Photo from Reggie Hoops
Photograph by Joseph Labolito

This winter, the Department of Theater will embark on its second round of an innovative playwriting initiativecommissioning and producing a world premiere playthanks to Fox alumnus David Steele, BBA ’91. In 2016, Steele, the founder and CEO of One Wealth Advisors in San Francisco, established the Playwright Residency Program at Temple University’s Department of Theater.

A true everyman, Steele began his professional career with J. P. Morgan Securities, but soon branched out as an entrepreneur. Once he was confident and secure in his success, Steele pondered the expansive possibilities of his professional life.

Now he is the founder and manager of five businesses from restaurants to yoga studios in the San Francisco area. In addition to his primary business One Wealth Advisors, Steele is the co-creator Moxie Yoga & Fitness, founder and Managing Partner of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, Managing Partner of Foxsister Hospitality Group and Managing Partner of Noise Pop Industries, an independent music promoter. 

Steele is also a board member of Playground, a nonprofit playwright incubator in San Francisco and the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a nonprofit service organization that empowers working artists and emerging arts organizations across all disciplines. 

His longtime interest in the arts and the perceived lack of arts patronage on the West Coast led Steele back to Temple University. “We don’t have a patron artist culture or society as I wish we did. This [program] is really just a form of patronage,” says Steele. 

When Temple approached him with the residency proposal, Steele, a visual artist and playwright himself, felt it was a perfect match for his ideals and investment. “They came up with a concept that was absolutely perfect with my ideas and my ideals,” says Steele. “I really didn’t have anything to add to it. And I equally believe in getting out of the way of artists.”

The past, present and future of the program 

The Playwright Residency Program was developed by former Temple professor Edward Sobel, past Director of New Play Development at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. It is uniquely structured to support playwrights and their work. Playwrights are guaranteed a full production of the play following a short development process, allowing them to remain in close contact with the original generative impulse. They also have the opportunity to write for a known ensemble of actors and artists to create pieces suited to the strengths of the students at Temple University. 

The first result of the program was the 2017 production of Reggie Hoops by Kristoffer Diaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Diaz created a full length drama about a former NBA assistant general manager faced with the decision between the profession she loves and the family life she cherishes. The world premiere production featured the six 2018 master of fine arts (MFA) acting students as well as original designs from MFA design students.

This academic year, a new class of students will have the opportunity to participate in the program with playwright Marisela Treviño Orta, a Mexican-American artist whose work has been produced at the Marin Theater Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arizona Theatre Company, among others. The actors and designers will work directly with Treviño Orta and director, Professor Lindsay Goss, on Somewhere, a drama about a world on the verge of ecological collapse. The production will run from January 29 to February 9 in Randall Theater.

To purchase tickets to Somewhere, click here

Temple University’s Dr. Kathleen Reeves (right) delivers testimony during a state hearing on the impact of gun violence on communities. Caterina Roman, assistant professor of criminal justice at Temple, also testified at the hearing. [Photo by Karen Naylor]
One by one, members of a community caught in the center of the gun violence crisis came to the table, adjusted the microphone and told their stories.

Leaning in and listening intently were several members of Pennsylvania’s Special Council on Gun Violence, all seated in a large, second-floor room at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University’s Health Sciences Campus.

The council, created in August by Gov. Tom Wolf, has been traveling the state holding hearings, engaging stakeholders and identifying recommendations and best practices they believe will one day reduce gun violence. The council visited North Philadelphia on Dec. 5 for its fifth and final stop.

Among those waiting to testify was Dr. Kathleen Reeves, a pediatrician who is senior associate dean of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the director of the Center for Urban Bioethics at Temple University.

Reeves is passionate about the work being done by Philadelphia CeaseFire Cure Violence, a public health violence intervention program housed at the bioethics center. The program, which originated in Chicago, was replicated in 2011 and operates in portions of the city’s 22nd and 39th Police Districts. 

She firmly believes in the organization’s premise that the violence happening in communities is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such.

“Gun violence is as contagious as any other disease,” Reeves testifies. “We’ve known this for over 10 years. We see it each and every day and the wonderful people in this room live it each and every day.

“We need to be working the problem like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) would handle an epidemic: interrupt the spread, keep people away from the contagion and vaccinate them. Give (people) the opportunities and the tools that everyone deserves to be able to live a life free of violence.”

But in order to accomplish that, resources, including additional funding, are needed.

Reeves detailed recent research that reported a reduction in gun-related violence in a police district where the city’s Ceasefire Cure Violence program currently operates. Using a series of scenarios, she explained how the return on investment can increase when efforts go beyond the immediate and primary needs in the battle against gun violence. 

“If we expand that effort to include secondary health care needs, mental health care needs, prison costs and lost wages, we actually see the return on investment go up,” she says.

Reeves was able to show examples in her testimony with the assistance of a modeling tool created by an MBA student team at Fox Management Consulting (FMC). The team’s members, Ethan Kannel, Rebecca Wolf, Megha Aggarwal, Alexandra Alicea and Vidya Sabbella, did the client consulting work as part of their MBA capstone course with FMC.

“The tool is a dynamic and flexible system that takes into account all of the variables that impact the cost of gun-related violence, ranging from immediate medical costs like ER care through societal consequences such as incarceration,” says Donald Phillips, FMC project executive for the student team. 

“The students’ experience was a total immersion in this healthcare issue, from a political, sociological and economic point of view. You’re not always going to get that opportunity.”

Kannel, who was at the hearing with Rebecca Wolf, was pleased to see the team’s work included in the day’s testimony.

“A lot of schoolwork that you do, you think it won’t go anywhere,” Kannel says. “But the day after we presented our project, we heard our numbers in a hearing.”

Wolf was grateful that her experience with the project was used in an impactful way.

