MBA Determination. Executive Oversight. Actionable Solutions.Fox Management Consulting

Working in an age of disruption, women are encouraged to embrace and grow their leadership styles.

Your leadership style is constantly evolving, even if you don’t realize it.

Womens Leadership session photo
Group exercises guided by facilitator Wendi Wasik help Women’s Leadership Series participants gain more insight into their own leadership styles, growth and development. [Photo by Karen Naylor]
That’s because professional women are living and working in an age of disruption, says Wendi Wasik, facilitator of “Understanding and Leveraging Your Leadership Style,” the first of six sessions in the Fox School’s Women’s Leadership Series.

“Women have greater opportunities to shape and influence what is of importance to them,” Wasik says.

The monthly series, hosted by the Center for Executive Education, provides an environment for professional women to grow their knowledge of effective and successful leadership skills.

Wasik, an executive coach, was quick to issue a challenge to the room of women whose careers spanned a range of professions.

“What do you care about?” she asks. “What has you want[ing] to rise up and be the best leader you can be?”

For some emerging leaders, the answer to those questions might take them out of their comfort zone.

“When a situation calls for something different, we need to introduce some flexibility,” she says. 

“Your leadership style is multidimensional and fluid, it is not hard and fast, although sometimes we think it is. It is constantly evolving and expanding your awareness as you gain experience and you integrate lessons from successes and failures.”

Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps joined the cohort for a conversation about women in leadership. She advised participants to think about what they want to achieve as leaders.

Provost Epps and Wendi Wasik
Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps joins Wendi Wasik in a discussion about career experiences among professional women. [Photo by Karen Naylor]
“We don’t actually ask ourselves that question often enough,” she says. “Feel free to think boldly and to try things.”

It’s important for all leaders to recognize their blind spots as well as the sweet spots and be open to input from others to help identify strengths and weaknesses.

“There is a lot of value in creating a learning environment where one can discuss failures and mistakes and learn from it and come back stronger because of it,” Wasik says.

Small team exercises allowed several participants to have “lightbulb moments” that helped them identify individual strengths and weaknesses.

“Awareness is really the first step,” Wasik says, “You cannot change what you are not aware of.”

Some of the things that influence most leadership styles center around a person’s mindset and the internal dialogue that takes place during a time of challenge.

A fixed mindset makes it difficult to grow as a leader. So Wasik urged participants to cultivate a growth mindset that is more open to learning new ways to lead and think about problems in front of them.

“This becomes the fabric of the culture,” she says.

Wasik believes internal dialogue can create both opportunities and limitations for women that ultimately impacts behavior.

“The perfectionism aspect that I see particularly around women executives is really intense sometimes,” she says.

Accepting and learning from mistakes is something successful leaders need to work toward.

“If you don’t own that and master that for yourself, you do not have it to give away to others,” Wasik says.

But both Epps and Wasik admit change and growth can be uncomfortable.

“If you are going to be an effective leader, you’re going to have people who are going to dislike decisions that you make and they are going to try to derail the decision or derail you,” Epps says.

It’s how someone deals with these difficult situations that can make a difference for all parties involved.

“I think you have to emotionally let go of that because it will hold you back,” she says.

collected photos of interviewed subjects
From left: Dan Tedesco, Carey Gallagher and Garrett Frankford (contributed photos)

It’s not always easy to get business professionals to quickly reach a consensus.

But in the case of three MBA graduates from the Fox School of Business, they all agree the Fox Management Consulting (FMC) capstone course put them on a career path that continues to evolve.

“A lot of people use their MBA to leave their current positions, but I was able to pivot within the company where I worked,” says Dan Tedesco, MBA ’15, a strategic planning manager at Essity, a global hygiene and health company headquartered in Sweden. “I used my Fox Management Consulting experience to change my role to more of a business strategy one. The experience paved the foundation of everything I’ve done since in my career.” 

