Kristian M. Schafer
Bethlehem Chamber Chair
The weather outside may have been frightful, but Christmas City was certainly delightful! What an incredible Season we had here in Bethlehem, as countless visited our City to make their Holiday as bright as that Star that represents us! Simply an incredible job done by all the volunteers that make this time of year a huge success, all whilst bringing the spotlight not only to our Historic District, but also our booming Southside Arts District as well. It’s hard to believe that we have now officially entered 2020, and guess what? It’s the perfect time for you to get more involved in our Community! There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and show your support, and there’s no time like the present. You needn’t look far to find a great opportunity for volunteering your time, or for sponsoring an event if that’s more your speed. Our Chamber reach is pretty incredible, and one that you most certainly should take advantage of. Just one of those membership perks is having the opportunity to be recognized as our BethleGEM, which will continue into 2020, where
we will highlight an existing business in Bethlehem while continuing to redefine what a true partnership looks like!
Our January BethleGEM is The Steel Beam! Like an art gallery, Steel Beam provides customers with a curated selection of handcrafted inspiration, fine detailed designs, and creative artistry- giving a nod to Bethlehem’s glorious past with a modern fresh approach to boutique shopping. Steel Beam has developed an eye for fine details and great design, giving their patrons an abundant selection from which to choose. Creative juices flow from their working studio, where you can watch some of their incredible treasures come to life. Look for a new location in the near future, and be sure to visit Steel Beam’s incredible team- you won’t be disappointed that you did!
Let’s make 2020 our most successful year yet- hold true to those resolutions, help as many people as you can, and be in the “I” in Community! Here’s to a great year!
Meghan Castanaro, Air Products Allentown Chamber Chair
The start of a new year is typically the time people set goals and resolutions. It is a time to look forward to new beginnings and reflect on aspirations and ways to improve your business.
If you want to achieve the goals you set, whether personal or professional, you really should write them down. Studies have shown that those who capture their goals on paper are 42% more likely to see them to fruition. There are multiple reasons why this is the case, including clearly setting out what you want to accomplish, helping to visualize what you need to do to succeed, and simply providing a reminder of what your goals are. I know I enjoy the simple pleasure of crossing or checking off tasks I complete.
In addition, be sure to share your goals. This is an important step in the process, as it holds you more accountable to them, making it more likely that you will complete the goals.
One of our goals at the Allentown Chamber is to improve and increase our partnerships with the various groups that represent Allentown. In general, partnerships can be critical to your success. They help cover your blind spots, provide diversity of thought, and create synergies that allow you to be more successful. We definitely see strength when we join forces with other entities.
I welcome you to contact us if you think we can mutually benefit each other and wish you all a very healthy and Happy New Year. Now go write down those goals and share them with those that matter to you!
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Young Professionals Council
New year, new you, boo! A new year is the perfect time to make change in your life. For me, it happens to mean a new job. I recently quit my job of six years to start a whole new career at an entirely different organization, so who am I to talk about commitment? Well, commitment requires that you be honest with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how in the world are you going to be honest with anyone else? Can I get an “Amen!” up in here?!
New you, new goals. You can’t commit to something without first setting goals. Everyone can look at their lives and think “I really want to change XYZ.” Change can be hard, though, so it’s best to start small and take it one day at a time. You want to change your diet? Stop buying those Little Debbie dessert cakes for your lunches (R.I.P. Little Debbie) and replace them with a bag of fruit or veggies before you go full-on Keto. You want to exercise more? Start with a short home workout routine a couple days a week before you begin a monthly subscription at a gym. You want to live fancy and party in France? You better work, sis! And then save five or ten dollars a week before opening up your third line of credit.
New goals, new challenges. If you cheat, if you slip up, if you treat yo’self a little too much, don’t beat yourself down – just be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable. Admit that you did something wrong, and then admit that it’s OK to be wrong and imperfect. After a short while, this new you will learn to do what you say you will do.
There is a lot of power in that – doing what you say you will do. You become more reliable, more trustworthy, and more durable. You start to live a life of less wanting and wishing and more DOING. I know it can be scary to make a change, though I can tell you that you have the most courage within the first 30 seconds of thinking about doing something. 29...28...27....
