First-time home buyers take notice—after a five-year flurry to start her career at retailer-for-good United By Blue, Jen Singley (BBA ’13) decided to pivot towards real estate. Now, she’s slinging much more than exposed brick and herringbone tile kitchens. Singley has an idea, cultivated at UBB, that could change the way home buyers and sellers approach real estate in Philadelphia.
Singley’s path to real estate has not been straightforward. Born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she decided to major in marketing at the Fox School of Business with the idea of getting into retail after graduation. Four days after receiving her diploma, Singley did just that, having landed a job at the then retail start-up UBB, owned by fellow Fox alumni Brian Linton and Mike Cangi. Tasked with opening and managing their first storefront at 2nd street, she eventually oversaw the brand grow to include four locations, including one in New York.
“Brian and Mike taught me so much,” said Singley. “I received constructive feedback and was pushed to step outside of my comfort zone. They were a huge part of my career growth.”
Singley credits Fox with helping her prepare for such a huge opportunity immediately after college.
Four Skills Singley Sharpened At Fox
- Financial Management: “At Fox, I learned as much about numbers as I possibly could. Not everyone left college knowing how to manage income vs. debt and I’m glad I did.”
- Interviewing: “I overthink and get nervous before interviews. The mock interview nights at Fox really helped. As realtor, having a “script” ready for clients that answers potential questions comes in handy.”
- Independence: “Fox encouraged networking. Even if my friends couldn’t make it, I’d go by myself to networking nights.”
- Negotiation: “Several of my classes had a focus on negotiation, which definitely translates into my job today. Every deal I work on involves negotiation for prices, rate, and timeline.”
When Singley decided to leave UBB in the summer of 2018, she had risen to title of director of operations, but the burgeoning retail guru wasn’t happy anymore. Too busy with managing scores of new employees, she missed out on the litter clean-ups that UBB was well-known for, one of the reasons she liked her job.
“I thought about it for a year and a half,” she said. “I love everyone at United By Blue, but part of me wasn’t whole at that point. I saw my coworkers getting excited about a new product launch or an event, and I didn’t share in that same passion anymore.”
Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners, Singley got her real estate license in 2017 while still at UBB and was selling homes part-time. The decision to leave her comfortable position at a growing company was tough, but she felt supported by her parents—her father owns a duct-cleaning and fire restoration company.
“I wanted to do something I was excited about everyday again,” she said. “Having flexible hours and helping young house buyers, that’s what’s motivating me right now.”
There are similarities between her old career and her new one. Singley is organizing neighborhood trash pickups to rally new buyers and current community residents. Her hope is that bringing together social enterprise and selling homes, she can help set a new standard for real estate agents in Philadelphia, one cigarette filter or cheesesteak wrapper at a time.
To get the word out about the places she loves, Singley has harnessed the power of social. She knows that people her age find aesthetically pleasing photos, tips on maintaining homes and defining real estate jargon more interesting than print mailers and cold calls. Her strategy has worked to engage potential home buyers. So far, Singley has sold 14 homes and counting—not bad for seven months on the job.
Singley’s Hot Neighborhoods
- Gray’s Ferry
Follow Singley @:
- Instagram: homesweethomephl
- Facebook: WomenForASustainablePhiladelphia [link to https://www.facebook.com/groups/WomenForASustainablePhiladelphia/]
- Yelp: Jen Singley, Keller Williams
Social Enterprises Singley Loves
- Hungry Harvest (CSA) [link: https://www.hungryharvest.net/]
- And We Evolve (consignment clothing) [https://andweevolve.com/]
Bennett Compost (waste pickup/compost drop-off subscription) [link https://www.bennettcompost.com/]
Seven alumni-owned food and beverage businesses taking taste buds to the next level
Some people say music is the one true universal language. But, let’s be honest, the one true universal language is food. Nobody knows this better than these Fox School alumni who have launched exciting businesses in the food space. From healthy stir-fries to mouthwatering donuts, fancy cocktails to salads-in-jars, learn more about these seven food and drink businesses owned and founded by Fox foodies.
After studying finance at the Fox School, David Restituto, BBA ’96, ran Rita’s Italian Ice and Meineke franchises in the Philadelphia area. In 2017, the self-confessed “sweet tooth” opened Factory Donuts in Northeast Philly. The shop, which boasts a hip, industrial aesthetic, sells coffee and about two dozen different types of donuts, including the Maple Bacon Explosion and the Blueberry Bake. The business has already moved into its next phase: franchising. “We have so much positive interest from people,” Restituto says. “We’re ready to launch the franchise end of the business and we’re planning for future growth. It’s a very exciting time.”
Justin Rosenberg, MBA ’09, is no stranger to the pages of Fox Focus—when we caught up with him in the last issue, he told us all about how honeygrow uses virtual reality to onboard new employees. Rosenberg designed the business plan for honeygrow, the fast- casual salad and stir-fry restaurant, while working on his MBA at
the Fox School. Since opening the rst location in 2012, honeygrow has grown quite a bit. Now there are more than 24 locations in eight states and Washington, D.C. Not to mention three minigrow locations, honeygrow’s new build-your-own dish carryout concept.
Dylan Baird, BBA ’13, worked with Urban Tree Connection, an urban farm in West Philadelphia, while studying entrepreneurship at the Fox School. His passion for the intersection of food and community development morphed into Philly Foodworks, which he co-founded in 2014. The mission? To create a platform for small, non-mainstream food producers—including local farmers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers, tofu makers, and bakeries—to deliver healthy, fresh foods to people. Thanks to Baird and Philly Foodworks, the farmers market now comes directly to your front door.
Do you love pizza? Of course you do, everybody loves pizza. And if you’re a Philadelphian, you also likely love tomato pie. Conshohocken Italian Bakery has been serving up tomato pies (including a custom Philadelphia Eagles version following the team’s Super Bowl LII victory), pizzas, breads, desserts, and more since it was co-founded by Domenico Gambone in 1973. The family business is now run by sister and brother Christina Gambone, BBA ’92, and Michael Gambone, BBA ’91—Christina is the director of business operations, and Michael is the vice president.
“Mike and I have been working here since our early teens,” says Christina. “There’s no better way to learn the business than from the ground up. We’ve always been close siblings, so working together is very natural. And our dad is still very active in the business and our goal is to support him and his passion. We keep that in mind with every new avenue we pursue.”
Ever watched an episode of Mad Men and wondered how in the heck they make those delicious looking cocktails? Jungeun Park, BS ’16, knows the secrets and she’s here to
help you craft that perfect old fashioned. After completing her studies in marketing and being named a finalist in the Temple University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute’s 2016 Be Your Own Boss Bowl® for the business concept, Park launched Cocktail Culture Co., which offers interactive cocktail and mixology workshops. They also host whiskey and wine tastings so you know what you’re talking about next time you step up to the bar.