The capstone course provides an experiential learning experience to MBA students by integrating corporate strategy and marketing consulting projects within the curriculum. The process often allows students an opportunity to explore a variety of industries and topics that are new to them.

Prior to getting his MBA, Tedesco used his mechanical engineering background in a product development role. Now he’s responsible for the strategic planning process of the B2B business unit at Essity.

FMC has a team of project executives who are senior-level career professionals who work with the student teams to deliver results to clients.

“Our project executive, Wayne Rosengerger, was always encouraging us, making us believe in trusting the process and watching how things would evolve. It’s those little things, that diligence, that stay with me now,” he says. “I tell people about this program and how it is a phenomenal experience that can change the path of your career.”

Garrett Frankford, MBA ’18 used his MBA to change industries while remaining in the same line of work. He believes part of the challenge in consulting is knowing you could be working in an unfamiliar business landscape.

 “Some of it was completely different from anything I had done before and the projects caused many of the students to step outside their comfort zone,” the customs compliance manager at Carter’s / OshKosh B’gosh says. 

His team worked with a client to develop a market entry strategy around a personal mobile safety app. Part of that work included financial modeling, a skill Frankford says he didn’t believe he would need.

“Just knowing the type of jobs I was applying for, I didn’t think I would use that experience,” he says. 

He quickly realized otherwise.

“My FMC work gave me the skills I needed to direct a presentation to our CEO about tariff changes that directly affect the organization. Financial modeling was a skill I didn’t think I’d use, but within three months, I did.”

In addition, Frankford says he now thinks differently about the challenges before him. “I’ve gone from a technical thinker to a more strategic thinker because of this experience.”

It’s the complexities of business that remind Carey Gallagher, MBA ’08, of her international MBA experience at the Fox School.

“There are so many ways to get things done in business, there are no right or wrong ways,” she says.

Currently a partner at C-FAR, a management consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Boston, Gallagher focuses on culture and change in healthcare. She describes the work as “focusing on complex problems in complex organizations.”

As part of her MBA program, Gallagher worked on projects that took her to India, Ireland and Temple’s Japan campus. 

“Having a glimpse of different countries helped me understand all the complexities of how business is done,” she says. “There is so much more than you realize and the experience helped me get a better understanding of it.”

It’s come full circle for Gallagher, who now combines her Fox MBA experience and her professional expertise to serve as a project advisor at FMC.

“I thought what better way to get involved in the conversation about changing business needs and also help support the learning process for other MBA students than by joining this effort?” she says.

“It’s exciting because I don’t work on just one type of project and that’s significant. It’s really valuable to me to be around people who are all working in the same direction.”

For more information about Fox Management Consulting, click here.

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Community Center Building
The Crane Chinatown Community Center is part of Crane Chinatown, a $75-million, 20-story apartment and mixed-use complex located at 10th and Vine streets in Philadelphia. Photo by Karen Naylor

When the doors of the Crane Chinatown Community Center officially open in October, the foundation of both the facility and its future will be in place.

Because in addition to the steel, bricks and mortar, the much-anticipated center has a framework for a sustainable business plan, thanks to a team of MBA students and their professional advisers at Fox Management Consulting (FMC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The community center is designed to be a vibrant cultural center of wellness, education and recreation for the Chinatown community. It is part of Crane Chinatown, a $75 million, 20-story apartment and mixed-use complex located at 10th and Vine streets in Philadelphia. The residential portion of the complex opened earlier this summer.

“The community center has been the goal of the past 20 years of work,” says Cecilia Moy Yep, founder of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. Since 1969, the organization has been advocating for the interests of Chinatown.

“The community has been growing but the recreation facilities have not grown along with it,” Yep continues. “The community center will allow us to have programs we never had before and be a safe environment for children to go to for recreation.”

The impact that consulting services provided by FMC can have on an organization, both for-profit and nonprofit, can be of great value. 

“Many of these organizations are passionate about their cause and sometimes could use additional help with business strategy and financial implications to be successful,” says FMC Project Executive Louise Tritton. “It’s definitely a win-win for students and clients.”

