Friday, February 28, 2014

Business Spotlight: Patient First Now Open in Easton

Guest blog from Brian Lokitis of American Bank

Patient First opened its newest urgent care center in Easton on February 5. This marks the ninth Patient First center in Pennsylvania, and the 50th for the Richmond, Virginia-based company. An open house reception was held February 4 to introduce Patient First and its staff to the community.

Located at 2450 Butler Street, at 25th Street, the Easton facility serves residents of Wilson Borough, Easton, Nazareth, Phillipsburg and surrounding neighborhoods.

A new Patient First was also opened in Bethlehem on February 26. This medical center is located at 2310 Schoenersville Road at Jacksonville, across from Westgate Mall.

“The goal of Patient First is to provide convenient, cost-effective medical care on a walk-in basis,” says R.P. Sowers, M.D., founder and CEO of Patient First. “At the same time, our physicians and staff always work closely and in a collaborative fashion with the area’s existing medical community to provide care.” Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year, Patient First physicians and their support staff are available for urgent care; work, school, camp, sports and travel physicals; occupational health; and primary care for patients who do not have a primary care physician.

For continuity of care, Patient First routinely transmits a copy of the visit record to the patient’s primary care physician according to the patient’s wishes. Patient First accepts all major insurance plans. A complete listing of participating insurers, along with more information about Patient First, can be found at

Thursday, February 27, 2014

East Penn Chamber of Commerce - Letter from the President

Guest blog from Kevin Baker of Sitka Enterprises, Inc.

Businesses that need a solid winter must have really enjoyed 2014 so far! For others of us bad weather can be a cause for a slowdown in activity. If that’s been your experience thus far, stick with it, things should improve. Economic fundamentals continue strong, minor corrections in the markets but confidence remains positive and growing and prospects for businesses in the Lehigh Valley are generally more positive than they have been for many years.

In 2013 the East Penn Chamber took a position on two major initiatives. The first is the new hockey arena and its NIZ financing, and the second was the lease contract for the management of the Allentown water and sewage system. Both these items had the potential to positively or negatively affect the cost of doing business in East Penn.

So we enjoyed an informative joint program with our Western Lehigh Chamber partners in February. Aurel Arndt, CEO of Lehigh County Authority spoke at our February 19 lunch at Brookside Country Club. Aurel reviewed the LCA’s progress 6 months into its management of Allentown’s water and sewage system. He also spoke about the wider benefits to the area that ‘flow’ from this new arrangement. East Penn Chamber is proud to have taken a position in support of LCA’s bid for the lease agreement and pleased that so far it is going in the right direction for residents of the East Penn area and Allentown.

Collaboration between the East Penn Chamber and the Emmaus Main Street program is increasing and in celebration we saw the February Snowblast on 7th and 8th which was a huge success, perfectly timed between winter storms and including arts shows, ice sculpting and winter food plus and drink plus of course the famous ice bar; a longtime favorite for parents.

We like to highlight some of the MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS in our articles, for example did you know you can get a free excel spreadsheet listing of chamber members just by asking your chamber representative? It’s at least a $400 value and a lot more if it helps you make a sale! You also get your own listing in the Membership Directory, for free and new members get listed in the New Member Spotlight each month in this Connections magazine.

We are looking forward to the rest of the region’s 2014 programs and we already have exciting programs established in-line with our mission of “greater engagement” amongst the East Penn Chamber membership. Please look out for these events on our website and Facebook page, we want to deliver increasing value to our members and we want you to come out and start working with us.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Growing UR Biz in 2014 - Gold Medal

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of

I just met a local entreprenuer this week. I was looking to partner with her and found her very interesting. She has a basic philosophy about customer service. “Selling a product lasts for a minute, providing services lives forever.” I thought about that and she’s right, services or service is key to building your reputation in the community. Then she said, “when someone is dissatisfied you can solve the problem so much easier if you “remove the resistance.” That’s not only profound, it’s genius. If you “REMOVE the RESISTANCE” they have nothing to fight with you about. I think that line deserves a GOLD MEDAL. These past few weeks we’ve been watching the ups and downs of the Olympics. American girl wins gold medal in skiing, Russian figure skater wins gold, Canadian female hockey team wins gold. When they won, they were able to overcome all odds, sometimes an inch ahead of their competition and maybe even remove the resistance. 

