The historic setting—Feinstone Lounge inside the nearly 90-year-old Sullivan Hall—only added to the significance of the message delivered during the Fox School of Business’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Networking Event.
Members of the Fox community joined together to celebrate the school’s history of inclusion and diversity among its faculty, staff and students.
Stained glass ceilings throughout the building told a story of how Temple University was created while Curtis Gregory, assistant professor of strategic management, shared stories of his childhood and the oppression his family faced.
“I had the opportunity to participate in a diversity workshop, and I heard the term ‘black tax.’ It was used in the context of faculty doing extra work. They described the additional burden and work when we are put in spaces to try to fix a problem we did not create,” Gregory said. “When I think about the sacrifices that my father made so that I can stand before you today, I’m willing to pay that slight tax.”
Gregory, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Aubrey Kent, and Diane Turner, curator at Temple University Libraries, spoke to attendees before they headed downstairs to tour the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. The collection is one of the most prestigious collections of African American artifacts in the U.S.
“African-American history is American history,” Turner said as she stood next to Provost JoAnne Epps. “And African history is world history.”
The collection displayed business-related artifacts, including newspapers of the Philadelphia Tribune, the first-ever issue of Ebony from 1945 and lyrical notes from Tupac Shakur.
Turner said she had talked to Charles Blockson, who founded the collection, earlier in the day and he sent his greetings to everyone in attendance.
Surrounded by elegantly-framed paintings of presidents from Temple University’s past, Kent thanked attendees for their contributions in making the Fox School a welcome space for all.
“It isn’t just about ticking a box on a checklist of activities in a strategic plan,” he said. “It’s really about living through what we believe, which is that the Fox School is for everyone, just as Temple is for everyone.”
That was the takeaway from the event. Any lock of nervousness between incoming attendees was broken by a desire to create memories and friendships. Diversity must not be an exception, but the norm.
“If you don’t know where you come from, you cannot know where you’re going,” Turner said.
Howard Brown is a changemaker.
After graduating from the Fox School, Brown, BBA ’05, enjoyed several years at Goldman Sachs and then TD Bank. He lived in a Manhattan highrise; he held season tickets to the Eagles and the Yankees. Today, he heads an investment company focusing on social infrastructure and economic development.
Those are great things, but what makes Brown a changemaker is his work in the Philadelphia School District. The former foreign-exchange analyst teaches students at Northeast High School about business. But more than that, he teaches them about life choices.
When Brown was still at Olney High School, he started coming to Temple University. A friend who was two years older than Brown was a student at the Fox School.
“He took me all through Temple’s campus,” Brown says. “I had a chance to learn about the Temple culture, Fox and all the great things the school did for him. I was enamored with the school even before I went there.”
At the Fox School, Brown focused on his studies and opportunities, starting out as a marketing major but soon switched to finance. He joined the financial management association, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and he joined a student professional organization (SPO) for entrepreneurs.
When asked if he was involved with the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), Brown’s voice goes up an octave. “Was I?” he rhetorically asks. “Corinne Snell, is she still there? Janis Campbell? Those people treated me like gold.”
At the CSPD, Brown was a corporate relations liaison, establishing relationships between businesses and the CSPD team. It was a chance to practice networking and learning the importance of creating relationships to do business.
“They helped me grow from being a scrappy kid to being much more polished,” Brown says. “A big reason I was able to get an internship on Wall Street was the Center. They were very instrumental in my success, but they were very instrumental in a lot of people’s success.”
From analyst to mentor
In 2004, before he graduated, Brown interned at Goldman Sachs. Then he was hired as a foreign exchange analyst where he oversaw trading, risk and financial reporting involving several businesses on the foreign exchange and spent time working in several units at Goldman Sachs. The normal process, Brown explains, is to work on the trading floor for about three years and then go back to school for a master’s degree. That was not for him.
He traveled up and down the West Coast trying to get a business up and running throughout the recession. Eventually, he returned to the Philadelphia area.
“My grandparents were teachers,” Brown says. “My grandmother was always very critical of my handwriting and I told her it did not matter because I would never be a teacher.”
When he first came back to Philadelphia, he volunteered at the school district. Brown was a motivator. He met with kids who had or were in danger of dropping out and stressed for them the importance of going back to school.
“It was about getting brutally honest about their future prospects if they don’t get educated,” Brown says. “Many of them were very receptive to me because I wasn’t really all that much older than they were.”
