Thursday, March 28, 2013

Exclusive Corporate and Personal Benefits with Chamber Membership

Exclusive Corporate and Personal Benefits

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce offers many valuable exclusive benefits to its members. As the largest Chamber in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with more than 200,000 employee members, The Chamber is able to negotiate cost-saving programs for services and products that are commonly used by businesses across the Valley.

The Chamber offers several exclusive benefit programs and will continue to add programs that are of a common interest to its membership. (Visit the Chamber’s website at for the most current list of benefits.) In addition to the exclusive benefit programs, there are also several member-to-member discount programs, which all members are encouraged to offer.

For more information about the programs outlined below, or to present a program that could be considered as an exclusive benefit for Chamber members, please contact Gina Martens at 610-739-1511 or email

Health Insurance:
Capital BlueCross
The Chamber is the only one in Pennsylvania with a direct plan with Capital BlueCross. For more information about the five different health plans, contact any Capital BlueCross licensed broker or The Chamber’s consultants at Caruso Benefits Group, 610-865-0261. The Chamber also offers life, dental and vision plans. This program is only available to businesses in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.

Voluntary Insurance:
Capital BlueCross
Several voluntary benefits are offered through this program, including PersonalBlue PPO (for individuals), short-term major medical, group term life, accidental death & dismemberment, long-term disability, Accident-Cancer-Critical Care Elite and long-term care insurance. Call 1-800-451-1181 for more information.

Aflac’s nationwide service and reputation make it natural to offer to our members. Aflac policies are designed to pay cash benefits to employees to help cover expenses associated with serious illness or injury. Because Aflac products are employee owned, group rates apply and premiums are deducted on a “pre-tax” basis. These policies pay in addition to any other insurance policies your employees currently have. Plans include Personal Accident, Sickness & Catastrophic, and Specific Health & Cancer cash benefits. For more information, contact Bob or Maureen Friedman at 610-398-3727, or

Business Insurance:
Penn National Insurance
This program offers business insurance to qualified, participating member businesses at competitive prices with specialized coverage, claims and loss control services, plus the potential to earn dividends based on group loss experience. For more information, contact Program Administrators: John Yurconic Agency at 610-770-6600.

Prescription Discount Program:
The Valley Rx Card
The Chamber is proud to offer a FREE Prescription Assistance Program - The Valley Rx Card - as a way of responding to the rising costs of prescription drugs. The Valley Rx Card is FREE to all residents of the Greater Lehigh Valley area and provides savings of up to 75% on prescription drugs at most retail pharmacies.  This program has no restrictions to membership, no income requirements, no age limitations, and there are no applications to fill out. Just go to and click on the Valley Rx Card icon to print out your new card and start saving today!
Intelligent Energy Solutions:
The Chamber’s Electricity Procurement Program provides access to competitive pricing for electricity as the Central Pennsylvania region lifted rate caps/deregulated.  Constellation helps members like you develop intelligent energy management solutions to stabilize their energy budgets, reduce energy costs, improve facility operations, and advance sustainability goals. Learn more at

Natural Gas Savings:
Shipley Energy
This program provides members with savings on mounting natural gas costs. The program provides a discount on Shipley’s already competitive natural gas prices exclusively for Chamber member businesses. Members save on natural gas costs, as well as secure a locked-in rate for ease of budgeting and planning. For more information contact Joe Facchiano at 610-442-9076
or This program is only offered in Pennsylvania.

Merchant/Credit Card Processing Program:
Embassy Bank
This program offers businesses a true flat rate credit card processing program tailored to the individual merchant based on monthly sales activity. No more trying to decipher multiple rates and unknown fees! For more information, contact Bryan Lobach at or 484-821-1205.

Print-to-Digital Publishing:
The Chamber has a program that helps maximize your printed marketing investment by transforming printed materials into a fully-functional digital publication, enhanced with a host of interactive features. Convert PDF files into hosted, interactive, web-based publications; create online versions of books, brochures and documents. This is also great for the small business owner that doesn’t have the time our resources to host a website. For more information, contact Tom Butera at 610-332-2884 or email

Office Supplies & Furniture:
Jiorle’s Office Supplies
This program offers an average of 50-60% savings off manufacturer’s list price on more than 26,000 office supply items and an average of 30- 40% savings on furniture, janitorial supplies and technology products. These items are available for free next-day delivery. Individual price plans are developed for each customer based upon their unique needs. Orders may be placed online at, by phone at 908-454-3433 or via fax at 908-454-1748.

Recycling & Remanufactured Toner Cartridges: 
Recycle Rewards
This program enables businesses to dispose of and recycle toner cartridges and cell phones. Participating members receive free collection boxes, complete with pre-paid UPS return labels. This program does not accept previously recycled toner cartridges, only new cartridges. For more information, contact Gina Martens at 610-739-1511 or

Office Space:
The Office Quarters – Allentown
Chamber members receive discounts on office suites and virtual office suites at The Office Quarters. The Office Quarters offers special packages for Chamber members that provide a range of spaces – both physical and virtual – as well as business services like telephone, internet, receptionist, copying, faxing, etc. For more information, contact Brenda Ptacin/The Office Quarters, Allentown, at 484-224-3000,, Also, call The Chamber if you’re looking for lease space in other Lehigh Valley areas, as we work with Ashley Development Corporation/Bethlehem and Unistar Advisors/Easton.

