Cook Wissahickon Choir Hits The Right Notes In Front of Thousands

Cook Wissahickon Choir getting ready to sing the National Anthem for the Army vs. Temple football game.

Cook Wissahickon Choir getting ready to sing the National Anthem for the Army vs. Temple football game.

When adults have energy, enthusiasm, commitment and a positive vision for youth, great things happen!  Just two years ago Progressive Business Publications’ adopted school of 17 years, Cook-Wissahickon K-8 Elementary School in Philadelphia, lacked an outlet for talented vocalists in the school.   Students were nervous about singing in public and without support, simply didn’t.  One teacher, Nick D’Orsaneo, had a vision for a Youth Choir that would be “cool” as well as empowering for students.  His vision became a vibrant reality!

In less than 15 months, the Cook-Wissahickon Choir has won a number of awards and competitions.  They first performed in the city’s huge Thanksgiving Day Parade.  They gave a wonderful performance at Hershey Park during the summer, and most recently, in September they marched in the Miss America Pageant Parade in Atlantic City and were on national television.

Opportunities keep coming for this talented, focused and charming group of students in grades 3-8.  On Saturday, October 19th,  Cook-Wissahickon’s Choir took the field at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Stadium for Army versus Temple University Football Game.    All were excited but nervous as they practiced on the “giant” football field and realized there were thousands of spectators arriving.  They held a sign thanking Progressive Business Publications and Mr. Satell at the end of their rehearsal, and created a brief video too.

When their moment to perform arrived, the Choir charged into the stadium like pros and opened the game with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, followed by the Army and Temple fight songs.  We were all so proud as, in unison, they placed their new “CW—PBP 17-years of success”  caps over their hearts and began to sing.  The students even saluted smartly for the Army’s cheer!

Progressive Business Publications salutes the Cook-Wissahickon Choir students, Director Nick D’Orsaneo, and all of the families and friends who support them.  We look forward to more beautiful music!

PBP Employee Celebrates his 25th Anniversary with the Company by Giving to Others

Greg, flanked by CEO Ed Satell and Exec VP Jim Brown, accepts copies of the nonprofit donations he requested instead of PBP’s usual anniversary remembrance.

Progressive Business Publications is proud of its record for employee retention and longevity, with 85 employees at corporate headquarters employed with the company for more than five years.  At the company’s Employee Appreciation Event last week, COO Tom Schubert noted that an impressive statistic in this era known for “job-hopping” is that 16 employees have been with PBP for more than 15 years—a combined total of more than 337 years of teamwork and productivity!

To commemorate employees’ silver anniversaries, Progressive Business Publications celebrates by giving each two plane tickets for any destination in the country they may choose!  This year, however, Greg Maher, a stalwart in the IT Department, gave his anniversary celebration a new twist.

Greg says he feels fortunate to have a good job he enjoys, great colleagues, and “everything he needs in his life”.  He asked the company if, in lieu of the anniversary trip, he could identify some special nonprofit initiatives and have donations sent to support their programs.  Since PBP is deeply invested in corporate social responsibility, we were thrilled to accede to Greg’s request.

He identified three nonprofits:  Love A Child, a vital humanitarian effort to feed and clothe impoverished children in Haiti;  Life Today, which provides crucial safe water for desperate families in drought-ridden Africa; and the Isaiah 58 Project of the International Federation of Christians and Jews, which supports children and elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union with food, clothing, heating, and other necessities, and rescues orphaned and abandoned Jewish children from life on the streets by funding children’s homes.  Each of these worthwhile initiatives received a generous donation, sent in honor of Gregory Maher, from the Progressive Business Publication Charitable Trust.

We know Greg is a humble and private person, but we’d like to publically acknowledge his long history with PBP, and his generous choice for celebrating a hallmark occasion!  Thank you, Greg, for your concern for others.  We are proud to salute you on your “humanitarian” anniversary! We wish you 25 more years of success at PBP!