At the request of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), the

Chinatown Iconic Sign
The community center is designed to be a vibrant cultural center of wellness, education and recreation for the Chinatown community. Photo by Karen Naylor

consulting team worked to identify sustainable revenue streams that align with the center’s mission and the community’s needs.

“Financial stability for the center is going to be hard to figure out,” Yep says. “There are costs, including administrative, that need to be covered. We are looking at ways to accomplish that so the center is here for a long time.”

Having a concrete project for students to work on brings to ground the lessons and experience FMC is trying to deliver.

“I work hard with the students to differentiate between an academic paper and a report to a client,” Tritton says. “Those reports involve clear thinking, good logic and professional effort. Oftentimes students say they won’t do consulting work (in a future job), but I point out they are always going to be part of a team where they will need excellent communication skills, writing skills and preparation. I stress to them consulting work is important and has an impact.”

MBA student Taras Smerechanskyy believes his FMC learning experience stretches far beyond what most people expect when working on a business plan.

“There was a deeper meaning on many levels,” he says. “We were helping the community retain its culture and identity, and that was a powerful thing. The stakes were high. This wasn’t just about a business and its finances; it was a project that really has an impact and creates something new for Chinatown. Everyone working on the project understood how important the work being done was to this community.”

The community center, with its focus on bettering the lives of all Chinatown residents by providing social, educational and recreational opportunities, brings great satisfaction to Yep.

“To me, it’s the completion of what this community needs; it’s the epitome of our development projects,” she says. “In the past, there has been a lot of focus on housing in the community. It became time to think of recreation. Now we will have a safe environment for children to go and enjoy.”

Inside Out Stock photo

The challenges of communicating a program’s impact to stakeholders is the focus of “The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: Impact on Stakeholders,” a case study published this month by Fox Management Consulting Managing Director and Fox Professor TL Hill, Fox MBA alumna Rebecca DeWhitt, current Fox student Claire Thanh Tran and Fox Associate Professor Lynne Andersson.

The case revolves around the question of how to satisfy funders’ demands for quantitative measures of the impact of specific types of prison education being provided by The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, an international network of educators who facilitate university-level courses in prisons. The courses serve combined classes of incarcerated individuals and university students.

Achieving the goal of quantitative measurement is difficult, the case explains, because program results have long been based not on available statistics but rather on stories gathered from student surveys and anecdotes from correctional institutions revealing improved behavior and increased leadership. 

The Inside-Out Center recognized the need for measurement in order to secure a steady stream of funds in an increasingly competitive environment. It also sought to find a cost-effective and culturally appropriate way to measure and communicate the program’s impact on its many stakeholders.

The case, suitable for both undergraduate and graduate-level classes, provides the data necessary to help students learn and apply impact measurement tools such as the logic model of change and the social return on investment (SROI) to the management of mission-led organizations.

It also provides a context to discuss stakeholder management and the roles of measurement and storytelling in aligning stakeholders with conflicting interests and agendas. Finally, the case provides an opportunity to discuss some of the thorny ethical and economic issues surrounding prison policies and practices.

To obtain a copy of the study for class use, go to: https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=104742

Timing is everything when you are looking to add international educational experience to your MBA capstone class.

Group of students in Tel Aviv
MBA students Sylvania Tang, Jennifer Miescke, Nicole Zeller and Zhi Liao traveled to Israel for a client presentation as part of their capstone course. Here, the group is sightseeing in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Sylvania Tang.

Working on a team comes with challenges. But what if part of your team is more than 5,000 miles away — following a different schedule, living in a different culture and ending the workday shortly after yours begins?

Add in a 4.6 magnitude earthquake that strikes in the middle of your final presentation, and things can get pretty hairy.

But Temple University Fox School of Business MBA students Zhi Liao, Jennifer Miescke, Sylvania Tang and Nicole Zeller navigated it all this spring to deliver a presentation in Tel Aviv as part of their capstone experience with Fox Management Consulting (FMC).