Brown’s success in mentoring high school students led him on trips to an odd place: prison. In 2014, he was among a trio of men—the others were pastor Damone B. Jones Sr. of Bible Way Baptist Church and Chad Dion Lassiter, president of the Black Men at Penn School of Social Work—mentoring rapper Meek Mill while Mill was in the Philadelphia prison system. Brown said he spoke to Mill frequently about what kind of impact the rapper could have, given the power of his voice and about the role Mill wanted in the lives of his children. The two men have remained friendly and regularly speak, often about their children.
Brown spent about a year volunteering at the school district before he took a vice president position with TD Bank, where he managed and executed asset-based and leveraged financings.
He was there for three years before he felt the pull of wanting to connect with students again. Throughout his time with TD Bank, he still spoke at schools and gave career advice at Northeast High School.
To hear Brown tell it, that first gig volunteering was about discovering himself. And now, as a teacher, it is more about the students discovering themselves.
Teacher, counselor, parent, friend
Generally speaking, Brown teaches business, but the classes fall into two primary categories: marketing and entrepreneurship.
Brown says his students have chemistry, algebra and other common classes all day long and then they come to him where he is trying to teach them how to start a business.
“Even those who are not entrepreneurial love being creative and developing businesses from scratch,” Brown says. “Young people tend to quantify success on money or how many assets a person has. I tell them some of the most unsuccessful people I’ve met in my life had a lot of money. Being successful is not about money.”
Brown explains that teaching often goes much deeper than what is in the lesson plan. A lot of the lessons he imparts involve teaching his students to look at themselves through a different world view.
“Teaching is not just about teaching your subject and your curriculum,” Brown says. “You are a teacher one day, a counselor one day, sometimes you are like a parent, sometimes you are a friend. You have to listen a lot.”
Brown recently completed his master’s degree in education and entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of Business. He is specifically interested in education entrepreneurship and is working on conceptualizing a program or school that teaches entrepreneurship and venture capitalism.
There are not a lot of high schools that introduce students to entrepreneurship and business. Yet, according to his research, there are a lot of benefits to learning business earlier in scholastic careers than later.
“What I try to articulate to my students is that you can be a producer instead of a consumer, and change your community. You can create generational wealth.”
Many of his students come from very challenging backgrounds. “You can make a huge change for you and your family just by being an entrepreneur,” Brown says. “You don’t have to do something very big, you can start right where you are and do something small.”
This winter, the Department of Theater will embark on its second round of an innovative playwriting initiative—commissioning and producing a world premiere play—thanks 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
At the Social Entrepreneurship Summit, profits and people go hand in hand.
The third annual summit, hosted by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) at the Fox School of Business, is focused on supporting entrepreneurship initiatives that make a positive impact on both Temple University and the Philadelphia region. The summit gives students a space to present new innovative ideas for cash prizes and to network with faculty, staff and professionals in the business community.
On Nov. 20, several contestants with their own social entrepreneurship projects went head to head in a competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. Six graduate and seven undergraduate finalists from across the university demonstrated how their ideas could change the world—and make money.
“There have been a couple of companies that started here and went on to get funding. It’s really incredible; this is a great place for startups,” says Steven Reichert, a junior entrepreneurship student attending the event for the second year in a row.
Natasha Graves, MBA ’18, won this year’s Grand Prize with her idea “VacayAbility.” She describes it as “a user-generated review site where people with disabilities can review places like accommodations and hospitality-based businesses like hotels and restaurants based on accessibility and mobility.”
“I travel a lot and I have a disability. I have chronic illnesses and every time I travel it’s hard to find places that are accessible,” Graves explains. “Recently, I was going to Scottsdale, Ariz. When you google top ten things to do there, it’s [mostly] hiking, and obviously, I can’t hike. So I wanted to make a platform to find things for people even if they have various disabilities.”
Graves also came in second place in the upper track of this year’s Innovative Idea Competition. Her focus on inclusivity in innovation is an excellent example of the Fox School’s commitment to foster an inclusive community, as one of the four main pillars in the school’s Strategic Plan 2025.
This year, Erik Oberholtzer, a Temple alumnus and co-founder of the company Tender Greens, came to advise the young entrepreneurship students as the keynote speaker.
Oberholtzer’s mission in Tender Greens is to provide broad access to good food, specifically to those in low-income communities. After working as a chef and obtaining his culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University, his passion for the culinary arts is what drew him to launch the company.
His advice? “Start with an inner passion and calling. Then, connect that to something in the world that needs your passion,” Oberholtzer says. “If you build skills, tools and techniques around that passion, then you can find products and services that create positive outcomes.” He goes on to say, “When you innovate a solution to a problem that nobody else is solving, you can monetize. You can add value and make money. In this case, money sponsors good deeds. Money scales positive impact.”