Email Marketing Template Service:
Constant Contact
Chamber Constant Contact offers e-mail templates as well as survey templates for every occasion to improve customer service and gather customer feedback. Plus, users get a lot of back-end functionality with reporting functions, so you can track who is reading your e-mails and what links they click on, etc. Chamber members get a 20% discount for 6-month contracts and 25% discount for 12-months. There are also discounts for non-profit organizations. To get started, visit

Member to Member Discount Benefits

Make Your Best Offer to other Chamber Members with Our FREE Member-to-Member Discounts and Coupon Program – Log in to The Chamber’s Members Only section of and go to our Coupon section under Membership Information. Fill out the online coupon form, putting in your discounts, specials, expiration dates, etc. The discount appears with your online profile and has a dedicated page on the website and on a homepage link. This information is also linked to The Chamber’s weekly email blast/eConnections to all members. A real-time full listing of member discounts is also posted on The Chamber’s website at (Offer at least a 20% discount, an exclusive package or special offer, etc.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's in Your Leadership Toolbox?

Guest blog post from Amy Burkett/PBS39 Station Manager

First,  I must admit I am not handy.  I can't fix anything broken around the house.  I don't use power tools.  I don't own a tool belt or a toolbox.  However, when it comes to leadership, I've packed that imaginary toolbox full of all the knowledge I've learned from my experiences in leadership, reading great books, attending incredible seminars and living a life committed to professional development.

It's shocking to me, but research shows about two-thirds of people won't read a book after they graduate.  I find that heart-breaking and can't understand why people don't enjoy learning.  I'm committed to being a life-long learner.  I suspect years of working for PBS had something to do with that.  I've been encouraged through that programming to grow personally.  Then, I have to ask, "What good is knowledge if you keep it to yourself?"  My quest to improve my own leadership lead me to want to share what I've learned with others.

Ask my husband what it's like to be with me when I'm reading a new book.  He'll tell you he doesn't have to read it, because I stop every couple of pages to share what I just learned.  Ask my friend Kim what it's like to sit on the beach with me while I'm reading what I consider to be a gripping new leadership book?  Better yet...don't ask them.  I realize my excitement may make me a bit of a geek, but over time I've learned I was created to share what I've learned with others.

So here are 10 of the greatest things a leader can put in their toolbox.  I didn't create them.  They come from leadership guru and NY Times bestselling author John Maxwell.  He's written over 70 books and I've probably read over 25 of them.
  1. The leader's greatest victory---VICTORY OVER SELF! Followers tend to think of themselves first, while leaders put others ahead of themselves.
  2. The Leader's Greatest Asset---CONFIDENCE! This is the cornerstone of successful leadership.
  3. The Leader's Greatest Weight---  FINAL RESPONSIBILITY! Leaders don't play the blame game. They take responsibility.
  4. The Leader's Greatest Discipline---TAKING TIME TO THINK! Our lives today are a result of yesterday's thinking.
  5. The Leader's Greatest Handicap---PRIDE! Prideful leaders push others aside to seize the spotlight. 
  6. The Leader's Greatest Opportunity---TODAY! Yesterday's gone and none of us are promised tomorrow so we need to take advantage of today.
  7. The Leader's Greatest Mistake---PUTTING SELF BEFORE OTHERS! If you want to be an ineffective leader than go ahead and be self-absorbed.
  8. The Leader's Greatest Prayer---WISDOM! Wisdom is worth more to you than all the gold in the world.
  9. The Leader's Greatest Loss---HOPE! Hope keeps us going in the tough times.
  10. The Leader's Greatest Joy---ADDING VALUE TO OTHERS!  Trophies eventually collect dust. But adding value to others never gets old.
That last one means the world to me.  I love teaching people how to make great television and how to grow people to meet their potential.  I've had the chance to sow seeds of success in all the freshmen in the Bethlehem Area School District this year and right now I'm teaching two groups of incredible students at Penn State Lehigh Valley and Lafayette College.  I think they know how much I love working with them, but if they didn't, they do now.  Here's another source of  joy for me:  Watching CBS3 in Philadelphia on weekday mornings to see two of my former reporters, Nicole Brewer and Katie Fehlinger.  I gave them both their first jobs.  They had so much talent and ambition.  They just needed a chance to learn, grow and hone their craft.  My heart swells with pride every time I watch them from my comfy couch.

My Friends, it's time to load up your leadership toolbox and keep it handy, so YOU can make a difference in the lives of others.

Amy is an Emmy Award winning producer who's passionate about developing people.  She is a John Maxwell certified leadership trainer, speaker and coach.  Like me on Facebook at Amy Burkett Sucess Seekers, 610.814.0610

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chamber Signature Networking Event at Shula’s Steakhouse – Thursday, March 28th

Lehigh Valley, PA – March 26th, 2013: The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce will be host a Signature Networking Event at Shula’s Steakhouse on Thursday, March 28th.   Networking will run from 5 -7 p.m.. Join fellow Chamber members for quality networking, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. Future members are welcome. Register here.

Event Information:
When: Thursday, March 28th, 5 - 7 p.m.

Where: Shula’s Steakhouse, 2960 Center Valley Parkway, Suite 700 (at Saucon Valley Promenade Shops)

Pricing Information: This Event is FREE for members, $10 for future members. Cash Bar.

