Realizing there was a need to assist the Tampa Bay-area business community, Saint Leo University’s Tapia College of Business offered a free, four-part webinar series, Business Re-Imagined: Insights for Small Businesses in the COVID-19 Landscape in June and July.
Saint Leo University faculty and members of the Tampa Turnaround Management Association organized the sessions, engaging with other regional industry experts to provide operational, financial, human capital, and strategic guidance for small businesses.
“We recognize that this is a challenging time and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some really unique challenges for small businesses,” said Dr. Robyn Parker, dean of the Tapia College of Business. “We thought we would gather together a set of experts and resources to help you as you think about what some call ‘re-ing business:’” Reopening, going remote, restructuring, refinancing, rethinking, replanning, and redeploying.”
The four parts in the webinar sessions were:
- The COVID-19 Factor: An Overview of How COVID-19 is Impacting Businesses;
- Addressing the Pandemic Recession: HR, Business Operations, and Supply Chain Impact;
- Your Business Model: Strategic Direction for Pandemic Recession Recovery; and,
- Financial Frenzy: Financial Options and Resources Related to COVID-19.
Phase 2 of the series was Workplace Re-Imagined on October 8, which featured experts from three of the university’s colleges presenting a multidisciplinary look at helping employees in the “new normal.” The webinar focused on “human capital and the return to the workforce.”
Business Re-Imagined webinars may be viewed at saintleo.edu/business-events.
“Saint Leo and the Tapia College of Business wanted to do something to give back to the community,” Parker said. “’Community’ is one of Saint Leo’s core values, and we thoroughly embrace the idea of helping others. We hope to hold more webinars in the future to assist not only the community, but also as a learning experience for our students.”
Saint Leo University students joined in the Farm Share food distribution on May 20 with Florida Representative Randy Maggard and Pasco County Board of County Commissioners Chair Mike Moore at the Shops at Wiregrass mall in Wesley Chapel, FL.
Cars lined up near the distribution point as Saint Leo students joined others to distribute much-needed food as Pasco County, FL, residents deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are out of work and need assistance. True to the university’s core values, Saint Leo students stepped up to help.
More than 50 volunteers, including the Saint Leo students, handed out 33,000 pounds of food to about 700 people. The volunteers wore masks and followed Centers for Disease Control protocols as they loaded the food into recipients’ vehicles at the drive-thru event.
“I greatly appreciate the hard work the Saint Leo students put in volunteering with the Farm Share food distribution,” Moore said. “They worked in roles from bagging food to directing traffic to placing food in vehicles. Pasco County is a community that cares and volunteering to help others shows that.”
In the spring, the Tampa (FL) Education Center’s MBA-599 class, taught by Dr. Helen MacLennan, assistant professor of management, worked in small teams to conduct their capstone project, a business strategy analysis they created free of charge for local businesses. The students assisted Tampa-area businesses, including the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce; the Ybor City Visitors Information Center; Centro Asturiano de Tampa; and the Ybor City Saturday Market.
The analyses included an internal and external assessment, competitor and marketing analysis, and financial projections. It offered possible alternative strategies for these businesses, along with suggestions for implementation.
Lee Bell, president of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, indicated that the information contained in these analyses was valuable and that the chamber had started the process of implementing some of the suggestions.
The university announced the start of a new four-year degree—a Bachelor of Science in health education and health promotion—that will prepare graduates for a growing number of health education positions at community organizations, healthcare agencies, and workplaces.
Health education specialists help the public understand how to cope with health challenges they face, whether as individuals or as concerned family members. “Health education specialists are bridging an important gap between what individuals, families, and communities know and understand, and the increasing amount of knowledge available,” said Dr. Kathleen Van Eerden, associate dean of Saint Leo’s College of Health Professions.
For instance, the specialists develop and adapt group education programs, offer instruction in healthy habits and preventative measures, and provide information on what kinds of health care services are available to the public. The coronavirus is a vivid example of a situation where health education specialists have played a positive role, Van Eerden noted, by providing reliable instruction on correct handwashing techniques and social distancing. Diabetes and heart disease are two other examples of conditions where health education specialists can make a difference in individuals’ lives, she added.
Over the summer, the Saint Leo University chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in psychology learned it had been named a model chapter for the 2019-2020 academic year. Only 23 chapters of the 1,180 in the society were selected for the honor. A model chapter is distinguished by the high level of interest and activity of members, as well as sound organizational practices. The chapter had 33 members in the most recent academic year, led by chapter president Caitlin Walsh ’20. Psi Chi offers lifetime memberships.
Dr. Tammy Zacchilli, an associate professor of psychology, has been the chapter advisor for 10 years. She said she was both excited about the recognition and proud of the Saint Leo chapter members. “They worked so hard last year and continued to hold meetings in Zoom after classes moved online [because of the virus]. We had a creative group of officers who led interesting activities all year.”