“The most important work we did in the project was related to finances and that was used directly in the hearing,” says Wolf. “It’s a great feeling.”

Now that the hearings are done, the panel will begin its assessment.

“It is important to note that today’s discussion serves as a starting point for the work of the special council to listen to and learn from individuals with both professional and life experience and expertise,” says Mike Pennington, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Fox Professor Donald Phillips and TL Hill, professor of strategic management and managing director of Fox Management Consulting and Executive Education, recently co-authored an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Read that piece here

For more information about FMC projects, click here.

Kevin Mahoney, DBA ’17, speaks at the inaugural Philadelphia Healthcare Hub event.

 

In late 2019, the Fox School of Business launched the Philadelphia Healthcare Hub. Organized by the Translational Research Center and the Center for International Business Education and Research, this event series will explore the future of healthcare. The inaugural event focused on “Reinventing Healthcare and Biopharmaceutical Value Chains.” 

Leaders in practice, research, government policymakers and business executives gathered to identify a pathway forward for the healthcare industry in Philadelphia and beyond. Here are four key takeaways:

1. Disrupted Value Chains for Personalized Care

The healthcare industry is moving from one-size-fits-all toward personalized care. “Healthcare systems and physicians’ focus is shifting from acute care to chronic care,” says Dr. Vikas Khurana, CEO of Leg Healers, LLC. “This patient-centered approach is critical to improving both health system operations.”  

Drug manufacturers should understand that this medical model is the future. Stephen Sammut, senior fellow at the Wharton School, summed up precision medicine as “the right drug for the right patient at the right time.”

2. AI Affects Medicine 

Dr. Aldo Doria, director of Capital Health Cancer Center shared his experiences with robotic surgeries. “Like driverless cars, in the near future, we will see surgeon-less surgery.” 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived in the healthcare sector. AI is expanding and revolutionizing both clinical and nonclinical processes—from diagnostics and triaging to revenue cycles and cybersecurity. Lamont Louis, COO of Einstein Physicians reinforced the message: “AI is critical in modernizing the revenue cycle management operations to increase the bottom line of healthcare systems.”

3. Local Clusters of Innovation

“The greater Philadelphia region is home to a large community of innovative, diverse and growing biopharmaceutical industry,” says Sam Woods Thomas, director of life sciences for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce. 

With innovations deeply rooted in geography, the Philadelphia area has become a leader in advancing cell-based research and therapies. Kevin Mahoney, DBA ’17 and CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), shared his experience. “Penn has contributed eight FDA-registered drugs since 2017.” He envisions Philadelphia becoming the medical Silicon Valley of the East Coast, or “Cellicon” Valley. With support from the government, the city is primed to be the next global capital for reinventing the future of healthcare and biopharma industry.

4. Researching the Future of Healthcare 

While healthcare and biopharma value chains are being disrupted at an accelerated pace, stakeholders across the industry—biopharmaceutical firms, device manufacturers, healthcare providers, insurers and payers, government agencies and regulators—must understand and apply research in order to react to and predict the emerging new paradigms in the business of healthcare.

Moderated by researchers Subodha Kumar, Paul R. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management and Ram Mudambi, Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy, the event offered healthcare and biopharma executives opportunities to learn practical insights about their industries.  With a focus on community engagement and research leadership, the Philadelphia Healthcare Hub demonstrates the power of the Fox School’s strategic planning efforts to inspire high-level change. 

Are you interested in uniting industry leaders and research experts to advance the future of healthcare and biopharmaceuticals? Contact Ram Mudambi and Samy Govindasamy for more details.  

Sign up here for upcoming events and information.

Manveer in Africa

Manveer Singh, his cousin and their driver were riding through the streets of Nairobi, Kenya in January of 2019 when a bomb exploded. Within seconds, gunmen were firing indiscriminately at anyone on the street and the trio found themselves hiding in the back seat of their car as bullets pummeled the vehicle. 

The three men survived. Now, months removed from the terrorist attack, Singh, BBA ’19, shrugs it off. The coffee business can be dangerous, the young entrepreneur says. 

Singh graduated in May 2019 and runs two businesses: Maharajah Coffee and a network of Airbnb properties. He also works online as a stockbroker. Maharajah Coffee is his passion project and his vision for it began years earlier as he hiked along the border between the Brazilian states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais, a few hundred miles north of Rio de Janeiro. 

Singh passed what he thought was a winery due to the bustle of men carrying large sacks heaved over their backs in the heat. But the farmer, a friendly, tall man in a big fedora named Ernesto, flagged him down. When he stopped, Singh took note of the strong coffee aroma. 

The two men started chatting, face-to-face. Singh prefers face-to-face conversations. He lost 95% of his hearing about 10 years ago and often relies on reading lips to “listen” to what other people are saying. Singh toured the coffee farm and learned about the farmer’s process for growing and harvesting the beans. He already knew that, often, the farmer had to settle for less than a fair price. 

They parted with a handshake and Singh began to dream of starting his own coffee business. “I want farmers to have a better life, I want to pay them fairly,” Singh says. “What happens if you do not pay them fairly? Some farmers have committed suicide, some have sold their land. If there are no coffee farms, there is no coffee. A life without coffee is nothing.” 

Struggling to find his path

As a teenager, Singh began to lose his hearing. He adapted to his new normal and in 2012 he came to the Fox School. 

“Fox’s international business program is really diverse—there are a lot of students from different countries,” Singh says. “Students from China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and India come here to study and we all get to learn from each other about different cultures.” 

As enthusiastic as he was about Fox, Singh struggled to adjust. Trying to read the lecturers’ lips was not easy for him; he often felt confused and anxious. By 2013, he faced academic dismissal, so he decided to travel and find opportunities to volunteer. As a Sikh, he took up Seva, or service, and traveled to Turkey, Syria and Nepal. Following an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Singh volunteered to help clear the rubble and search for survivors. Singh said the travel and volunteer work helped “put my mind and soul back together.” 