About the Chamber: The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to serve as the voice for business by continuously improving the economic climate and creating growth opportunities for the Greater Lehigh Valley region. We accomplish this through business-to-business networking events and marketing products, affinity programs and exclusive, money saving member benefits, training programs, government affairs initiatives and public policy advocacy, and community development enterprises.  With nearly 5,000 members who employ more than 200,000 individuals, The Chamber is the largest in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and in the top ten nationwide.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tonight on Business Matters - Minimum Wage: Could you live on $7.25 an hour?

Tonight on Business Matters with Tony Iannelli - "Minimum Wage: Could you live on $7.25 an hour?"

Tune in TONIGHT to WFMZ Channel 69 at 7:30 p.m. to hear from our lively panelists on President Obama’s proposed minimum wage raise.

Kevin Menter, Rothrock Motor Sales
Louie Belletieri, Louie’s Restaurant
John Meyerson, UFCW Local 1776
Scott Witmer, ServiceMaster

At the State of the Union, President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2015. In PA, 3.4 million workers are on minimum wage. In 2011, there were 80 million hourly workers in the US and 5.2% of those were paid minimum wage. Is President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage a good idea, or is there a better way to help low-income workers? Will raising minimum wage enhance or reduce job creation in Pennsylvania and the US? Does the increase for those who remain employed more than offset the loss to those who cannot find work? What would an increase do to help or hurt our struggling economy?

What are your thoughts on the minimum wage issue? Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel!

Growing Your Business in 2013 - You Are My Sunshine

Guest blog post from Carol Ritter of

You are my Sunshine....My only Sunshine.....You make me Happy.....When skies are Gray, You’ll never know, Dear.....How much I love you....Please don’t take my sunshine away!  

I was working in Philadelphia this week and was privileged to hear a national known speaker and comedienne.  She spoke on change.  She began her talk by singing, “You are my Sunshine, pause, My only Sunshine, pause, You make me happy, big pause”.  We were on the edge of our seats wondering where she was going with this song.  It was the pause that created the curiosity, mystery and anticipation.  After completing the first verse, she launched into a story about old Johnnie Mason and how every Satuday night he would dress up in his plaid sport jacket, his striped slacks and his polka dot tie to take his wife Sadie dancing.  Once they hit the dance floor he began to sing, “You are my Sunshine”.  After years and years of singing and dancing, Sadie passed away.  But every Saturday night, Johnnie would still dress up in his Sunday best to remember those good old days.  She asked Johnnie, “Why, why do you continue to dress up on Saturday nights?”  “Because, in life we all have to adjust and change when we are dealt a bad hand.  You have two choices, you can sit back and be miserable or you can adjust to the change and celebrate the future.” 

I ask my audiences all the time, how do you feel about change?  Most say they hate it, many say it’s hard to escape and only a few love it.  How does your business adjust to change?  What happens to you when the economy tanks or business is seasonally slow? What about when Congress passes a new law that affects your bottom line?   Or better yet, how do you adjust when business is through the roof and you might need more staff and product? I think we all know that we can’t hide from it and it will come around the corner sometimes when we least expect it.  So, why not prepare for change. 

Here are some ideas: 
Keep yourself in the know, keep up on buying trends
Follow the economic trends and current events
Become an economic ‘prepper’, save for a rainy day
Track your sales and, if you can, your competitions sales so you can better plan for the future

The other night dear....When I was sleeping..... I dreamt I held you in my arms...You’ll never know dear.....How much I love you....Please don’t take my sunshine away. 

No matter how well you plan your SUNSHINE may be taken away!

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.
Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. 610-442-4545  Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Administrative Professionals Celebrate Their Special Week

Administrative Professionals Celebrate Their Special Week
Modern business is a storm.  Modern office professionals bring order.  They take the swirl of commerce and give it cohesion.  Every April for 61 years, the International Association of Administrative Professionals® (IAAP®) has been asking businesses around the world to show gratitude for the people who get the job done and make the office tick.
Since 1952 IAAP has honored office professionals and recognized their contributions and value in the workplace by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week.  It is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) will mark Administrative Professionals Week (April 22-26) with a celebration dinner scheduled on Monday, April 22, at Hampton Winds Restaurant, on the campus of Northampton Community College, in Bethlehem.  Special guest, Michael Stershic, President of Discover Lehigh Valley, will address the group.  Join their celebration as they honor their profession.  For details contact Lynn Nocera at 610-868-5020 or

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Are You Sabotaging Your Success? - Guest Blog Post

Guest blog post from Amy Burkett/PBS39 Station Manager -

Why would any of us want to sabotage our success?  The answer, of course, is we don't WANT to but millions do it everyday by giving up.  So, today I'm sharing just one of my secrets to success and that's PERSEVERANCE!!!  That word should be your best friend and I know a lot about pushing through when all your flesh wants to do is throw up the white flag and surrender.  I've spent 23 years in television and have had just about every cruel thing imaginable done to me but today I'm stronger because of all of it.

I'll share FIVE enemies of perseverance but first you need to learn a little about how I've persevered.   My whole life I dreamed of being a television news anchor.  I used to sit on my grandfather's lap and watch the news with Walter Cronkite.  I won my first essay contest in the third grade and was in all the school musicals.  It seemed I was meant to be in television.  I was accepted to Bowling Green State University in my home state of Ohio.  I made it through the first semester just fine and signed up to be a writer for the school's daily newspaper...THE BG NEWS.  I loved it.  THEN, I had to take an entry exam to officially be admitted to the school of journalism.