Healthy food is oftentimes not the most convenient to find for lunch at work or on-the-go. That’s where Simply Good Jars, founded by Jared Cannon, MS ’16, comes in. Cannon, a chef, came up with the idea as a Fox School grad student studying innovation management and entrepreneurship. Each convenient plastic jar includes a healthy meal made with local ingredients while creating zero waste for the Philadelphia community.
Melissa Wieczorek, BBA ’93, MBA ’02, always loved food, cooking, and entertaining. So, when she left her position as the director of the Fox School’s Executive MBA program in 2005, she knew exactly what to do: Zest Culinary Services, a personal chef and boutique catering company, was born. “There’s always something new to discover in food—a recipe, an ingredient, a technique, a favor combination, or even a new business model,” says Wieczorek when asked why she loves working with food. “The possibilities are endless and the food industry is constantly evolving so it never gets boring. And the ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives on a daily basis through food—whether it’s a meal, an educational talk, or a dining experience—is extremely gratifying.”
3 Fox School alumnae shaking up their industries
There’s a new ultimate compliment in business today–Fox alumnae are go-getters, and they are shaking up the status quo in their elds and starting revolutions across the business world. Find out how these three alumnae are changing the rules of the game. See who they are and how they’re disrupting their industries in the best possible way:
1. Yasmine Mustafa, Fox ’06
Born in Kuwait, Yasmine Mustafa emigrated to the United States with her family as a child. She has chosen to make a difference using what she learned as an entrepreneur at the Fox School. It took Mustafa over seven years of part-time classes— first at community college, then at Fox, while working two jobs, to dream up her best idea yet.
“After traveling alone for six months, everywhere I went I encountered women who had been assaulted in different ways,” she said.
Mustafa decided to do something about it and started ROAR for Good.
“Just a week after I returned to Philadelphia, a woman was raped a block from my apartment when she went out to feed her meter,” she said. “I was enraged and inspired to create something to make women safer.”
As president and CEO of ROAR for Good, Mustafa has led the development of ‘Athena,’ a safety wearable device that helps to keep people safe. As a smart tech device, Athena shares user locations when activated.
“In reality, our goal is to have a world where technology like ROAR’s doesn’t need to exist,” she said. “In the meantime, why not create something that improves the situation?”
Not one for the sidelines, Mustafa and ROAR have been proactive about taking a role in the cultural paradigm surrounding sexual assault prevention and #MeToo. The ROAR Back program exists in tandem with the Athena device. ROAR Back has been designed as a series of nonprofit partnerships—with the goal of educating men about violence prevention and empathy training. In addition, an app provides educational tools on safety and situational awareness.
Awards and attention have been rolling in for Mustafa, who was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2016, Philadelphia Magazine’s Top 20 Best Philadelphians, Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2016 Tech Disruptors, Innovator of the Year by Rad Girls, and many more. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this dynamic, young maker.
“I see a long-term vision of changing the world and ROAR having a profound impact,” she said.
2. Lori Bush, MBA ’85
Scientist to CEO isn’t the normal career trajectory for a pre-med major, but Lori Bush learned early on to defy expectations.
Driven to push the boundaries, Bush went beyond her work as a research scientist and eventually led production, innovation, marketing, and business development for Johnson & Johnson. Once established in the eld, Bush became an expert in beauty products.
During her 25 years in the consumer and healthcare products industry, Bush led product innovation for several global brands. She has also held leadership positions as the worldwide executive director of Skin Care Ventures and vice president of professional marketing at Neutrogena.
In 2006, Bush was approached by Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, who solicited her insight when they were in the startup phase of their premium skincare line. A year later, Bush accepted the role of president and CEO at Rodan + Fields. Her leadership helped the company to reach $600 million in revenue by 2015.
While Bush’s story is motivational, she’s providing financial inspiration to the next generation of female entrepreneurs—people like Camille Bell. Bell, a twenty-something Temple graduate, won $10,000 for a pitch she did in 2016 for her company, Pound Cake, an inclusive cosmetics company. Assistance for projects like Bell’s is possible partially through a lump sum donated by Bush to Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI).
“I think of myself as an enabler, moving obstacles for people and empowering them to do what they can do,” said Bush.
That’s not to say things have always been easy for Bush. She had a habit of tackling difficult projects that no one else wanted to touch, which didn’t fit in with the typical corporate resume progression.
“In the mid-1990s, I was very frustrated,” she said. “I was watching my peers being promoted to higher titles because they seemed to t the corporate prototype.”
Today she recognizes that not fitting in was the best thing that could have happened. “Ironically,” she says, “what I thought I wanted would have trained the courage out of me, to take on the crazy initiatives.”
3. Rakia Reynolds, BBA ’01
For Rakia Reynolds, a CEO, tastemaker, and influencer, re-defining what it means to work for herself has been a learning experience. As a wife and mother of three, Reynolds’ time is always in demand as the founder and president of Skai Blue Media, a public relations agency based in Philadelphia. She has worked with brands like Comcast NBCUniversal, Dell, the Home Shopping Network (HSN), United By Blue, Ted Baker, and others including Serena Williams’ clothing brand.
“The most successful people are the ones who find the secret sauce where work doesn’t feel like work,” said Reynolds in a 2017 interview with Marie Claire. “You wake up before your alarm goes off. You know the elevator pitch of your company without having to practice. You know what your career path is if you nd yourself thinking about it at night.”
Her touch seems to be on all things Philadelphia lately—she was Visit Philadelphia’s ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’ and also helped to lead the charge for Philly’s Amazon H2 bid.
“You have these defining moments where you have that window and you say, ‘It is my time’” she said in a 2017 interview with Philly.com.
Doling out advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is something Reynolds does on the regular, and she encourages people to establish a “friendtor” board, a combination of friend and mentor. She credits the word to her friend and colleague Almaz Crowe, now the chief of staff at Skai Blue. Reynolds relies on her own diverse group of friendtors for real talk, feedback, and opinions. She also believes in quality over quantity when it comes to social media, something she knows a bit about as the face of small business for Dell.
“Influence goes back to the basics—understand your audience and deliver value,” she said in an interview with FastCompany.com.
Tis the gift giving season. Whether your loved ones are Temple alumni, Philadelphia residents or simply love food and fashion with a touch of philanthropy, we can help you find the perfect gift.
The Fox School of Business has a network of alumni and students who are passionate about using the power of business to give back to their communities. Check out products and services founded by entrepreneurs and make a purchase you can feel good about.
Temple accounting alumnus Nicholas Adelizzi, BBA ‘09, and his husband Jovan opened Sparrow and Hawk Apothecary with the goal of providing customers with a diverse range of natural bath, body and beauty products. The brand is focused on customer feedback and encourages open and continuous dialog. As Sparrow and Hawk Apothecary grows, they will give back to the community and help customers calm and soothe their mind, body and soul.