Hearing loss is not a disability; not listening is  

In 2016, he returned to Fox and his lip-reading skills improved. Taking online classes worked well for him. His grades improved, but he still struggled at times. The key, Singh says, was that he never lost hope. 

Singh attempted to find internships and other job opportunities, but he was turned down, occasionally because of his hearing loss. Singh learned to turn that rejection into a source of inspiration after realizing that the true disability was others’ inability to listen to him and see his value. 

“I used to think my hearing disability was my obstacle until one day I realized that was not true,” Singh says. “It did not matter that I had 95% hearing loss, it is the people who cannot see what I can do that are the obstacle.” 

He decided if he could not get hired, he would run his own business. 

In 2017, he cashed in stocks and started two companies, one based on turning real estate into Airbnb locations and the other, partially inspired by that conversation with a Brazilian farmer, was Maharajah Coffee. 

Singh’s model is simple: he finds quality coffee grown at organic farms and he pays farmers fair market value. 

“I want farmers to harvest their seeds with happiness,” Singh says. “If a farmer harvests their seed with depression or sadness, the coffee will be bitter.” 

Earlier this year, in January, he went to Kenya to visit his father’s family, and, of course, meet some farmers to try some coffee. He felt welcomed by the Maasai tribe and was intrigued by the strong coffee grown in the red soil of the Kenyan mountainsides. 

On Jan. 15, 2019, while Singh and his cousin, a government official, were traveling through Nairobi, there was an explosion and several gunmen started firing on a crowd. After the gunfire died down, the men hid in the car for about an hour before they climbed out of the bullet-riddled vehicle and ran for home. 

“The coffee business can be risky sometimes,” Singh says, noting that in many countries, the areas filled with coffee farms are also known hideouts for criminals and terrorists. But Singh was not deterred. 

By February, Singh started selling coffee from Sumatra, Ethiopia, Brazil and Kenya. He sells one-pound bags of whole beans or coffee grounds online through Amazon and plans to open a shop in the U.K. 

Courage and hope

“In the future I do hope to become a motivational speaker to inspire others and help them succeed,” Singh says. “When you are going through hell, there are three things to keep in mind: keep smiling, have hope and don’t let yourself down.”

Money is at the forefront of the way we think about business—how can you make your company, and in turn yourself, more profitable? A recent Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey reports that “92% of surveyed corporate human resources executives agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees’ leadership and broader professional skill sets.”

We agree. That’s why the Fox School offers a well-rounded business education. In the classroom and the community, these three alumni gained tangible skills that empowered them to carry forward altruistic efforts that enhanced their personal and professional lives.

1. Empowering the next generation 

Photo of Melany Bustillos
Photo by Joe Labolito

MELANY BUSTILLOS, BBA ’16, believes that lifting up others is the key to helping the city of Philadelphia thrive. As the education officer for Prospanica, a nonprofit supporting the educational, economic and social success of Hispanic professionals, Bustillos encourages young adults to understand the value of education. She discovered her passion for mentoring students when volunteering in the Philadelphia public school system.

“A lot of kids feel like they can’t have big dreams or aspirations because their future is just set to what it is,” says Bustillos. Experiencing that response firsthand, Bustillos knew she needed to be a part of an organization that showed students the ways education could make their dreams a reality.

Bustillos works with local Philadelphia universities to foster relationships with students and transition them from campus life into career management through workshops on financial literacy, community service and personal branding. Bustillos serves on Prospanica’s board while working full time at Cigna as a risk and underwriting senior analyst. She also serves as a lead for Cigna’s Colleague Resource Group. She volunteers in a role that leverages cultural insights and connections to innovate approaches and solutions to increase engagement, performance and career mobility, while building enterprise capabilities to address the needs of diverse customers.

Bustillos continues to pursue opportunities in advocacy, and by investing in the next generation, she works to build the foundation for a smarter Philadelphia.

2. Studying the business of medicine

Nish Shailendra photo
Photo by Joe Labolito

For NISHANTH SHAILENDRA, MBA ’18, finding a career in analytics was a driving force throughout his time in the Fox Global MBA program, but he didn’t know which industry to enter—until he discovered healthcare through networking with classmates. “I was very curious how the industry operates because what surprises me in the U.S. is the high cost of healthcare,” says Shailendra. Originally from Bangalore, India—a country with drastically different medical costs, quality of care and infrastructure than the U.S.—Shailendra wanted to better understand healthcare here and its unique set of challenges. In his role as business analytics administrator for Cooper University Healthcare, Shailendra uses data to improve affordability and accessibility for patients.

“We are trying our best to make sure that any patient that comes in does not need to come back. By reducing readmission and improving access, such as not waiting long to get an appointment when you’re sick, we’re working toward a healthier community,” says Shailendra.

As for his personal life, Shailendra plans on translating his experience at Cooper University Healthcare to improve aspects that the healthcare system lacks in his native country. “I believe that the quality of care in the U.S. is one of the best, but there are cons—like the high costs. My goal is to take the ‘pros’ back to India and apply my experience to improve the health and wellness of the community there.”

3. Encouraging nonprofit work for all

Linda McAleer in office
Photo by Joe Labolito

 LINDA MCALEER, MBA ’74, is the president of The Meilor Group, a strategic marketing research and consulting firm in Center City. McAleer also serves on three nonprofit boards and advocates that her employees do the same. “Part of the mission of The Melior Group is to give back; it’s part of the culture. Each employee is active or involved in at least one mission-based organization,” says McAleer. She believes nonprofit work supports well-rounded professional growth and has an impressive track record to prove it.