How do you deal with resistance? It all comes down to leadership and training. 
Here’s how it works....

1. Practice high impact leadership strateiges 

a. Always go the extra mile, inspire your staff, be willing to chip in, give staff clear direction and take care of people, make them feel like they are your one and only customer, follow-up like a Gold Medal Winner

b. Be Consistant - handle all your customers with TLC

 c. Take my new friends advice, when trouble hits, REMOVE THE 
RESISTANCE-respond with patience, attempt to assist, use repetitive language (I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m sorry), be humble and as a last resort bring a new face to help. 

Are you a GOLD MEDAL business or are you standing in line for the silver or the bronze. So many times, I will ask business owners, how’s business? I really cringe when they say, holding my own, so so, or I’m trying my best. Gold Medal businesses respond..... kickin it, over the top, trying some new strategies, last three months were awesome and business is booming. Are you a Gold Medal business our are you chasing the silver and bronze?

Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer 610-442-4545

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 Carol on Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches! Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta) is hiring: Purchasing and Contract Manager

The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta), the public transportation provider for the Lehigh Valley, is seeking to fill the newly created position of Purchasing & Contracts Manager. This position will be responsible for implementing procurement programs that meet the established requirements of LANta, the Federal Transit Administration and the State of PA. The Manager will develop procedures and oversee all contract compliance. A bachelor’s degree in either business, accounting or related field is required. Experience in the procurement process, preparing bid documents and preparing contracts is a must. Other qualifications include advanced software experience, with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Access and Outlook.

Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Armando V. Greco, Executive Director, 1060 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103 or via e-mail Deadline for submission is March 14, 2014.

LANta is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Monday, February 24, 2014

BUSINESS MATTERS TONIGHT: The Lehigh Valley Economy: Are we on the Road to Recovery?

Tune in tonight to WFMZ-TV 69 at 7:30 pm to #BusinessMatters with host Tony Iannelli and five knowledgeable panelists discussing the current status, and the future, of the #LehighValley economy. 

The Lehigh Valley Economy: Are we on the Road to Recovery?

· John Allen, Santander Bank
· Kamran Afshar, KAA Associates
· David Jaindl, Jaindl Farms
· Billy Kounoupis , Billy’s Downtown Diner
· Carmen Toro, Beauty Alibi

What’s the current Lehigh Valley business climate like for small and large businesses? Compared to other areas throughout the nation, how is the LV faring? How is important is the small business owner and entrepreneur to strengthening the local economy?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Guest blog from Jenn Stumer, Appalachian Creations, Inc.

As snow seems to be the topic of much conversation lately, I decided to make it the topic of this month’s email newsletter.  What happens when snow falls on our landscapes and then doesn’t melt for weeks?  All this snow piling up actually has a few benefits for us.  It can be protective, conserving, cleansing and beautiful.
A protective layer of snow insulates the ground during extreme and extended cold weather and during damaging freeze and thaw intervals.  Temperatures beneath the snow can be more than twenty degrees warmer than the air.  This regulates soil temperature and keeps the ground from freezing to a greater depth.  This in turn protects the water table and prevents widespread permafrost (ground that remains frozen for 2 or more years.)

Snow helps to conserve soil moisture during the winter.  Harsh winter winds and cold temperatures can actually dry out the ground.  Having soil moisture and snow to melt provides water for the lawn and landscape.

When snow melts, it provides a slow supply of water to feed and fill underground water reservoirs.  Lakes, rivers and streams find their water supplies greater.  All of which is beneficial if drought conditions happen to occur.  Entire ecosystems are maintained when their water supplies are greater.

Having a good amount of snow and soil moisture also contributes to the water table.  If the permafrost layer was greater for extended periods of time we could experience a lower water table not to mention the damaging effects a soil heave would have on the root systems of tree and shrubs.

