Students Inspired By Civic and Business Leaders at Honors Panel

November 15, 2011 Purnell Cropper

By Michael Schwartz ’14

Stiteler Auditorium was alive with inspiration as a group of civic and business leaders shared fascinating stories of success with more than 50 attentive Arcadia students during a panel discussion organized by the Honors Program. The occasion served as a guide for young people who want to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Erika Clark ’14 was in the audience and says the session was truly rewarding: “The leaders were fantastic. I really got out of it what leadership means to everyone else. It’s great to hear other people’s opinion and it’s reassuring to listen to people who say to follow your heart and the American dream. Listening to success stories is kind of inspiring and its gives me hope that I can make it someday.”

The panelists spoke about the importance of adaptability, education, connections, work ethic, time management, integrity and being thick-skinned.

After the discussion, the festivities moved to the Castle Dining Room, where students had the chance to network and connect with the honored guests.

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from the panelists:

Joan Dawson McConnon

Joan Dawson McConnon, who co-founded Project H.O.M.E., an organization that fights poverty and homelessness, offered advice on how to overcome life’s challenges. McConnon is a true symbol of selflessness given her efforts to alleviate homelessness in Philadelphia. 

Captain Tim Zerbe

For Captain Tim Zerbe, FTC Commander for the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Pa., resilience is essential, especially when making difficult decisions not everyone is going to support. He talked about how people must learn to adapt, be flexible and learn from mistakes. Zerbe says the worst leaders are those who repeat mistakes.

In regards to students pursuing their goals, Zerbe states, “I want [students] to be encouraged to go after their dreams and to establish and keep up with their moral character.” He also says that students having the “ambition” to be in school is the first sign in showing that they want to be successful.

Hon. Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio

Hon. Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio sits on the Family Court Bench. She says passion is the key ingredient to finding happiness. Carluccio is a proponent for putting in the required amount of time and commitment.

Carluccio summarized her proactive approach this way: “For any goal you set for yourself, you can achieve it if you believe it.” When it comes to assuming leadership positions, she says, “It’s about perception. If you believe in yourself, and you give that aura of being in charge and being in control and understanding what you’re doing and you dress the role, people will believe you can actually accomplish it.”

Lois E. Haber

For many students in the audience, hearing about alumni finding success is especially reassuring. Enter: Lois E. Haber, co-founder and retired CEO and President of Delaware Valley Financial Services, Inc., and one of Arcadia’s most esteemed alumni.

Haber says students must define their goals as a first step to success. While acknowledging the poor economy, Haber spoke about the importance of “driving one’s self” and sees no job as “trivial.” When it comes to work effort, she remarked, “Working hard gets you things that you never dreamed of.”

David Kasievich

David Kasievich, executive director of the St. James School, sees his career as an honor. “At St. James School, we are creating our future leaders for our city and country,” he says. “We are teaching students ways to take responsibility for their own actions. Every choice has an implication on their life and on another’s.”

One of Kasievich’s goals is to make his students realize how much power they have instead of thinking about how their environment limits them. Kasievich says that one objective of his school is to help students develop “the ability to think beyond their  own selves and realize they have much more control of their destiny than they ever imagined.”

alumnihonors program