McAleer came to her nonprofit role as chair of the Philadelphia-area National Multiple Sclerosis Society and board membership at both JEVS (formerly Jewish Employment and Vocational Service) and Career Wardrobe through understanding the needs of those around her. When her sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the mid-90s, accessing information and resources was difficult. She joined the National MS Society and was immediately tasked with fundraising. “I didn’t know how to raise money, but I said I’ll figure it out—like we do as Temple grads. We figure it out and solve problems,” says McAleer.

Most recently, McAleer supports Philadelphia’s new MS Navigator Program that helps those newly diagnosed (and those with needs) by providing information about insurance, home modifications, support to live independently and other services. She also promotes the Bike MS: City to Shore Ride, one of the most successful fundraising events in the country that allows participants to have fun, raise money and see the difference the MS Society is making.

Virtual Reality in Charles Library
Virtual Reality in Charles Library

In 1966, Time magazine prophesied that “machines will be producing so much that everyone in the U.S. will, in effect, be independently wealthy.” Unfortunately for most of us, that prediction did not come to fruition and technology has not become the universal retirement plan. But more than ever before, the business world is focused on using technology to work smarter. 

Fox faculty share predictions about trends we are likely to see in 2020, so we can prepare to embrace the changes ahead.  

Big data will demystify consumer behavior 

“Big data and AI will continue to help us understand consumer psychology. However, if used as stand-alone tools, they can be misleading. The future of marketing is AI talking to consumers directly,” says Monica Wadhwa, associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Her research focuses on understanding the motivational and affective determinants of consumer decision making.

Tech-fin will change how consumers interact with their finances

“As the rise of quantum computing results in more effective AI and machine learning, we will likely see more tech-fin (instead of fin-tech) being used across the financial sector. Where fin-tech is used in the finance industry to do things like improve customer experiences, tech-fin solutions change how users interact with the industry overall. This will result in things like an increased push toward digital asset management,” says Bora Ozkan, assistant professor of finance and the academic director of the Fox Online MBA and Online BBA programs. Ozkan’s research interests are corporate finance, emerging markets real estate and business education.

Data will change the relationship between employers and employees 

“We will likely see continued growth in business law and the compliance sector related to cyber-security, predictive analytics, and sexual harassment and workplace culture,” says Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor in the Department of Legal Studies. “As firms increasingly turn to data analytics to assist in all aspects of hiring and talent management; as employee and customer data becomes both essential and vulnerable; and as the #MeToo movement continues to drive new legal claims, compliance initiatives will continue to grow in both size and importance.” Eisenstadt’s areas of scholarship and interest include employment law, business law, law and linguistics, work-family conflict, sex discrimination, race and the law, and public policy.

Increased integration will strengthen Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management

“My prediction is that 2020 will bring further integration of Enterprise Risk Management and Alternative Risk Financing to address strategic and operational risk issues,” says M. Michael Zuckerman, associate professor in the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management. “We [employees, customers, shareholders, regulators, etc.] will observe increased Organizational Board of Directors’ scrutiny over Risk Management. We will do this in order to gain assurance that the entity is resilient and able to manage threats that could disrupt its operations.” 

Zuckerman also serves as the academic director for the department’s Enterprise Risk Management initiative. 

Accountants will leverage big data to make better decisions 

“The continued acceleration of technology and digital innovation will change the accounting industry. Businesses will continue to leverage big data and analytics to provide more accurate information to make better decisions,” says Elizabeth A. Gordon, professor and chair of the Department of Accounting at the Fox School. “Automation and AI will become more pervasive and simplify and increase the efficiency of operations. Cloud computing will continue to grow.” 

Gordon specializes in the areas of financial reporting and international accounting investigating topics such as international financial reporting standards, corporate communications, executive compensation, related party transactions, accounting restatements, market development and corporate disclosure.

The Fox faculty informs the future of the business world. To learn more about that work and the future of the Fox School, visit the 2025 Strategic Planning website.

In this new section of the Fox School alumni magazine Fox Focus, the editorial team interviews Fox employees about what extra knowledge, credentials and support they offer students and alumni. Here, our faculty and staff share the ways in which they do everything they can to empower our students and alumni to reach their full potential and achieve personal and professional fulfillment.

Born, raised and educated in Philadelphia, Kamina Richardson, assistant program director and pre-law advisor for the Department of Legal Studies, has a strong desire to give back to the local community. Richardson is certified in American Sign Language (ASL), Safe Zone and Narcan/Overdose Reversal. She is committed to and passionate about providing knowledge, resources and services to meet the needs of Fox undergraduate students and alumni. 

Why did you pursue an ASL certification? 

Kamina Richardson headshot
Kamina Richardson

I grew up with a deaf brother, and I really came to understand his struggles. When I learned that Temple offered an ASL certification, I enrolled because I realized there is no ASL translator at Fox. I believe we need one in order to best support our efforts to be diverse and inclusive, and I would like to be an interpreter nationally and at Fox events. I started two years ago and completed the certification in May. I believe this will help our community because we have a large population of students with disabilities at the school.

What does your Safe Zone certification mean to you? 

I’m a minority and I understand the stereotypes and assumptions that people have. The LGBTQIA community suffers from this too. I am willing to listen and understand the different kinds of things they go through, especially in college. I want to open my door for advising and to offer a safe space to talk so that people can vent about the frustrations of coming out or figuring out who they are when it comes to gender identity. 

Safe Zone is a two-day training that involves looking at assumptions that we may have regarding LGBTQIA. The training highlighted the privileges of those outside of the community and how we can be more understanding to those inside it. Through the training, I learned that there are different ways to talk about gender identity that won’t discriminate against members of the LGBTQIA community. If people come to me with questions, I can speak to them about this and other topics.

What led you to pursue a Narcan/Overdose Reversal certification? 