Graves and all the students in this year’s Social Entrepreneurship Summit are an inspiration for the future of double- or triple-bottom-line companies. By competing, they are innovating a better world.
Learn more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.
“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.
For more than a year, representatives of the Fox community have been working to pave the path for the school’s future. Since announcing the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 in October, Dean Ronald Anderson and the school’s leadership team have been planning ways to support the four pillars that outline our future.
As the Fox School works towards transforming student lives, developing leaders, and impacting our local and global communities through excellence and innovation in education and research, Dean Anderson elaborates on what a successful implementation plan means to him.
How will the Strategic Plan lead the Fox School into the future?
When you examine what the workforce may look like over the next several decades, it is dramatically different from what it is today or was 20 years ago. The Strategic Plan will position the Fox School as one of the leading business schools of the 21st century by building on a solid foundation of our four pillars: Educational Innovation, Research Leadership, Inclusive Workplace Culture and a focus on Community Engagement.
Educational Innovation is about delivering a curriculum and content that builds business leaders who will perform in the evolving marketplace over the next several decades. We strive to deliver educational experiences in a manner that best prepare our students for the future of work.
Being a research leader in business education means that we will commit to expanding research beyond the academic world. We will impact the way managers think about their business and the way industries operate. That requires translating research into impactful ideas that serve the business community.
What is the Fox School doing to engage an inclusive and diverse community?
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are important issues to us. The Fox School is creating DEI initiatives in several forms. We are in the process of identifying and will follow best practices and principles supported by DEI awareness events and training to mirror DEI advancements in industry.
We will facilitate and support collaborative work between and among Fox faculty and staff, including formal recognition of impactful joint activities, and purposeful school-wide communication of activities and achievements. We need to continue to grow as a place where everyone feels welcome and where everyone believes they can make a difference and impact student outcomes. That is why we need to continue to cultivate an inclusive workplace where all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, business and social partners and all of our stakeholders can thrive.
How does the Strategic Plan increase students’ access to a business education?
Through a collaborative effort between the Fox School, the Freire Foundation and Build the Future Education Collaborative, we launched an initiative to recruit students from Freire and Freire Tech high schools to give students the tools and skills they need to succeed in college. The Fox School provides college mentors to the students in the classroom, as well as additional support to their originating high schools. The Fox School, with support from other Temple University offices, will provide these high schools and their students with workshops on career counseling, financial literacy and college admissions.
This is one way we strive to empower Philadelphian residents. We also will emphasize collaboration with others at our school, our sister schools here at Temple, our neighborhood in North Philadelphia, the city of Philadelphia, the U.S. and the global business communities. We want to create a vibrant society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. Part of that process is building a more robust relationship with our alumni and corporate partners—allowing them to have a role in serving our students, our colleagues and our neighbors. I look forward to sharing more updates on the activities and programs that support this effort in the future.
How does the plan impact the business world?
Each year, we graduate a class of future professionals for the business world. By creating quality education, we put businesses in a position to prosper by hiring students that increase productivity, engage in problem-solving and bring new, innovative ideas to the workplace.
The Fox School has a tremendous experiential learning-focused curriculum that puts our students in a position to succeed. They learn how decisions are made, often in real-time through interaction with today’s business leaders. We want corporations and graduate schools to recognize that Fox students are the best in the marketplace. We want those corporations and graduate schools to line up to hire Fox students and alumni.
How will the plan enhance school?
We are evolving our culture to meet the demands of the business world, not just today, but for decades to come. If you look at this plan you will see the hands of numerous stakeholders, from students and faculty to staff administrators and alumni.
What comes next for the implementation of the plan?
The planning process is almost complete. We are identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) for initiatives, and the next steps are to execute those initiatives, measure these and report out to the Fox community. We want everyone to know where we are going so they can hold us accountable.
We are reinforcing our experiential-learning focus with the data-driven, emotionally intelligent insights that will serve our students and the business world for decades to come. The educational experiences we offer students are impactful, and we are looking at initiatives that will enhance those experiences to match the evolving market.
We also want to reach the wider world with our research. We are taking steps to translate academic research through efforts like the Translational Research Center (TRC) and by prioritizing researchers’ capacity for writing and presenting their research to non-academic audiences.
To learn more about this initiative and the vision for the future of Fox School of Business, visit the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 website.
Temple University’s Fox School of Business is expanding its partnership with the Freire Charter School System to offer Philadelphia high school students the opportunity to learn that they can thrive in higher education.
Two young men are playing “Connect Four” at the back of a room on the first floor of 1810 Liacouras Walk. They are not in a lecture hall or a high-tech computer lab. They want to start their own business, so naturally, they are eating cookies, downing small plastic cups of iced tea and dreaming big.
