Philadelphia business leaders on moving beyond COVID-19

April 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges. As we continue to navigate the uncertainties, we spoke with Philadelphia leaders who shared how they are coping with the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and how they are focusing on the future and recovery. And, this wouldn’t be a piece from Philadelphia without talking about two of our favorite pastimes: sports and food (yes, there will be cheesesteaks!).

Tori Boos, Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

Photo by J. Pellegrini for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center.

Q: What are some of the real-time challenges you are facing?

A: Moving forward, it is keeping our employees and guests safe that will be the biggest challenge. There are still so many unknowns about the virus, we are all looking forward to getting back to work and are committed to doing so following new guidelines.

Q: What are some challenges you have been able to address and what challenges are going to change your business moving forward?

A: I’m proud that we’ve been able to take so many of our work duties remote, including some operational duties. The flexibility that we have with technology these days means that administrative work like payroll can be done remote as well as videos of Chefs doing Research and Develop of new items.

Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself during this stay-at-home time?

A: How terrible I have been about staying in touch with friends and family – and how nice it has been to reconnect and have FaceTime and Zoom Happy Hours with them.

Q: When the stay-at-home restrictions are over, what is the first restaurant you will visit?

A: Vedge

Q: What do you love about Philadelphia?

A: Springtime in Philadelphia! The city is truly in full bloom.

Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Q: Best cheesesteak in the city?

A: John’s Roast Pork.

Q: Favorite vendor at Reading Terminal Market?

A: Termini Brother’s cannolis – YUM!

Q: Favorite sports team/player?

A: Pat “the Bat” Burrell – Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies mural at Citizens Bank Park. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Q: Favorite local college?

A: WE ARE…Penn State!

 

Michael Brennan, VP Conference Management, Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc.

Q: What are some of the real-time challenges you are facing?

A: Increase in workload. It is taking a lot longer to get anything done, email, video calls are too consuming.

Q: What are some challenges you have been able to address and what challenges are going to change your business moving forward?

A: Hotel world – addressed performance and cancellation clauses differently. Office Setting – revisiting levels of productivity and workload. There are areas where communication lines need to be improved.

Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself during this stay-at-home time?

A: I need to work in the office setting!

Q: When the stay-at-home restrictions are over, what is the first restaurant you will visit?

A: Probably a local restaurant – need to support the little guys!

Q: Best cheesesteak in the city?

A: Jim’s on South

Q: Favorite vendor at Reading Terminal Market?

A: Bassetts and DiNic’s

DiNic's Roast Pork at Reading Terminal Market. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

Q: Favorite sports team/player?

A: EAGLES – still hope for Carson!

Q: Favorite local college?

A: Widener University of course.

 

Jill Bodensteiner, Director of Athletics, Saint Joseph’s University

Q: What are some of the real-time challenges you are facing?

A: Providing support to our 475 student-athletes in a variety of areas including virtual learning support, travel home (especially our international students), mental health, physical health, financial, etc. Also, scenario planning for 2020-21 academic year and potential impact on athletics and allocating resources in light of revenue changes.

Q: What are some challenges you have been able to address and what challenges are going to change your business moving forward?

A: We have worked hard to create a comprehensive plan for the return of several seniors whose seasons were cut short. We’ve moved our mental health and sports medicine functions primarily online with HIPAA compliant modules and we have developed new ways to engage prospective student-athletes in light of the recruiting “dead period.” Continuing challenges will be revenue generation and scenario-planning, particularly as it relates to the timing of seasons.

Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself during this stay-at-home time?

A: I am definitely an introvert.

Q: When the stay-at-home restrictions are over, what is the first restaurant you will visit?

A: Wherever I can get the best Indian food.

Q: Best cheesesteak in the city?

A: Larry’s Steaks

Q: Favorite vendor at Reading Terminal Market?

A: Riehl Cheese Shop

Q: Favorite sports team/player?

A: 76ers, Zach Ertz

Philadelphia 76ers mural by Glossblack. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Q: Favorite local college?

A: Saint Joseph’s University

 

John Page, President, Spectra Venue Management

Q: What are some of the real-time challenges you are facing?

A: Venue closures, furlough and separation with employees.

Q: What are some challenges you have been able to address and what challenges are going to change your business moving forward?

A: Cost mitigation, cash management, client expectations. How do we open the venues back up and are there governmental restrictions.

Q: What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself during this stay-at-home time?

A: I can work from home.

Q: When the stay-at-home restrictions are over, what is the first restaurant you will visit?

A: Anything but takeout.

Q: Best cheesesteak in the city?

A: Geno’s

Photo by J. Fusco.

Q: Favorite local college?

A: Villanova

Q: Favorite sports team?

A: Flyers

Wells Fargo Center. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Cover photo by J. Pellegrini for Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

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