks and venture capitalists still do not see women as solid leaders and their businesses as solid investments. There is more work to be done, especially on the VC side of the ledger.

However, I believe the momentum for women has turned a corner very recently and we are much more integrated, respected, capable, savvy, and confident as people, not just women, in our abilities to succeed in building and growing businesses! Today, we have great successful women role models like never before. Plus, women now want to generally help each other be successful.

“I can’t think of a better career path for women than owning your own business.” – Judith von Seldeneck

AFB: We have made great progress! The biggest change I see is that women are leading as they are. When I was coming into the workforce in the late 1980’s, women wore bowties and power suits and acted like men. Today, women are leading with feminine power. I am a big proponent of authenticity. My company, RISE Leadership, helps women build their impact and income through authentic leadership. To be the best speaker, leader, or anything, you have to be yourself. You can’t be anyone else better than you can be yourself. That’s what truly creates connection and power.

Judith von Seldeneck at the 2017 Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Conference. (Photo: Melissa Kelly)

How should companies respond to this change to cultivate more diverse and inclusive staffs?

JVS: Any company that wants to develop a diverse and inclusive staff has to make that commitment from the top: at the board level, at the CEO level. If there are not clear and strong mandates from leadership to install mechanisms and performance metrics to produce a more inclusive workforce, particularly at the C-Suite level, it’s all lip service. It doesn’t happen organically. It happens when people in power make a conscious decision to open their doors wider, and implement policies and procedures that are fair and direct and will produce that result. How are you scouting for new talent—and where are you looking? You cannot tap new talent streams if you are only going to look in the same places you have been looking for the past 30 years. You should also hire Diversified Search to help find great talent!

At the conference, you said your path has been like the Game of Life. Can you translate your experience into advice for future generations of women in business?

AFB: My entrepreneurial journey was not a straight path to success. The first business I started failed. I opened a flower and tea shop in 2005, which could not weather the economic downturn in 2007. People were losing their homes, so they were not buying a lot of small luxuries. As in life, things don’t always go as planned. There is an element of chance. If you take a look at the board in the Game of Life, the roads have lots of curves, twists, and turns that you cannot always anticipate.

As for advice, I learned to never stop believing in myself. Above all else, you cannot give up on you! Deciding to take an entrepreneurial path will push you to grow in ways that you never anticipated. If you stay focused on success, there may come a time when you have to say to yourself, “Okay I am not letting this defeat me. Where’s the good in this, the lesson that I can learn and move on?”

You have to be willing to see your vision of success differently than how you planned it. Rather than going into business to do and make money, focus more on serving and solving problems that you are designed to solve best. Enjoy the day-to-day and not just the final outcome of your future success. Whatever happens along the way, good or bad, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow, personally and professionally.

What will the future hold for women in entrepreneurship and business?

JVS: I can’t think of a better career path for women than owning your own business. The future is bright and getting brighter. There are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues. Those kinds of statistics would have been an unthinkable pipedream 40 years ago. Time heals many misevents. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like. Technology is leveling and normalizing the playing field everywhere and disrupting long-established traditional practices in one fell swoop. I think there is a tremendous benefit for women in business in this explosive transformational environment that is happening so quickly. We need to be riding this tidal wave that is disrupting business everywhere.

“Deciding to take an entrepreneurial path will push you to grow in ways you never anticipated.” – Allison Francis Barksdale

AFB: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Generally, a company will take on the values of its leaders, especially in the case of entrepreneurs. As in my case, authenticity and speaking up are personal as well as organizational values. It’s exciting to see how more and more women are igniting their power and speaking up. Women are leading in various ways—in small businesses, corporations, politics, and nonprofits (I prefer the term for-purpose). Even though we still have quite a ways to go, especially in corporate and board leadership, I know that the inclusion of additional voices—diversity—will lead to better decision making in our global economy. Women will play a key role in building a more inclusive, cooperative, and optimally functioning workforce. I plan to do my part to make this happen.