Sisters and Temple alumnae Rachel Stanton, BBA ’14, and Sarah Stanton, BBA ’14, co-founded Fruitstrology. The company combines produce-themed clothing and philanthropy through a sustainable partnership with Philabundance’s KidsBites program and the Life Do Grow Farm in North Philadelphia. When you purchase a product from Fruitstrology, you help to ensure children in Philadelphia have access to fruit and education about healthy eating.
When Avi Loren Fox, ENST ’10, could not find the perfect hooded scarf for the cold weather months, she decided to make one herself. Beyond creating a new clothing category, the goal of Wild Mantle is to move the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction. Give your friends and family a gift that feels like a warm hug this holiday season!
After carb-loading this Thanksgiving, cookie exchanges and more, your loved ones
might be looking for healthier meal options. Gift them Simply Good Jars! Each convenient plastic jar includes a healthy meal made with local ingredients. Jared Cannon, MS ’16, has made it his mission to increase access to nutrient-rich food, while creating zero waste to the communities that his company serves.
Is someone on your list looking for modern, comfortable and ethically-made clothing
basics? Founded by Brandon Study, BBA ’17, Understand Your Brand is an apparel company that uses all-natural dyes. The clothing is made in a zero-waste Cambodian factory that pays employees above the living wage.
Pick up something for the bookworm in your life and support a Temple alumna at the same time. Ariell Johnson, BBA ’05, opened the doors of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in 2016. She has molded the shop into an inclusive environment for “geeks” of all types to drink coffee, read, play games and chat.
Know of any other businesses owned and operated by Fox School alumni that deserve to be highlighted? Contact us!
On a brisk, fall morning, 30 crisply-dressed Fox School of Business graduates and friends gathered for a Breakfast With Fox & TWN event on the topic of executive presence, at Temple University Center City.
Over breakfast, Allison Francis Barksdale, EMBA ’00, CEO of RISE Leadership and a member of Temple Women’s Network (TWN), presented Executive Presence–Do You Have IT? How To Cultivate the IT Factor In You. She discussed the concept of authenticity, and when pressed had this to say:
“I don’t think authenticity is worn out as a buzzword. When we get to its essence, buzzwords should be retired when we have achieved a certain level of understanding and I view authenticity as being tied to integrity, in which we’re making progress but still have a long way to go.”
Barksdale shared a few tangible resources, including an online quiz, “Test Your Executive Presence”, and also encouraged attendees to lead with their values, and discover their own answers to the following three questions:
- What is executive presence?
- Why is it important?
- How can you cultivate it?
Ashley Rivera, IME ’18, was one of the millennials in attendance. She commented on how important networking opportunities were to her career progression and how crucial it was to keep her network relevant after graduate school.
“I worked so hard for my degree—am I going to be a leader?” she wondered.
Like many other recent Fox School graduates, Rivera has experience working in startups and is hoping to create her own business. While at Fox, she attended events like the Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, which helped to instill her with a self-confidence that she could eventually turn an idea into a viable business.
“I know I can add value to a company with my leadership skills,” she said. “I have a diverse knowledge base and a strong group of supportive colleagues and former classmates.”
During her presentation, Barksdale—a certified life coach, encouraged people like Rivera to cultivate an executive presence by “ACE-ing” it.
“Awareness, know what your skills are,” said Barksdale. “Commit to make changes in areas you’d like to improve. And exercise your new skills until you’ve achieved the desired level of improvement.”
Former risk management student Derek Jones, BBA ’09, walked away feeling inspired.
“Allison said things about expressing your personality and to use that as an advantage,” he said. “In previous jobs, I found that I didn’t fit the culture. I think it’s important to be self-aware and inspire change or make a change if necessary.”
Barksdale thinks current Fox School students should work on developing three specific leadership qualities in order to jump-start their careers.
“Students should invest in developing competence, poise, and emotional intelligence,” she said. “Those skills will really help them with self-awareness and control as managers and leaders.”
Next up for Fox networking events will be the Holiday Party, hosted by the Fox School of Business Alumni Association on December 13th, from 5:30-8 p.m at The Acorn Club (1519 Locust St.). Early bird tickets are available until 11/23 here.
Just one year into business, Jared Cannon, MS ’16, founder of the healthy eating startup Simply Good Jars (SGJ) is making a bold pivot away from individual food-in-jars subscriptions toward a smart refrigerator model that the company says will offer growth and sustainability.
“Over the summer, our waiting list grew to over 750 people,” said Cannon. “So we decided to shut down subscriptions and move to a vending model.”
The decision may seem strange given the popularity of meal subscription services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. However, customer loyalty and enthusiasm gave SGJ instant credibility in 2018, when Cannon was selected as a Philadelphia Inquirer Stellar Startup finalist and Independence Blue Cross named him a semifinalist for the Health Hero Challenge.
Cannon and his team are working on securing the capital needed to bring their jars to smart fridges. Plans include nearly 40 of these refrigerators in coworking spaces across Philadelphia. SGJ is already in locations that include WeWork, Pipeline and the Brandywine Liberty Trust corporate office. Business success will mean changing lunch culture at work by building a customer base that is willing to pay for the convenience of healthy, delicious breakfasts and lunches.
There’s a shift happening in the startup landscape, according to Cannon, an energy that is motivating entrepreneurs to solve problems in cities rather than vice versa. He feels a personal responsibility to serve as a part of the solution, something the northern Delaware native may have gained from an unlikely upbringing. Before the chef-turned-entrepreneur took off on his tasty endeavor, Cannon benefited from some unusual experiences.
“In seventh grade I enrolled at a Democratic Free School to learn as an individual,” he said. “There weren’t classes, report cards or standardized tests.”
Cannon attributes his unique perspective as a business owner to his self-governed education. He was given permission to develop differently and to dabble in things he may have never tried—like engineering, computer mechanics and construction. Food wasn’t a focus at the Free School, but at home Cannon learned to love the culinary arts. In their kitchen, the big Cannon family came together. They also instilled a general enthusiasm for the outdoors in their children, which shaped Jared’s value system.
“I think something that’s baked into my generation is an awareness about how our product choices affect the environment,” he said. “My parents taught me to value food and not to waste it—that’s something I’ve carried into my business model.”
Social enterprise is also shifting at SGJ. Instead of contributing meals to Philabundance, the company is now donating funds to help support the Philabundance Community Kitchen. Beyond financial help, Cannon’s team is engaging with the Community Kitchen’s job placement and internship program to offer jobs to their low-income participants and graduates who hope to begin careers in the culinary field.
“We’re young, we’re growing, and there’s nothing better than working on something that you’re passionate about,” said Cannon. “The human element behind a product is the powerful differentiator.”
Beyond the business pivot, there’s more big news for Cannon and the SGJ team. He’s an expecting father just two years out of Temple and a year into business. And beginning in November, SGJ will celebrate another first—a stall at Reading Terminal Market that will be open from Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A refrigerator will be on site, though it won’t be smart. Exclusive breakfast and lunch jars will be sold, created in collaboration with other Reading Terminal vendors like Old City Coffee, Martin’s Meats and Sausages, Iovine Brothers Produce, Godshall’s Poultry, Pequea Valley yogurt and Condiment.