Tina Hasselbush, Social T Marketing WBC First Vice Chair
Welcome 2020! New year, new you, right? If there was ever a time to make and keep new year resolutions, the dawn of a new decade certainly seems fitting. As a dedicated and active participant in the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber Women’s Business Council, may I suggest that we look to our council’s mission statement to guide these all-important resolutions? Committing to the following three simple but powerful concepts will help strengthen our community and uplift not only our- selves but one another. In the words of our council president, Carla Hickey, “that’s a win-win, sister!”
1. Empower – In 2020, take the time to regularly attend WBC events. Our board and committees carefully construct a menu of opportunities to educate and empower you to be a stronger leader, mentor, employee or business owner.
2. Recognize – Each year, the Women’s Business Council honors women and an organization with the Athena Award. Presented to those possessing courage and strength of spirit, wisdom and enlightenment surrounding women’s rights and empowerment, the Athena is nationally recognized and boasts a prestigious group of past recipients. Calls for nominations will be announced in the spring; let’s resolve to make 2020 a record-breaking year.
3. Inspire – Leadership comes in many packages and authority can be self-ordained. Be wise, understanding and positive, share a skill and build confidence in a co-worker or friend. Embrace differences, diversities and opportunities to be an example to those around you.
If 2018 was the year of the woman, let’s help launch 2020 as the decade of education, leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Written by Carol Obando-Derstine, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities
PPL celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, marking a century of service that helped nurture the experiences, growth and progress of hundreds of communities we continue to have the privilege to power across central and eastern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., as we were known at our founding in early June 1920, was formed from the merger of eight smaller, local power companies in eastern Pennsylvania. PP&L’s founders eyed development of a modern regional utility capable of serving as a catalyst for further economic and industrial growth.
Today, PPL Corporation is one of the largest companies in the U.S. utility sector. PPL Electric Utilities — one of the family of PPL companies — grew quickly after its founding as additional, smaller local power companies were acquired. Today, we serve 1.4 million customers in all or part of 29 Pennsylvania counties in a service territory with a land area larger than New Jersey.
Line workers and engineers during the Great Depression, World War II and the turbulent 1960s would hardly recognize today’s technologically advanced smart grid that can automatically reroute power with the help of software and sensors. They’d surely be impressed with a system that can safely and automatically cut power to a downed power line. They’d probably even marvel about 3-D design and virtual reality, paying a bill by text message and more.
Hitting the century mark certainly is a time for reflection, but it’s also a time of excitement and promise as we work to make the power grid smarter and more reliable and resilient. We want to make the second century as memorable as the first. To do that, we’ll continue to innovate with you, our customers, as our focus.
From Scranton to Strasburg, from Williamsport to West Rockhill, we know you depend on us to power your life. And we’ll continue to deliver.
Interested in more PPL history? Visit PPL’s anniversary website at pplweb.com/100years.
Sandler Training, Small Business Council
I was on the receiving end of a sales pitch last week from a company that claims to eliminate the need for cold calling. Eliminate cold calling? You have my attention - please continue!
For the next 20 minutes I proceeded to listen. The salesperson on the other end proceeded to tell me about the specifications, features, and benefits of their service. I found my mind wandering to other tasks I needed to complete for the day. At one point, I unconsciously opened my email and started checking it. The worst part? When the conversation began, I was truly interested in the service I was being pitched. I was on the hook, and I completely disengaged because two things happened:
1) There was not two-way discussion in the conversation. I gave up trying to have a conversation and started reply- ing to emails.
2) There was zero discussion about my needs. I assume the service could pro- vide some benefit to me, maybe even make my life easier. The problem? I never had the opportunity to under- stand how the service could help me because the “pitch” went into the details quickly, and the salesperson didn’t take the time to find out how the service may benefit me.
I was able to ask a few questions, but it was clear the salesperson was just waiting to answer.
Salespeople – A good general rule is the 70/30 rule.
· 70% the prospect talking and you
listening (not just waiting to respond)
· 30% you talking. Most of this should
be asking questions to understand the prospect’s situation.