To continue the dialogue on women in business and leadership, feel free to contact Allison: Allison@ImpactwithRISE.com

The Future of Business is Female

The following Temple students and alumnae pitched their companies at the conference:

  • Jess Rothstein, Fox MBA, Class of 2018, Play Bucket, playbucketapp.com
  • Emily Knight, Engineering major, Class of 2018, Prohibere, biomaterix.com
  • Karima Roepel, MTHM ’06, Ambrosia Food Group, ambrosiafoodgroup.com

The Fox School of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) proactively promotes entrepreneurial spirit throughout all 17 schools and colleges at Temple University. IEI offers many years of experience in business development and consulting, a wide variety of skills, extensive networks, and boundless enthusiasm for new ventures and experiential learning.

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A map of global trade routes. (Credit: Jeff Warren/Flickr)

Is working remotely in your future?

For many, it already is. A 2016 poll from Gallup found that 43 percent of Americans are working remotely at least part of the time, up from 39 percent in 2012. According to a survey at the London Global Leadership Summit, executives anticipate more than half of their employees will be remote by 2020. With a workforce less attached to a physical office, how does this affect businesses?

Dr. Ram Mudambi, professor in the Fox School, seeks to understand this question and others like it, which play at the intersection of business, geography, and technology.

To do that, he launched International Business, Economic Geography, and Innovation (iBEGIN), a now-annual conference that aims to enhance research around the knowledge economy—based on intellectual capital and human talent—that sustains international business today.

“iBEGIN is based on the idea that connectivity across space is the ‘invisible web’ that underlies all human civilization,” Mudambi explains.

This past December, Mudambi and several of his fellow Fox School faculty and doctoral students attended iBEGIN at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. The conference—sponsored by the Fox School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives, as well as Ca’ Foscari University—brings together experts from the fields of business, geography, and technological innovation to explore international connectedness in time, space, and economy.

“Innovation is the outcome of social interactions among people, through either organizations or personal relationships,” says Mudambi, “Studying such complex phenomena requires a holistic approach.”

This year, attendees sought to learn more about how employees who work remotely, away from their companies’ main offices or headquarters, impact how international businesses function and grow.

When remote employees spend time with their colleagues face-to-face, the parties are more likely to value their time together, increase their level of attention, and emphasize knowledge and information exchange. The conference attendees discussed how international businesses were using remote work, what forms of temporary co-location increased creative interaction and long-term relationships, and which mechanisms improved knowledge exchange.

iBEGIN expands upon the work of the CIBER, Temple University’s premiere program to promote academic research, curriculum development, and outreach programs in international business.

Funded by the Department of Education, CIBER plays a vital role in producing cutting-edge international business research, promoting international ideas within the community, and fostering worldwide learning among Temple students and faculty. As one of only 17 centers in the country, CIBER has received continuous federal funding since its inception in 2002.

Learn more about Fox School Research.
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While studying finance at the Fox School of Business, Tamika Boateng, BBA ’06, learned all about asset management and risk—she also learned the value of giving back to the community.

Boateng, now the senior vice president of institutional and donor services at National Philanthropic Trust, credits her commitment to volunteering for her professional success.

“While at Temple University, I discovered several new things that are meaningful in my life today, such as giving back,” Boateng says. “When I was 19, I applied with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was matched with an 8-year-old girl from North Philly. Every other week, I’d go to her house or bring her to campus. I tried to give her the college student experience and got to know her life. The experience made me realize the small things you do make a big impact on people’s lives.”

Boateng also joined the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), where she eventually served as the student professional organization’s vice president. In addition to helping jumpstart her career—namely through networking and securing internships with Johnson & Johnson and Vanguard—she was able to help other students achieve similar goals.

“We connected students with employers,” recalls Boateng. “We invited different companies and leaders to speak at our weekly meetings and we connected students from different schools in the Philadelphia area. We also had an annual conference with a career fair and professional development that helped students learn critical skills, such as networking, public speaking, and interviewing. It helped our NABA members prepare for internships and careers. Being part of NABA made me more career-focused and successful, and I know it had the same impact on others, too.”

Boateng’s commitment to volunteering continued beyond her time at the Fox School. After graduation, she was hired by Vanguard—which happened as a result of the internship she landed through NABA—and she eventually became the global head of bank strategy and relations. While there, she co-led a program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where 60 of her coworkers became mentors to students at a school in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The program cultivated relationships between students and professionals with the goal to increase the school’s graduation rate.