“The most stressful thing right now is having all of these dynamic people around me who have bought in, and are taking the risk with me,” he said. “I’m learning how to be the fearless leader that I’m supposed to be, and I take it very seriously that it’s not just me anymore.”
In the research world, the emphasis on statistically significant research results is so strong that often the art of the research process gets left behind. Luckily, a team of researchers at the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM) at Temple University recently offered a unique behind-the-scenes look at how they are advancing the commonly accepted research methods in their field.
Collaborative Self-Study: An Innovative Qualitative Research Method
Lead researcher Bradley Baker, PhD ‘17, found there was a lack of substantial progress in innovative methods, especially qualitative, in the sport management field. The antidote to this “lack of creativity, theoretical impact, and practical relevance” is to look past the traditional qualitative and quantitative approaches to embrace a novel way to do research: collaborative self-study.
Collaborative self-study, Baker explains, is a type of qualitative research where researchers study themselves and their own social environment, as opposed to traditional methods where the researcher is a separate, objective onlooker. While this method is still relatively new, it has already been embraced by similar fields, such as the sociology of sport. It provides a unique potential to break through barriers of access to data and research participants, while encouraging a deeper self-reflection by the researchers and strong collaboration between team members.
In their paper, “Collaborative self-study: Lessons from a study of wearable fitness technology and physical activity,” Baker and his co-authors—current STHM doctoral students Xiaochen Zhou and Anthony Pizzo; James Du, PhD ’17, and Professor Daniel Funk—use their experience with this method to advise future researchers on when and how it may provide additional, unique insights. Published in a special issue of the Sport Management Review focused on contemporary qualitative research methods, their paper gives an insider view on how the method worked in practice: “[researchers] ask research questions,” says Pizzo. “But the way we get at that data, that is the focus of this paper. It’s the story behind the story.”
Experiencing the Experiment
Seven sport management graduate students formed a research team to look into how collaborative self-study could be used as a research method. The team consisted of a mix of genders, ages, fitness levels, ethnicities, and professional backgrounds.
Each member received an Apple Watch to wear for one month to record their experiences, thoughts, and exercise levels in a daily journal. The team later shared their experiences in group discussions, identifying common themes found while interacting with the technology, such as social value and attention, influence on physical activity, and anxiety. The experiment gave them a deeper insight into using collaborative self-study as a research method, specifically the possible advantages and disadvantages.
Reflecting on Self-Study: Transparency, True Experience, and Teamwork
On the benefits side, the researchers stated their data had deeper insights and it was faster and more efficient to collect than traditional methods. By not having a barrier—physical, temporal, cultural, or otherwise—between themselves and participants, the researchers had a potentially unlimited, unfiltered data source. Additionally, discussing as a team provided an environment where they could further elaborate on their experiences, stimulate reflection in others, and bond. This collaborative discussion made the data insights more thorough than a simple content analysis of journals, as the researchers were able to clarify their experiences through reflecting on the experiences of others.
However, breaking the barrier between researcher and participant, though innovative, brings up questions of ethics and validity of data, as well as privacy and data security.
“Objectivity is the dominant tradition,” Baker says, “but now things are changing. […] Even what research question you are asking is already breaking absolute objectivity. In all studies, but especially in self-study, you have to be very transparent in your role and your perspective, what biases get integrated in your data.”
In order to ensure data validity, the researchers combined the deep reflection of self-study and the collaborative aspect of using multiple voices to combat the assumed presence of unchallenged assumptions, or researcher “blind spots.” Another possible detraction of this method is the nature of collaborative work: the need to agree, compromise, and end up with a coherent narrative formed by many different voices. This is where in-depth discussion and making sure all voices were heard helped enhance the experience.
Though having pros and cons like any other research method, collaborative self-study gives unique insights into people’s lived experiences and should be considered a valid method in any researcher’s arsenal. “Our hope is that the current work provides a measure of guidance regarding key ethical issues, benefits, challenges, and opportunities inherent to the approach,” Baker says. “We encourage other researchers to consider the potential benefits of collaborative self-study for their own research.”
The Fox School of Business Alumni Association (FSBAA) held an election for new leadership at its annual meeting in May.
Four new directors-at-large were elected and, along with the six other directors-at-large and the executive committee, they will help the FSBAA plan events, develop professional development opportunities, manage the budget, and much more.
We spoke with the new directors-at-large to learn more about their involvement in FSBAA and the one piece of advice that changed their lives.
Sasha Buddle, BBA ’16
Job: Human resources system specialist, AmeriGas; Supply specialist, U.S. Army; Fox School MS candidate
Best thing about FSAA: “I love the alumni association. There is a wide variety of events—like seeing individuals who are also successful and have the same educational background as me—and it really shows that greatness does not quit. And I love the ability to network with and meet new people I did not have a class with.”
Best advice ever received: “To be myself—to be my true and best self. This advice has stuck with me for years and at times when I feel like I have nothing more to give, I remember I am not a quitter and if I ever quit I am not being myself. I may fail, which gives me a chance to learn and try again, but I never quit.”
Fun fact: “I was born and raised in Jamaica. And I love dancing, even though I was never taught professionally.”
Anuja Deshmukh, BBA ’09
Job: Manager of business systems analysts and product development, Change Healthcare
Best thing about FSAA: “Meeting people: alumni from different graduating years, alumni working in different industries and jobs, families of alum. Temple Owls really are everywhere!”
Best advice ever received: “It has come to me in different forms of an Epictetus quote that goes, ‘It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.’”
Fun fact: “Most people are surprised to learn I was born in Louisiana even though I’ve been in the Philadelphia area since I was five-years-old.”
Michael Johnson, CLA ’14, MBA ’17
Job: Director of finance and administration, Philadelphia Futures
Best thing about FSAA: “I love connecting with and learning from fellow alumni across Fox’s powerful network.”
Best advice ever received: “Take ownership in everything you do.”
Fun fact: “The first time I left the country was on an international immersion trip with the Fox School. We went to India and it was really inspiring. You have this massive country with such rich history and vibrant culture, thousands of years old, that is also a world leader in disruptive innovations in technology and engineering. There is also a tremendous energy, optimism, and ambition among entrepreneurs and business leaders that is infectious.”
Corey Lewis, BBA ’17
Job: Global brand digital assistant, Essity
Best thing about FSAA: “The ability to be involved. Fox has contributed immensely to my professional development and it’s an honor to give back and pay it forward.”
Best advice ever received: “It came from my business ethics professor: The hardest thing to do is usually the right thing to do.”