I don't know about you but tests freaked me out.  I over thought it and stressed myself out so of course you can guess what happened   I failed it.  Not once but four times.  The fifth try was a charm but don't think I didn't cry a river freaking out that my dream of being a television journalist was over before it began.  Here's the kicker.  After I passed, I was called before the journalism review board.  I was convinced they were going to deny admitting me because it took me so long to pass.

Well, I was WRONG again.  They decided to eliminate the test because they no longer believed it determined whether someone would be successful in the field.  Little old me from tiny Uhrichsville, OH made a difference and you can too if you avoid the 5 ENEMIES of PERSEVERANCE as written by NY Times Bestselling Author John Maxwell.

       1.  A lifestyle of giving up.

       2.  A wrong belief that life should be easy.

       3.  A wrong belief that success is a destination.  (It's a journey)

       4.  A lack of resiliency

       5.  A lack of vision

My friends life is tough but our success is worth the effort.  Winston Churchill once said, "Never, ever, ever give up."  Giving up isn't part of any of our DNA.  So my friends I want to encourage you to PERSEVERE.  Push on toward the finish line.  A great boss once told me life is a marathon not a 50 yard dash.  We have to train, push on and PERSEVERE.   It's going to be difficult but YOU CAN DO IT.  Don't settle for being average.  You were created for GREATNESS!

Amy is an Emmy Award winning producer who's passionate about developing people.  She is a John Maxwell certified leadership trainer, speaker and coach.  Like me on Facebook at Amy Burkett Sucess Seekers, 610.814.0610

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reflections from International Women’s Day: “Women in Leadership”

Guest blog post from Kayte Connelly of Best Principled Solutions

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lehigh Valley, celebrated International Women’s Day with a power-packed panel of successful women. The conversation featured Fusun Bubernack, Eastern Telephone & Telecommunications; Ethel Drayton-Craig, PhD, lifestyle author and blogger; Dr. Samina Wahhab, plastic surgeon; Varsovia Fernandez, executive director, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Maria Montero, Esq., PA Commission on Latino Affairs and Commission on Women Affairs.

The conversation was facilitated by Carmen Toro, Owner, Beauty Alibi who directed a series of questions as the audience eagerly absorbed compelling answers.

Here are my interpretations for key concepts that were shared. Some are familiar; some offered in a different manner. Each could be introduced into your annual goals and practiced to form a habit over the course of a year.

1. Thank God every day for giving you the gift of the day and welcome the opportunities that are presented to you.
2. Be a servant leader. Be a mentor.
3. Provide exquisite experiences to everyone
4. Always strive for higher altitudes.
5. When you have a lot of irritants and lose focus, ships often go to strangers.
6. Never give up on following your dream.
7. Push yourself to be uncomfortable and try different things. Break a habit, look at opportunities and expand new horizons.
8. Become a good community steward. Become a leader in the community to take care of what’s coming along, “Beyond Now.”
9. Discover who you are. Be authentic. Don’t let others mold you.
10. Use more grace and finesse to get better results, rather than muscle.
11. You cannot control time. Know what you want and pick it. You CAN have it all, but not at the same time.
12. Have a solid cache of contacts who are experts.

As a new member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce this was a strong introduction into this program, and one I was very happy to sponsor. Other sponsors included equinox; RestoreCore; AmericaVen and Lanta. Well done Alvaro! Here’s to many more.

Kayte Connelly CCT, Best Principled Solutions LLC, is a leadership coach and organizational consultant. She was recently named to the National Legislative Planning Committee for the 2013 Americans for the Arts Advocacy Days and serves as Chair of Board Engagement Committee for Art-Reach, Inc., Philadelphia. She has been selected twice as a Woman of Accomplishment by the Women’s Yellow Pages of Greater Philadelphia; twice named as Member of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and many other Small Business honors from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Best Principled Solutions LLC is the founding member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Leadership Consortium who will be hosting the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 10 at DeSales University.
For more information, go to or write

SHRMLV - Member of the Day - 3/19/13

The Lehigh Valley Chapter of SHRM is pleased to present the HR 101 Seminar Series

This series of 6 seminars is geared towards those new to the HR profession/function, those who would like to strengthen their skills in a specific area, line managers seeking developmental training in HR, office managers and small business owners. Seminars include: HR Overview, Basics of Employment Law, Interviewing and Hiring, Compensation Overview, Payroll and Benefits and Conflict Resolution.  For a complete list of seminars and dates, see the Events page of our website.

The first seminar in the series is HR Overview on Friday, March 22nd

Seminar #1 provides an overview of human resource roles and responsibilities.
Presenters:  Gail Benkovic, HR Manager, Environmental Standards
                        Steph  Fenstermacher, Corporate HR Manager, Computer Aid, Inc.
Date: Friday, March 22nd
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12 Noon (Registration and breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m.)
Where: Best Western, Bethlehem
Cost: $100
(OR $500 for entire HR 101 Seminar Series of 6, see the Events page of our website for complete list of topics and schedule)
HRCI Credit Pending

Monday, March 18, 2013

Walk MS 2013: Stepping Towards the Cure

Every year, across the Delaware Valley, thousands of individuals and families join together at Walk MS to make their mark against multiple sclerosis. Since 1988, the MS Society has raised more than $10 million to support people living with MS.  This event is accessible to all individuals, no matter your age, physical ability or financial situation, Walk MS allows communities to join together to create a world free of MS.