Bottom line: Telling isn’t Selling. A prospect that is listening is no prospect at all. As a sales professional – if you’re doing most of the talking, you’re missing an opportunity to understand whether or not your product or service fits a need of the customer. Without understanding if the prospect has a need for your offering, you’re wasting the
Nicholas R. Maxellt
Telehealth – Telemedicine - Virtual Care: These titles may indicate some difference in services offered, but they all are ways to access medical care remotely. Without the need to make an appointment, leave your home, or wait in a waiting room full of sick people, you can get solutions to minor medical issues and even get prescriptions. Sky- rocketing medical costs and difficulties getting an appointment with a physician are reasons many industry insiders see telehealth as an important part of the future. In most cases, copays are far less than the ER, or urgent care, and even less than the cost to see the family doctor. It makes sense to incorporate telehealth among your options to receive care. Not every company’s health plan is currently offering telehealth, but the majority do at about 80%. Unfortunately, utilization rates are barely reaching 15% nationally.
Telehealth isn’t going to solve all our health care delivery troubles, but it can certainly be a help. It is a great first stop for non-emergency care after normal working hours, when the emergency room is notoriously and inappropriately used. It is a great option when away on vacation, need to get a prescription, or just don’t have the time to make an appointment with your doctor. In addition to basic medical care, many vendors offer nutrition advice, psychiatry, and mental health services which can be extremely difficult to access, especially if you are a new patient. Ask your plan administrator or carrier if telehealth is offered and give it a try.
Robert J. Cox
BARRY ISETT & ASSOCIATES, INC.
Almost everywhere, people seem to say that ‘Smart Growth’ should put new developments anywhere but in ‘their’ backyard, and new traffic anywhere but on ‘their’ streets – or so it often seems.
The LVPC has been looking at the impacts of buildings and traffic from newly built or proposed developments, and recommends strategies and actions for reducing congestion. Their website has a link for the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study – implemented to proactively address issues tied to congestion management and Smart Growth, and to assist with State and Federal funding of priorities. The Transportation Study has been recently merged with their Comprehensive Plan for the region – which addresses preservation of farm- land, natural features, redevelopment of old industrial sites, more park and recreation facilities, and transportation systems.
Compounding the problems, in 2018 Pennsylvania passed a new law allowing tractor trailer access to a significant amount of local roads. Designed to bring Pennsylvania’s truck related laws more in line with National requirements, it poses new challenges to agencies trying to keep heavy truck traffic confined to the more highly traveled State Routes or corridors. What can we do? How can we help? If you truly care about our quality of life, including our wonderfully vibrant economy, don’t just show up at a public hearing and complain – that’s too late. Get involved, join something, start at a committee level and be active, then run for local offices – be a part of the solution. You will enjoy the ride much more.
Mary Lisicky, Morgan Stanley Public Policy Committee Chair Vice Chair, The Chamber
As we begin the new year, the Public Policy Committee will continue to take proactive measures to ensure the government considers the interests of our business and community members, on both the state and federal levels.
Our committee will keep you informed of relevant issues through various forms of communication. Be on the lookout for our emails and social media posts on The Chamber’s various platforms. Also, we recently started a quarterly e-news- letter which you will be receiving later this month.As we continue toward our goal of better communicating with our membership, we encourage you to also get involved. We love hearing from our members. If you have suggestions on how you prefer to receive communication to learn about the happenings of our subcommittees (Employer Regulatory, Energy & Environment, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Tax & Regulatory and Transportation) – write to us!
Email: MichelleY@ LehighValleyChamber.org and share your input!
Cheers to a happy new year!
Laurie G. Hackett, Air Products Chair, Nonprofit & Business Partners Council
It’s 2020! And it is the year of collaboration! The nonprofit and business partners council had a fantastic fall and we look forward to working with you all from across the chamber region as we move into the new year. We are proud of the work of the council as we look for opportunities to celebrate collaboration because we know how much can be accomplished when those of us with similar missions come together.
Last month was especially exciting when we gathered with health and human services leaders from across the
valley. We know there are issues and opportunities that matter most to them, And our initial meeting was fantastic! There is such energy and optimism in bringing together this incredible group of health and human services organizations. Under the leadership of Catharine Kessack from VAST and Tim Mulligan from communities in schools....great things are going to happen over the next year through the strength and power of this committee! We look forward to bringing nonprofits and business together again on March 18 and April 30.
Mark your calendars!