Fun fact: “When I was a kid, I worked on ‘The Sixth Sense’ with a few of the set designers, but not on set. The movie itself was filmed in various parts of Philadelphia, with Bruce Willis’ character living on Delancey Street in Society Hill. We were in Maryland picking up some vintage pieces from a local auction in Crumpton, Maryland. My role as a 15-year-old was to mostly help move these heavy pieces from Maryland to a storage location. It was a short assignment, but an experience I was able to take advantage of due to some very exceptional networking on my part.”
Learn more about the Fox School of Business Alumni Association.
When Fox School students return to Alter Hall to begin Fall classes, they may notice someone is missing. Recessed lighting still brightens the lobby, but an electric smile no longer lights up the room—the smile’s owner being now-retired security guard Dave Covington.
To know Covington is to have experienced a warm, light-hearted greeting each day.
“You’re going to be late for class!”
Wednesdays seemed to be Covington’s favorite day, as he would utter his iconic line, “Happy Hump Day,” to greet the masses at the week’s midway point.
Since Alter Hall opened in 2009, Covington has been its gatekeeper. He began his career at Temple University on July 17, 1977, in the bookstore. Then he worked in Speakman Hall through the 1980s.
“I worked in shipping and receiving for three years,” he said. “Some of my fondest memories there were the Christmas parties we had—after the boss left, we sang Christmas carols over the PA system.”
After a switch to a “nice, easy job” in security on December 3, 1980, Covington was in for a surprise.
“They threw me to the wolves,” he said. “My first assignment was the dorms—J&H, 1300, Peabody, and McGonigle. Finally I told them, I need help!”
Encouraged by his colleagues to enter the Temple Municipal Police Academy, Covington completed the training in 1984 as part of the “Centennial” class of officers. However, he eventually returned to TU Security and was promoted to work in Speakman Hall, the business school building before Alter Hall was built.
“I’ve met some good folks in security over the years,” he said. “We used to have annual cookouts in Fairmount Park.”
Even with his salt and pepper hair and kind expression, there have been a few people who have dared to get past Covington. As a self-described “customer service” security guard, Covington has experienced people trying to push past, sneak by, or ask to “use the bathroom.” His years of service have added up to an instinct that is rarely wrong.
“I’ve learned to trust my gut,” he said.
Dave, our beloved security guard in Alter Hall, is retiring. We will definitely miss his happy greetings, but we wish him the best in his next chapter.
What's your favorite Dave memory? Reply to this tweet and we'll pass it along! pic.twitter.com/tx1OYgj03N
— Fox School (@foxschool) August 7, 2018
Covington, a diehard Philadelphia sports fan who earned a certificate in small business while working at Fox, grew up at 35th and Allegheny. As his city has changed, he has watched Temple and Fox do the same.
“It’s like an obstacle course around here,” he said. “There are so many new buildings.”
Over the years, food at Temple has been a pastime for Covington. He’ll miss gyros from Ernie’s Lunch Truck—a beloved food truck that’s tenure on campus hasn’t matched Covington’s, yet—the most. He liked his quick breakfasts of sausage, egg, and cheese in the quiet, secluded third floor PhD lab.
Retirement, for Covington, will take some getting used to. With a songlike rhythm to his voice, he spoke about what lies ahead. He’s been an early riser for the past 41 years, with a 6:30 a.m. roll call at Temple each day. His morning pleasantries, doled out by the hundreds for decades, will now be shared with just one special person: his wife, Naomi, a Temple graduate.
“She’s already got a honey-do list at home in Mount Airy,” he said.
An endless stream of well-wishers had kind words of farewell for Covington on his last morning in mid-August.
“I’ll miss messing with the pizza guys that came in to deliver at the student organization events,” he said. “Temple’s been good to me—what a journey, what a journey.”
Just a few short months ago, Joël Da Piedade, Nassera Seghrouchni, and Habibou Djima met as classmates in their Fox Executive MBA program in Paris, France. Today, they are business partners. These three EMBA graduates decided to take the work from their capstone project and create an actual consulting company.
“Our capstone customer was the COO of a French [tourism] organization,” explains Nassera. “We rapidly developed a consulting relationship while doing the strategic audit. We enjoyed the collaboration together, how we managed the challenges constructively to successfully help the COO transform his organization and manage the risks.”
Throughout their experience working on the capstone project, Joël, Nassera, and Habibou soon realized the market need for a dynamic tourism consulting firm. The group researched several existing companies experiencing similar challenges faced by their capstone customer. This demonstrated there was a significant opportunity coming to fruition.
The most impactful part of the group’s capstone experience was the individual relationships they created. Joël quotes the group-spirit, learning from his classmates, and challenging each other as the most memorable part of his capstone experience. “Each of us was engaged to deliver the best [product] and help each other.” The support provided by their teammates gave the group the confidence to take their capstone project to the next level and launch their company.
“Axiom Et Associes is a consulting firm in strategy and transformation,” says Nassera. “The goal is to help organizations such as SMEs [and] non-profits define and implement their strategies and transform by being innovative, ambitious and pragmatic. Axiom Et Associes provides consulting and solutions in transformation (360, digital), customer experience, operation excellence, and business development strategies.”
Learn more about the Fox Executive MBA program.
McIntyre, speaking to more than 1,200 Fox School undergraduate and graduate students earning degrees, as well as an arena packed with friends and families, was discussing how important it is for those who are successful to give back.
This was one of the many lessons offered to the Class of 2018 by McIntyre, the chairman of the Mid-Atlantic region for international insurance brokerage and risk management firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees.
He also discussed the importance of finding the right work-life balance, and spending time with family while simultaneously achieving professional goals. The Temple alumnus referred to his own family as an “Owl Family”—his wife and one of his daughters also graduated from Temple.
McIntyre talked about the importance of taking risks. “When you take risks, you reach your full potential,” he said, nodding to the innovative spirit of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. And he emphasized that taking risks makes you a better, stronger leader.
The student speaker was Kasey Brown, BBA ’18, a Management Information Systems major and member of the Association for Information Systems, a student professional organization.
“Like many of you,” said Brown about her time at the Fox School, “I discovered I had a deep desire to use the power of business to serve the poor. Here at Fox, I found my own definition of greatness right there, at the intersection of business and service. Right in the sweet spot between skill and kindness, hard work and charity.”
Brown’s next move will be to Wisconsin, where she will work as a Catholic missionary.
“Though your journey toward greatness may be confusing and challenging and hard to explain, one thing I know for sure is that, thanks to the Fox School of Business, you have everything you need to reach it,” Brown said. “You are an exceptional group of people, with endless talent, and an unquenchable thirst for helping others—and you’ve already changed the world.”
Alumni of the Fox School of Business at Temple University gathered with business leaders and guests at the Second Annual Accounting Achievement Awards on May 2, 2018, to celebrate their shared Fox School heritage and honor five noteworthy graduates of the Department of Accounting.
The annual event provided a great opportunity for the Fox School community to connect with fellow alumni from classes spanning 50 years, as well as make new industry contacts, meet current faculty and students, and learn about the recent achievements of the Department of Accounting at The Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia.
