ZIPD Conference a Success for Bloomsburg University


Bloomsburg University hosted the first annual Zeigler institute for professional development (ZIPD) conference on Thursday Oct. 6th and Friday Oct. 7th. In a huge step forward for Bloomsburg University, the College of Business invited 43 notable alumni to hold workshops, luncheons, dinners and networking events. Though the focus was not that of a job fair, the event was successful in helping bring businessmen and woman to provide real-world business application, understanding and strategies to University students.

Three recurring themes of this year’s conference

Getting and Securing a Job

Without a doubt the most popular theme and one that students were rightfully curious about. From the luncheon to many sessions, the question and answer times kept coming back to how students can get and secure a job after graduation. As BU Student Ryan Keefer put it best when asked what was the most valuable thing you learned at this conference? “Being able to see what companies are looking for, that it is not just GPA and that they want to know your personality” A real-world understanding of securing a job is invaluable to students.

Prove your value

Student Kelly Murray tweeted during the event, “I now have more insight on how to bring value to an organization. #ZIPD” This thinking is spot on. Companies see the stand-out applicant as the individual who is able to walk into an interview, know as much if not more about the company than the interviewer and be able to clearly convey the value they will bring to the business.

“Today’s economy is a (new) economy. What matters is what’s in your head. What you’re able to do for your employer,” -Terry Zeigler, President & CEO, Datacap Systems, Inc.

“External focus, clear thinking, imagination, inclusiveness, and expertise are all things we look for in people at GE.” -Ed Piatkowski, GM, Corporate Accounts, GE Healthcare.


Start your own Business

Husband and wife power-team Deb and Jim Ferraro, CFO and CEO of Executive Facilities Services, — a business focused on building cleaning, maintenance and janitorial service — presented an exciting and extremely valuable workshop The workshop was appropriately titled “10 do’s and don’ts of starting your own business.” In their workshop they highlighted the many reasons one would enjoy owning your own business, such as being your own boss and having unlimited growth potential, and the drawbacks of running your own company. Examples included taxes, support and time.


4 Awesome Quotes from Jim Ferraro

“At your age, you guys are the ones who can make mistakes”

“You’ve got to find a motivator. Fear is my motivator, fear of getting lazy, of failing. Use that fear.”

“You can fire a customer!”

“Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity”



Do what you love

For Doug Taylor, President of Taylor Wealth Management, the road to happiness took many twists and turns before he found himself working a job he loved. As he stood with Chet Snavely, President of The Anchor Organization, in front of a crowded room the message he carried forward was, “If you know you are unhappy where you are at, plan. Plan and prepare to do what you enjoy in life”. “Find what you want in life and build the road to get there” Chet added. This conversation captures the successfulness of ZIPD. If these types of discussion can continue to be brought to student’s eyes, Bloomsburg University will have succeeded in adding value to their program and students’ lives.

“Nothing is more important than having a love at what you do. You have to be obsessed with it.”-John Gross, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“If you don’t have that fire in your gut when you go after what you desire, you might fail. You have to have passion.” -Gloria Gerrity, VP, Operations, Geisinger Health System.

“Be a lifelong learner” -Maria Canno, CP, Cisco Systems

“Life is the leader’s laboratory. Try. Fail. Learn” -Gloria Gerrity, VP, Operations, Geisinger Health System.


Tips and Suggestions for Next Year

For Bloomsburg University and the College of Business.

The College of Business and Bloomsburg University did a great job getting the ball rolling with the event. The good news is they did leave some room for improvement. If this event were to continue, the College could stand to improve in its organization and promotion of the conference. Handing an itinerary beforehand would help students make more informed decisions on the sessions they choose.

“Include the Economics department, and invite guest speakers from other colleges. Do this more often and add more seats.” –Chris Lamm, Bloomsburg University

“Explain the conference more beforehand. There was a lot of confusion in signing up and choosing sessions. Had I known the value of this, I would have signed up for many more sessions.” – Ryan Keefer, Bloomsburg University

For Students

Grab every opportunity you can. These types of events do not come through town every day and the chance to speak with so many well-respected successful individuals does not come often. Your professors will understand if you are absent because you are attending an event at this conference. Listen, ask questions, and soak up as much of this invaluable guidance as you can.