Commitment Project Highlights Importance of Conservation & Wildlife Preservation

Eli explains how simple choices like the length of a shower impact the environment for polar bears. He shocked the Fellows when he said their population had declined by 80% in the past 20 years.

At Progressive Business Publications, we take our public responsibilities seriously.  Not only are we invested in empowering our people and improving our community through a wide range of philanthropic projects, but we are also invested in training the next generation.  This blog focuses on an inspiring young man and his commitment project.

One of our key programs for developing young people of promise is the Satell Teen Fellowship for Leadership and Social Activism, now entering its ninth year, a highly select and competitive year-long experience for high school juniors and seniors created in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Each cohort of eighteen students meets with regional leaders, participates in leaders training and enjoys three unique trips including an eleven day visit to Israel.  Most importantly, each Satell Fellow is guided in identifying a societal issue and creating a “commitment project” to address that issue.  The Fellows support one another as they learn about the power of one person to change the world.  They are trained and encouraged to think “we, not me”.

Eli L, Satell Fellow ’13, shares his reflection:  “For me, Tikkun Olam, or “Repairing the World”, is one of the most important Jewish values.  I have tried to uphold and apply this value throughout many aspects of my life. I have always enjoyed helping others by volunteering.  The most intensive has been through the Junior Ambassador Program at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Since I began working at the Philadelphia Zoo in the Junior Ambassador Program, the issue of conservation and protecting endangered species has been important to me, and became the focus of my Commitment Project.  Through the program, I have learned a huge amount about many different animals and the challenges they face all over the world. Many wildlife creatures are in danger of extinction and much of the cause is due to humans and the choices we make.

Through my work in the program, I have been learning about animals in danger, and it is my job, as a Junior Ambassador, to teach zoo visitors about the animals, conservation, and the things that we can do to preserve wildlife throughout the world. The value of Tikkun Olam is represented literally in this effort, as conserving and restoring the natural environment is truly an act of “Repairing the World”.

Being a Junior Ambassador gives me the unique opportunity to pass this knowledge on to others in an effort to improve conditions for wildlife all over the world.  My individual efforts toward making the world a better place may be limited, but if I can inspire others by educating and building awareness, my efforts are multiplied and will have greater impact.  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better it’s not.”  -Dr. Seuss”

At the close of the Fellows’ 2013 year, Eli invited his cohort to a private tour and update at the Philadelphia Zoo.  A group of Fellows joined the Satell Leadership Team, marveling at how invested Eli was in his commitment project, and how eloquently he can speak on the call to repair the earth.  This compelled him to further his role in implementing a conservation program for kids at the zoo.  His commitment has required a huge investment of his time, but his knowledge and passion are impressive. Eli knew every fact by heart, and every animal by name.  The Fellows agreed it was inspiring to recognize the depth of his involvement.

Elana W, Satell Fellow ’13, explains:  “Eli gave us all the opportunity to visit him in his workplace, the Philadelphia Zoo, while he privately toured and taught us about the animals and their habitats.  In addition to having a great time seeing the zoo, the special tour Eli gave us was extremely informative and expertly done.  Eli’s commitment project was not only to bring us to the zoo but to explain to us the danger that many different endangered species face and instruct us on how we can help them.  We often hear the terms “global warming” and “conservation” but do not always realize the severity of these issues or how easily we can help them.  Eli led us through exhibits which explained how our actions, such as wasting water or energy, negatively affects the ecosystems in which we live.

It is our responsibility as humans to understand the impact our technological advancements have created in the world, and we must adapt our ways to ensure that we do not harm the other species among us.  Small actions like switching off electricity and recycling lead to big improvements all around the world.  Eli taught us it is our duty to perform these small actions.  As Satell Teen Fellows, we understand the importance of being responsible for our own actions and being proactive in solving issues.  Eli’s commitment project was a fun and interesting way of showing us how we can help the planet!”