Among the nearly 250 guests were five alumni who received awards reflective of their impressive professional careers and civic service in the Greater Philadelphia region:
- Rising Star Award — Kapish Vanvaria, Senior Manager, EY
- Public Accounting Award — Robert W. Fesnak, CPA, Partner, RSM LLP
- Corporate Award — Kathleen C. Bock, CPA, Principal and Head of The Americas Region, The Vanguard Group
- Community Service Award — Harris L. Devor, CPA, Partner, Friedman LLP
- Lifetime Achievement Award — Wayne O. Leevy, CPA, Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, StoneRidge Investment Partners
The excitement of the honorees was obvious and their positive energy contagious as each expressed appreciation for the Fox School and enthusiasm in being recognized by their alma mater.
“There are many successful and accomplished accountants who are Temple Alumni. Many of them are sitting here tonight. So I am honored and thrilled to have received this award,” stated Robert Fesnak, Partner for RSM LLP as he reflected upon receiving the 2018 Fox School of Business Accounting Achievement Award for Public Accounting.
“I am ecstatic about being honored by Temple University with the Community Service Award because, for more than any other reason, it has little to do with accounting and everything to do with Community Service,” stated Harris Devor as he received his award. “If I had one thing to tell those young people here tonight, it would be that your achieving success does not make it optional, but instead obligates you to help those who never had those same opportunities, that is, if you believe that we are here in this world to achieve justice for all. Think about the impact you can have on those who cannot advocate for themselves, like low income seniors, like those frightfully short on food, clothing and shelter. Never, never forget that obligation.”
In addition to engaging and reconnecting with alumni and friends, attendees also supported the next generation of accounting professionals by raising funds for the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund, a scholarship created to support high-achieving accounting students in pursuing their undergraduate and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degrees.
Eric Press, Chairman of the Department of Accounting, noted that “Several of the honorees at the Second Annual Accounting Achievement Awards made it a point to ask the audience to work for social justice and equity causes. Not only Harris Devor, but Kathleen Bock and Wayne Leevy shared their experiences as gender and racial minorities, and emphasized how satisfying it was to receive recognition for career-long efforts from the Fox School. Another aspect of the event was the opportunity to reconnect with lost friends, faculty, and acquaintances.”
The Third Annual Accounting Achievement Awards is slated to take place in Spring 2019. The nomination process will open in Fall 2018.
There is still time to support the Accounting Achievement Awards Term Scholarship Fund. You can contribute online at www.giving.temple.edu/givetoaccounting
Learn more below about this year’s winners and their connection and affinity for the Fox School and click their names to watch videos.
2018 ACCOUNTING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
Kapish Vanvaria received the Rising Star Award, presented to a public or private accounting professional who has demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to the Fox School. Vanvaria, BBA ’09, is excelling as a senior manager in EY’s advisory practice in Philadelphia.
Robert Fesnak, CPA, received the Public Accounting Award, presented to a professional for outstanding success in the public accounting sector. Fesnak, BBA ’78 and MBA ’90, is a partner and management consulting leader with RSM in Philadelphia; furthermore, he has served as a board member for several companies and organizations, including the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies, where he is currently a member of the board of directors.
Kathleen Bock, CPA, received the Corporate Award, presented to an executive-level professional who has reached a level of success in the non-public accounting profession. This individual has primary responsibility for the financial statements or operations of their organization and has demonstrated technical and/or industry expertise. Bock, BBA ’86, is a member of The Vanguard Group’s International Leadership Team and Head of the Americas Region, where she is responsible for all aspects of The Vanguard Group’s businesses in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Harris Devor, CPA, received the Community Service Award for outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and local communities. Devor, BBA ’73, is a partner at Friedman LLP. He has served both the Philadelphia and Jewish community in various leadership positions including: President, Gershman YM/YWHA; Board of Directors, Senior Law Center; Chairman, Greater Philadelphia American Israel Public Affairs Committee (“AIPAC”) Leadership Council; and member of AIPAC National Council, Board of Trustees; Federation of Jewish Agencies.
Wayne Leevy, CPA, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to a professional who has advanced the accounting profession through their sustained leadership in public accounting, business, or academic communities. Leevy, BBA ’66 and MBA ’97, has had a distinguished career in the Philadelphia area, demonstrating professional excellence as a managing partner and vice chairman of Mitchell & Titus LLP and currently as the chief financial officer and chief operating officer of StoneRidge Investment Partners LLC, all while actively participating and holding leadership positions in both civil service and the accounting community.
The Stone family is celebrating two new doctors.
Thomas W. Stone and Thomas J. Stone, father and son, both complete their doctoral programs this month, successfully defending their dissertations for Temple University’s Fox School and the College of Liberal Arts, respectively.
For many, completing a doctoral degree is a long, solitary process of researching and writing. For the Stones, while their research topics and processes were distinct, they experienced this journey together.
The elder Stone, graduating as part of the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) 2018 cohort, completed his dissertation on the productivity of lean software development. Working alongside his cohort and with managers at his former company (previously Siemens Healthcare, now Cerner), Stone enjoyed his interacting with other business professionals in pursuit of his degree. “I began writing on this topic when I started in the DBA program three years ago and spent years developing it while working at Siemens,” says Stone. “The Fox School does a great job of building up to the dissertation.” He praises his advisor, Sudipta Basu, and his cohort classmates for their encouragement throughout the experience.
The younger Stone completed his doctoral degree in the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He studied how Latin American authors address historical events in their narratives and critique the “great man” theory, which treats the biography of notable men as the basis of history , under the guidance of his long-time advisor, Dr. Hortensia Morell. “These writers understand characters as part of both fiction and historical writing,” he says. The works are narratives about four Latin American individuals: Aztec emperor Montezuma, political leader Simón Bolívar, explorer Christopher Columbus, and revolutionary Che Guevara.
The pair empathized with each other’s experiences, understanding the challenges they faced and celebrating the completion of milestones. While they embarked on their own research journeys—father running field experiments and collecting and analyzing data, and son diving into literature with support from his advisor—the two shared a support system. “We both struggled to get through this,” says the father, “but we made it to the finish line together.”
The father’s pride is evident. He applauds the younger Stone’s success, praising his diligent work ethic in completing this accomplishment on his own terms. Both father and son will graduate together May 10 at Temple University’s 131st Commencement.
The elder Stone felt lucky to have his son go through this process with him. “He reminded me to order my cap and gown,” Stone laughs.
Learn more about the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program.
Sheila Ireland, BBA ’93, was recently appointed the executive director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Workforce Development. “There is no one better suited to lead this work than Ms. Ireland,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a press release. “She comes with decades of experience in workforce development, including national recognition for her expertise in coordinating industry partnerships. Her ability to understand and address the needs of industry in a way that is also acutely aware of the challenges facing Philadelphia residents will serve the people and businesses of our city well.”
