“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current Fellow Colin O’Shea.
Learning by doing is the way Temple University’s Fox Board Fellows get things done.
Since 2011, more than 95 nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area have benefitted from the work done by more than 180 graduate students at the Fox School of Business.
“This is a really rich relationship from our perspective,” Professor T.L. Hill, managing director of Fox Management Consulting (FMC), says. “It’s the best way for our students to learn as well as provide good service to the nonprofits.”
After an application and interview process, graduate students are placed on nonprofit boards as visiting, non-voting members. Fellows then work with their partner nonprofits on a higher-level project and produce a research report as part of the elective Non-Profit Governance graduate course taught by Hill.
In the latest cohort, 18 students in several programs were matched with 18 nonprofits serving a range of communities and interests in the Delaware Valley. The fellows work with their organization over the course of an academic year, allowing participants to gain an in-depth understanding of board governance and practice effective board membership.
“You don’t get the same effect when you are exclusively in a classroom,” says current fellow Colin O’Shea. “So being able to actually sit on the board of an organization is such a deep dive and a great opportunity and learning experience.”
O’Shea is now part of the effort at Philadelphia Youth Basketball, a sports-based youth development organization that works to create opportunities for young people to reach their potential as students, athletes and positive leaders.
“We are really looking forward to this opportunity,” says Diana Venezia, MS ’17, director of development at the organization. “These past few months have been a time of learning for all of us and we are really excited.”
Stressing that this experience goes deeper than an internship, Hill encourages nonprofit leaders to challenge their fellows by allowing them to delve into what he calls the “ownership and institutional pressures” required to meet an organization’s mission.
The ownership pressures have to do with whether or not a nonprofit has the assets and the foundation to do what the work it wants to do. The institutional pressures involve culture on both the board and within the organization and it stakeholders.
“These are areas where there might be really interesting, useful projects that will help the board and the organization move forward in a way that the nonprofit might not have the capacity to think about,” Hill says.
The program is structured around a series of four Saturday seminars at Temple’s Main Campus as well as time the fellows spend working directly with their nonprofit. The seminar topics cover the basic governance issues that many boards face including nonprofit economics, impact measurement, management of the executive director and finances.
“Depending on the projects the students are working on, special topics also emerge,” Hill says.
In the past there have been discussions about earned income streams, leadership succession and merger discussions.
“Throughout it all, the project and the research is the core piece,” Hill says, adding that the overall experience prepares the fellows for future board service.
Fellow Chris Barba, who has been paired with the Montgomery and Delaware County-based nonprofit Girls on the Run, will be working on several areas including program growth, fundraising and overall strategy.
The organization, with international headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, uses a curriculum-based program that creatively integrates running to deliver a social, emotional and motivational learning experience.
“I have, and will always have, a social sector top-of-mind focus and Fox Board Fellows allows me the opportunity to continue to do this work.”
“I’m excited to really contribute to the goal of how to make growth happen for this organization,” Barba says.
Tracy Ashdale, founder and executive director of the local council, believes in the power of the experience the fellow has on both themselves and her organization.
“The fellows bring a level of curiosity and inquiry with them,” Ashdale, BSW ’92, MSW ’94, says. “The experience offers the opportunity to see things differently from what we generally see. That often translates into innovation for our organization.”
Venezia adds the original project Philadelphia Youth Basketball had in mind went through some changes and evolved as O’Shea and the organization got to know each other better.
“Our original idea pivoted from an analysis of our donor database and email strategy to a new focus on volunteer engagement and streamlining that process,” she says. “There is a huge opportunity for growth for us and it can be a missed opportunity.
“But after our both our internal conversations and our meetings with Colin, we have a better idea now of what we need and where we need to go. Colin gets us and that’s great for everyone.”
For more information about the program, contact Maureen Cannon, email@example.com.
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.
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.
“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.
It’s not always easy to get business professionals to quickly reach a consensus.
“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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-204-3990.
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.
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.
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.
“People are funny about money,” said Corinne O’Connell, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.
On November 3rd, 2018, Fox Board Fellows hosted a workshop to address the struggles of nonprofit fundraising.
As the featured guest speaker, O’Connell brought her twenty plus years of experience in the field of fundraising to share with the MBA students by presenting her strategic thought process when asking for donations.