The ground isn’t the only thing protected by snow.  Think of your perennials, bulbs and groundcovers.  The regulated temperature underneath the layer of snow creates an insulation effect that protects these guys from the freeze/thaw cycle.  Without snow in winter, freeze/thaw intervals can cause the soil to heave.  This can break apart roots and bulbs exposing them to the drying effects of the air.

Snow reduces the insect pest population. Many damaging insects are unable to survive snow and cold. This is good news for gardeners and the environment. When nature handles insect pests, fewer pesticides are necessary.

How often have you stepped outside after it snows to find that the air seems cleaner and fresher?  Falling snow (and raindrops too for that matter) acts as a purifier in the atmosphere.  Every snowflake captures floating dust particles as it begins to form.  Then as it falls, it collects other contaminants effectively “cleaning” the air. 

Snow can bring enchanted beauty to winter.  Evergreens appear more brilliant, a backdrop of color against fluffy white, fresh snow dripping from their branches.  Tree bark and branching form become much more interesting.  Trellises, fences, benches and arbors all stand out in the landscape.  For me snow is nostalgic bringing home memories from when I was young.  Building snowmen, ice skating, sledding and hot chocolate!

So step outside (or watch from your window) and appreciate the snow for the positive element it is meant to be.  Nature is transformed and stillness is serene.  Glorious in nature, unique in design, every snowflake is an example of a creative genius leaving us with a sparkling new world, fresh clean air and magical landscapes.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Growing UR Biz in 2014 - The White Stuff

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! Oh, I don’t think so!, Even the snow lovers are frustrated. The white stuff seems to be visiting us weekly and disrupting our routine, loss revenue for businesses, rescheduling meetings, school cancellations, babysitting issues, and then the back issues from shoveling, shoveling, shoveling. Now that’s the bad news. The white stuff is disrupting our lives and in some cases costing us money.

The white stuff! On the good side, our chiropractor’s business is up, at the grocery store it’s a shopping frenzy, the salt producers are making a killing, snowblowers, shovels and windshield scrappers are being sold like hotcakes and, my guess is, the bars (that you can get to) are seeing sales go up, especially when we have only one day to get out of the house. Free parking is something new, because you can’t even reach the meters when you park in a downtown. That white stuff is good for some.

What’s a small business to do? I asked my boss the other day, “Are you ready to hear a crazy idea?” He happily replied, “I love crazy ideas!”. So we went for it.

IT’S TIME FOR CRAZY IDEAS..because we cannot change the consequences of the white stuff.

1. brainstorm with your staff on how to drive more people to your biz

2. create a new campaign with a catchy title to give your customers something special
“White Wednesdays” free cup of coffee, “Countdown to Spring” purchase something before the first day of spring get 15% off, “March Madness” 33% off Coaching services, “April Showers” every day it rains in April 25% off lunch for first 3 visitors and more

3. connect more often with your customers or future customers, turn up the volume

4. start a thank-you campaign for random acts of kindness

The worse thing you can do is to sit back and wait for the white stuff take over your “BIZ” and or your attitude.

The fire is slowly dying, and, my dear, we're still good-byeing, but as long as you love me so, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! And don’t let it spoil your day!

Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer 610-442-4545

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 TER LEADERS. 610-442-4545 Like Carol on Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches! Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Monday, February 17, 2014

BUSINESS MATTERS TONIGHT: Lehigh Valley International Airport

Tune in tonight to WFMZ-TV 69 at 7:30 p.m. with #BusinessMatters host Tony Iannelli and five of the most knowledgeable panelists as to what's happening, and not happening, at Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Does the #LehighValley really need Braden and Queen City Airports or is #LVIA ample to serve our residents? How will the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority address the ongoing financial woes of the airport? Will more fliers find it’s worth additional cost for the convenience of flying LVIA?

· Bob Buesing - Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority
· Charles Everett – Lehigh Valley International Airport
· Matt Assad—The Morning Call
· Bob Kutzler – “Save Braden Airport”
· Ed Lozano – Private Investor

Job Training for the Next Generation

Guest blog from McCreary, Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, LLC

Education and workforce development are major issues impacting businesses throughout the country, and we face the same challenges here in the Valley. We are fortunate to have a skilled workforce that has attracted many major companies, including B. Braun, Ocean Spray, Sam Adams, Olympus - the list goes on and on for the companies that call Lehigh Valley their home. It is extremely important that the business community recognizes the need for quality education as a driver for the regions economic success.