Ed Satell, Founder and CEO of Progressive Business Publications whose vision for training and empowering young leaders was the genesis of the Satell Teen Fellowship said: “Each year I’ve been amazed at the energy, dedication and passion our Fellows bring to their projects.  I think they represent the best in youth leadership.  They give me hope for the future.”

Progressive Business Publications is proud of Eli’s efforts to fulfill his public social responsibilities, and inspired by the difference he is making!

PBP Proudly Awards 12 College Scholarships Presented to Children of Employees

Ed Satell awarding a college scholarship check to CFO & COO Tom Schubert

On August 20th, Progressive Business Publications celebrated its 2013 College Scholarship Program at a company-wide Employee Appreciation Event.  Founder and CEO Ed Satell presented twelve $2,500 scholarships and announced the names of “the talented and extraordinary children of some of our long-time employees”.

As he congratulated the parents, Ed mentioned that the nine employees whose children received scholarships for 2013 had a total of more than a hundred years of employment with the company.  Proudly enumerating the students’ achievements and their impressive list of majors, Ed noted: “Six have GPA’s of more than 3.5, while eight are on the Dean’s List at their respective school”.

The crowd of colleagues gathered for the Employee Appreciation listened attentively as Ed listed the institutions the 2013 scholarship recipients attend, including Cornell University, Wake Forest, Boston University, Temple, Duquesne and West Chester Universities, Kutztown, the University of Delaware and Oberlin College.

Ed Satell awarding a college scholarship check to Director of Telemarketing Colin Drummond.

Progressive Business Publication’s annual presentation of College Scholarships To Children of Employees is always much anticipated.  This special benefit program is unique, offering a college scholarship each year, for up to five years, to all children of full-time employees.  The college or graduate program student must maintain a 2.0 or higher grade average to be eligible.

Over the past sixteen years, more than 130 scholarships have been awarded to students attending some of the top educational institutions across the country.  It’s a major point of pride for Progressive Business Publications.

As he began this year’s awards, Ed Satell said: “We developed this scholarship program for all children of our employees because we believe one of the best ways to help and to empower our employees is to contribute to their goal of providing their children with a great college education.  We know that’s a dream for parents everywhere.  We’re delighted we can present twelve scholarships this year.”


Employee Commitment to CSR Series: Melissa Pardo Bunte

Melissa Pardo BunteCourage.  Grace in the face of adversity. Willingness to share so others can learn.  Overcoming a personal challenge to benefit the greater community. 

This fifth blog in the series about Progressive Business Publications’ employees committed to corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community features a long-time colleague whose personal experience motivated her to get involved so that she could help others.  Melissa Pardo Bunte, a core team member and Editor of PBP’s Better Buys for Business, has been an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), for more than a decade.  She joined the Board of the Gen X (local) Chapter ten years ago, and has served as its President since 2007.

We asked Melissa what first drew her to the nonprofit, and she shared:  “I’ve had a severe-to-profound hearing loss since I was a toddler and have been wearing hearing aids in both ears since I was four. I’ve had speech and hearing therapies throughout my school years but have been mainstreamed from 3rd grade through college, so therefore, have not interacted much with other deaf or hard-of-hearing kids.

In 2001, about three months after I graduated college, I received a letter in the mail about a local hearing-loss support group that will have its first meeting that September. That local group became known as Gen X – but the national association was Self Help for Hard-of-Hearing (SHHH), which changed its name to Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) in 2006.  I was hooked from the very first meeting.

The official Mission of HLAA is ‘to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss by providing information, education, support and advocacy. Our primary purpose is to educate ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers, teachers, hearing health care providers, industry, government, and others about hearing loss.

We’re also a leading voice in improving communication access for people with hearing loss. We advocate for communication access in the workplace, hotels, schools, court systems, medical, and entertainment facilities. HLAA promotes new technology, medical research, and legislation that will alleviate the effects of hearing loss. We encourage and participate in research to improve hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and other technology needs of consumers with hearing loss.  And we help implement federal and state laws which benefit people with hearing loss’.