Ireland, who majored in Human Resources at the Fox School and earned a master’s degree at La Salle University, has worked for many years in human resources and workforce development in both the public and private spheres. Her previous position was as deputy director of the City’s Workforce and Diversity Inclusion program.
We recently spoked to Ireland about her new position and some of the goals of the newly established Office of Workforce Development. She also gave some advice to high school students heading to college, and to college students heading off to new jobs after graduation.
What’s the biggest challenge of your new role?
“In order to implement the strategy, it’s going to require systems change. A lot of times when we look at Workforce Development, it’s program-based or service-based, and it’s based on a certain set of participants. But in this case, when you look at the strategy the way I look at it, it’s about systems alignment. When you see all the metrics, the ones for me that will really change things, will be where systems start to change and be more coordinated. Funding streams in the City of Philadelphia really need to be organized around quality, delivery, and services, where now it’s a hodgepodge of different things. Shared goals and common data systems are in the plan, and those will make a big difference that we’ll see in unemployment in Philadelphia.”
What excites you most about this position?
“What’s most exciting is that, in the city’s history, I’ve never seen the major players come to the table together like they are now. You never see the School District, and Philadelphia Youth Network, and Philadelphia Works, etc., at the same table talking about how we, as collaborators, can affect change in the city. It’s usually this conversation where if you put a lot of people into the same room a fight breaks out. Everyone advocates for their particular issue and it always ends up being that kind of conversation. We never have the conversation where we realize all these different services need to be offered in coordination so people can lift themselves out of poverty or return to employment. I think for the first time we’re starting to have that conversation, about how education connects with employment, and how workforce connects to employment. We’ve had those conversations before, but never in a coordinated way. We’re doing that now.”
I read “Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine,” the new citywide workforce strategy, and I noticed a big emphasis throughout on long-term job training. Now, with traditional pathways to employment and promotion structures eroding, and the rise of the gig economy, and so on, how do you accommodate for those changes through the lens of long-term job training?
“I’ll ask you to look at it differently. The center is the career pathways model. The focus is that it’s informed by the way people usually go through their careers versus the reality. The myth is, you go to college, you do well; you get a job, you do well; you advance, you advance, you advance. The reality is those people’s careers are more like Slinkys. Stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Unemployment happens. Industries contract. Enron. I could go on and on. People need the opportunity to partake in a system where there are entry and exit points no matter what the skill level. If you look at the career ladder, it starts at very low skill. Things like First Step Staffing, whose sole focus is getting people off the street and employed in two weeks is one end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is when we talk about our tech industry partnerships, where people talk about the real digital skills required to engage in what is one of the fastest growing sectors in Philadelphia and the country. So we’re talking about this systems based approach where, wherever you are, we as a city need to provide you to the resources you need to connect to work.”
As Philly high school students enter college, what skills do you think the city needs its future employees to have, and what should they be studying?
“It’s interesting that you say that because I normally get a different question. I normally get the question about how is Workforce connected to kids going to college, and the answer is they need the same skills. People use a lot of different terminology: soft skills, power skills, twenty-first century skills, etc. It’s emotional intelligence and the ability to delay gratification. It’s the ability to work effectively in a team. Team work says you don’t always get your way, that you work toward a common goal. It’s all connected. This is what employees look for, and they’re the hardest skills to get. It’s much easier to focus on tech skills, or quantitative skills. Really, the skill is about how to build a career, and how to envision moving away from the now and seeing the bigger picture of where you could be. I remember my first job, I worked for money, and I didn’t care what I did. I had a part time job in high school typing for a PhD candidate; I was in the tenth-grade typing letters because I had no idea what she was writing about! It was data entry. It was awful, but I learned so much. My parents said, ‘You can’t quit, you have to get it done because you made a commitment.’ That always stayed with me. That skill is important: tenacity in the face of unpleasantness. You can’t build a career without that.”
And for students graduating this month from the Fox School of Business and Temple University, why should they stick around to work in Philadelphia rather than take a job elsewhere?
“I’ll tell you my personal piece. I’m from Chicago; I’m not a Philadelphia native. I’ve had opportunities to leave the city, but I love it here. There’s a particular pace and charm that makes it very distinct from New York or D.C. Philly is a small big city. I enjoy that in a lot of ways. Despite the things that we struggle with, there are so many positive things happening here. In New York or D.C., you’re just a cog in the wheel. As a young person in Philadelphia who’s building their career and their vision about the impact and change they’re going to make in their lives, there’s an opportunity to be a part of the future of the city.”
Learn more about the Fox School’s Department of Human Resource Management.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute‘s 20th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, where Temple University students and recent alumni live pitch their bold business ideas, happens Thursday, April 19, at Alter Hall, home of the Fox School of Business.
The 12 finalists will compete for $200,000 in prizes, which will help launch their businesses and take them to the next level. For more information, and to RSVP to the live pitch contest, click here.
In preparation for BYOBB® 2018, we spoke with several past winners and finalists to learn more about the state of their businesses back when they competed, where they are now, and what their next big move will be.
Founder: Joe Green, BBA ’12
About Affinity Confections: “Affinity Confections creates pastries and desserts featuring premium natural ingredients without any artificial flavors or colors. All of our confections are created to be portion controlled and seasonally inspired to highlight seasonal flavors.”
BYOBB® 2015 prize: Third place, upper track ($5,000)
Then: “We were in the growth stage of the business, framing out additional revenue streams, but we were already profitable as a company during the pitch. We wanted the prize money to build out operations.”
Now: “We are currently in another growth phase, expanding our baking operations and creating more packaged products for retail sale. We’ve also gotten several contracts in Philadelphia, with institutions such as University Of Pennsylvania and CHOP.”
What’s next: “We’re working on building production and retail space.”
Founder: Jung Park, BBA ’16
About Cocktail Culture: “Cocktail Culture Co. offers a booking platform for immersive experience-based activities such as cocktail classes and whiskey tastings. We teach the art & craft of mixology with freshly squeezed juices, homemade syrups, and premium ingredients. Our interactive classes offer a promotional channel for liquor brands to market their products for consumer purchase and usage.”
BYOBB® 2016 prize: Third place, undergraduate track ($5,000)
Then: “We were going through the formation/ideation phase. I was still brainstorming the concept, sizing the target market, figuring out how to create value for the consumer, and how to make the idea scalable.”
Now: “We are in the middle of the validation stage. Last year, 2017, was our first real year in business! The first six months were kind of scary, but we saw all our hard work pay off after August. After August was still scary, but a different type of scary, because we were getting flooded with sales and it was definitely overwhelming for our small staff. Some other big changes and growths we had since we were in the BYOBB® ? Well, our website isn’t on GoDaddy Website Builder anymore, so that’s good! That was definitely an ugly time for us. In the beginning, when you don’t have money, resources or help in general, you’re forced to do everything yourself, even when you’re not good at it). We also got a real logo and we’re building traction on corporate sales. We’ve served major names, like Viacom, Microsoft, and ATKearney; and we’re doing an event with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, so that’s exciting. We’ve been chasing bachelorette parties for a whole year (and some change), so we’re happy to see our hard work pay off. We have bachelorette parties all the time now and they’re almost always $500 to $1200 sales.”