Her current volunteer activities include being a member of the board at the Settlement Music School Germantown Branch—one of the largest community arts schools in the country, alumni include Albert Einstein, Kevin Bacon, and Chubby Checker. Boateng connected with the school through Leadership Philadelphia, which matches the skills of professionals in the Philadelphia area to board opportunities with organizations in need. Boateng is passionate about music education (her twin sons both play piano), so it was a perfect match.

“My experiences in philanthropy made me the leader I am today,” says Boateng. “You gain so many skills through volunteering. While volunteering back at Temple, I did not fully grasp at the time all of the benefits. But I gained valuable communications skills and learned how to work with diverse groups of people from all different backgrounds; both these things would help me so much in the future. It’s so important to give back. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences.”

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This was a busy—and for some, award-winning—fall semester for the Fox School research community!

On October 18, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives hosted its 7th Annual PhD Paper Competition in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall. This year, 31 doctoral students and alumni submitted papers and created visual posters of their research to compete for more than $3,000 in cash and prizes.

Papers were evaluated by Fox School faculty, who chose winners in categories including first year, second year, and third-to-fourth year doctoral students. Students also competed for best dissertation proposals and completed dissertations. The 15-member evaluation committee judged the rigor, novelty, and presentation of the research, as well as its contribution to theory, practice, or policy.

Lauren Spirko, assistant professor of Statistical Science/PhD candidate

Winners included Lauren Spirko of the Statistical Science Department, who won first place in the completed dissertation category for her paper proposing a statistical method for analyzing enormous data sets of genes and their various types of expressions. See a full list of participants and winners here.

On November 1, the Office hosted its 15th Young Scholars Interdisciplinary Forum, which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that span disciplines within and outside of the Fox School. Together, twenty Fox doctoral students and faculty members received nearly $35,000 in grant funding for their research.

Han Chen, a Marketing and Management Information Systems PhD student, received a grant for her research aiming to understand the neurophysiological responses to branding and marketing with respect to age. The funding will go toward the purchase of eye-tracking glasses to monitor subjects’ eye movements when reviewing physical and digital advertising materials.

Terry T. Namkung, DBA student

The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program also had students succeed this semester. Terry T. Namkung, a first-year DBA student and CEO of DC Energy Systems, was chosen as one of seven finalists in the 2017 Global Business Challenge. He presented his research—an energy panel that aims to reduce energy waste by 30% by decreasing the inefficiencies of Alternating Current to Direct Current adapters, converters, and inverters—in Brisbane, Australia, in early November.

Carla Cabarle, a second-year DBA student, showcased her work at the Fall 2017 Meeting of the Institute for Fraud Prevention. As one of five finalists, Carla presented on using analytics to predict the risk of financial statement fraud in crowdfunding to academics and industry experts in financial risk and fraud management.

On behalf of Paul Pavlou, senior associate dean of research and Milton F. Stauffer Professor in the Fox School, the Office congratulates the doctoral students and faculty on a very successful fall semester.

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Eleven alumni leaders share insights on how technology is shaking up today’s major industries and constantly reshaping business possibility.

You can’t open a magazine, a newspaper, or Twitter now without encountering a story about the rise of artificial intelligence and how this will impact businesses and economies around the world. Will the robots displace workers, leaving behind a massive trail of catastrophic unemployment? Or will the relationship be more harmonious as robots optimize productivity and maximize efficiency boosting both the bottom line and free time for us humans? Nobody knows. But one thing is for certain: Technology has brought and will continue to bring radical changes and thrilling opportunities for business innovation industry-wide. To get a firmer grasp on how some of the major industries and fields of business are positioning themselves for the future, we asked 11 Fox School of Business alumni leaders—representing a variety of industries from finance and professional sports, to transportation and healthcare—to examine what’s on the horizon and to share their insights.