They are standing with a half-dozen other teens in the incubator at Temple University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (IEI) late in the afternoon on Nov. 6 for an information session about the B4USoar program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. The teens are looking for inspiration, for mentorship and, more than anything, for something new to learn.
The B4USoar program started with a single course in the Spring of 2019, but now Temple University is quintupling its investment in the program. That first course, Create and Innovate, brought together 15 high school students from the Freire Charter School System and more than a dozen Temple undergraduate students. It was the brainchild of Debbie Campbell, senior vice dean at the Fox School, and Hilda Bacon, director of community partnerships and engagement at Build the Future Education Collaborative, a nonprofit that supports education opportunities at the Friere schools.
The goal was to increase access to high-quality business education and show the Freire students they could thrive in higher education. By all accounts, that first course was a success, and as a result, the program is expanding.
“Russell Conwell built Temple on the idea that there were people, diamonds, in this city, whom he could educate and in doing that, improve the lives of the entire community,” says Campbell.
The Fox School will offer two courses in the Spring of 2020. Michelle Histand, director of innovation at Independence Blue Cross and an adjunct professor at the Fox School, is returning to teach the Create and Innovate course which was offered previously. Ellen Weber, executive director of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, is teaching the new Empowerment through Entrepreneurship course.
“The kids in that first Freire-Temple class were diamonds,” says Campbell. The class was fantastic and now we are adding a second business course and looking for more high school students to prepare for college.”
Many of the Freire students come from financially-challenging backgrounds and for some, there are hurdles to achieving their dreams. In Philadelphia, about 37 percent of the city’s children live below the federal poverty line, according to a study by The Pew Charitable Trust. Of those Philadelphians living below the poverty line, 29 percent did not finish high school, 68 percent did not pursue higher education at all and 87 percent did not achieve a bachelor’s degree.
According to a 2015 report by the Brookings Institute, low-income families are at a disadvantage in participating in their children’s success in post-secondary education. The institute pointed to a high rate of low-income students failing to complete their degrees. The institute cited several factors for these circumstances: poor preparation, limited funding and limited knowledge of the world of higher education.
B4USoar addresses the “limited knowledge of the world of higher education” and poor preparation challenges that confront many first-generation college students.
The Freire students partner with Temple students who mentor them throughout the program. They plan projects together, study and create a network of support.
Campbell said the Fox School plans to add at least one more business course and would like to partner with other general education programs at other schools in the university as the program expands.
“The Freire Charter Schools and the Fox School opened these students’ eyes in a way that empowered them to see their potential and the potential in the world around them,” says Hilda Bacon, director of community partnerships and engagement for a nonprofit organization that works with the Freire schools. “They know they can make the world brighter. That might be the most important part of this program, showing kids that a high school student from Pennsylvania can change the world.”
As the informational session ended, 17-year-old Cameron Johnson, who has already taken the Create and Innovate course, said she was thinking of going to Temple University after graduation next year.
The B4USoar program starts again in the Spring 2020 semester. The Freire students go through a rigorous selection process. Temple students are able to apply to the courses through the normal registration process.
To learn more about this initiative and the vision for the future of Fox School of Business, visit the Fox Strategic Plan 2025 website.
Fox School students understand the importance of business and philanthropy working hand-in-hand. Amanda Carey, director of outreach for College Council, oversees all student professional organizations and serves as a liaison between organizations and the university. To celebrate National Philanthropy Day, she discusses student professional organizations (SPOs) at the Fox School and their commitment to building a philanthropic community from Fox students.
Why is philanthropy important to the Fox SPOs?
“Philanthropy provides opportunities to give back to those who are in need,” said Carey. “A prominent component in business is giving back. Here at the Fox School, we strive to allow students to become immersed in the city we call home through community service projects.”
How are students engaging with philanthropic opportunities?
Fox students are actively engaging with community service programs through blood and food drives happening throughout the city.
“The popularity of the blood drive in partnership with American Red Cross is so large that last year we had to turn away people who wanted to donate because we didn’t have the resources to accommodate for so many donors,” said Carey. “To ensure the same issue wouldn’t arise this year, we raised our donor goal. The [Philabundance] food drive also attracts many students because of the prevalent food insecurity issue we have here in Philadelphia.”
What new opportunities for philanthropy will College Council provide?
The Fox College Council is continuously looking for new ways to expand their outreach and get more students involved. “This year, we are introducing a clothing drive to benefit the Hub of Hope,” said Carey. “This drive is going to take place right before we leave for winter break. We look forward to helping keep our community members warm as the cold weather approaches!”
Do you want to get involved with College Council or an SPO? Visit the SPO webpage for the full list of organizations.
