Andrea Funk, former CEO of Cambridge-Lee Industries, spoke on “What Makes a Company Successful?” during the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce’s First Chamber Dinner held at Kutztown University on May 17.
“The purpose of the Chamber Dinner was three-fold: (1) to celebrate the accomplishments of our regional chamber in terms of growth and increased visibility and vitality over the past three years; (2) to recognize the 2017 Member of the Year (formerly awarded at the Fall Shining Star Awards); and to engage the membership in a larger-scale opportunity for both education and networking,” said Chamber Executive Director Lori B. Donofrio-Galley.
In 2017, former Chamber President Russell E. Farbiarz, Antanavage Farbiarz, PLLC., suggested that the Chamber organize its first Chamber Dinner. About 150 members attended. East Penn Manufacturing was the Title Sponsor.
“Feedback by attendees was extremely positive. Beginning with the stellar service, attention to detail, and meal presentation by Aramark Higher Ed and Kutztown University Conference Services to the message delivered by an experienced and seasoned keynote speaker, Andrea Funk, to the Awards Program—all was well received,” said Donofrio-Galley.
Highlights from Funk’s speech included her experiences as former CEO of Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, a $500M copper-focused distributor and copper tubing manufacturer headquartered in Reading. Funk shared what makes a company successful.
“The intentional creation of value. It’s as simple as that,” said Funk. “The fundamental principle of capitalism is you create something people value and there’s demand... If you want to sell a product, you must make something that’s different, better, faster or cheaper.”
“You must have a vision that differentiates your business and thus creates value... Successful businesses have a vision. It is your why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
This is not dependent on how big or small a company is, she said, noting that 99 percent of U.S. companies have less than 500 employees and 85 percent have less than 20.
“You represent America’s businesses and at the heart of it all, what is a company? Equipment can be bought or sold. Businesses can be relocated. Even intellectual property can be acquired or licensed. What makes a company unique is its people and how they behave.”
Funk said to be intentional about the kinds of behaviors or culture that you want employees to display.
“You must recognize that your greatest asset truly is your employees,” she said. “Who run your equipment, who develop and protect your intellectual property, who interact with customers and represent you every single moment of every single day.”
Funk emphasized that valuing employees does not mean letting them do whatever they want to do.
“What people really want is to make a difference,” she said. “Feel like their contributions matter, like they are valued... worthy, useful, important compared to others... You unleash something powerful.”
Funk said employees also need to feel part of the vision, like they are creating something of value that is bigger than they are.
Also, Funk said a successful company needs strategy so that employees know what is expected of them to be part of the vision and how to measure success.
“Your strategy is what you are doing now,” she said. “My hope for you this evening is that I create something of value for you... Something that you can take home with you... If there is one thing that you will do differently in your leadership approach, take note of it. Act on it tomorrow.”
The 2017 Chamber of the Year Award was presented in memory of Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz, former CEO of East Penn Manufacturing. Her brother Dan Breidegam offered remarks about Sally.
“She believed in three things when it came to people, opportunity, involvement and recognition, and I think that’s what we’re here tonight for,” said Breidegam. “To recognize the people who took ambition and opportunity to get to where they are and be nominated for this.”
Award finalists were Annmarie Dallao, Arcpoint Labs of Reading; John L. Scott, Community First Fund, Lehigh Valley; Sherry Christman, Elite Business Solutions, Hamburg; Deborah Berger, Hasch Daal Custom Embroidery, Silk-Screening & Promotional Products, Kutztown; Mark Crossley, Esq., Scherline & Associates, Allentown; Dustin Adam, Edward Jones, Fleetwood; Jennifer Brown Wegman, Insight Information Solutions, Fleetwood; Ellen Overcast, Dream Vacations, Kutztown; Kim Davis, KD Consulting, Kutztown; Heather Uczynski; Leading Edge Business Consulting, Leesport; Penelope Oulds, Pay Day Payroll Service, Mertztown; and Mary Fran Bachman, Spotts Insurance Group, Flying Hills.
Runner-ups were Davis and Bachman.
The Chamber Member of the Year Award was presented to John L. Scott, Vice President of Community Lending for Community First Fund in Northern Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties.
“John L. Scott, who was recognized as the 2017 Member of the Year, has a history of active engagement and volunteer service within the Northeast Berks Chamber,” said Donofrio-Galley. “From Board Member and Officer to committee volunteer, John has contributed to financial planning, marketing, IT, and other function within the chamber. He is a strong advocate for both our mission and vision. Next year, which marks our 30th anniversary, John will serve as Board President.”
“I’m honored to win the Chamber Member of the Year,” said Scott. “It’s good to be among such good members with the chamber and also so many nominees who are all doing really good work and it’s all for the benefit of the community and the business community.”
The Chamber Board of Directors also recognized Donofrio-Galley.
“Everything that is happening at the Northeast Berks Chamber would not be possible without Lori Donofrio-Galley who works tirelessly,” said Chamber President Dustin Adam. “There is not enough that can be said for what she does for the chamber. She is truly the face of this organization.”
“I’m very honored,” said Donofrio-Galley. “When I look around this room and this crowd, there is a core group of people who are so engaged in the vision of this chamber and that’s why we’re going in great direction. Thank you to each and every one of you.”
Donofrio-Galley thanks Mary Fran Bachman, Chair of the Chamber Dinner Committee, and Deborah Berger, Chair of the Special Fundraising Events Committee, and all of the committee members, Ellen Overcast, Barbara Coffin, Sherry Christman, John Watkins, Chris Pensinger, and Wendy York, for planning and coordinating a successful event with chamber staff.
In addition to Title Sponsor East Penn, Level I Event Sponsors include Leading Edge Business Consulting, Fleetwood Bank, Capital Blue Cross, and Kutztown University Foundation; Level II Sponsor is Antanavage Farbiarz, PLLC; and Level III Sponsors include Edward Jones, Elite Business Solutions; Pay Day Payroll Service, Sher & Associates, PC; Ursus Aureus; Farmhouse Flowers, and Watkins Architect, Ltd.