What’s next: “The next step for Cocktail Culture Co. is more sales! We’re trying to figure out the maximum market potential in Philadelphia right now. Last year was proof that it’s a profitable concept. We’re getting our numbers up at our current location and figuring out if it’s a good idea to open a second location in the Philly suburbs. We’ve been talking a lot about Atlantic City in the past two months, so I’m hoping that works out by the end of this year or beginning of next year.”
Founder: Andrew Nakkache, BS ’16
About Habitat: “Founded in 2013, while at Temple University, Habitat is a Philadelphia-based company passionate about helping local businesses and committed to accelerating new ways to live and work within the ‘convenience economy.’ Today, Habitat helps restaurants by providing them a single delivery fleet for all of their orders. We do this through aggregating orders from various ordering sources (Grubhub, Eat24, Phone-ins, etc.).”
BYOBB® 2015 prize: First place, undergraduate track ($21,000)
Then: “We were trying to do too many things then. Our app was a hyperlocal marketplace that looked like Instagram, and functioned like Craigslist, but only for college students and local businesses.”
Now: “We pivoted twice since the BYOBB®. Our first pivot was to focus on food delivery on college campuses: think Caviar for campuses. This pivot gave us focus and insight into the market, which ultimately led to our more recent and successful pivot. We realized that restaurants had a much bigger pain around managing online orders rather than receiving more of them. We’re now B2B, working behind the scenes, and the best part is, as Grubhub gets bigger, so do we!”
What’s next: “This year is all about distribution partnerships that give us scale. We recently signed two partnerships with online ordering companies that have over 50,000 restaurants combined!”
Founder: Nick Delmonico, GMBA ’17
MBA concentration: Health Sector Management
About Strados Labs: “For clinicians seeking critical respiratory data, Strados utilizes proprietary technology to collect and transmit data in a simple, non-invasive manner, improving outcomes and saving money.”
BYOBB® 2017 prize: Grand prize; First place in the Urban Health Innovation track ($60,000)
Then: “Strados Labs had designed a proof of concept prototype and conducted several customer journey maps and studies. As an early start-up, we focused heavily on understanding the pain points of our stakeholders, both patients and caregivers in managing and monitoring exacerbations and complications due to airway compromise. We found that there was a major data gap between what patients knew about their own signs and symptoms and what care teams know about patients in advance of a hospitalization event. We competed in BYOBB® to raise the necessary funding to further the development of our product, and to refine our value proposition to health organizations.”
Now: “Since 2017, Strados has raised more than $200,000 through a combination of business competitions, grants, and early investors. We have finalized our minimum viable product (MVP) and are in the process of conducting a clinical study at a major health system in New York. We have also participated in three globally ranked accelerator programs including NextFab RAPID, Brinc.io Global IoT, and Texas Medical Center Accelerator (TMCx) Cohort 6. The programs not only provided access to capital, but enabled our company to create collaborative partnerships with leading health institutions and care platforms across the country. Strados expanded its management team to include a highly experienced medical device CTO with successful exits and a clinical advisory team that includes physician leaders in pulmonary medicine and respiratory therapies with multiple successful medical devices and drug launches.”
What’s next: “Strados will be launching pilot studies with clinical partners over the course of the summer and will be moving the Strados product further through a full commercial launch. We have some additional partnerships in the pipeline that we are excited to announce in the near future.”
Founder: Lisa Guenst, BA ’13
Major: Community and Regional Planning
About ToothShower: “ToothShower is an oral home care suite for the shower.”
BYOBB® 2017 prize: First place, upper track ($20,000)
Then: “It was our first business plan ever written and there was no revenue. We were in the prototype stage.”
Now: “We have our tooling completed from money we raised on crowdfunding—we raised more than $325,000 through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. And our first run sample has been tested and we are waiting for our second sample to test.”
What’s next: “Once we deliver the product to our crowdfunding backers, we will move into ecommerce sales.”
Founder: David Feinman, BBA ’15
Major: Entrepreneurship, Marketing
About Viral Ideas Marketing: “At Viral Ideas, we create to inspire. We work with companies as their dedicated video partner. We are a modern video production company built for new media. We believe in the power of defining companies why and sharing their why through video and modern media production.”
BYOBB® 2017 prize: Second place, upper track ($10,000)
Then: “Two and a half years ago, while still in college, Zach Medina and I started Viral Ideas with $250 of our own money and just one client. At the time of BYOBB, we had 42 clients and were working out of our office space in Southampton, Pennsylvania. Other than BYOBB® winnings and our original $250, we are proud of the fact that we’re entirely self-funded while sustaining 2x year over year growth.”
Now: “Growing the business hasn’t been easy. It’s meant putting our heads down to focus only on work, overcoming the challenges that most startups face, giving up a social life and making significant sacrifices along the way. Now, less than three years into the business, we were voted Best in Bucks for Media production by Bucks Happening and have more than 120 clients while also working with some of the most significant brands in the world. In 2018, we’re on track to double our revenue again and fully launch our technology platform.”
What’s next: “We’re working to simplify the process of creating a video. After building more than 700 videos for some of the most significant companies in the world, we’ve learned that the process can be drawn out, time-consuming, and complicated. We intend to solve this problem by creating a technology which reduces the amount of time required to develop a video through a technical solution.”
Founder: Ofo Ezeugwu, BBA ’13
About Whose Your Landlord: “WYL is a web platform empowering and informing the rental community by providing landlord reviews, neighborhood and community-driven content, and access to more than 500,000 listings across the U.S.”
BYOBB® 2014 prize: First place, upper track; Best plan by a minority entrepreneur ($20,500)
Then: “We had just launched, with maybe 10,000 or 20,000 users.”
Now: “750,000 users, people looking for reviews/rentals (25% MOM growth). 70,000 blog readers/mo (43% MOM growth). More than 500,000 active listings nationwide. Renter search queries, 230% MOM growth. 10,000 landlord reviews in the Northeast. Corporate partnerships with American Express, Allstate, Roadway Moving, Dominion, etc. Recent coverage in Forbes, New York Post, NowThis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavity, Curbed, Newsweek, TechCrunch, etc.”
What’s next: “We are raising capital at republic.co/whoseyourlandlord (go invest!) and working with Univision on a podcast focusing on the following: ‘WhoseYourLandlord (founded in 2013) is a web platform empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews, neighborhood-focused content, and by providing access to quality listings across the United States. Their brand has become synonymous with realness, community, and growth. In a time where multicultural communities are under attack in many places across the world, The Take Ownership podcast highlights insightful stories and people who are really doing the work to enlighten folks on mentally and economically taking ownership of the spaces they live in.'”