“We didn’t even notice the earthquake, we were so focused,” says Liao. “Someone told us later that it happened.”

The students, led by FMC project executive William Kitsch, worked with a team of MBA students and faculty at Tel Aviv University (TAU) as part of an ongoing joint venture between the Fox School and the Israeli university. 

“We do this so students get a global experience with a diverse group of students, faculty and businesses,” says David Nash, operating director at Fox Management Consulting.

Forming a team

Final adjustments are made as the team prepares for its presentation to the client later in the day. Photo courtesy of Zhi Liao.

The American and Israeli groups worked to deliver strategic recommendations to a startup e-commerce company with offices in Tel Aviv and California. The Israeli-owned company, which helps sellers optimize sourcing and selling opportunities across eight countries, was seeking ways to expand its current marketplace.

“It was a very difficult task in the sense of timing,” says Miescke, who served as a project manager. “We were working seven hours behind Tel Aviv all the time and their workweek is Sunday through Thursday.”

The intensity continued as the group arrived in Israel, just days after Temple’s May 9 graduation, and joined the TAU team to prep for the client presentation.

“There was a lot of pressure around the fact that there were two teams,” Kitsch says. “Both had different expectations, schedules, project deadlines. But by learning to work through and manage it all, it gave us opportunities to find leadership in everything we were doing.” 

Experiential learning

The FMC capstone course is built around a curriculum that helps students apply the competencies and skills they have acquired in the MBA program through the client projects. 

Group of students with certificates of completionMembers of the consulting team with their certificates of completion.
Members of the consulting team with their certificates of completion. The Fox School group joined students and faculty at Tel Aviv University in the project. Photo courtesy of Sylvania Tang.

In addition to being an exceptional learning opportunity for students, the projects deliver dynamic business solutions to clients facing various challenges.

Since students participating in the global project graduate before the actual client presentation, they first present to faculty for grading purposes.

“Presenting early really helped us see where we could improve, helped our focus and allowed us to see where we needed to get to,” Tang says. “That experience really helped us get things in order and take things to the next level.”

With feedback in hand, the team is ready for the next step.

“They go to Israel, meet with fellow team members and faculty to refine the project,” Nash explains. “They meet with the client later in the week and after all is done, the group does manage some social time.” 

Taking it all in

The four Temple students stayed on in Israel for a few additional days to travel to Jerusalem and immerse themselves into the culture and attractions of the region.

The beach in Tel Aviv was a stop for members of the team who stayed to travel in Israel after the project was complete. Photo courtesy of Zhi Liao.

“It was great to have that time together after spending so much time working on the project,” Liao says. 

Zeller says she knew she wanted to get her MBA from Temple.

“The FMC capstone project, specifically working on a live problem, was the biggest thing that made me come to Fox for my MBA,” she says. “Temple really supports you in the process and that meant a lot.”

Kitsch believes the Tel Aviv experience is an extraordinary opportunity. “Every student should be competing for a spot on that team. It’s that valuable.”

Now that the project is over, the students agree that the experience will move them forward in their careers.

“Without this project, I probably would never consider venturing toward e-commerce or international business and I am fully grateful for that because now it’s something I would consider,” Liao says.

Tang says she is only now realizing how big an impact the project has had on her.

“This experience has definitely fueled a desire in me to look at how far my potential can go,” she explains. “For me, my MBA journey was four years long and in those four years, my MBA capstone class experience — this global journey — was my greatest learning experience at Temple.”

Helping achieve a global experience

Not all Fox Management Consulting projects require traveling abroad to meet with a client, but when they do, Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) can assist.

The center helps pay the team’s travel expenses related to the project, associate director Jeff Conradi says. The center serves to improve U.S. competitiveness in the world marketplace and to produce globally competent students, faculty and staff. It is funded by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

For more information about the center, click here

Temple University Provost JoAnne A. Epps visits the 2018 Women’s Leadership Series held last fall at the university’s Center City Campus. Participants included 42 professional women from 23 area companies and organizations.