I’m from North Philadelphia, which is one of the places impacted by drug issues. Drug addiction is intense, and students are often open to drugs without realizing the consequences of their choices. Some may need liquid courage or a pick-me-up for school and they don’t realize some substances can be deadly. I got this certification because I want to be there in a moment’s notice if a student is having an overdose on campus or in the community. It’s necessary, especially with young minds who are trying to figure out who they are.

What are your personal goals for your work at the Fox School? 

I understand what it is like to be a student and to feel lost. My goal is to be a resource for as much information and as many services as possible. I never want to be in a position where I don’t know something that would help a student. Next, I’m going to get certified in Spanish to better support the local Hispanic community.

woman stressed at desk

Companies are feeling the pressure to use telework opportunities to satisfy employees. But how does working from home affect our productivity, creativity and stress levels? 

“Flexible work arrangements are popular, but can often lead to higher stress,” warns Ryan Vogel, assistant professor in the Fox School’s Department of Human Resources Management. Vogel conducted a survey of over 500 U.S.-based employees of a multinational software corporation. He asked each employee to respond to a short questionnaire four times a day for three weeks, seeking to understand how their creativity, engagement and stress varies throughout the day and in different working environments. 

There were no differences in either the employees’ investment in their work and degree of creativity when working from home, at the office or in a combination of the two settings. However, Vogel says, “We found significantly higher levels of stress and lower levels of positive emotion when employees worked at home.” 

Why would employees feel more stress when working at home? “There could be several factors,” says Vogel. “But our research suggested the strongest factor was the fact that people are more psychologically attached to home when they are at home.” For example, many employees who are teleworking may find themselves distracted from their work to-do lists by their personal tasks. Imagine trying to work next to a giant pile of laundry—for some, that is hard to ignore. 

Unsurprisingly, the same was true for those who brought their work with them, mentally or physically, after leaving the office. Employees who emphasized time in the evening to recover from work and engage with their families reported lower stress levels than those who did not. 

“With flexible working environments, it’s important that employees can create mental distance between home and work,” says Vogel. “With the increased flexibility in how and where we work, we need to be conscious of creating some form of mental separation between the personal and the professional, so that employees can focus on each one when it’s appropriate.” 

Vogel also advocates for an occasional change of scenery. “When employees switched work locations from one day to the next between their home or the office, we saw significant boosts in their level of engagement and lower levels of stress,” he says. 

This study supports the notion that working at home versus in the office does not impact an employee’s ability to be creative and engaged in their work, but it does suggest that employers and companies should exercise telework options mindfully. 

“Flexibility to work remotely is an important benefit that fulfills employees’ need for autonomy,” says Vogel. “However, these findings bring a level of nuance to the conversation.”

Reducing Stress at Work

Whether employees have flexible hours or are “always on,” how can companies help reduce stress levels? Vogel suggests ways that leaders can encourage employees to put aside stress-inducing distractions, regardless of their work environment: 

  1. Make lists at the end of a day to let go of stressors overnight.
  2. Model “protected time” so employees do not feel pressured during non-work hours.
  3. Start meetings by setting an intention to be fully present and encouraging mindfulness

Learn more about Fox School Research.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Photo from opera "We Shall Not Be Moved"
Photo by Opera Philadelphia

The word “opera” doesn’t typically trigger images of young people. One may think of tiny binoculars and fur coats, but probably not anyone below the age of forty—unless you attend a show at Opera Philadelphia.

Dennis Paris noticed something interesting about the audience when he attended an opera in which his daughter was cast. “My wife, who is also a professional marketer, and I were shocked at how many younger people were there in groups together. These were young professionals; in their 20s or mid to late 20s,” he explains.

Paris, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School of Business, saw this as an opportunity to take a real-life example into the classroom. He wanted to figure out why Opera Philadelphia seemed to be thriving when traditionally it is not an industry that appeals to younger audiences.

Paris decided to write this business case in partnership with Assistant Professor Jean Wilcox, who had been researching the missing element of social interaction in the digital world, along with the help of colleagues Amy Lavin and Sheri Lambert. Their case is intended to teach marketing students the core strategies for changing markets. 

“I met the president of the opera, David Devan, and asked him what he was doing to bring in this young professional marketplace,” Paris recalls. “I discovered that they knew exactly what they were doing, based on a very elaborate analysis of segmentation, which is a critically important lesson in marketing.”

One strategy was creating a product that would appeal to a younger generation. Opera Philadelphia collaborated with FringeArts, a local performing arts theater, to create “We Shall Not Be Moved.” This modern opera is described as, “a timely exploration of past and present struggles which suggests an alternate future through the eyes of its young protagonists.”

“Another solution the opera chose was to host a festival,” says Paris, “They tested their customer base for interest in the event and discovered that it would be a good way of offering, in a very compressed period of time, so many different flavors of opera that would appeal to the palettes of different segments.” Both of these ideas proved beneficial in attracting newer, younger opera goers.

Inside Philadelphia Opera

What can marketing students learn from Opera Philadelphia?

The three main marketing methods demonstrated and outlined in the case are Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP). Paris explains that segmentation divides consumers into groups, targeting finds who in those groups to specifically market to and, based on that information, positioning guides the business on how they should represent their brand to that audience.

“This is an excellent case to enable students to not only learn the marketing process through the eyes of Opera Philadelphia but also apply it,” says Paris.

Paris credits help with developing this case through a June 2018 workshop hosted by the Fox School’s Translational Research Center (TRC). “I came away from that workshop with a draft synopsis and specific milestones that I would not have figured out on my own,” Paris explains, “I also began to understand the world of case writing from an insider’s perspective. This was a valuable experience without which I am certain the Opera Philadelphia business case would not exist today.” 

The case, “Opera Philadelphia: Segmentation Strategies For Changing Markets,” was published through Ivey Publishing in August 2019.

What does this research mean for the opera industry?