James Poyser (Photo: Jim Roese)

MUSIC/ARTS

James Poyser, BBA ’92
Grammy Award-winning musician, The Roots
“Advances in technology have totally changed how music is made, performed, taught, marketed, and sold. Hit records are not only made in studios anymore, but in bedrooms, basements, and even on smartphones. Traditional instruments are being replaced with digital ones (check out a Stro Elliot video on YouTube). Artists are foregoing the traditional route of signing to record labels, and putting their music out online or finding other ways to collect payment. And more changes are coming, too. The rules keep changing and evolving. What new advances are in the future? I know they’re coming. How will we create music in the future? How will we listen to music in the future? How will we purchase music? Actually, will music even be purchased anymore? (This is when it gets scary: Do I matter anymore? Is there any value left in music?) Whatever changes take place, I believe those that adapt to the changes, keep their heads on a swivel, or have the mindset to change, will be positively affected.”

ACCOUNTING

Eric Salfi, BBA ’91
CPA, Partner, Cwienkala & Salfi
“Many CPAs didn’t know how to deal with QuickBooks when it was first released and it put them out of business—the advances in technology and the way accounting is done now has changed even more dramatically since. We’re moving toward strictly cloud-based activities where there’s more interaction and my clients send documents and information through a portal. The accountant’s role has evolved, too. It used to be about bookkeeping—handling bank statements, creating financial reports, and so on. QuickBooks, and now cloud software, eliminated all the people sitting in a room somewhere compiling this information, but it still requires an expert to manage the software. The accountant has evolved and, for me, it’s more of a business consultant role now. Clients don’t just need me to prepare a tax return; I now have deeper relationships with my clients and I act as a personal advisor, helping them value new businesses or solve cash flow problems. One of the big issues, as information’s moved to the cloud, is cybersecurity. There’s more data accessible now, so creating a safe, encrypted portal that allows clients to interact with us is essential. You need to adjust and adapt with technology or you’ll be left behind. I look forward to embracing whatever changes come next.”

INSURANCE

Adam Lyons, BBA ’09
Founder & Chairman, The Zebra
“Technology has changed and is changing insurance, though no one would hesitate to admit the industry was painfully slow to welcome the insurtech revolution. At the Zebra, we’re a technology company in the insurance space, and we believe the right technology, applied by people who truly understand the profound complexities of the insurance industry, can create efficiencies which simplify everything from assessing risk to distribution to claims management and beyond. We’ve seen incredible developments in the property and casualty insurance industry, like peer-to-peer insurance and pay-per-mile models, and we’re creating an insurance search engine where consumers can access, understand, and use all of these innovations. We’re creating essential technology which informs and educates consumers so they can understand their options and make the right decisions for their unique needs. Environmental factors are critical as well, but they’re unpredictable. Still, we’ve seen trends showing an increase in devastating storms, most recently Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, for example, which just reaffirms the need for people to have the resources to find the right coverage for their circumstances to protect themselves.”

REAL ESTATE

Bob Rosenthal, BBA ’85
Partner, Envision Land Use
“Real estate, like everything, is in the middle of the internet revolution. Philadelphia was dead 20 years ago, back when I went to Temple. There was a void between City Hall and the suburbs—then the millennials came. The parts that have grown, like Fishtown, used to be manufacturing areas, and the buildings have now been repurposed. Everyone talks about the retail change and how people now buy online, but the same has happened in everything from healthcare to office space. What once was a retail center is no longer a retail center; this battle’s been going on for years in the city and is now hitting the suburbs. I’m 57 and right now I’m working from my car on an iPhone. People don’t need office space the way they did—with a lobby, a huge campus, and a front desk—especially younger people without ties to old ways of doing business. And when the millennials come back to the suburbs—which they’re already starting to do—they want lifestyle options just as they do in the city. They want to be able to easily Uber or walk to a bar or a restaurant. So even in new developments in the suburbs, we’re aiming to make these changes. With more businesses moving online and changing needs, land uses change so quickly that governing authorities can’t keep up and many aren’t willing to change. People are always frightened of change, but we must keep moving forward and adapting.”