Women in leadership face a myriad of challenges that could push a career off track.

“I think these challenges are best navigated by building savvy business skills and exploiting the advantages that women do have,” says Kelly Grace, one of the session leaders in the upcoming Women’s Leadership Series hosted by the Center or Executive Education at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The six-session series, which begins Sept. 26 and runs monthly through February, will focus on developing well-honed skills in strong communication, effective negotiation and confident leadership. In addition, the opportunity to regularly network with other professionals in the area will help leverage participants’ potential for career advancement.

“Given the unique group being assembled, we gave a lot of consideration to the faculty who are leading the sessions,” says Rich Morris, Associate Director of Business Development, Center for Executive Education. “We found facilitators who are passionate about supporting the professional advancement of the participating women and, in addition to being fantastic teachers, they also have served as role models for the participants.”

The sessions kick off on Sept. 26 with “Understanding and Leveraging Your Leadership Style” led by Wendi Wasik, founder and CEO of Wasik Consulting

“My goal for this workshop is to help our attendees see leadership as a way of being, rather than a list of to-do’s and not-do’s,” Wasik says. “We all have a unique way of expressing ourselves as leaders. Your leadership style is as unique as your fingerprint and reflects your personality and values.” 

Strong communication skills are required for the majority of professional job postings, notes Melissa Glenn-Fleming, Assistant Professor of Practice at Temple’s Fox School of Business.

On Oct. 17, Glenn-Fleming will lead “Executive Presence and Communications Skills” using the three pillars of executive presence — act, speak and appearance.

“We will discuss those definitions as they apply to women specifically, then identify personal challenges (and/or) strengths,” she adds.

Grace’s session “The Art of Negotiation: As Informed by the Science” will follow on Nov. 14. The Assistant Professor and Director of Master of Science in Human Resource Management at the Fox School believes negotiation is one of the most practical skills needed in any environment.

“We negotiate every day with our business associates as well as our partners and family members,” she says. “This course allows us to explore many ways negotiation occurs in our lives and how we can become more intentional about these processes.

“I want to share the science so participants develop deeper understandings of why they have been successful in past negotiations and consider alternative strategies for future negotiations.”

Over the course of the final three sessions, participants will attend “Finance for the Non-Financial Manager” led by Sherry Jarrell, Coordinator, Finance Curriculum of the MBA Programs at Fox; “Leading Organizational Change” led by Marilyn Anthony, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Director of Business Consulting at Fox Management Consulting; and “Career Management” led by Jackie Linton, President of JL HR Solutions, LLC.

“The class is a peer-learning opportunity and gets people to share the good, bad or ugly, as well as their experiences,” Anthony says. 

Part of each session will allow participants to work in small groups to solve challenges related to the particular topic. 

“That is the super fun part of the workshop,” Anthony adds. “Everything they are doing and sharing is real. Everyone is facing new challenges and is very open to this peer-solving problem.”

Linton believes Women in Leadership participants will walk away with a framework they can build out into a plan. 

“I want the women to learn from each other as much as they learn from me,” Linton says. “And we will have a little fun in the process.”

For more information

The first Women’s Leadership Series was held in 2018 and brought together professional women from a wide variety of companies and organizations. The upcoming series will be held in the new Center For Executive Education space at Temple’s Main Campus at the Fox School of Business, 1810 Liacouras Walk. 

Each session will run from 9 a.m. until noon. A networking lunch will follow.  The series fee is $2000 per individual participant or $1750 per participant for groups of 3 or more. Early bird registration of $1,850 per individual participant runs through 7/24/19.  

Click here to register for the series. For more information or to register a group, contact rmorris@temple.edu or call 215-204-3990.

