Leadership Central Penn Learns Why Nothing is as Black and White as We Think

Pallets of grocery flyers wait to be stuffed in the newspapers at the Press Enterprise.

The Leadership Central Penn’s morning for its March class date started out at Press Enterprise, where not even the business model is about black and white print anymore.  Press Enterprise has evolved over the years from a newspaper to a commercial printing operation that produces a daily newspaper. Thanks to forward thinking and a little luck, the organization has weathered the challenges of print news. 

The class was treated to a tour of the Press Enterprise facilities where workers were busily bundling weekly grocery ads for distribution and shipping. As the class looked at the line, it saw the layers of ink being added, which changed the white paper into brilliant colors and bright ads. The digital media team works to assist clients with content and presentation, allowing small mom-and-pop grocers to offer the same vibrant, eye-catching ads of larger grocery chains. 

Following the tour of the Press Enterprise’s facilities , the class headed to SEKISUI SPI for the remainder of the day, where the group was greeted by fellow classmate and VP of People and Culture for SEKISUI, Sharon Haverlak. The first speaker of the day was Ronn Cort, COO and president of SEKISUI, who introduced the group to the innovative vision and culture of the company. SEKISUI has capitalized globally on opportunities of the growing middle class and the infrastructure needs of this group and their communities. The company produces plastic sheet for thermoforming products used in aviation, mass transit, construction and farming vehicles, and equipment housings like MRI

Ronn Cort gives a presentation to the LCP class.

machines and ATMs. 

SEKISUI has global leaders as partners on environmentally-focused, cutting-edge technology for the future. These include projects with Tesla for charging stations and the Hyperloop public transportation system. Thanks to the light weight, strength and thermal properties of their products, SEKISUI has helped save fuel without compromising style or comfort.

Following Cort’s presentation, the class welcomed Mike Ferlazzo, director of media relations at Bucknell University, for a discussion on the importance of public relations in leadership. The class heard about the importance of media relationships and the value of transparency. Mike shared that if you don’t control the narrative and provide factual information, the story will continue in a direction of its own making. This might not be the best light or even an accurate depiction, but it is what the public will be left with if not for a sound PR approach.

Mike Ferlazzo of Bucknell University speaks to the LCP class about public relations.

Before a lunch break, the class was joined by Tina Welch of Welch Performance Consulting to discuss “Generations in the Workplace.” Tina shared that there are four generations at work currently, Traditionalist, Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.  Each group has unique work ethic, communication preferences, motivations, and expectations of rewards, feedback and work/life balance. The class then learned the three main strategies for managing this multi-generational workforce:

  1. Mold your Culture
  2. Become Gen-Mixers: Assess Your Team
  3. Teach Your Workforce

Arthur Breese, director of diversity at Geisinger, talks about everyday bias.

After its well-earned lunch break, it was time to introduce the class to a presentation titled “Everyday Bias” led by Arthur Breese, director of diversity at Geisinger, Jimmy Muwombi, from the Coalition for Social Equity, and Jabari Johnson, Bloomsburg University student and intern at the United Way of Columbia and Montour County.  The class learned that based on where, when and how we were raised, and what life experiences we have had, we are all prone to pass judgment with our fast brain. The class saw a variety of videos and had discussions to prove the point that we all have both unconscious and conscious bias. We have two brains that don’t always see eye to eye, the fast (emotional) and slow (thinking) brain. Understanding and controlling these two sides of our brain requires us to take a P.A.U.S.E. before we react or act. 

To conclude the day, the class was treated to a behind the scenes plant tour of SEKISUI. The class was shown production, development and corporate culture in action. This organization, that many in the class were unaware of prior to this day, impressed everyone with its approach, innovation and vision. If there were any preconceived biases about manufacturing, they were changed on this day and replaced by a new vision of the current state and future of this sector.