I think this is very important – ‘HLAA promotes self-confidence; empowers individuals with skills to improve their lives; and provides an opportunity for affiliation among people with hearing loss, their friends, families, and professionals. We also provide support in setting up local support groups’.”

Melissa explained what HLAA does in the tri-state region, saying: “In 2006, HLAA hosted its first Walk4Hearing event in Pennsylvania. The purpose of the Walk is raise awareness of hearing loss as a health issue, as well as to raise funds for program and services on a national and local level.”  The Walk4Hearing has become a major event, and Progressive Business Publications has been a sponsor since 2007 as well.

Our next question concerned what areas the Gen X Chapter of HLAA and Melissa herself focus on.  Melissa said:  “On a personal level, I’ve helped raise funds for my chapter that have gone to providing college scholarships for high-school seniors with a hearing loss.  I’ve also been involved as a volunteer for PA Walk4Hearing – I’ve chaired the Refreshments sub-committee and in 2012 and this year, I’ve been in charge of Sponsorship.”

We asked Melissa to share what she finds most compelling about her involvement with this nonprofit.  She responded:  “What initially drew me in to HLAA was the opportunity to meet and socialize with other young adults with a hearing loss – people who understand what it’s like to have difficulty hearing people in a social setting or on the job, for instance. But as time went by, I learned more about other aspects of hearing loss – things I didn’t know, such as there are a wide range of assistive devices out there or on how to advocate for myself.

Through HLAA, I’ve learned a lot about how to advocate for myself, as well as a variety of different assistive listening devices out there. But more importantly, I’ve found support with other people that have a hearing loss, and have made many friends, all of whom I still keep in touch and hang out with today.”

Progressive Business Publications commends Melissa for her courage and her commitment to helping others.  We are proud to support the vital mission of the Hearing Loss association of America.  And we congratulate the Walk4Hearing Committee on the terrific annual success of this event.  Thank you, Melissa, for all your hard work!

Employee Commitment to CSR Series: Elizabeth DeMarco

Elizabeth DeMarcoCompassion for a beautiful child’s life tragically cut short. Willingness to accept responsibility to raise awareness.  Dedication to making a difference.  

This fifth blog in the series about Progressive Business Publications’ employees committed to corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community features a young colleague who was moved by a family’s story.  Elizabeth DeMarco, a member of both PBP Media’s team and PGIs, became involved with Aidan’s Heart Foundation and today is Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Elizabeth shared that when she returned to West Chester from Virginia, her Mom volunteered Elizabeth’s marketing skills to help a friend and former colleague, Christy Silva.  Christy and her husband Steve had begun the Aidan’s Heart Foundation as a way to help alert, educate and inspire others in the wake of the death of their seven-year old son Aidan, from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

What a beautiful response to such a sad event.  We asked Elizabeth what SCA was, and she responded knowledgably, explaining that: “Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is not the same thing as a heart attack. While heart attacks are caused by a buildup and blockage in the arteries/veins that carry blood to your heart, SCA is caused by a problem with the heart’s electrical system.

The popular analogy compares the human body to a house: a heart attack is a plumbing issue- you’ve got a clog somewhere, and the clog is preventing blood from getting to your heart. But sudden cardiac arrest is an electric problem- and your heart needs power. So when the power goes out, the heart stops abruptly. And it can only be re-started with an electrical pulse, usually an automated external defibrillator (AED).”

“At 3pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon,” Elizabeth said “ the Silvas were getting ready to go to a BBQ. Their seven-year-old son Aidan had spent the morning riding his bike with neighbors and running errands with Christy. There were no warning signs at all that anything was wrong with his heart. Aidan was doing a puzzle when Christy took Aidan’s brother into the other room to get dressed for the BBQ. When Christy returned, Aidan was dead.