Health and technology entrepreneur Atisha Patel (left) and Fox School of Business Marilyn Anthony (right) recently joined Career View Mirror host Joyel Crawford on location at Willow Creek Winery in West Cape May, New Jersey, to discuss the path to entrepreneurship. [Photo courtesy of Joyel Crawford]

Finding success as an entrepreneur is more about being open to what can happen than sticking to a set plan.

“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to an entrepreneur who really knew everything that was going to happen,” Fox School of Business Assistant Professor Marilyn Anthony says. “It is a path of discovery; so don’t be held back because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Anthony shared her views on entrepreneurship during a recent appearance on RadioVision Network’s Career View Mirror with host Joyel Crawford, motivational speaker and certified career strategist, and fellow guest Atisha Patel, Health/Tech entrepreneur and co-founder of NotiCare and Teenpreneur, Inc. 

“You really have to be on the journey, open to the journey and prepared to deal with whatever comes your way,” Anthony says.

A good first step for an aspiring entrepreneur is to look at the landscape and consider how to make a difference.

“Start with a better understand of what you’re competing against,” Anthony says. “Who else is already doing something like it? If there’s nobody doing something like it, why aren’t they? If other people are doing it, how are you going to do it differently and better?”

The driving force for most social entrepreneurs is their desire to solve a problem they believe can have a better outcome.

“Empathy is often the motivation for entrepreneurs,” Anthony says. “It’s not their problem, it’s somebody else’s problem. But they get it and they feel like ‘I can come up with a solution working with the people who are struggling.’”

Recognizing ways to make a connection — or “bridges” — between the problem and the solution is a key strength of being an entrepreneur, Crawford points out.

“It’s almost like an emotional intelligence piece, it’s self-awareness,” she says. 

But knowing that you are headed in the right direction can be challenging. Patel tried several things before finding success in her current roles. 

“It’s networking, having connections and leveraging them,” she says.

Crawford believes it’s very important to keep and sustain the relationships you have made. “It’s not ‘hit it and quit it,’” she says.

But establishing yourself as an entrepreneur can take time and rarely happens quickly. 

“I waited to figure out my passion,” Patel says, adding that if anyone asked her when she was younger what she wanted to be, she answered “a boss.”

“I don’t know if that’s exactly what I wanted, but you know what, I enjoy it.”

To see the full interview, click here

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.

TL Hill presentation
TL Hill, Managing Director at Fox Management Consulting and The Center for Executive Education, describes the collaborative project between Flinders University and Temple University.

Engaging a community and its leaders to build an innovative, entrepreneurial workforce is a huge challenge. However, Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI), with support from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has done just that — and the momentum is not showing signs of slowing down.

NVI’s work has helped grow more than 32 businesses, train more than 3,000 students and workers and implement an entrepreneurial curriculum in a region hit hard by the closing of a Mitsubishi plant in Adelaide, the capital city in the state of South Australia.

Matt Salier, Director at the New Venture Institute, TL Hill, Managing Director at Fox Management Consulting and The Center for Executive Education and Michelle Histand, Director of Independence Blue Cross Innovation, outlined NVI’s journey during their May 28 presentation “Transforming an Innovation Ecosystem in South Australia (or Looking Far Afield to Find Inspiration at Home).”

Universities have a responsibility to train the next workforce through an adaptable, enterprising curriculum, Hill says. In 2013, Flinders embarked on its mission of creating a path to innovative thinking that would benefit not only the university but also the 1.2 million residents who lived in the surrounding community.

Because of Fox’s strong business curriculum and the demographic similarities between Adelaide and Philadelphia, the partnership with Flinders seemed a natural fit. Fox Management Consulting used its expertise to help bring Flinders University’s vision for the future of education to life.

The key to being transformative in education is to be more industry-led, recognizing how businesses are developing and making adjustments to move forward.

“The research is to put industries’ needs at the center and say what is needed to be successful in the future. We tried to take that model to Flinders as well,” Hill says.

With an early framework in mind, Flinders brought 1,000 business people together to think about what competencies should be driving the university’s transformation as it moved toward being more innovative and entrepreneurial in its overall educational offerings.