The Fox School of Business prides itself on creating a community that helps students thrive long after graduation. The reformation of the Young Accounting Alumni Group (YAAG) shows that even after students graduate, they do not have to face the real world alone.
Co-presidents of YAAG, Melissa Cameron, MAcc ’18, and Eric Hamilton, BBA ’16, explore their personal motivation for reforming the group, why its existence is important for future alumni and what is in store for the future of YAAG.
Melissa first entered the world of accounting through arts administration and arts management positions. Since receiving her master of accountancy degree from the Fox School, she has worked at Deloitte in the audit and assurance practice. Eric started as an associate in the risk consulting practice at RSM and was promoted to senior associate after two years.
The driving force behind relaunching YAAG was the accounting faculty at the Fox School, Melissa and Eric explain. “They wanted to reconnect with the recent alumni to keep the bond strong when students graduate, and they wanted a group of motivated alumni to get it off the ground,” says Eric.
Relaunching the group shows that, while students may go down a multitude of career paths, there will always be a support system by their side.
“I’ve learned so much through other people’s experiences,” Melissa says. “I have had many key people willing to take time out of their busy schedules to go out for a coffee or lunch with me, or email, or call, just so that I could ask them my (dozens of) questions, pick their brain about their experiences and knowledge and background in accounting.”
She views YAAG as a platform to give back to her fellow Fox graduates and current students and is motivated to “pay-it-forward.” “I want to be available to be that person for the next round of students looking to establish themselves in an accounting or business field.”
The Young Accounting Alumni Group kicked off its relaunch with the YAAG Launch Happy Hour on August 6. The event served as a kick-off for recent alumni to meet Melissa, Eric and other members of the YAAG leadership team and learn about the group’s future plans. With over 50 recent graduates attending, the alumni board was able to reconnect with familiar faces and get the excitement going about the relaunch.
When looking to the future of YAAG, Eric says, “Be on the lookout for future events while we continue to develop our brand. Then we will eventually build the programming that our group wants to see, such as mentoring, continuing education and exclusive events.”
The resurgence of the Young Accounting Alumni Group has only just begun and is ready to help recent graduates every step of the way.
If you are interested in learning more about YAAG, check for emails from the group as well as the Temple Alumni site for future events, and register!
This September, the Fox School kicked off it’s Fox on the Road alumni event series with its first stop in New York City. The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with fellow alumni and Fox leadership, and get an inside look at the future direction and mission of the school from Dean Anderson. The featured speaker, Anthony Viglietti, BBA ’04, COO & CFO of theSkimm, spoke to guests about his journey to the U.S., tech disruption and changes to the workplace. We sat down with him afterward to hear more about his experience as an undergraduate student at the Fox School and how he got to where he is today.
Q: You spoke about moving from your hometown of Lyon, France to the UK and eventually ending up in the U.S. How has your journey affected your approach to your career?
A: The reason I moved around a lot is that I had this idea of what I wanted to do and I was determined to do it. And it didn’t always work out, but I don’t have regrets because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. It’s made me massively determined. My first job I was 24, so I was kind of old when I entered the workforce, but I was determined to prove people wrong. And I still have that chip on my shoulder.
Q: What drew you to Temple University as an undergraduate student?
A: I was at a school in France that had five partner schools. My two favorites were Temple and Northeastern. I liked the recruiting team at Temple, they were my favorite. There was also a bit of grit about Temple, which was in my background. When you’re a student the real world seems tough, but Temple gets it. They toughen you up to get you there, and that’s what drew me to it.
Q: Are there any skills and/or lessons you learned during your time at the Fox School that you have carried with you throughout your career?
A: There’s been a couple of times in my life where it’s helped me with organization and prioritization. I was on the varsity soccer team, so every day I was playing soccer and every day I was working. It really helped me from that perspective. I can’t always pinpoint them, but I remember certain moments about Temple, and I like going back there.
Q: What advice would you give to others who are looking to work their way up to a position like yours?
A: There are two ways to answer that question. The extreme answer is: I believe in work-life balance, and I believe in working to live not living to work, but I would say in the first five years of your career just work really hard. The other piece of advice is whatever the scope of your role is, do the extracurricular stuff and take it out so that your scope could be applied to much bigger things. You’ll become much more versatile and much more useful to the business. That’s a big lesson that I’ve taken from my entire career. I’ve always gone above and beyond. This doesn’t necessarily mean working harder, it just means knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, understanding how it impacts business, and understanding how people operate, so you that you become a partner to them.
Interested in attending the next Fox on the Road event? Make sure your contact information is accurate and stay tuned for the next invitation!