“The nonprofit world is being challenged,” said Ellen Marshall. As an advisor for Fox Management Consulting and Strategic Clarity Advisors, Marshall has been working in the nonprofit realm for over twenty years, and attended the workshop in order to better understand the Fox Board Fellows program. “For nonprofits to meet the growing needs and address this massive game-changing changes, it can’t be like it was back in the day.”
One of the most pressing obstacles when managing a nonprofit is maintaining financial stability. Money is a very sensitive issue, which makes it especially difficult for board directors when asking for donations and allocations from individuals and large organizations. In addressing this issue, and reinvigorating the purpose of the nonprofit’s endeavor, O’Connell spoke about how she manages to keep her purpose clear and strong while persuading potential donors to believe in her cause.
Her nonprofit Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia was established in 1985 as an independently chartered branch of Habitat for Humanity International, the largest home building nonprofit organization in the world.
“There is never enough money, and there is entirely too much need,” O’Connell said. “To put that need into context, 800 people call us a month. 800 people. We’re right now building 12 houses a year and repairing 100.”
As a member of the board for a nonprofit, fiscal responsibility is central to managing a successful organization, because nonprofits aren’t in business for monetary profit, they fundraise for a cause.
As CEO, O’Connell spends about half of her time asking donors for monetary support. The concept of fundraising is central to the survival of not for profit organizations, allowing them to fully provide for their community.
In her explanation of how to successfully fundraise, O’Connell emphasized the importance of maintaining existing relationships in order to foster strong donor loyalty. She asserted that, for most people, numbers and statistics are not convincing enough to connect them to the cause. There needs to be an underlying purpose that the potential donor can connect to, a cause that they can identify with, reflected in their own lives.
“You know what works? Empathy,” O’Connell said. “You gotta make a connection with people, you gotta create empathy, and you have to have people feel and know that they are empowered and that their gift counts.”
To create these connections, she suggested treating any kind of support with the same level of gratitude as with a large six figure donation. Empathy is the reason people will care about a nonprofit’s cause. “The why. That is why people give,” O’Connell said. “Start with the why, and it’s a personal thing.”
O’Connell’s speech heavily focused on the necessity to create interpersonal connections and build a relationship with the potential donor, in which effective communication and having a strong sense of the organization’s purpose will lead to success.
“She presents Habitat in such a way where she hones it down and says this is how you can help, by supporting this organization and talking about the breadth and depth of what they do, not just that they do it,” Marshall said about O’Connell’s presentation. “Telling that story and talking about what it means to have a passion or drive simplifies that complexity and helps people understand that they can act.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, by 2050 the world’s population will have an estimated 9.1 billion people, and food production will need to expand by 70 percent in order to match the increased rate of consumption. The future of food security is in the hands of consumers and producers and what they can do to create sustainable food systems to account for the predicted growth.
On a smaller scale, agriculture in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region is facing some changes to its operations. Design thinking might not be top of mind for agriculture, but approaching solutions through these practices yields some fresh insights for a healthy food system.
Marilyn Anthony, director of business development for Fox Management Consulting, and the Vice President and Agricultural Lending Manager of Ephrata National Bank William Kitsch teamed up to lead an interactive workshop for the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (NESAWG) annual “It Takes a Region Conference” held in Philadelphia October 26 and October 27th, 2018.
Anthony’s and Kitsch’s workshop, “Here’s the Data: Let’s Design the Solutions,” used principles of design thinking to encourage participants to create consumer and user-oriented solutions to obstacles facing farmers and producers. “What surprised me was that everyone found a topic that they are passionate about and wanted to work on,” Anthony said. “We asked our workshop audience to think from the perspective of a user, someone who could benefit from or who could participate in Pennsylvania’s strategic recommendations and to think about how they could connect.”
Anthony and Kitsch presented the results of a research study, led by Temple University’s Fox Management Consulting group, a cohort of OMBA students, and the Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm E-consult Solutions, exploring 10 sectors of agriculture in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and Team Pennsylvania funded the research project, forming the basis for PDA’s strategic recommendations. The resulting six strategic initiatives focused on improving the branding and marketing, infrastructure of processing and manufacturing, business climate, workforce development and educational opportunities, and diversity of products within food systems in order to create more opportunities for Pennsylvania growers and producers.