MS is a disease that impacts people in the community and Walk MS helps raise funds to support life-changing research for the 14,000 people in the Delaware Valley living with MS. 

In the Lehigh Valley, walkers will be able to gather in support at Coca-Cola Park on Sunday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Upon return from a 3-mile walk participants will be sure to find family fun activities, music, and local food. The Iron Pig’s Mascots, Ferris and Fefe, will be available for pictures prior to the afternoon’s game against the Indianapolis Indians. At Walk MS, our connections become more powerful than the connections destroyed by MS.

The MS Society provides local communities with education and wellness programs, access to self-help groups, and provides financial assistance to families living with MS, among other services. For more information or to register for Walk MS 2013, please visit This spring make the choice to Be Inspired, Get Connected and Walk MS. 

Growing Your Business in 2013 - In Someone We Trust

Guest blog post from Carol Ritter of

I recently read a poll on trust.   “How much do you trust the following people?”  The poll results state that we trust our friends the most 81%, we trust our doctor 68%.  That’s the good news.  We trust Congress 12%, our bankers 45% and we trust CEO’s 3 to 5%  - the least.  Oh my goodness, where do you think you rank, what percentage would your customers rank you?  I was thinking about who I might trust, completely.  I trust my family, I trust most of the people I work with, I trust my doctor, my dentist, my master-mind group, my favorite restraurant and more.

I checked means reliance on the integrity & strength of a person-having confidence

But then the REAL question.  Who don’t we trust?  My answer is I don’t trust people or companies who break the trust.  Those establishments who don’t deliver.  Think about friendships, when you have a friend who betrays you, it takes a long time to regain the trust.  Sometimes, it’s over forever. It’s the same with business, if you betray a customer or client they might be gone forever.  Or even worse, you may spend an inordinate amount of time regaining the trust.  Time translates to money in most businesses.

In order to build trust and confidence with your customers try this....

1. Be the first to take responsibility for a mistake, don’t blame others
2. Listen more - Talk less - the greatest human need is to be listened to
3. Be willing to “make up” with some free stuff
4. Be sincere when your apologize, customers can identify phoney
5. Do what you say you will do, do it one time and do it correctly
6. Train your staff, model trustworthy behavior
7. Raise expectations, always be willing to go over and above to not only gain trust but to maintain it

You may want to...Trust your own instincts.

Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
Billy Wilder, Hollywood Filmaker- think about this!

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.
Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. 610-442-4545  Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Business News in the Lehigh Valley, 3/18/13

Good morning, and happy Monday Lehigh Valley! Here's hoping you had a great, restful weekend and you're ready to take on the week.

After 17 years of holding their training camp at Lehigh University, the Philadelphia Eagles have announced that they will no longer be returning to Bethlehem, and instead remain closer to home in Philadelphia, with practice sessions at Lincoln Financial Field and invitation-only sessions at the NovaCare Complex.

The Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives designated March 13, 2013 as "Industrial Resource Center Day" in Pennsylvania, reflecting the growth of the state's manufacturing sector. A total of seven industrial resources centers are located throughout the state, including Manufacturers Resource Center, a Bethlehem-based economic development and manufacturing consulting organization that advances the performance of manufacturing companies.

The roads may be somewhat slick today as more winter weather is expected to come our way. Forecasts are calling for a winter weather advisory for most of the area until around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

In local news, an apartment fire over the weekend has tragically claimed four lives in Emmaus. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Look Who's Coming to the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast Greater Lehigh Valley

The next deadline for special pricing for Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce members and Nonprofit Representatives is April 9.  Make sure to get in touch with your Chamber Rep and Leadership Lehigh Valley to enter the right codes for discounts.

It's exciting to be part of the group bringing Leadercast to the Greater Lehigh Valley for 2013.  Best Principled Solutions LLC has helped to spread the word in Chester County, the TriCounty area and Delaware County.  This year, BPS designed the Lunch 'n Learn series for the TriCounty Area Chamber.

Here are some of the statistics to demonstrate the excellent folks who came out last year to become more engaged in being Leader-ful in their communities.

BPS, in conjunction with the Greater Lehigh Valley Leadership Consortium, is in the beta stage of creating a tool that will be used locally to identify these demographics. More importantly, information will be collected to ascertain the specific leadership skill-sets that are needed to support attendees and others in moving forward in their personal and professional lives.

To find more comprehensive information including what to expect, ticket prices and a list of speakers, go to

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Business News in the Lehigh Valley, 3/12/13

Good morning, and happy Tuesday Lehigh Valley. It's a good day to be a duck with the rain we're getting today!

Tonight, Dan's Camera City in Easton is hosting a business mixer and offering professional headshots for the low price of $25 (Regular price $80). If you're currently using an outdated headshot for your business profile, now is the time to update it and show your best side. You must make a reservation to participate in the headshot promotion.

The groundbreaking for Easton's $26 million transportation center is finally scheduled and expected to begin with a month, following a decade of planning and speculation. The transportation center will give commuters and visitors a centralized bus space at the intersection of Larry Holmes Drive and S. Third Street.

Both the Dow and S&P have grown seven consecutive sessions, with the Dow setting another record high on Monday and the S&P within 10 points of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 set in 2007. The stock futures dipped slightly yesterday, but any pullback by investors may be short-lived as many have been using recent dips as a buying opportunity.