GOVERNMENT

Heather Qader, MBA ’16
Manager of Business Development, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce
“Technology is slowly changing local government for the better. Philadelphia, like other cities, is realizing that to compete at a global and national scale, it must adapt its infrastructure. These adaptations look like the digitization of SEPTA’s ticketing system, installation of Indego Bike Share citywide, parking kiosks that allow the use of cards instead of change, and an overhaul of the City of Philadelphia website to create a more user-friendly interface and allowing for more public engagement and user ease. With every new administration, personnel changes occur and there is a transitional period required to get new personnel up to speed. One initiative that has survived the Michael Nutter administration and is currently embraced by the Jim Kenney administration is StartupPHL, a platform that funds worthy initiatives and connects startups to resources in the Philadelphia tech ecosystem. The most recent StartupPHL call for ideas round funded five organizations with $100,000 to train instructors, supply equipment, and teach children the technology skills that they need to be globally competitive. We are keeping up—not as fast as many of the lean startups here in Philadelphia—but progress is being made.”

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Salvatore DeTrane, BBA ’93
Managing Director, Empactful Capital LLC
“Most innovation in healthcare technologies in recent decades has been in medical devices, drug therapies, and medical diagnostics. These have led to people living longer, more productive lives. The downside is these advancements have resulted in a financially unsustainable cost trend. The next frontier is entrepreneurs disrupting healthcare with innovative information technology solutions. There have been massive investments in the last 15 years in electronic health records, claims systems, genomics, social determinant data, and big data software. Some of the innovation opportunities include practical applications of machine learning, natural language processing, intelligent workflow advancements, and advanced analytics that offer actionable insights. Proactive interventions will enable healthcare providers and payers to better manage care, reduce healthcare costs, improve quality, and assess risk of managing populations and encourage business model evolution. With the expected increase of today’s industry expenditures in the U.S. from $3.5 to $5.5 trillion by 2025, this transformation will prevent a financial crisis. All payers—whether health plans, employers, or consumers—are demanding more efficient and effective healthcare and transparency. The industry now stands at a pivotal moment. It must transform into a system that leverages these data/IT investments to support better, more informed decisions by each major constituent. And I think Temple, given Fox’s programs and its health system and medical school, is positioned to support the innovation required to transform our healthcare system.”

Getty Images

SPORTS

Joe Heller, BS ’05
Vice President of Marketing, Philadelphia Flyers
“Broadcast coverage of live sports events continues to evolve and advance at a rapid rate. Viewers are getting more access to their favorite teams and players through virtual and augmented reality, cable cams, and GoPro cameras. In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see dedicated channels allowing viewers to experience the duration of a live game straight from a players helmet through a virtual reality headset. This could be similar to the way motorsports has cameras mounted on cars, or the NHL on referees and players at the All-Star Game. Stadiums and arenas will be continually challenged on new ways to adopt VR/AR into their venues, improve WiFi, provide charging stations in the seats, show live video helmet feeds on the big screens, and alike, to bring the comforts and expectations of home viewing to the game. From an NHL team perspective, the Flyers recognize we’re becoming our own media company by placing a greater emphasis on content about the team, connecting players and fans through mobile platforms, providing behind the scenes access, and much more. As tech advancements are made, pro sports will continue to look for new ways to be early adopters and integrate them into event coverage, for home viewers and in arenas and stadiums.”

TRANSPORTATION

Marco Herbas, MBA ’15
Whole Securitization Funding, Ford Motor Company
“Self-driving cars are an inevitable reality that will disrupt and transform the industry for its incumbents as it opens new doors for non-traditional, automotive value-chain players able to purvey hardware and software that enable interconnected and autonomous vehicles (AVs). AVs, along with mobility and continuous development of electrified powertrains, are creating a paradigm shift in the lengthy, bureaucratic processes engrained in traditional automakers’ decision-making, essentially forcing them to become more agile in their product and systems development lifecycles to emulate these potential tech entrants. The notion of AVs is not only disrupting the auto industry, but the transportation ecosystem as a whole. Some examples may include public transportation, where cities may have to partner with automobile purveyors to deploy fleets of self-driving vehicles, as well as insurance providers where AVs create a safer commuter environment, meanwhile curtailing risk and impacting insurers’ revenue streams. Ford has communicated it intends to pursue automotive and high-growth mobility businesses. In 2016, senior leadership announced the company would commence mass production of level-4 autonomous vehicles by 2021 available for ride-sharing/ride-hailing services. Key underpinnings include the launch of the next generation Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Development Vehicle, the creation of its mobility division, as well as its acquisition of Chariot, an app-based, on-demand shuttle service. And Ford is investing $1 billion in start-up Argo AI to further its advancement in AV development by leveraging the startup’s robotics technology.”