“We believe that innovation stretches across all disciplines,” Histand says. “So the idea was not to do ‘innovation instead’ but to do ‘innovation with.’”

New Venture Institute successfully worked with government officials to create “entrepreneurial schools” where curriculum built around innovative thinking begins early in a student’s development.

“We better be working with the supply chain of students coming through, particularly from elementary (what Australia calls high school), but even beyond that,” Salier says.

Hill envisions bringing the work being done at Flinders back to Temple and the city at large.

Both Flinders and Temple recognize the importance of being good community partners, he said. To do that, it’s important to recognize the need to “keep one foot in the university setting and one foot in the community.”

Flinders is working with cities located near the campus to think more creatively in working with residents, businesses and industries to improve conditions.

“There are a range of things that have enabled us to have more of an impact in moving the needle on economic areas outside of our own closeted world of the university,” he said.

What is important to keep in mind, Salier said, is to keep pushing the edge of what is possible.

Business consultants are problem solvers and, oftentimes, fortune tellers. With the rise of technology in industries such as cybersecurity, healthcare and information technology, consultants have become even more popular because they can help organizations address current and future challenges based on insights, market analysis, resource optimization and more.

The Temple University Management Consulting Program (TUMCP)’s Temple Consulting Club recently partnered with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI)’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Association to host a panel discussion with the theme of “Women in Consulting.” The four panelists, Daniella Colleta, Gail Blauer, Jessica Podgajny and Katie Stellard have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. We caught up with them to ask what they wish they had known in their 20s, and for any advice they have for women in the consulting field.

Never Shy Away From a Challenge

As an advisory manager at Grant Thornton LLP, Daniella Colleta deploys company-wide change management programs to expose employees to new ways of working. Additionally, she leads with a people-first strategy in order to reinforce new behaviors and achieve collaboration across people, processes and technologies.

“It is never too early to begin building a network of peers, advocates and mentors,” Colleta says. “Don’t shy away from those who challenge you. This will pay off dividends and the power of relationships should never be underestimated. Plus, there’s always much to learn and doing it with and around those you enjoy is the real reward.”

Nurture and Grow Natural Strengths

With twelve years of experience, Blauer specializes in business process improvement, business strategy, business transformation and business process outsourcing (BPO). Currently, she serves as the managing director of Deloitte Consulting.

“Be your authentic self. Often we are told that we have a characteristic that other people don’t find appealing, but that is who we are,” she explains. “I have always been assertive and aggressive, and I go after what I want. When I went to graduate school around the age of 22, I tried to suppress my natural assertiveness. As I have grown in my career, I realized it was something to nurture and grow. I advice young women to embrace the natural strengths that other people think are weaknesses.”

Move Feelings of Intimidation to the Backseat

In early 2017, Podgajny founded Blink Consulting, a firm that helps companies with culture, strategic planning, organizational change and design. She is a seasoned leader, passionate about partnering with both established and emerging organizations to catalyze growth. She has a track record of high-energy, high-touch and high-ROI result that have created long-lasting corporate legacies.

“When looking back on what I wish I’d known early in my career, two things come to mind. The first is to bring your whole self to work,” Podgajny says. “Initially, I kept my personal life and work life very separate until I realized that sharing more about myself as a whole person created room for building strong, meaningful working relationships with colleagues and clients. The second is to remember that ‘the boss’ or senior ranking leaders in the company are really just people. They likely don’t have all the answers and have their own strengths and weaknesses. The advice: Move your feelings of intimidation out of the way and have authentic dialogues with all colleagues regardless of their level. It will go a long way!”

Build a Network of Advocates and Colleagues

As a senior manager at Navigate Corporation, Stellard primarily focuses on project management office (PMO); and project and program management. With twenty years of experience in management consulting, she specializes in many sectors of the industry including, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, higher education and real estate.

“My advice to a just-starting-out consultant would be to build a network of peers and mentors that are working in your areas of interest and learn from their experience. They may also serve as your greatest advocates and center you as you navigate your career, even through job changes and challenges along the way.”