In case you missed Business Matters last night on WFMZ, worry no more. You can watch previous episodes anytime from the convenience of your own computer. Click the link to watch last night's episode, Will Right to Work" be the end of unions in PA?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Autism Speaks - Light It Up Blue Across the Lehigh Valley

As you may know, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day and to recognize it, buildings and organizations all over the globe participate in Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign.  The Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, and the Pyramids in Egypt are just a few of the notable landmarks to Light It Up Blue.  Locally, Air Products will be shining Blue Lights on our headquarters in Trexlertown for the third year to show our support for autism awareness.  We are inviting other companies and schools in the Lehigh Valley to Light It Up Blue for this international event.  

Our goal is to have at least 88 businesses, schools, and organizations Light It Up Blue in the Lehigh Valley this year.  This number represents the 1 in 88 American children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.   

If you need assistance to Light It Up Blue, visit (click Tools & Resources) for more ideas.  Showing your support for autism awareness can be done very economically and it has a big impact!  

If you have any questions, please contact  We encourage you to email photos showing participation in the Lehigh Valley Light It Up Blue campaign.  We will share them through our website, social media, and at our Lehigh Valley Walk Now for Autism Speaks ( that will be held April 20 at Dorney Park.  Thank you very much for your support to Light It Up Blue in the Lehigh Valley!

The Power of Partnerships - Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce

By Tony Iannelli, President and CEO, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
March 11, 2013

For the past 15 years, it has been my honor to preside over the fastest growing Chamber of Commerce in the United States. Serving 800 members in 1998 when I began this journey through today, we now close in on 6,000 members strong, and there is no doubt as to how that growth came to fruition. It can easily be summed up by our mantra: "The Power of Partnerships," business leaders coming together for the common good of the Lehigh Valley — that's how this Chamber, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, became the ninth largest in the United States.

The growth from a small-town organization to what we've become today didn't happen by chance. It happens when community leaders, stakeholders — from both the public and private sectors — agree to stand together and unite with one voice to focus on the needs of the entire community. In one word, "regionalization" positions this Valley on par with the larger municipalities in the state and nation. Move over Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — the Lehigh Valley has arrived!

I can't say enough about how impressed I am with the leadership in the Lehigh Valley municipalities, large and small. Their contribution to the Valley becoming the fastest growing and third most populous region in Pennsylvania has been immeasurable, and it is why it has become such an allure to people and businesses from neighboring states.

Boasting a $30 billion gross regional product, our metropolitan region is home to more than 820,000 people in Lehigh and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County, N.J. If you look at our proximity to New York City (75 miles), Philadelphia (60 miles) and even Washington, D.C., (200 miles) — along with our affordable housing market and comparably low taxes — throw in an ever advancing quality of life — you will see how we've become the 64th most populated metropolitan area in the country.

I can't overstate our rapidly improving quality of life and its impact on our appeal as a destination. When it comes to sports, we've reached a higher level than we ever dreamed! We are proud to be the home to a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate in the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park and soon a Philadelphia Flyers affiliate in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at its new Allentown PPL Center arena.

Our arts community continues to thrive with gems like Easton's State Theatre and Crayola Experience, Bethlehem's SteelStacks complex, and the Allentown Art Museum. Any company looking for an educated talent pool should look no further than here, with its abundance of top-notch colleges (Lehigh, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, Cedar Crest, Penn State, Moravian, and Lehigh and Northampton community colleges) and exceptional technical institutions, as well.

Our current 15,300 employers in the Valley provide close to 300,000 jobs. We are proud to be the home-base to world renowned corporations such as Air Products and Rodale, and have welcomed nationwide manufacturers such as Sam Adams and Ocean Spray while always remembering that our small businesses are the backbone of our community.

More than two-thirds of Valley businesses employ nine or fewer people, and exist on every main street from Northampton to Coopersburg and Fogelsville to Phillipsburg, and everywhere in between. Providing those employers with the networking opportunities, innovative programming and pro-business public policy advocacy is the daily work of the 26-member Chamber staff located and working on every main street across this Valley.

Let me close by saying this economy won't escalate at the rapid pace of the '90s, but it will improve at a deliberate and steady pace. Businesses are running leaner and poised for expansion like never before. They are eager to expand in the coming years. I'm hopeful our political leaders will join us and make the necessary difficult decisions that will increase confidence in our nation's economic future. I look forward to a bright 2013-14 in a region that, no doubt has arrived.

Copyright © 2013, The Morning Call

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ArtsQuest, Chamber Top Lehigh Valley Addy Awards

Original story appeared on

ArtsQuest and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce took “Best of Show” honors Friday night at the 2013 ADDY Awards. The awards, held by the American Advertising Federation/Greater Lehigh Valley, recognize the best advertising in a variety of categories including interactive media, television, newspaper, public service, consumer magazine and sales promotion.

ArtsQuest was honored for its Musikfest Mobile App in the Digital Media Campaign category, and the chamber won for the Bethlehem Vegfest Poster Campaign (designed by Christian Weber) in the Collateral Materials Category. Both entries also won gold awards.

In total, 14 agencies, companies and nonprofits won 23 gold awards at the event. The organization also presented 38 silver awards and nine student ADDYs.