CYBERSECURITY

Andrew Bertolazzi, EMBA ’97
Vice President, Ronin Security Solutions LLC
“Seaborne shipping accounts for approximately two-thirds of global trade, with over $4 trillion worth of goods transported annually. One of the major challenges the industry faces—increased global competitiveness, new regulations, reliance on automation, etc.—is security. This includes compliance with layers of domestic and global requirements, physical security, and protection of the supply chain. But the most insidious risk with the potentially greatest impact is cybersecurity. The industry, both afloat and on land, is increasing the level of automation across the value chain to improve efficiencies, reduce cycle times, enhance safety, and drive down cost. The greater use of technology leads to the need for increased knowledge and specialized tools, as well as the risk of breaches and compromises. A recent example of cybercrime’s impact on global shipping is the Petya ransomware attack, whose disruptions cost over $300M to one of the world’s major shipping companies. The federal government and industry associations are working to raise awareness and offer assistance to organizations across the supply chain through focused outreach, education, and grants. And the private sector is improving cybersecurity through assessments, training, and adding specialized security tools, processes, people, and consulting support. Each organization must evaluate the amount of resources of time, people, and funding needed to appropriately address the threats. The level to which they’re able to do so will determine the impacts and stimulate innovations in technology, business processes, and approaches to security.”

HEALTH

Ron Iller, BBA ’93, MBA ’95
Director at Large, Fox Alumni Association
Director, Product Management-Analytics and Data Discovery, Change Healthcare
“The move to value-based care and risk-based contracting within the healthcare market has changed the game. It’s about providers and payers applying data and analytics to effectively provide better care at the lowest cost. Overall, it will be a very positive change in terms of working to improve outcomes. The focus will be on the individual and patient populations, and how their level of health impacts the cost of the system. Organizations will focus more on keeping people healthy as opposed to getting them healthy by utilizing care management programs and other forms of outreach. Change Healthcare will inspire a better healthcare system and deliver wide-range financial, operational, and clinical solutions to payers, providers, and consumers. I’m focused on helping hospitals and health systems move from fee-for-service to a value- or risk-based payment model. This involves taking a broader view of the patient or population, either in terms of payment, health status, or access to care, not only within the walls of the hospital, but extending to the broader community. We do this by providing a data platform for health systems to acquire and aggregate massive amounts of data at scale and then applying analytics in the transition to value-based care. The data we gather and what we can do with it will continue to improve with new technology, and ultimately allow us to improve the quality of care we provide even more.”

FINANCE

James Sanders, EMBA ’12
President-elect, Fox Alumni Association
Vice President, Commercial Lending, Customers Bank
“Fintech is providing access to capital, especially to small businesses, at a right-now rate. People are getting loans on mobile devices and it happens quick. Mobile and cloud technology, whether people use it to bid on contracts or communicate with employees, is helping small businesses evolve faster. It used to be more difficult to start a small business; now there are infinite online resources people can tap into. You can watch a YouTube video that will tell you how to do it (but, keep in mind, that won’t help you when it comes to actually executing a successful business). Small business owners are getting younger, too. There’s a lot of buzz around millennials and how they have a fresh way of thinking and handling business. With platforms like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and Instagram, there are many ways to make money. My son started a tech company; he designed the app and everything. I’m very optimistic about the future of small and medium sized businesses—they’re the backbone of America. Their names aren’t plastered on the highways when you’re driving downtown and you may not see them on TV or the internet. But they’re everywhere and they’re creating and driving new industries and opportunities.”

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Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If not, you better hurry, because time is running out to find the perfect gift for the people on your list.

To help make your final holiday giving decision, here are a few gift options from companies founded by alumni entrepreneurs from the Fox School of Business. From tasty food to wearable tech fashion, and greeting cards to apparel for a good cause, these alumni businesses have you covered.

honeygrow

Honeygrow, the fast-casual restaurant founded by CEO Justin Rosenberg, MBA ’09, now has more than 20 locations in nine states. There must be someone you know who lives near one who would love a honeygrow gift card so they can chow down on a salad or stir-fry bowl.

