A celebration of extraordinary Philadelphians and distinguished global citizens
Global Philadelphia Association’s 8th annual Globy Awards took place on Monday, Dec. 12, as six exemplary leaders were honored for their impactful work.
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Zabeth Teelucksingh is a noted world traveler. After recently taking a trip to Lithuania to attend a symposium of World Heritage Cities, she has had the opportunity to reflect on the city she resides — Philadelphia.
“One of the things that strikes me is how very fortunate Philadelphia is to have an incredible array of leaders,” she said during her opening remarks.
As President & CEO of the Global Philadelphia Association, she has strived to honor and celebrate the many leaders who drive this city forward.
Since 2015, she and the organization has done so through its Globy Awards.
The 8th annual Globy Awards took place Monday, Dec. 12 at The Westin Philadelphia.
This year’s six honorees were Jennifer Rodriguez (Community Leadership), Sue Jacobson (Corporate Leadership), Dr. Donald Generals (Educational Leadership), David Seltzer (Heritage), Vik Dewan (Sustainable Development), and Judith von Seldeneck (Lifetime Achievement).
As President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Rodriguez is the lead advocate for the region’s 22,000-plus Hispanic-owned businesses.
“Through our programs, advocacy and public policy efforts, we address poverty, reduce inequalities, and encourage economic growth,” said Rodriguez, as she accepted her award.
For Latinos in the city, addressing those values are of the utmost importance. This is due to the fact that the Latino poverty rate is at 40%, compared to 15% of the White population, and considering that Latino-owned businesses generate $400,000 less in annual revenue than their White counterparts.
“At the GPHCC, we strongly believe that entrepreneurship is a viable tool for creating wealth and improving the well-being of Latinos in Philadelphia,” Rodriguez added.
That is why advocating for Latino-owned businesses is so important to the GPHCC, because it helps the larger economy as a whole.
“As business leaders, as community leaders, and as residents of the city, we must play for a safe, equitable and robust economy that leaves no one behind,” Rodriguez concluded.
A businesswoman herself — as founder and President of Jacobson Strategic Communications — she showed her own strength, dedication and resilience as chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia during two of the most challenging years in history.
“One thing that I am absolutely sure about these past two years is that it is our collective capacity to come together as a civic and business community, invest in our resources, our expertise and our determination to make Philadelphia a place that truly lives up to its historic promise and that is as a World Heritage City,” said Jacobson, as she accepted her award.
As Dr. Donald Guy Generals, President of the Community College of Philadelphia, accepted his award, he reflected on what it means to him and his work.
“The award is an affirmation of Community College of Philadelphia’s mission and core values of creating active participants in the cultural life of the city, helping to address broader economic and cultural concerns by drawing together students from a wide range of ages and backgrounds,” he said.
He used some key examples of the reach CCP can have. One is the story of Dr. Alfred T. Samura, who escaped civil wars in Sierra Leone and found CCP’s English as a Second Language program, as well as its biology and chemistry programs as a stepping stone to his continued educational career at Penn and Meharry Medical College, culminating to his current role as a cardiologist at Cooper University Health Care.
He also took the time to give a shoutout to Congressman Dwight Evans, who is an alumnus of the Community College of Philadelphia and was also at the event to provide remarks.
At CCP, diversity and inclusion is celebrated and the mission is to provide students from all over the world a pathway to reaching their full educational and career goals.
“I accept this award on behalf of the faculty and administration at CCP, who embrace this wonderful value of globalism and recognize it as a significant part of anyone’s education,” Dr. Generals underscored.
In 2015, David Seltzer founded CraftNOW as a way to bring together the region’s cultural assets and promote Philadelphia’s brand identity, specifically in the craft and maker sector.
In his words, it was about “showcasing Philadelphia as the nation’s craft capital.”
Knowing Philadelphia’s historical resources and institutions, including the Clay Studio, the University of the Arts, PAFA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and others, Seltzer wanted to find a way to coalesce that sector through programming, marketing and advocacy.
“Initially, CRAFTNOW’s focus was cultural tourism, but we’ve since branched out to sponsor youth summer craft camps with our programming partners in 120 rec centers throughout the city… And we're supporting the maker marketplace by teaming up with companies like NextFab to offer business training, and working with the Building Industry Association to connect artisans with commercial markets,” said Seltzer.
To him, Philadelphia offers a receptive environment for several innovative collaborations to enhance the quality of life in the region, and his goal is to take that mission even further.
Set to retire in 2023 after over 16 years leading the Philadelphia Zoo as its President & CEO, Vik Dewan has had time to reflect on all that’s been accomplished during his stewardship.
“The Philadelphia Zoo has a fairly unique vantage point in raising awareness and creating engagement around the issues of clean water, clean energy, responsible production, climate action, and… water and land,” said Dewan.
A ton of work goes into upholding these values, and the Philadelphia Zoo has been among the leading zoos in the nation for its innovative approach to doing so.
“Humbly, I might say that we believe that our best work and ideas are still ahead of us. So, you can see why now receiving this award for sustainable development is so important and so meaningful to us,” Dewan added. “It’s at the heart of our mission, at the core of what we believe and where we believe we can make the greatest difference.”
Judith von Seldeneck closed the event as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
With a career that has spanned over 50 years, she has been among the staunchest supporters of women in the workforce.
Originally from North Carolina, von Seldeneck grew up in a time when women were mostly secretaries, nurses and teachers, and many didn’t think college was even an option.
Despite the odds stacked against her, she made her intentions to go to college clear, eventually getting herself into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She did well in political science, eventually beginning her career as an executive assistant to then-Senator Walter Mondale.
That role got her in the door, however; she made a name for herself as a pioneer when arriving in Philadelphia about a decade later in the early 1970s.
In 1974, she launched Diversified Search Group, a firm dedicated to helping find professional roles for women and placing qualified talent into executive roles. Over the course of several decades, she built the firm into one of the leading executive search firms in the nation.
“This city has been so welcoming to me from the get-go,” von Seldeneck said.
As she reflected on the countless women she has helped over the years, she couldn’t help but thank her team — some of which have been with her from the very beginning.
Given all the impact she has made throughout her career, she continues to get excited to go to work each and every day.
“We’ve got such a great future together, and I look forward to being a part of it,” von Seldeneck proclaimed.
The six Globy Award honorees this year epitomize the range of notable leaders the city of Philadelphia has to offer. Their impacts are felt locally and across the region, but also extend to the Commonwealth, across the nation, and globally, as well.
Each of them serve as prime examples of why Philadelphia is a global World Heritage City.