“This is a landmark case that I think can help the opera industry at large. I think Opera Philadelphia is a model that other operas, nationally, should look at,” says Paris. By finding a way to bring in a younger audience, Opera Philadelphia has brought new energy to the old-school art.

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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

 

Fox School of Business legal studies major and North Philadelphia native Shawn Aleong leads charge in advocating for persons with disabilities

Shawn Aleong, a legal studies major from North Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA—Shawn Aleong smiles as he walks through Temple University’s Alter Hall. He stops and says hello to faculty members. He greets friends as they pass by.

For Aleong, this is home. It’s the environment where he thrives. But he also knows that not all places are so welcoming. Especially for people like himself.

“As an African American with a disability, sometimes I’ll be looked at strangely,” says Aleong, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in legal studies in the Fox School of Business. “Or one time, I went right into a store, and they started to treat me differently once I opened my mouth.”

Aleong, 31, lives with cerebral palsy. The North Philadelphia native has been judged and discriminated against, and he’s determined to do his part to make society more inclusive.

“For me, my disability is not a curse. It’s not a handicap. It is a gift so that I can help implement change. Whether that be in policies in business, in finance, in law or in advocacy, I know I’m making a change,” says Aleong, who is also minoring in real estate and finance.

Inspiring change drives Aleong. It’s why he’s at Temple University, why he’s pursuing a degree in legal studies and why he eventually hopes to go on to law school to become a disability rights lawyer.

“The system has to be changed for people with disabilities across the board. I said to myself, ‘How can I help change the system?’ That’s what brought me to legal studies,” Aleong says. “I have gone to Washington, D.C., Harrisburg and all over to advocate for people with disabilities because we cannot call this a great nation unless we have every opportunity that other people get.”

This passion has defined Aleong’s time at Temple since first enrolling in the school’s Academy For Adult Learning, a four-semester certificate program for young adults with disabilities, in 2014. Aleong joined the university as a full-time undergraduate student in 2018, taking advantage of every opportunity to lobby for persons with disabilities.

Last year, he studied in Silicon Valley for a week, enrolling in a course that covered digital and alternative financial services like artificial intelligence, the digital finance ledger Blockchain and the digital currency Bitcoin. His goal was to see how fintech could be used to serve people with disabilities.  

Aleong also recently launched his own business, The Devon Group, to create training programs on inclusion for persons with disabilities. So far, he’s trained more than 400 people, and he hopes businesses and organizations will adopt these programs in an effort to create stronger work environments.

He has also spoken at events for Senator Bob Casey and has testified in front of Philadelphia City Council. In February, he will attend the New Hampshire Democratic primary where he will continue to advocate for his peers. He’s eager to hear from candidates on how they plan to foster a more inclusive environment for persons with disabilities.

“The fight is not over yet,” Aleong says. “It’s still going on. I’m going to be here, fighting for this cause, until the very end.”

About the Fox School of Business

The vision of Temple University’s Fox School of Business is to transform student lives, develop leaders and impact our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research. 

The Fox School’s research institutes and centers and 200+ full-time faculty provide access to market-leading technologies and foster a collaborative and creative learning environment that offers more than curriculum—it offers an experience. Coupled with its leading student services, the Fox School ensures that its graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market.  

The school’s knowledge-creating research faculty affords it the flexibility and responsiveness to address the needs of industry and generate courses and programs in emerging fields of study. As a leader in business research, the Fox School values interdisciplinary approaches and translational research that advance actionable insights to solve real-world problems. Our research informs an adaptive curriculum, supports innovation in teaching and prepares students for the changing nature of work.

###

The issue of food insecurity at college is one that often goes unnoticed. For most, the burden of paying tuition is undeniably overwhelming—but many do not realize that there are students who have to choose between lunch or textbooks. Luckily, groups at Temple University are working to bring more awareness and assistance to those in need.

Donated cans in the shape of an owl
Sculpture from Fox’s Business Communications office

Hunter Speakman, a freshman in the Temple University Management Consulting Program (TUMCP), heard a colleague mention “can sculptures” as a team-building exercise. Speakman, along with his peers and the program’s academic director Tony Seeton, assistant professor of strategic management, decided this could be a great opportunity for students to give back to their community. 

On Dec. 6, Speakman and his team organized a contest where Temple University community members made elaborate sculptures out of donated canned goods. The event aimed to raise awareness and gather food for the Cherry Pantry, a Temple program dedicated to providing students in need access to healthy and nutritious food. The Cherry Pantry, located on the second floor of the Howard Gittis Student Center, is the main source of emergency food for students on campus.

“There was a recent survey done in colleges in the United States that found 30% of college students are food insecure,” Speakman explains. “The pantry told us they typically get about 175 students a week. But with a campus of tens of thousands of students, there are definitely more than that who are in need.”

By hosting the event, Speakman was hoping to raise awareness and support the Cherry Pantry in their efforts. But the turnout was greater than he could have imagined.

Overall, nine major campus organizations competed in the event: Fox Graduate Admissions, Morgan Hall North, the international women’s music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, Temple Towers, the Student Collaboration Center, Temple Ambler, the Fox Business Communications Center, the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

The only rule of the competition was that the cans had to remain intact and with the labels on. Even so, that didn’t keep the competitors from coming up with some unique structures.

Bell Tower shaped can sculpture
Student Collaboration Center sculpture of the Bell Tower

“Each group made an entirely different structure. One built an owl, another one the Bell Tower. One group even made a space shuttle,” says Speakman. 

The Student Collaboration Center won the competition with their sculpture of the Bell Tower. The Fox Business Communication Center and Temple Ambler were runners up. The Fox School’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, led by Assistant Dean James Hansen, sponsored prizes for the winners. 

The scale of the event was “much larger than we could’ve imagined,” says Speakman. Participants donated about 750 pounds of cans, plus 250 additional nonperishable goods. 