Ivory Ella

Everyone loves elephants. And you can find all kinds of cool elephant-inspired gear (T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more) at Ivory Ella, the apparel company co-founded by Richard Henne, BBA ’15. Ivory Ella donates 10-percent of its profits to Save the Elephants and other charitable organizations, so you’ll be supporting a good cause, too.

ROAR for Good Athena

ROAR for Good, the company co-founded by CEO Yasmine Mustafa, BBA ’06, makes wearable smart technology devices that aim to reduce violence against women and make users safer. Athena is a fashion-forward wearable that features a built-in alarm, notifies contacts in an emergency situation, and allows users to share their location with friends and family. “This piece of tech jewelry,” wrote Brit + Co, “might save your life someday.”

Factory Donuts

Do you love donuts? Of course you do—everybody loves donuts. Well, David Restituto, BBA ’96, opened Factory Donuts this year in Northeast Philadelphia and the people in your life would surely love it if you showed up to a holiday party with a dozen donuts, especially Factory’s maple bacon explosion option.

Groundswell Greetings

A card is both a great gift and a great gift supplement. And Groundswell Greetings, created by Ali King, MBA ’16, has unique, fun, cool cards designed by Philadelphia artists for nearly every occasion, including the upcoming holiday season. For instance, the Philly-inspired “Home for the holidays” card (above) created in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, which receives a portion of the proceeds. Good cause, great card.

Any more suggestions for gifts made by Fox School alumni? Please contact us!
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The Fox School of Business at Temple University has created a media kit to help connect reporters with business school faculty in a variety of areas of expertise.

LINK: The Fox School of Business Faculty Expert Guide

The Fox School is home to more than 210 world-renowned faculty and research leaders in their respective fields. They lead innovative undergraduate and graduate programs, conduct cutting-edge research, and can provide insightful, engaging commentary on timely business topics.

The Faculty Expertise Guide provides a user-friendly listing of faculty from all nine academic departments at the Fox School available for media interviews upon request.

For more information and to schedule an interview, contact Christopher A. Vito, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations, at cvito@temple.edu or (215) 204-4115.

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Brett Kratchman speaks to attendees at the Musser Awards for Excellence in Leadership dinner in November 2017. (Temple University Photography/Joseph Labolito)

Temple University served as Brett Kratchman’s entrée into the food-and-beverage industry. Now the food distribution professional has committed to supporting future educational opportunities at his alma mater.

The founder and chief executive officer of BK Specialty Foods, Kratchman has pledged $50,000 to Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM).

His gift, and STHM’s vow to match it, has helped create the BK Specialty Foods/Judith L. Kratchman Endowed Scholarship Fund. Once fully funded, the scholarship will be available annually to a STHM student of financial need who graduated from a Philadelphia- or South Jersey-area high school.

“My mother and my father met at Temple University. They married and began a family before she could finish her education,” said Brett Kratchman of his mother, Judie, who passed in 2016. “She was smart, savvy, and always willing to give someone a second chance. This scholarship is a lasting tribute in her memory.”

“Mr. Kratchman’s success and professional goals align with the interests of many of our students, and gifts like his will support our students as they pursue their college education and launch their professional careers,” said Dr. Jeremy Jordan, associate dean of STHM.

Kratchman was introduced to the food-and-beverage field while simultaneously earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in business and law from Temple’s Fox School of Business. He worked for his father, Sheldon, who founded Delaware Valley Fish Company—an exporter of live fish, eel, and carp to the European markets.

After graduation, and while taking graduate-level courses at STHM, Kratchman branched out and teamed with a classmate to sell frozen novelties out of an ice cream cart in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood.

Brett Kratchman, right, receives an alumni leadership from STHM Dean Dr. M. Moshe Porat, left, and Warren V. “Pete” Musser during the Musser Awards for Excellence in Leadership dinner in November 2017. (Temple University Photography/Joseph Labolito)

From there, Kratchman founded BK Specialty Foods in 1986 with just one product line—fruit pops on a stick that he sold for a dollar apiece.