Other gold medal winners included Air Products (4), Spark (3), PPL Inc. (2), The Morning Call/Media Arts Group (2), Adams Outdoor, Christian Weber Creatives, Express Business Centers, Trexlertown, enze, First Generation, Mojo Active, Mosaic and Signs by Tomorrow – Allentown.

The ADDY Awards Competition is a three-tiered national competition conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation. It is the advertising industry's largest competition.

All of the award winners will be posted on the AAF-GLV website:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Business News in the Lehigh Valley, 3/6/13

Good morning Lehigh Valley. Today the region is expected to get it's first significant amount of snow this winter, with forecasts calling for anywhere between 2-4 inches for most of the Lehigh Valley area. How every much your area does get, please be careful driving and take your time!

The Allentown Mayor's Breakfast was held this morning at Muhlenberg College's Seegers Union. Both the Bethlehem and Allentown Breakfasts sold out, but there's still a chance to reserve your spot at both the Phillipsburg Mayor's Lunch and the Easton Mayor's Breakfast.

The Lehigh Valley has ranked as No. 9 in Site Selection Magazine's Top 10 Metro Areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million, with a project count of 24 in 2012. Pennsylvania finished third in the nation with 430 new or expanded corporate facilities in 2012.

Sam Adams Beer and the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund of the Lehigh Valley have announced they will expand their program that helps small business owners. The program provides coaching, mentoring and educational resources to small business owners in the food & beverage, brewing, and hospitality industries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high on Tuesday, climbing more than 125 points to close at 14,253.77, while the S&P 500 finished at its highest level since October 2007. On the jobs side, the ADP National Employment Report showed that private-sector employment increased by 198,000 jobs in February.

In world news, Venezuelan President Huge Chávez passed away yesterday, 21 months after he first revealed he had a tumor.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing Your Business in 2013 - I Hate Rules

Today's guest blog post is from Carol Ritter of

Rules make the world go ‘round! I was checking out of a hotel recently and I said to the gal respectfully, “I have two issues with my bill before I check out.” She looked down and started to type like crazy. I waited and waited and waited, she looked up and said, “You’re all set.” I looked confused and said, “What about the two issues I have with my bill?”  She said,  “You have to do that before I check you out.” “I told you I had two issues.” She replied, “I know but you didn't say what it was.” THE RULES ARE THAT YOU HAVE TO TELL ME BEFORE YOU CHECK OUT. “I did and your response was to type. How are you going to fix this?” She told me to go down three floors to the bell captain and tell him you were charged for parking. I didn't really have time for that, I was in a hurry and that would take too long. She ultimately fixed the problem by re-doing everything that she should have done the first time around.

 If your business is going to be successful, wildly popular, with outrageous cash flow, I might suggest you consider Carol’s Grow UR Biz - UnRULES.....

1. Hire BIG Personalities - those with the courage to break the rules for the sake of a lifelong customer
2. Don’t FEAR Change - those who do just generally don’t have enough information
3. Hire IMPERFECTION - Perfectionists will never launch you into greatness, they are just too cautious
4. DREAM BIG, DREAM OFTEN - dreams turn into vision, vision turns into mission, mission turns into action
5. Strength Building will lead to high performing personnel, don’t spend much time managing the weaknesses of your staff, focus on strengths

START TODAY...did you know that when people over 65 were asked, 'If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?' They answered these three things: 'I'd take time to stop and ask the big questions. I'd be more courageous and take more risks in work and love. I'd try to live with purpose -- to make a difference.  Now, that’s inspiring, I know we need rules but some of them interrupt the possibilities to GROW UR BIZ.   -

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.
Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS. 610-442-4545  Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Monday, March 4, 2013

Guest Blog Post - Understanding Dementia: Why They Do What They Do

Understanding Dementia: Why They Do What They Do 
Kelly O’Shea Carney, PhD, CMC Executive Director, Phoebe Center for Excellence in Dementia Care

Family caregivers for individuals with dementia often struggle to understand the many changes they see in their loved one. An individual who was once gentle, considerate of the feelings of others and very careful about their appearance may become difficult to get along with, insulting and unaware of their hygiene. Moreover, as the family member attempts to be helpful by keeping their loved one safe, clean and well cared for, the caregiver may become the target of anger, insults and even aggression in the process. These changes can be extremely difficult to comprehend in a person that the caregiver has known and loved for many years. In fact, the unfamiliar behaviors may be better understood and accepted by people who did not know the individual before he or she became ill, leaving the caregiver feeling even more confused and discouraged. 
Why do people with Alzheimer’s do the things they do? And what is a family caregiver to do in response?

Effectively caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease must begin with an understanding of the disease process and how that affects all the other aspects of the individual. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that actually begins to develop long before any changes in the individual are noticeable. Scientists now believe that the changes in the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease actually begin to occur decades before the symptoms of the disease become apparent. Over time, the changes in the brain cells begin to accumulate and affect more and more areas of the brain. As the disease affects different parts of the brain, the ability for the person to think, act and relate to others is progressively diminished. (For a simple overview of the disease process and its progression, go to and watch the video called “What is Alzheimer’s Disease”.)