Aidan was getting ready to start first grade and seemed perfectly healthy. In fact, his doctor gave Aidan a clean bill of health just 6 weeks before his SCA.”

Elizabeth revealed a sobering statistic: “SCA claims more than 350,000 lives each year.  According to the American Heart Association, SCA affects 16 kids a day in this country. Approximately 92% of those who experience SCA do not survive, and approximately 95% of victims die before they reach a hospital or some other source of emergency help. Anyone can experience sudden cardiac arrest, including healthy infants, high school athletes, and people in their 30s and 40s who have no sign of heart disease.”

Why was our colleague so compelled to be part of the valuable work of this Foundation?    She shared that when she got in touch with Christy, she was invited to the group’s first board meeting.  Not knowing anything about SCA, Elizabeth fervently took notes.   She remarked: “I was so struck by the passion and raw emotion in the room that night. And it made me so eager to help! I saw so much potential in so many marketing areas. I wanted to be a part of this- this cause, this group, this determination and passion. The majority of the Board is made up of members who are (and have long been) close with the Silvas. And they participate because they loved Aidan and they, too, were distraught by his passing. But they also participate because they are committed to making sure his LIFE means something. They want to do whatever they can increase awareness, education and resources for a cause that most parents don’t even know about.

And that’s the most compelling thing to me- the strength of the Silvas. They took this horrible, horrible situation and managed to overcome their grief and decide to focus on what they could do to help stop other families from ever having to experience the same tragedy.

Every time our Board meets, I think of how immensely difficult it musts be for Christy and Steve to remain so composed. It’s hard for everyone on the Board, but they find a way to focus on what they can do to help.  Everyone is committed to making a difference for other families.  That’s Aidan’s legacy.”

We asked Elizabeth what the Foundation was working to accomplish.  She eagerly replied:  “This is the simple background — the saddest part is many SCA deaths could have been prevented. AEDs can save a life if used within 4-6 minutes of SCA. Yet, it’s hard to believe not all schools and athletic complexes have AEDs. Which is why first, Aidan’s Heart supports Aidan’s Law – SB606– which would require every school, fitness facility, and sports field in PA to have at least one AED.

SCA can also be prevented if certain conditions are detected prior to an attack. Heart-screenings, including an electrocardiogram (EKG), can help detect approximately 60% of the heart conditions that can lead to SCA.  Aidan’s Heart Foundation is dedicated to creating heart-safe communities for kids.  We do this by holding community heart screenings for local youth and by raising funds for SCA research and education. The last SCA screening we sponsored was held on June 1st, and 250 children were screened.

Our biggest fundraising event is the annual 5K for Aidan J. This year there were over 550 runners, and we raised over $30,000. The money went directly to AEDs for schools and heart screenings for children. (  Our keynote speaker for the 5K was a 16-year-old student at a local high school, Villa Maria Academy who suffered SCA in September and was revived with an AED.  You can imagine how powerful her story is.”

Finally, Elizabeth commented: “Aidan died from SCA in 2010, so we are still in our infancy, but I am so honored to be a part of this cause.”

Progressive Business Publications is proud of the inspiration, talent and commitment Elizabeth has dedicated to Aidan’s Heart Foundation and commends her for her work on this valuable program. We are also honored she shared the Silva’s moving story with us all.

Employee Commitment to CSR Series: Fred Hosier

Courage and dedication in the face of unexpected hardship.  Leadership focused on helping others.

This fourth blog in the series about Progressive Business Publications’ employees committed to corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community features a colleague with a strong sense of responsibility and a man who wears many hats, Fred Hosier, our Senior Group Publisher, Compliance, Managing Editor for the respected Safety Compliance Alert and Editor for valuable resource on safety & OSHA, Safety News Alert.  Fred recently accepted another challenge, the role of Board Member for the  National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association.

With such a talented and prolific writer as our subject, we just posed the questions.  Fred’s responses are thoughtful and enlightening, revealing his generous nature and deep sense of gratitude that drives his desire to help others.