Kelly Kundratic, the Manager of Agriculture Policy and Programs for Team Pennsylvania, took an active role in the workshop. “Learning the design thinking process and really stepping back, thinking from a place of empathy, looking at these goals, that’s something that I use now as much as I can,” Kundratic explains. “It can be time consuming, but really reframes how I’ll approach helping government and industry move together to act upon these six strategic initiatives. Trying to be empathetic and use the design thinking model will help me be able to do my job more effectively.”
Emphasizing the core take-away from the workshop, Anthony explains, “what was very valuable and useful was getting people to think about who, other than themselves, might be in that space and to begin to generate some ideas for how they could make an impact.”
Workshop participants brought their experience and perspectives from Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Many participants actively work to create more accessible and equitable food system as educators, nonprofit advocates, and funders.
Founded in 1992, NESAWG is a network of more than 500 organizations across Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. It works with
organizations and individuals involved in every sector of sustainable agriculture from farming and ecology to architecture and social services to garner awareness and support for the creation of just, sustainable food systems.
Are you interested in learning about sustainability topics? Check out “BlockChain Technology for Sustainable Procurement” in the Fox Video Vault.
Horns blare. A moped pushes its way into the visual anarchy of West Bengal traffic. The sun beats down through a thick haze of pollution. Meanwhile, four Fox School MBA students thread their way onto a side street.
The students stop at a small building in the heart of Kolkata, the international headquarters of Sari Bari. Through Fox Management Consulting they are here to help Sari Bari operate more efficiently and increase the revenues that fund their social mission of helping women who are stuck in, or at risk of entering, the sex trafficking industry in India.
“One of their biggest tasks is workforce development,” says Austin Litteral, an MBA student who worked on the project. “It can take a full year to help a woman rehabilitate physically and emotionally to the point where they can work.” Among other skills, the women often need basic reading and writing skills so they can sign their names and fill out standard forms.
When the women are ready, they are taught to sew to reshape second-hand Saris into brilliantly colored blankets and handbags. Younger women are employed to make the kanthas, traditional Indian blankets sewn from layers of retired saris.
Kantha blankets require long, straight lines of cutting and hand sewing which can be difficult for older women with less dexterous hands. To address this, Litteral explains, “Sari Bari introduced a new line of clutches years ago which required shorter cuts and were easier for the older women to sew.”
Planning new products to better serve employee needs is one of the many adaptions Sari Bari has made in order to balance its social and financial priorities. For the MBA students accustomed to addressing only one bottom line, the project was a lesson in creating synergies.
Litteral recalls, “At one point we suggested to management that they restructure workflow for efficiency, and they responded, ‘If we do that, it will open up more warehouse space for us to hire more women.’ Those were the terms they were thinking in.”
Louis M. Tritton served as the project executive for the Fox MC team, utilizing her years of experience in ecological consulting to offer recommendations and support. She noted that, given the unique demands of Sari Bari’s work, her team couldn’t simply consult from home.
“The Fox team immediately recognized the value of visiting the production sites, talking with sewers and managers, and observing the business in person,” Tritton said. “The trip to Kolkata made their recommendations practical and feasible.”
The team provided Sari Bari with a model for tracking costs and managing outputs more effectively, as well as recommended pricing and process improvements that should allow Sari Bari to meet and grow the sizable demand for their products.
Litteral’s teammate, Dorie Heald, said the project utilized the breadth of her MBA training. “HR, production, marketing, logistics, managerial accounting—we got to use all of that in our project. Plus, it felt good to know our changes would ultimately help Sari Bari employ more women.”
Back in Kolkata, a door opens. The students step into a room filled with women’s voices and brightly colored cloth. Like the women themselves, the students are hopeful that each piece they pull together will help Sari Bari become a stronger, more cohesive whole.
Fox Management consulting has completed over a hundred projects for non-profits, start-ups, and businesses around the world. Connect with us to learn what we can do for you.
Learn more about Fox School MBA programs.
You probably already know Pennsylvania is the mushroom growing capital of the world, that it’s flush with cows and laying hens, and that each year it ships jaw-dropping quantities of potato chips and pretzels.