If you are interested in pursuing a career in consulting or entrepreneurship, learn more about the Fox Strategic Management department.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

In 2017, charitable giving exceeded $410 billion across America. Out of that total, individuals donated $286.65 billion and corporate giving amounted to $20.77 billion.

In 2016, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the nation’s first children’s hospital and a nonprofit organization, received five million dollars from the Wawa Foundation, Wawa Inc.’s nonprofit corporation dedicated to philanthropic ventures and charitable giving, which went towards the development of the Wawa Volunteer Center in CHOP.

Why did Wawa invest that much into the volunteer program, and why is philanthropy such a large part of the maintenance of nonprofit organizations? Neil Batiancila, the featured guest speaker for the February 9th Fox Board Fellows meeting, explains the motivations behind individual and corporate philanthropy while detailing his own experience in the field.

Batiancila, a 2011 Fox MBA graduate, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Political Science in 1999, but instead of pursuing an expected career path, he began his philanthropic journey as an Americorps member.

After spending a year in Philadelphia as a volunteer teaching elementary students at the Hartranft John F. School, he joined City Year, an educational nonprofit located in Boston, and stayed there for 10 years as Co-Executive Director of the Philadelphia branch.

He worked for Aramark, a food service corporation, as Director of Community Relations for a period of time before joining CHOP’s staff as their Executive Director of Campaign Operations, and stayed there for 7 years. In March 2017 he received an offer for the position of the Chief Development Officer at Philadelphia Zoo and has been working there since the beginning of 2019.

Batiancila’s philanthropic nature stems from the environment in which he grew up. Both of his parents were physicians and immigrants who gave back to their communities in the Philippines. His father returned to the Philippines to fundraise for the implementation of a critical care facility on the island where his older brother and best friend passed away without access to any local emergency care resources. With these kinds of values embedded in his family, Batiancila went on to work for several nonprofits following the same kind of giving nature.

In order to successfully draw in potential donors and those who are willing to give, Batiancila encourages nonprofits to provide an experience that inspires a deeper connection with the nonprofit’s purpose and to find those who can personally connect to the values of the organization.

Batiancila mentions the importance of building a strong fundraising infrastructure that is able to help the organization grow its donor pool and maintain its current givers.

“One of the hallmarks of strong corporate philanthropy is to facilitate workplace giving, and to develop this philanthropic culture within the organization,” Batiancila explains. “Like anything in the world, if you want people to do the right thing you have to make it easier for them to do so.”

When CHOP launched a 2-year campaign the first to know and the first to celebrate were the employees. They wanted to make sure that the employees were included first and foremost to show that they held significance in the decisions and they were cherished enough for the hospital to share and celebrate this news with them first. The hospital makes a point to emphasize their employees’ value, and in doing so bolsters employee morale so that workplace giving is not so much enforced as it is an act of appreciation.

One of the reasons for charitable giving on both the individual and corporate forefront is to make a difference and for the altruistic sense of self-empowerment that comes with any kind of philanthropy. Giving to the greater good is the heart of philanthropy.

“Most people are charitable in this country, they give because the plate comes across on Sunday. It’s part of the ethics of America to give forward to other communities,” Batiancila said. “When people are appreciative of their experience, they like to express that and share it through philanthropy,”

On the corporate side, there are tax incentives to philanthropic giving, with the Educational Income Tax Credit program, which reimburses the money spent giving to nonprofits. It is an effective opportunity to advertise their company and create brand awareness at a much cheaper price.

Charitable giving also reinforces the alignment of goals and brand values that will benefit the business. Doing well by doing good, says Batiancila, is a branch of cause marketing. Aligning the corporation with a nonprofit that fits its values is a smart business investment.

Giving to a nonprofit also opens doors for company networking, the more organizations the corporation is exposed to, the stronger its community network. Strength is your reputation, Batiancila says.

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