Sapphire was fortunate enough to be paired with the Cekai Suggs Family for THON 2014! Cekai has three siblings -- Dominic, Angelique, and Angelica -- and his parents are Esther and Chris. The family resides in Etters, Pa. Sapphire is thrilled to have been paired with Cekai and is looking forward to getting to know the family throughout the year.
Sapphires in the BJC during the last hours of THON 2013
The 2014 IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) fundraising season began on September 27 and Sapphires have been hard at work raising money for the kids. Sapphire THON committee students organized ManiCURE FTK, a fundraiser that ran from Oct. 14 - 17 in the HUB. For $5, Penn Staters had their nails painted with Penn State colors and THON decals. The fundraiser was a great success and will open again from Nov. 4 - 7 prior to the final canning weekend this fall. Anyone interested in having their nails painted can visit the booth from 2-8pm on the bottom floor of the HUB between Nov. 4 - 7.
Sapphires also canned in several locations across the state during the first two canning weekends. Despite cold weather and rain, students raised thousands of dollars to support the Four Diamonds Fund, the charity that THON supports each year. Sapphires will travel once again for the final canning weekend, Nov. 8 - 10, to continue to raise money to help fight pediatric cancer.
On Oct. 13, members of the Sapphire Class of 2017 participated in the annual Leadership Day event at Sunset Park. Students worked in teams and got to know their cohort members through various activities like an obstacle course, tug-of-war, and Pictionary. Students were challenged with limits to communication and worked together to compete throughout the day.
On Sept. 22, nearly 50 Sapphire freshmen participated in the annual ropes course team building event at Stone Valley's Vertical Adventures course. Students settled into harnesses, climbed up cargo nets, and worked together to complete the course, meeting and learning from their fellow cohort members. The day was full of challenges and lots of smiles.
By Kyle Wang, Sapphire Leadership Program President
On Sept. 20, Eric A. Spiegel, the CEO and president of Siemens Corporation, came to the Penn State Smeal College of Business to share his thoughts on leadership and business development in an interconnected world. As part of Smeal’s Executive Insights Speaker Series, Spiegel took part in a discussion with the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, Charles H. Whiteman. Sapphire members were not only able to secure priority seating at the event, but also able to take part in a private roundtable prior to the presentation.
In the smaller, conference-room setting, Spiegel was able to share with several Sapphires his journey to his role today as well as pass along career advice. He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and only knew that he wanted to play football in college. Initially, he wanted to study engineering at Northwestern University, but the coach informed him that, schedule-wise, he simply could not commit to both his major and the intensive football training regimen. On his coach’s advice, he ended up attending Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics. He would later attain a master of business administration from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
By Tyler Feldman, Publicity Chair
As Sapphire members packed in to room 110 of the Business Building on the evening of March 14, the eager students were welcomed with a surprise. Nittany Lion alumnus, John Galanti, was present to pour his professional business experience onto members’ sponge-like minds.
From the very start of his discussion, Galanti created a relaxed environment for students by saying that he simply came to “chat.”
A man who received an electrical engineering degree from Penn State, Galanti stressed that the “practical” skills he acquired in school enabled him to become successful in the entrepreneurial business world. Galanti was not shy about indicating what universities today are forgetting to teach their students.
“I’m afraid universities aren’t providing their students with practical skills,” Galanti said.
Galanti, now an advisor of OmniCapital Group LLC, has over thirty years of professional expertise in evaluating startup businesses and developing them from the bottom up. Currently his “hobby” is angel investments, where he supplies large sums of money to businesses that he believes will thrive in the current market.
When asked why he is still working even though he could retire comfortably, Galanti said, “If you can be in a business that you really, really like, you’re not going to stop; you’re not going to want to stop.”
Most people are familiar with the phrase, “Those who can’t do, teach,” which originated with Irish playwright and activist George Bernard Shaw. However, Smeal alumnus Anthony Buzzelli proves that sometimes, even those who can do also choose to teach.
On Nov. 5, the Smeal College of Business announced the reception of the Anthony Buzzelli Endowment for Leadership, a $300,000 commitment provided by Anthony and Marta Buzzelli. The gift will enhance leadership development in the college and generate annual funding to support the Sapphire Leadership Symposium and other programs that develop leadership qualities in business students.
“The best way to learn about leadership is to lead,” Buzzelli said.
Buzzelli explained three main goals for the use of endowment funds, including a continuous leadership development program, sessions patterned around skill development and mentoring, and the hope that these programs will eventually extend beyond Smeal. An advisory board, comprised of corporate professionals and Smeal faculty, has been created to facilitate the planning and creation of programs through the endowment.
Students interested in registering for the Leadership Symposium should click here https://php.smeal.psu.edu/sapphire/symposium/index.php. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis and opens Oct. 15.
As fall career fairs draw to a close, students may be missing their daily dose of corporate eye candy while walking around campus. Luckily, with the second annual Sapphire Leadership Symposium on Nov. 2, there will no longer be a shortage of suits.
Previously open solely to business students, the symposium is now accessible to all students at University Park. The all-day event will be held at the Nittany Lion Inn and provides more than just an opportunity to practice professional dress, according to Sapphire’s President Alex Drost.
“The Sapphire Leadership Symposium is an opportunity for students from all domains of study to collaborate and expand their working knowledge of leadership,” Drost (senior-finance and hotel, restaurant and institutional management) said.
Planning for the event, which is expected to attract about 150 attendees, began last winter. This year’s symposium will cover topics in Effective Leadership and Ethics, featuring keynote speakers and interactive workshops.
“The topics covered during the symposium are things that are imperative for success for students of all majors,” said Leadership Symposium Chair Catrina Pinto (sophomore-finance).
It’s not every day that college students have lunch with the CEO of a multimillion-dollar company. But for a small group of Sapphires, that opportunity became a reality.
On September 14, a group of 12 Sapphires attended a luncheon with Jerome Griffith, president and CEO of Tumi Holdings Inc. Griffith presented during the Smeal College of Business’s Executive Insights lecture series, and then interacted with students at the lunch.
“[Griffith] was very down-to-earth, slightly cocky, and had a wry sense of humor,” Cindy Chang (sophomore-marketing) said. “He emphasized the necessity of starting at the bottom before working your way up, because that is really what teaches you the ropes of the industry.”
The members of the newest Sapphire cohort are no strangers to academic competition. But one recent Sunday, their competitive spirits were tested outside of the classroom, in Sunset Park.
The annual Leadership Day, full of games and activities meant to bring the cohort together, occurred on Sept. 9 in Sunset Park. The event was organized and run by Rishi Mittal, Sapphire’s Vice President of Leadership Development, and his team of chairs, Samantha Chu, Radler Kelly, and Lauren Police.
“The goal of the event is to have everyone work together, understand the power of teamwork and get to know those in your cohort,” President Alex Drost (senior-finance and hotel, restaurant and institutional management) said. “There is a fun and competitive atmosphere that allows the students to try hard but also enjoy their time at Sunset Park.”