But did you know the state is the top producer nationwide for export-grade hardwoods? How about that it boasts the top horse breeding farms in the country? Or that it ranks second in the nation for organic farm sales?
A comprehensive new report by Fox Management Consulting (involving 50 students, and 5 advisors) and Econsult Solutions, commissioned by Team Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, examines threats and opportunities facing agriculture in Pennsylvania. With $136 billion in yearly output and over 9-percent of all PA jobs, the future of the sector is intimately tied to the future of the commonwealth.
Changing Consumer Preferences
Customers, like agriculture, are changing. Bill Black, who oversaw the Fox Management Consulting class which accompanied the project, remarked, “I don’t think anyone realized the level of consumer interest in organics and local. It’s just one of the things that crept up on the marketplace.”
Between 2012 and 2016, production of organics in Pennsylvania more than doubled, topping $659 million in 2016. Yet many farmers are still reluctant to adopt organics, unsure if the trend will stick.
Meanwhile, some consumers are moving away from dairy altogether. In the last few years, milk dumping became a major concern for farmers across the nation as consumers moved towards alternative products, like soy and almond milk.
Bill Kitsch works closely with farmers in his role as vice president and agricultural lending manager with PA-based Ephrata National Bank. He worked as an advisor on the project and says the agricultural sector faces unique constraints in adjusting to changing demand.
“Farmers have to make decisions about how many hens to buy or how many cows to bring to milk 18 to 24 months in advance.” Kitsch explains this long time horizon makes it difficult for farmers to be agile as consumer preferences are in flux.
The report also pointed out that Pennsylvania lacks sufficient milk and protein processing facilities. This leaves farmers trucking milk long distances, decreasing its shelf life, increasing costs for farmers, and reducing the economic benefits to the state.
To better support farmers, Fox MC and Econsult recommended increasing processing capacity within the state, education opportunities, and financial support for farmers as they adjust their operations to line up with demand.
Opportunities for Marketing Collaboration
Even as farmers wrestle with organics, Pennsylvania is already well-positioned to respond to another consumer trend. With 88.3-percent of state farms owned by families or individuals and more than half selling less than $10,000 each year, the state is primed to meet consumer demand for traceable and local food.
The PA preferred brand, approved in 2004 and enacted in 2011, already markets the state’s agricultural wealth. The report argues that PA Preferred should shift its brand identity to become even more synonymous with local goods and traceable food.
PA Preferred Brews, launched in 2017, is a subsection of PA Preferred aimed at supporting Pennsylvania’s $5.8 billion brewing industry. To qualify, breweries must brew in, and use agricultural commodities from, Pennsylvania. In addition to providing branding, the program promotes branded taps, handles, and coasters at venues across the state and has partnered with the Penn State Extension to further support local hops growers.
Programs like PA Preferred create increased value for food manufacturers, producers, and consumers. Through continuing to innovate under this brand, PA can bring new growth and synergies to other sectors with agriculture.
Building the Next Generation of Farmers
While marketing, education, and incentives are helpful in supporting farmers, the state faces another challenge. With 75,000 new and replacement jobs opening in the sector in the next decade, accounting for approximately 2-percent of all state jobs, developing a new agricultural workforce is a major concern.
“There aren’t enough young farmers because they see how hard their parents and grandparents are working and they see how little they’re making,” explains Black. “If the Department of Agriculture can help farmers be more profitable, then the industry would be more attractive to younger farmers.”
Increasing automation is driving a need for STEM skills within agriculture. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has encouraged several programs to support education, including the Jobs that Pay Apprenticeship Program for STEM Jobs in Agriculture, introduced by the Wolfe Administration in 2017.
The report also encourages loan forgiveness programs for high-shortage careers like large animal veterinarians, increases in agricultural education in existing STEM programs, and exploration of an ex-offender to work program to alleviate workforce shortages.
From climate change to new technologies, consumer preferences to workforce shortages, this analysis from Fox MC and Econsult Solutions highlights that many things about the future of Pennsylvania agriculture are uncertain. Yet when it comes to the strategic importance of the sector for Pennsylvania, and the significant impact that state policies and incentives will have on its future, the report leaves little room for doubt.