What first drew you to your nonprofit?  How did you get involved?

 I am a beneficiary of the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association’s work. I have spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder that involves “spasms” of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality.  After my diagnosis, I went to an NSDA annual national symposium.  Up to that point, I had never met another person with SD.  It was an incredible experience to be among more than 100 other people with this rare vocal disorder. The NSDA offers education and support to people with SD and their families.

Not long after I went to that national meeting, a local support group for people with SD was formed in the Chester/Montgomery County area by local resident Cathie Leister and with the support of the NSDA. She ran the group solo for a couple of years and then asked me to be a co-leader of the group, which I happily accepted. We are still co-leaders of the support group today.

I continued to go to national and regional symposia held by the NSDA. I also helped staff an NSDA table at a medical conference in Philadelphia with NSDA board member and past president Dot Sowerby.

About a year ago at the annual national NSDA symposium, Dot asked me whether I might be interested in joining the NSDA board. I said I would be interested, and several months later I was formally asked by current board President Charlie Reavis.  In May 2013, I formally became an NSDA board member.

Tell us a little about its mission …

Founded in 1989, the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA) is a not-for profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to advancing medical research into the causes of and treatments for SD, promoting physician and public awareness of the disorder, and providing support to those affected by SD through symposiums, support groups, and on-line resources.

NSDA is comprised of people with SD, healthcare professionals, volunteers, friends, and families. It is the only organization dedicated solely to the SD community. Together, we continue to grow through awareness, advocacy, and outreach; help to improve the lives of people dealing with SD; and work to support research in order to bring understanding to this disorder.

Can you share why you accepted a national leadership role?   Why do others participate?

It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to give back to this nonprofit which has done so much for me. As a former managing editor of PBP’s two publications for nonprofit organizations, I gained a lot of knowledge about nonprofits but had never had the chance to put that knowledge into practice. Now, I have that opportunity to both give back and to use the knowledge I have gained.

In her own words, here is why board member and Support Services Director Mary Bifaro participates with NSDA:
“Far and away, the NSDA has played the most critical part in helping me come to terms with SD. I have been blessed by being involved with the NSDA community. They continue to teach me many life lessons.”

Can you give me a personal quote about your involvement? 

I feel truly honored to be an NSDA board member. I also feel a great sense of responsibility to help grow the organization so it can be there for even more people just as it has been there for me.


Employee Commitment to CSR Series: Nicole Riegl

Nicole and the 2013 intern class.

This third blog in the series about Progressive Business Publications’ employees committed to corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community features our Director of Executive Education, Nicole Riegl.  Since 2007 Nicole has been an “official docent” for the Wharton Esherick Museum in Paoli, PA , logging more than 160 volunteer hours in that role.

Wharton Esherick, born in 1887, was a noted sculptor who worked primarily in wood, creating unique furniture, furnishings, utensils, interiors and buildings all incorporating sculptural elements. His hilltop studio/residence, today a National Historic Landmark for Architecture, has more than 200 of his works on exhibit.  The striking building has been preserved much as it was when the artist lived and worked there and is open to the public for guided tours by reservation.

For the last four years Progressive Business Publications has been a donor to the Museum, but the company’s involvement came directly through Nicole. She has generously served as a Mentor for our adopted school, Cook-Wissahickon K-8 Elementary in Philadelphia for fifteen years, and originally came to the company specifically to run that program.  As Cook-Wissahickon expanded from a K-5 elementary to a K-8 with a middle school, Progressive Business Publications’ initiatives at the school grew as well.  The company was asked to develop an enrichment field trip for the first eighth grade, and the Wharton-Esherick, located just a few miles from our corporate headquarters, was a unique but natural choice, especially with our in-house docent.

Today the museum visit is the much-anticipated “best field trip ever” for each eighth grade class.  Nicole said:  “One of the highlights of my docent experience is taking our Cook-Wissahickon 8th graders to the museum each spring.  It’s such a completely different place from their school or our office.  Seeing their faces light up when they see it so gratifying.  And, hearing them talk about it at lunch is even better!”