“In one weekend, we did $60,000 in sales and that started this path for me,” Kratchman said. “I hired sales people, bought a truck, bought a warehouse, then two warehouses. Today, we employ more than 100 people, distribute products in six states, and sell more than 6,000 local, regional, and imported individual products.”

Kratchman said his company is truly a family enterprise. His mother spent more than 30 years as BK Specialty Foods’ office manager. His sister, Karen, and brother, David, are also involved with the business. His brother, Barry, is in the industry, too. He serves as president of the fish-exporting company founded by their father, and owner of Classic Cake Bakery.

He also credits his success to the support of his wife, Robyn, and their three daughters—Rayna, a 2013 graduate of Temple’s College of Public Health; Madison, who is pursuing a graduate degree in psychology at Temple’s College of Liberal Arts; and Mia Rose, described by her father as “a future Owl.”

“From the academic side to athletics, we’re supporters of Temple through and through,” Kratchman said. “Supporting STHM’s students and honoring my mother in this way just seemed like the perfect fit.”

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What do jazz musicians Billie Holiday, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, and Grover Washington Jr. have in common?

Holiday’s resonant tones were just babbling when she moved to Philadelphia as a toddler. Tyner’s strong left hand, distinctive in his low piano bass lines, could barely depress a piano key when he was born here in 1938. Brown, Gillespie, and Coltrane each made Philly their home during formative years of their adult lives. Washington even called Temple University home, receiving his doctorate in music composition from the School of Music.

These musicians also shared the struggle of being African American in a world that condoned segregation. Barred from Local 77, Philadelphia’s largest musician’s union, African American musicians banded together to form Union 274 in 1935 with distinguished members like Gillespie, Coltrane, and Nina Simone. In 1966, the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts opened as the Union’s social hub, becoming a regular destination for jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Max Roach. The Clef Club was the first facility ever designed specifically for jazz, and today continues to preserve Philadelphia’s incredible jazz legacy.Fox graduate Meco Sparks became very familiar with the Philadelphia Clef Club in the spring of 2016 while participating in her MBA capstone project. Through Fox Management Consulting, multi-disciplinary MBA teams are paired with experienced professional advisors to complete strategy consulting engagements for businesses, non-profits, and start-ups. (To complete a project with Fox Management Consulting reach out to us today.) 

Sparks looked for team members with diverse strengths and compatible working styles. “My team worked really well together,” she recalls. “Everyone carried their workload, and our meetings always involved lots of laughter.” The team applied to work with the Clef Club because they recognized the project would be rewarding. “We knew right from the beginning that our team would have a big impact.”

The Clef Club engaged Fox MC to design a five-year strategic plan. Sparks quickly discovered a staff that was deeply engaged in the organization’s mission.“They were passionate about music, jazz, and kids,” she recalls. They were looking for help translating that passion into a sustainable business plan. “No one on their staff had a business background,” says Sparks. The Fox MC team provided that background, drawing on career experience in finance, marketing, and management, in addition to their MBA coursework.

Sparks and her team worked to measure each of the Clef Club’s five programs against its mission and revenue needs. Their recommendations included increased opportunities for partnership and funding, guidelines for developing a sustainable organizational structure, and growth plans for crucial programming central to their mission. “The project really pulled in all of my MBA experience,” says Sparks. “We worked with the board, executive leadership team; we got to step back and analyze the problem from a high level.”

Fox MC has completed over a hundred projects in the non-profit sector, but this one remains special. “The thing that was so elating to me,” says Clef Club artistic director Lovett Hines, “was that the students were so interested in what we were doing. It has been a tremendous marriage.”

The partnership with the Clef Club continues. This fall, Fox MC completes their third project with the organization to implement the recommendations made by Sparks’ team. Sparks herself enjoyed the project so much she joined their advisory board at the start of 2017. “We spent a lot of time organizing and visiting. They were very open to us,” she says. “It inspired me to stay involved.”

Fox MC has generated more than $42 million in new donations and grants for the non-profits we’ve worked with. Put our strategy consulting teams to work for your non-profit today.