The Allentown Chamber recently had the pleasure of hearing presentations from Dr. Russ Mayo, Superintendent of the Allentown School District and Sandra Himes, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute (LCTI). One thing is clear, state budgets are taking their toll on the educational system. While LCTI and many Charter Schools have found success through their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing education environment, the urban public institutions have not been so fortunate.

It was interesting to learn about two very different institutions and how they have developed their programming and curriculums to strive for success for the future. While LCTI works closely with employers to develop their programs, the public school system has less flexibility in adapting their curriculum. As education continues to be a hot topic throughout the country, the business community needs to keep a careful watch - our future is in our people and if the Public Education System does not get some assistance for the business community soon, it will not deliver the proper training to our students, and our future employees.

I urge The Chamber and the overall business community to continue to be involved with our educational system so we can continue to make the Lehigh Valley a premiere location for employers to continue to locate their businesses.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Easton Area Chamber of Commerce - Letter from the President

Guest blog from Brian Lokitis, American Bank

I’m sure you are familiar with the term, “two heads are better than one.” I can tell you for a fact that is true. The Business & Commerce Association of Forks Township (BCAF) and the Business Industrial Professionals of Palmer Township (BIP) will once again partner on this year’s Casino Night event to be held on Saturday, March 15 at the Palmer Fire House. The evening will host professional gaming tables and dealers, great prizes donated by local businesses, music, food and plenty of entertainment. We hope to build on last year’s success and raise even more funds to support our economic development efforts in Forks Township.

Our recent effort to connect with Palmer Township, its organizations, and leadership has taught us that there is considerable value in partnerships such as improved flow of information, exchanging best practices, access to new contacts and relationships. We look forward to continuing to build a relationship with not only Palmer Township, but with other Easton Area municipalities as well throughout 2014.

In March, the Easton Chamber and the City of Easton will host Mayor Sal Panto’s “State of the City” Address on March 13 at the beautiful State Theatre Center for the Arts in downtown Easton. We are looking forward to hearing from Mayor Panto on all of the developments that have taken place over the course of the past year and what is planned for our bright future in each of the four city neighborhoods: College Hill, Downtown, South Side, and West Ward. Looking forward to seeing you at Easton’s “State of the City” Address!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Growing UR Biz in 2014 - Sweet Innovation

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of

Fast Company has announced The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies -  here are 5 of them and the reasons why they are “INNOVATIVE”.
  1. Nike - for a pair of revolutionary products and a culture of believers
  2. Amazon - for speeding up the delivery of change
  3. Square - for spreading the mobile payments revolution
  4. Splunk - for bringing BIG data to the masses
  5. FAB - for evolving into the destination for design wares

In order to qualify, your company must be innovative and efficient.  In addition, it had to occur in the last 12 months.  This list is not only impressive, it glows with success.  Don’t we all “LOVE” innovation, doesn’t make our lives easier, aren’t we excited about the fact that if you buy something online at Amazon, chances are you will be the recipient of their innovative delivery system?   We “LOVE” it even more when it directly affects our daily life.

It’s Valentine’s week AND the “BERRIES” company is offering chocolate-covered strawberries, the Vermont Teddy Bear company is telling us we cannot live without a giant Teddy Bear to cuddle at night and the restaurants are begging us to celebrate the big day with them by offering “RED DESSERTS”, SWEETHEART COCKTAILS’ and, if that’s not enough, premier seating in their dining room with a view.  

STOP TREADING WATER....start dreaming about what your business could be rather than what it is.  Every single one of these companies started with an idea but what they have in common is that fact that they “GET IT”.  They know their customer and what makes them tick.  They know how to jump inside the minds of their customers and make life easier, more accessible and fascinating on a daily business.  You can do it, too.  Try watching and listening to your customers, you may be surprised that their needs and desires are much different than your business plan.  

If you just can’t be innovative with your business, “JUST DO IT” with your Valentine!


Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer 610-442-4545
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 TER LEADERS. 610-442-4545  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Monday, February 10, 2014

BUSINESS MATTERS TONIGHT: Pay Equality – Should the government step-up or step back?

Business Matters airs tonight at 7:30 p.m. with five dynamic guests, and host Tony Iannelli, debating the hot topic of pay equality in our nation.

Should the government stay out of the wage gap issue? Are women really paid only 77 cents for every dollar compared to full-time working men? How do we “level the playing field” for both women and men? Watch tonight to hear what our guests have to say about the issue!

Jason Scheurer, The Libertarian Party
Anna McCauslin, Americans for Prosperity
Joe Hilliard, Leadership for Liberty
Christine Lombardo-Zaun, Esq., Cedar Crest College
Representative Brian Sims, 182nd District

“E” is for “Engagement”

Guest blog from Joseph Facchiano, Shipley Energy 
Leader, Ambassador Council

Welcome to February! With any luck you are now using “2014” when you write the date. If you made a New Year’s resolution for your business, I hope you are still on track. Whether you have a resolution or not, may I respectfully offer you an idea for one?

As Ambassadors of your Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, we are committed to deliver on our promise of “C.A.R.E.” which stands for Communication, Appreciation, Retention, and Engagement.

Engagement means that we enable, promote, and encourage all Chamber members to interact and build relationships with as many other members as possible. Building new relationships based on familiarity and trust is the precursor to winning new business.

In the spirit of Engagement, why not decide to get more out of your Chamber membership by resolving to attend just one more event per month? Pick up your Connections publication and reference the flyer in the middle. Once you have chosen the events you normally attend go ahead and register for an additional event. While at any event, resolve to meet one new business contact and start a relationship.

If you attend 20 events a year and meet one new contact at each event, can you imagine how much your network will grow? Networking is a powerful tool and nowhere will you consistently find new contacts than at Chamber events. Remember, your membership grants you access to all affiliated chamber and council events. There are countless ways to expand your horizons.

When you are at an event, seek out an Ambassador and say that you want to meet someone new. We’d be happy to help with an introduction.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Growing UR Biz in 2014 -The Spirit

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of

Did you ever hear about the entrepreneurial spirit?  Those of us who get it or have it know what it takes to make it happen.  So many people go into business because they have a talent or they want to do what they love.  Like the guy who loves to fix cars, starts a car repair business. Or the gal who loves weddings and wants to help brides plan for their BIG day.  Sometimes its as simple as opening a lemonade stand.  (btw, always buy lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand it’s just the right thing to do)  I was wondering if it is enough to just love what you do.  Being an entrepreneur not only requires the entrepreneurial spirit, it requires thinking and acting like an entrepreneur.  What does that mean?

“Living every day with PASSION, nothing stops you from servicing your clients.  Of course, your family comes first but your clients need to feel like they are the most important person in your life, if only for the hour they need you”.

LEADERSHIP, leading the company by example and expecting your staff to act like an entrepreneur.

NO 9 TO 5 - it’s impossible to be a successful entrepreneur and live by the 9 to 5 clock.  You answer the phone 90% of the time and you serve your customers as soon as possible, no excuses!

TRUSTWORTHINESS - you do what you say you will do, if you tell someone you will call them back in one hour - just do it, if you tell someone their car will be done at 5pm, you just do it, you are building your reputation with each promise.  If an emergency comes up, call immediately and tell them when it will be done!

EXTRA MILE - nothing stops you from going the extra mile for your customers, you can almost guarantee you will give them what they need unless it’s outrageous, 

THE POWER OF YES - entrepreneurs say yes, and then figure out how to do it

I have story after story of so called entrprenuers who don’t get it, they work an extra hour and expect an hour back, they say they will perform a task and it never gets completed, they dodge the trouble bullet so they don’t have to feel uncomfotable and they have an inability to see inside their clients brain.  Can you learn this?  You bet you can, start today by setting an example for your staff, act like an entrepreneur, walk like an entrepreneur, eat like an entrepreneur, sleep like an entreprenuer and raise the expectations and your staff will experience the TRUE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRT. 

Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured Writer 610-442-4545


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 TER LEADERS. 610-442-4545  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Principles for Leadership

Guest blog from Kayte Connelly, Best Principled Solutions LLC.

“The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Does this sound like your workplace? Does your boss believe they are a leader because they are IN CHARGE? Do you wake up every morning dreading going into work?

There are many perverted myths about leadership and what it entails to be a great leader. Some believe that it pertains to your title; others believe only “special” people can be leaders. Actually, evidence abounds that individuals from all walks of life can and are attaining leadership. We need only to look outward to identify the principles of those great leaders and to look inward to determine the hows and whys of emulating their behaviors.

Each day, you are given the gift of that day and you make choices about how to use that gift. You are the only person that can control what you will accomplish and how you treat people during the course of that day. You are given the opportunity to lead yourself into doom and gloom or success. What do you do with it?

There are thousands of articles written about management and few about true leadership. What is it that separates a leader from the pack of managers and how can you become better at it?

First rule: You cannot lead others until you can lead yourself. You must become self-aware before you can support others into leadership. A true leader does four things. They do manage; they coach or counsel; they train or provide resources for their staff; and they actually lead. Of the four, the most important aspect of their position or their influence and what separates them from managers is their ability to lead.

Commonly, in dictionaries we find leadership defined as any attempt made to directly influence the attitudes, beliefs or behavior of another person. Dwight D. Eisenhower described leadership as: “… the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.”

According to T. Falcon Napier, President and Founder of the Institute for Productive Tension, there are five key skills for true leadership. “A true leader:

• Formulates and articulates a compelling vision

• Awakens and sustains desire in the hearts of others

• Creates and maintains a feeling of pride in others

• Focuses others on a clearly defined destination

• Identifies and develops more true leaders.”

Further, he elaborates that “A leader is a leader NOT because of who he/she IS, but because of who others BECOME when they are in the leader’s presence.” Do you see anywhere in those descriptions where it says you must have such and such an education? Graduated from only this type of school? Worked in this field or that particular vocation? Do leaders only come from this section of town or a particular country?

Can you get the sense that leaders are more concerned about the personal side of things, the transformational side? How can I support others to become their best selves while working with me?

At the recent 2013 PA Conference for Women, Sally Krawchek, named the “last honest analyst” by Fortune Magazine, strongly urged women to recognize the moment; that “you are the only one that can make the decision that your life, your workplace, or your relationships are no longer acceptable.” And when you make that decision, “what will you do about it?”

This same advice goes across the board for men as well. If you realize that you want to be in a place where you are respected and respect others; you are inspired and inspired others into action; you encourage people pridefully by not shaming them into action, how are you going to get there?

Becoming a better leader is ongoing. There is not a magic potion; a one course fits all; or a trail of bread crumbs coming out of a forest leading you to greatness. Leaders are often the last person in the room to identify themselves as such. They do not wear a banner that formally states, “I AM a leader.” It is an honor bestowed on them by others.

Your first course of action to transforming yourself while transforming others is to adopt these 10 Most-Powerful 2-Letter Words: IF IT IS TO BE … IT IS UP TO ME! Whether informally through a mentor, a sponsor or your personal advisory board, or more formally by hiring a professional coach, a guide, an outside party that will support you in your journey to leadership, Y-O-U are the only person who can make change happen. Great leaders do not blame others.

IF IT IS TO BE…IT IS UP TO ME! Stop the beatings. Start today! Do not delay!!

Kayte Connelly, Best Principled Solutions LLC, is an award-winning author, leadership coach, and organizational development consultant specializing in personal, professional and community leadership. She facilitates corporate retreats and conversations with dissimilar parties and helps individuals and organizations identify and eliminate what stands between themselves and their goals. We provide enriched customized services that are designed to create and sustain generations of leaders for our community and elsewhere, based on research and global development. Please “like” us at

Call 484.769.2327 for more information on how your company could become more collaborative, flexible, imaginative, and innovative and/or to discover your leadership “edge.”

Monday, February 3, 2014

BUSINESS MATTERS TONIGHT: What does it mean to be African American in the Lehigh Valley?