Quietly tucked into the Chester County countryside, Wharton’s home-turned-museum is not especially well-known.  We asked Nicole to share the story of how she became involved.  She responded that she had been driving past the sign for the Museum regularly for nine years before she first visited.  She met the Executive Director at a Main Line Chamber of Commerce function and asked if he would give a tour to her mom, visiting from out of town, and herself.  Nicole said: “We came on a gorgeous fall day – all the leaves were in full color – and Rob gave us the best tour.  At the end, I said, “How can I help?” and Rob said, “Become a Docent.”  I’ve never looked back!  It was perfect for me as I had a wanted to be a docent (was accepted into Philadelphia Museum of Art’s program years before this) but hadn’t found the right fit in terms of interest and what works with my schedule.”

That first visit, particularly precious for Nicole since she shared the experience with her mom, was fate in action.  We asked Nicole to describe the process of becoming a docent, and she responded:  “I trained by shadowing experienced docents – I went on 10 or so tours.  And I read and re-read the Docent’s Manual – making flash cards along the way.  Back when I trained none of the books with photographs from the collection were published so it was all putting words to memories of the sculpture and furniture.  I like to say (much to my father’s dismay) that I never studied for anything as long and as hard as I did when I was studying to be a docent.  But, all the studying was worth it.”   The students who benefit from her tours certainly agree!

Nicole went on to explain: “One of most amazing things about being a docent at this museum is that you craft your own tour – so it really reflects who you are.  I think this allows me to have more fun.  I come at it from an art history standpoint and it’s forced me to remember/re-learn some things I studied in college.  Others are wood or furniture experts.  You could go on many different tours and learn new things because the docent has made it his/her own.  I love that and that I get to use my degree so many years after I got it (especially because my professional career isn’t related to it).”

Nicole is well-known among her colleagues for her discriminating taste in art and fine food.  In addition to generously sharing her time in the cultural community, she writes a popular blog, charmingly titled “Riegl Palate” featuring gourmet food and recipes.

A great manager and team leader, an avid golfer and foodie, and a dedicated community volunteer, Nicole also helps direct the company’s outstanding Intern program.  Recently she guided the 2013 Intern cohort on a tour of the Wharton Esherick.

Finally, Nicole offered: “I’d love to share the wonders of Esherick with my co-workers.  Let me know if you’d like to arrange a tour with me some weekend day.”  Kate Durkan, a Layfayette student intern in our Editorial Department remarked:  “What I liked the most about the Wharton Esherick Museum was how he implemented engineering with his artistic nature. He added lights into the cabinets and drawers that he made while still creating an original piece. Wood art is unique and something that I had not seen up close, so I really enjoyed our visit!”  Her cohort member John Chapman, an F&M College student interning in Product Marketing added:  “At first glance, there seemed to be no connection to leadership in business at the Wharton Esherick Museum.  Little did I know, Wharton was a pioneer, an amazing artist, and a model for others throughout his life.  Nicole was able to demonstrate that throughout the visit and the takeaways from the trip were outstanding and timeless.”

Rachel Rossini, an intern from Villanova working in PB Media, concurred, saying: “I was very impressed with how much Nicole knew about Esherick and wood art in general. Nicole has such a wide range of hobbies- I hope to one day be as involved with things that interest me as she is!”

Progressive Business Publications is delighted to thank Nicole for her offer, and to congratulate her for sharing her time and abilities to benefit a community treasure, the Wharton Esherick Museum.

Employee Commitment to CSR Series: Tom Schubert

Progressive Business Publications COO & CFO Tom Shubert with his menteeLive what you believe in.  Invest your time and energy.

This second blog in the series on Progressive Business Publication’s employees committed to corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community features our Chief Operating and Financial Officer Tom Schubert.  If anyone knows the importance of financial literacy, it’s Tom.  For more than twelve years, Tom has been involved as a supporter and Board Member for Junior Achievement of Greater Delaware Valley.