The impact of a fun, creative event like this goes way beyond just constructing with cans. It is a demonstration of the school’s commitment to an engaged community, a pillar of the Fox Strategic Plan. Speakman, along with the participants from across the university, recognizes that this sense of community and support is crucial to eliminating food insecurity at Temple. 

“There are so many students just coming to college that already have a lot of financial pressure put on them and their family,” says Speakman. “So to have access to a can of soup, some beans or pasta is a huge help so they don’t have to worry about what they’re eating.”

Speakman and the TUMCP team proved that a community that comes together ”can” make a change.

Support the Cherry Pantry by visiting their website.

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

research roundtable logo

The Fox School of Business is honoring those who take their research into the real world. 

On Dec. 3, the Fox School and the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) hosted the 21st Annual Research Roundtable & Teaching Awards, which acknowledges faculty members for their impact on students through their dedicated teaching and research efforts. 

As in previous years, full-time and adjunct faculty in undergraduate and graduate programs at the Fox School and STHM were honored for excellence in teaching, while research faculty were recognized for new publications with high academic impact or for high external funding. This year, the schools introduced awards that highlight translational research. 

Sudipta Basu, associate dean for research and doctoral programs, announced the four new categories in this year’s ceremony: pedagogical research, case-based research, practice research and policy research. “These new awards recognize efforts by tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty highlight to others the ways that our research is relevant,” Basu explains. “For example, pedagogical research seeks to find better ways of teaching or communicating with students.” 

The Fox School is making translating research outside of academia a priority, says Basu. “As outlined in the Fox Strategic Plan, research leadership is one of our four strategic pillars. Within that, we’ve identified translational research as one of our core precepts.”

Why does translational research matter? 

“As business academics, we are often very good at coming up with new ideas, but we do not always ensure that these ideas are being implemented,” Basu says. “Translational research is the idea that companies and non-academics should be using business school research. We are encouraging our faculty who are trying to get their research into practice.”

Fifteen faculty members received these new honors including Excellence in Pedagogical Research Awards, which celebrates those who conduct research to benefit learning, teaching and assessment; Excellence in Case-Based Awards for business cases that bring real-world examples backed by research into the classroom; Excellence in Practice Research Awards for publications in practitioner journals; and Excellence in Policy Research Awards for impactful policy proposals.

In addition, Mary A. Weiss Cummins, Deaver Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to a full-time, tenured faculty member at the Fox School who has exhibited a lifetime of achievement in teaching, research and service. Weiss Cummins has published numerous research articles throughout her career, covering topics such as financial services conglomeration, efficiency measurement of insurers, no-fault automobile insurance, reinsurance, regulation and underwriting cycles.

Patrick McKay was installed as the Stanley and Franny Wang Professor of Human Resource Management. This named professorship supports excellence in business and management education. This endowed chair position was named by Stanley, MBA ’72, and Franny Wang, MBA ’72, with the belief that supporting impactful educators provides quality education for dynamic students and a better, more educated world. McKay’s research focuses on demographic disparities in worker outcomes, diversity, diversity climate, organizational demography, worker attitudes and retention, and job- and organizational-level performance. 

This year’s Research Roundtable and Teaching Awards highlight a strategic change in the growth and application of the Fox School’s excellence in research, which not only impacts Temple University but now seeks to translate to the local community, business, policymakers and society at large.

Basu adds, “The goal is to increase the impact of our research. Translating that research is how we can change the world.”

Learn more about Fox School Research.

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

Product images
Photo source: Chudabeef website

When Kevin Casey, BBA ‘10, tried his first piece of homemade beef jerky, he fell in love with the taste. Shortly afterward, he decided to make his own. Casey initially started making jerky for himself and his friends, a project that blossomed into creating it for the Long Beach community and beyond. Since the official launch of Chudabeef Jerky Company in 2014, the business has been rapidly expanding. Kevin Casey’s passion and drive serve as an example of how Fox’s resources and networks prepare students to succeed. 

At the Fox School, Casey took full advantage of the resources offered to him, and he continues to utilize these skills in his current business venture. “The courses were excellent and engaging, and the curriculum opened my eyes to how much fun it would be to someday run my own business,” says Casey.

As President of the Temple Snowboard club, Casey innovatively combined courses and extracurricular activities into skills that he finds extremely useful when running his business. “I was able to transfer a lot of skills I learned at Fox into running the club and overcoming all of the challenges you would normally go through during the startup phase of a business,” says Casey. “We always had to find ways to be creative and fun, and I think what I learned at Fox helped me grow the club to one of the largest on-campus!”

As an alumnus, Kevin Casey is still taking advantage of Fox’s resources to help grow Chudabeef Jerky. “The resources available to Fox alumni have been incredibly valuable,” says Casey. “Everyone has been very helpful, there is always someone available to help with any roadblocks that I run into while running my business.” 

Recently closing a deal with supermarket chain Publix, Chudabeef will be on Publix’s shelves in January 2020, serving as an exciting start to the new year. “Publix is huge for us because it will open the doors to more East Coast distribution. This also increases our store count from 1,200 to 2,430 stores—so 2020 is already off to a great start,” says Casey. 

While attending Fox, Kevin understood the importance of a work-life balance, and now while managing a booming business, he still finds time to relax with his wife and close friends. “In the summers, we hike and camp as much as possible and in the winter, I blow off steam most weekends snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain,” says Kevin. “And, of course, I bring a ton of jerky to stay fueled for the day—and to keep my friends fueled.”

When companies look to become more efficient, one of the first things they do is look for waste—elements of the production process that add little value despite taking up precious time and resources. However, with careful implementation, businesses can achieve greater efficiency by investing in what works well.