Despite the wintery weather Business Matters will still air tonight at 7:30 p.m. with five dynamic guests and host Tony Iannelli!

Title: What does it mean to be African American in the Lehigh Valley?

Have African Americans made a great deal of progress when it comes to achieving economic and racial equality here in the Lehigh Valley? Do we still have much work to do as a society to progress equally? Watch tonight as our five guests discuss and lend their personal perspective on being African American in the Lehigh Valley. It's a show you don't want to miss!
  • Kim Sharif
  • Jonathan Harris, Verizon Wireless
  • Jude- Laure Denis, DC Consulting
  • Brian Anthony, The B Radio Show
  • Nathanial Stuart, Allen High School student

Turn a Winter Landscape into a Winter Scene

Guest blog from Jenn Stumer, Appalachian Creations Inc.

As I drive through the Lehigh Valley every winter I am continually amazed at how dramatically evergreens stand out in the stark winter landscape.  Then my eye is drawn to other plants offering winter interest.  It’s like all of a sudden I am seeing them for the first time.  The vivid evergreens and attractive deciduous plants are providing a winter scene for my enjoyment.  I’ve put together a discussion of how including these types of plants can do that for your winter landscape.

While evergreen shrubs and conifer trees undeniably add visual interest to winter landscapes, many other plants can add value to winter landscapes.  A winning plant for winter landscapes will have one or more of the following characteristics: 

  • Bears evergreen foliage 
  • Readily catches snow in its branches 
  • Contains colorful berries (that attract birds) 
  • Has bark that is colorful or that has an unusual texture 
  • Has an interesting branching pattern 

Conifers (cone-bearing) encompass the majority of evergreen trees seen towering in the landscape and standing out amidst the deciduous trees along roadsides and in forests.  The wispy kelly-green of White Pine, the subtle hunter green of Norway Spruce and Douglas Fir, the graceful lilt of Canadian Hemlock, the brilliant slate-blue of the majestic Colorado Blue Spruce are just a few of them.  All bear evergreen foliage and all are truly an amazing sight laden with snow.

Winterberry Holly is a popular native holly shrub that actually loses its leaves in the winter.  All the attention is drawn to the plant's display of red berries, with no foliage to obstruct the view. China and Blue Holly also sport red berries but have the added bonus of their pointed, glossy leaves as a backdrop.

And even I have to admit that Yews can have their place in the winter landscape.  I tend to prefer the Repandens Yew (also known as the Dwarf English Yew) because of its adaptability to shade or sun and the tendency to weep gracefully rather than grow upright.  Plus the bright red berries show up in the fall and last through winter (or until the birds eat them).  

But let’s not forget those rarely seen gems like the Red Twig Dogwood.  Actually a shrub, the Red Twig’s maximum height reaches 6-10’.  Their stems are only visible once they are bereft of foliage and are an eye-catching fiery red against a backdrop of crystal white snow.

Two examples of deciduous shrubs with characteristics for winter interest are the Winged Euonymus (also known as the Burning Bush) and the Japanese Barberry.  The stems of the Winged Euonymus have a “wing” or flap of bark running along their edges that can catch and hold snow.  The Japanese Barberry develops oval red berries that can last well into the winter.

Perhaps one of the best unusual texture trees has to be the Birch.  The Paper Birch and the River Birch are both well-known for their shedding bark.  Not only is the bark interesting on these trees but the clump form (having 2 or more trunks) lends to an interesting branching habit.  Some other intriguing branching habits include pendula (weeping) and contorted (twisted).  White Pine, Norway Spruce, Alaskan Cypress and Blue Atlas Cedar are a few examples of evergreens that can be found in pendula forms while the most popular deciduous is the Weeping Cherry.   Lavender Redbud and Walking Stick are examples of a contorted form.  All can promise distinctive interest in a winter landscape.

Incorporating color, texture and intrigue into a planned “man-made” landscape is absolutely a must and can end up being quite striking.  Mother Nature does it for us all the time.  The trees and shrubs mentioned here are just a few examples of plantings that can turn any drab winter landscape into an unforgettable winter scene.