Progressive Business Publications has been a long-time sponsor for Junior Achievement, the world’s largest (and fastest growing) volunteer-driven nonprofit focused on economic education.  JA’s purpose is motivating and educating young people to become economically and personally responsible and successful through financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness programs.

JA promotes positive life values like integrity and hard work.  This mission is a natural for Tom.  When asked why he willingly invests so much effort into JA initiatives, Tom explained: “Originally I got involved as I thought the mission of helping kids learn about business and entrepreneurship was important and I had the opportunity to get involved as Pieter ( Pieter VanBennekom, PBP”s Senior Editorial Director) was rotating off the Board.”  Having a senior member of PBP’s leadership team serve on the Board is part of the company’s involvement with JA.

As he does with everything he commits to, Tom, a lifelong athlete and competitor, helped take JA of Greater Delaware Valley to another level.  His business acumen and financial discipline served the organization well during his stint as Chair of the Finance Committee.  Going forward, Tom has accepted the demanding role of Chair of the Board of Trustees.  JA of Greater Delaware Valley currently serves more than 16,000 students a year and is poised to grow in the Philadelphia region, impacting and inspiring more and more young people.

That role alone would be enough, but Tom always goes above and beyond, and gives from the heart. He’s a great believer in “paying it forward”.

Three years ago Progressive Business Publications began a partnership with JA, offering a financial literacy program to the Mentees from our adopted school, Cook-Wissahickon K-8 Elementary in Philadelphia.   This group of 45 students in grades 4-6 participate with their individual Mentors, our Progressive Business Publications colleagues, learning about saving, banking, credit cards, earning money, starting a business and more.  Tom, himself a Mentor for more than ten years, immediately stepped up at the Program’s launch and took on the task of group captain.

Recognizing the importance of leading by example, Tom works with our PBPers to foster economic understanding for our Mentees.  The JA-PBP partnership has been very successful, and has grown to include other JA partners, Vanguard and Bank of America, in this learning experience.

Tom is a strong business leader, a dedicated husband and dad, a coach, community volunteer – in short, a great role model.   Progressive Business Publications is proud to recognize his generous spirit and honors him for his commitment to Junior Achievement and the future business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region.

PBP Interns Learn About Values

progressive business publications interns

Progressive Business Publications interns with company CEO Ed Satell.

Imagine being selected for a very competitive paid summer internship in your field.  Exciting and challenging for a college Junior.  Now imagine that you are invited to lunch at corporate headquarters to meet with the highly-successful CEO of your company.  What an opportunity.

Progressive Business Publications extends this opportunity to its intern cohort every year.  We’re very proud of our Summer Intern program and its commitment to real jobs and real experience. We’re also proud of the number of great applicants who vie for each opening.  Progressive Business Publications intern cohort is an impressive group.

Last week, CEO Ed Satell hosted the 2013 cohort for lunch.  He candidly shared his story and his business philosophy while encouraging the group to ask him as many questions as possible.  Ed also explained the company’s core values and their importance.

The Interns universally were inspired and motivated by their lunch meeting.  Jon Erman, majoring in Business Management at Bucknell and interning in Progressive Gifts and Incentives, noted: “Ed’s personal story, charitable endeavors, and passion for Progressive Business Publications conveyed the importance of a well-rounded leader in facilitating success. He clearly communicated that one should be willing to take risks and act with an eye towards the future – rather than shying away from the tough decisions and looking for “short-term success” – in order to grow a competitive business.”

An English major at Lafayette, Kate Durkan is writing for real in the Editorial Department.  Kate commented: “I like how Mr. Satell talked about his views on failure.  He learned from his mistakes and decided not to dwell on them in order to move forward.  I think that type of live-and-learn philosophy is important in helping people develop and definitely something that I will take with me.”