As the brain deteriorates due to the disease, the specific abilities of the brain begin to decline. First changes in memory are noticed. Then the ability for the individual to express themselves in words and understand the words of others deteriorates. Eventually, higher order cognitive abilities such as insight, planning, reasoning and judgment deteriorate, rendering the person unable to make good decisions about their safety, self-care or their future. As these thinking-related abilities decline, the person also becomes less able to engage in the simple activities that they used to do each day. Complex activities, like managing finances and driving a car are compromised first, but eventually, even simple tasks like washing, dressing and using the bathroom can become difficult for the person to do alone. At the same time, the person’s ability to manage their emotions is altered and emotional displays that seem out of the blue and disproportionate to the problem may become more common. These emotional episodes can be particularly difficult to respond to because the individual is less able to understand reason and reassurance. Their distress feels very real to the individual and efforts to convince them otherwise are often rejected. The inability to do things that were once such a simple, common part of life, like driving a car or taking a walk, can also act as a trigger for emotional episodes as the individual struggles with the frustration of their limitations.

All these changes occurring together can create a sort of “perfect storm” for the individual, resulting in the challenging changes in behavior that were described earlier. Suddenly, the person you once knew may appear to be a completely different person engaging in behaviors that he or she never would have considered appropriate in the past. Angry outbursts, foul language, unkind accusations and obstinate refusals of help may become more common, and it is these behaviors that caregivers often find the most difficult to manage.

The keys to managing the behavioral changes in a person with Alzheimer’s disease are simple but require consistent attention and effort. First, it is important to engage in on-going learning about the disease process itself. The more you understand, the more you will realize that the behavioral changes are not directed at you personally. The behaviors are symptoms of the disease. Second, it is important to develop and utilize a network of professionals that can provide the assistance you need and support your caregiving efforts. In addition to relying upon professionals to assist you, it is important to call upon your personal network of support to provide you with the encouragement, care and help that you need to be a caregiver. Alzheimer’s disease is a marathon, not a sprint; it is important that you take care of yourself as you support your loved one or you may not be able to “finish the race”. Finally, it is important to remember that because Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness, it creates a “moving target” for the caregiver. You must constantly remain open to noticing the changes and adjusting your approach and understanding to meet the evolving demands. Just when you think you have things figured out, you are likely to have to change your approach.

In the end, managing the behavioral changes that occur as Alzheimer’s disease progresses requires the caregiver to realize that monitoring and modifying your own behavior is the best way to modify the behavior of person with dementia. In your interactions with your loved one, draw upon the cognitive areas that are still working rather than those that have become impaired. For example, if your loved one is no longer able to remember recent events but can still recall events from long ago, focus on memories from the past. If a person is having difficulty using their words, use non-verbal gestures, touch and friendly facial expressions to convey your love and concern.

It is also important to help your loved one engage in activities and tasks that they can be successful in performing and avoid tasks that are beyond their capability. This will reduce frustration. For example, perhaps your loved one would be overwhelmed by cooking a meal independently, but he or she is still able to focus on simple tasks for a short time. If so, give your loved one simple tasks that allow him or her to help with meal preparation but are not overwhelming. Washing vegetables, setting the table or measuring out ingredients might be tasks that could feel fulfilling.

Finally, interactions with your loved one are likely to be happier and more productive for both of you if you meet him or her in their own reality. There is no need to correct or reorient your loved on to the “real” reality of life. They simply may not be able to grasp that reality. Rather, enter his or her reality by accepting and validating his or her feelings and assuring your loved one that everything will be ok. If a conversation is becoming difficult, let go of that topic and distract your loved one with a task or activity that they will find engaging and enjoyable. This will help to avoid conflict and minimize challenging behaviors.

Caring for someone with dementia is widely understood to be one of the most difficult types of caregiving. The seemingly inexplicable changes in behavior and personality can make caregiving mentally and emotionally draining. To be effective in your caregiver role, you must educate yourself and constantly evolve in your approach to the task, as well as rely upon others for help and support along the way. Knowing why they do what they do will make it easier for you to do what you must do.

© Phoebe Ministries, February 2013

Member Relations Intern - Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce

Thank you for your interest in interning with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.  Please find the information regarding the intern position below.

Appropriate majors & career interests:  Communications, Business, Marketing, Public Relations, Event Planning, Member Relations, Hospitatlity

Time commitment:  A minimum of 8 hours a week, to be fulfilled for one-two full semesters.   This internship is available for college credit, or work experience, only.

Contact information:  Please send resume & cover letter to Kara Johnson via email ( or fax 610-758-9533.

Job Description:  Interns would work in one (or more) of the following two areas:

Member Relations:  The Chamber works actively and frequently to connect as much as possible with more than 5,000 members.  Our staff runs programs and events, and conducts research to communicate with our members as much as possible and keep them happy with the level of service they receive from The Chamber.  As such, interns can expect to work in many areas, including:
·         Researching Member Retention programs
·         Assisting in Member Benefit webinars, Making of Member Benefit Kits, and Member Plaque Replacement Program
·         Examining new ways to connect with our membership and ensure a high level of satisfaction
·         Run reports for the Member Relations Staff

Major Events:  The Chamber puts on several Annual Events, which are a value-added experience for our members. This intern will report directly to the Major Events Coordinator at the Chamber, and assist in ensuring that each event is executed excellently. This will include:
  • Learn the steps to planning an event – from deciding on the event purpose and format, to booking the venue, all the way to providing registration for guests on event day.
  • Attending meetings with the Major Events Coordinator, to aid in the booking of the items listed above. The Intern will record the minutes at these Meetings
  • Assisting in all items leading up to each Major Event, including the registration of attendees, printing name tags, powerpoint creation, ensuring proper sponsor recognition, music selection, etc.