For example, take the contrast between push and pull processes in manufacturing. Most manufacturing firms operate using a “push” model; they make a certain amount of product and store it in a warehouse until it can be sold. In contrast, other companies operate a “pull” model; they only produce products after having received an order. In pull manufacturing, no product stays sitting in a warehouse and products move through production with little delay, reducing the amount of waste in the process.

This “pull” manufacturing model is one of the ways that companies become lean—in other words, identify areas that don’t produce value, cut that waste and thereby increase labor and process efficiency. However, going lean puts enormous pressure on companies and requires special attention paid to supply chain management and labor.

Tom Stone, DBA ’18 and assistant teaching professor of business at Penn State Abington, wanted to take the lessons learned from lean manufacturing and apply it to the software industry.

“When I worked with software developers at Siemens, we started integrating lean with agile,” Stone explains. Agility, a close cousin of lean, involves making processes more iterative, and therefore more flexible. By breaking the process into small, iterative pieces, developers can make changes to the product without damaging or undoing months of other productive work. “We wanted to do it because it would ultimately improve efficiency by making outflow—the number of software functions available at the end of the production process—predictable.”

While you can count the physical output of a process like manufacturing, this is harder to do with software development. Stone measured the outflow through the time and production of “stories,” small components of software that will later be combined into a final function that a customer uses.

During his time in the Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program, Stone decided to focus his research on the benefits of efficiency training. Specifically, Stone wanted to see if the process of software development could be improved by providing efficiency training to developers based on lean and agile techniques. This strategic investment into the labor force would take two forms: long-term coaching or a one-time training event.

When dealing with lean and agile processes, Stone emphasizes that what is at stake isn’t having knowledge, but keeping it. “Knowledge erodes over time,” Stone explains, “and with the knowledge goes the efficiency. Coaching keeps it from eroding.”

His findings were impressive. Workers who went through coaching saw a 37.1% net improvement in the amount of time needed to complete stories. One-time training saw a staggering 58.7% net improvement. Labor costs also fell, thanks to the trainings.

Stone’s paper on the topic, titled “The ROI of Investments in Lean Agile Software Development Training,” won the Best Paper Award at the 2019 Engaged Management Scholarship (EMS) Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, this past September. This is the second year in a row that a Fox DBA alumnus won this award, which is sponsored by Business Horizons, an academic journal from Indiana University. In 2018, Ofra Bazel-Shoham, DBA ’17, won for her paper which discussed how gender-diverse boards affect companies’ decisionmaking

Measuring the efficiency of the labor that goes into software development is a difficult task. Stone hopes that his research will help close the gap between software production processes and financial metrics. By pioneering this measure of productivity and thus proving the power of efficiency training, Stone wants to help others learn how to quantify, recognize and reward the value of lean.

“Software development is an increasingly critical industry,” Stone emphasizes. “Learning from manufacturing about how to measure productivity in this industry can have an enormous operational and financial impact.”

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

If your loved ones are anything like the Fox community, they are diverse in their backgrounds, hobbies, passions and tastes. It can be a challenge to find the perfect thing for the different people in your life. 

Lucky for us, the Fox School has a network of alumni and students who work to solve the problems they face. This holiday season, give a Temple Made gift to everyone on your list.

For the sustainability-focused, fashion-forward friend 

Franklin and Poe store
Photo Source: A Fine-Tooth Comb

With Franklin & Poe Trust Company, co-founder Andrew Li, MBA 16, wanted his products to embody the idea that “hard-working hands create the most beautiful things.” The goal of the shop is to offer items that get better with age and are meant to be handed down. 

Along with curating a line of durable, long-lasting clothing, Franklin & Poe focuses on ethically made products from the USA, Japan and Europe. The store also carries outerwear, apothecary items, bags and socks. 

Visit Franklin & Poe in Fishtown at 1817 Frankford Avenue. 

For the fragrance-loving friend

Brandon's candle product
Photo Source: Amazon.com

Everybody loves candles. But what if your spouse, friend or family member is particular, or particularly sensitive to certain scents? Brandon’s Candles, founded by current finance student Brandon Bechtel, has got you covered. In addition to the soy wax candles already available, the company offers customers the ability to fully customize the look and smell of their candles. 

So you can pop into The Candle Studio in Skippack or Old City in Philadelphia for a quick DIY candle session or take a group for a candle-making class. Brandon’s Candles also offers soaps and lotions. 

To learn even more about a freshman’s journey of bringing a business to business school, check out our recent feature on Brandon

For your friend Becky with the good hair 

Aqua Waterproof Headwear product example
Photo Source: Aqua Waterproof Headwear website

Khadijah Robinson, BBA 04, and Kiana Muhly, BBA 03 were inspired by a common challenge that women face whenever a vacation or a rainy day rolls around: a fashionable way to go swimming or enjoy life without getting their hair wet.

If there is a person in your life who has complained about this, these alumnae have the perfect gift idea: Aqua Waterproof Headwear. The pieces are available in three turban styles and a wrap and can be worn in a variety of different ways.

By purchasing this product, you are supporting two savvy best friends and business partners. Read more about their partnership here

For the experiential friend 

Source: SeePhillyRun website

Lately, more and more companies are advertising based on the idea to give the gift of experiences rather than “things.” For a lot of people, this could mean giving a gift card to a popular restaurant or taking a loved one to a Broadway show. 

But what if you could gift someone an experience, enjoy the sights and sounds of the City of Brotherly Love AND get a work out in, all at the same time? SeePhillyRun invites runners of all fitness levels to join Ian Thomas, MBA ’17, a six-time marathon runner and certified city tour guide, on three- to five-mile courses. With Thomas as your guide, you can jog around the city to check out landmarks like iconic locations from the movie Rocky, the city’s expansive mural collection or where the cowboy hat was invented. 

Know of any other businesses owned and operated by Fox School alumni that deserve to be highlighted? Contact us

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