On the first weekend of December, elected officials and business and community affairs leaders from across Pennsylvania gathered in New York City for the annual Pennsylvania Society (PA Society). The swanky affair is something I had heard about since I joined Ceisler Media two-and-a-half years ago, but this was the first year I attended. And while most attendees planned stays from Thursday-Sunday (or Friday-Saturday), I began my foray into PA Society on the last day only – which allowed me a much fresher perspective than most at that point.
The specific event I attended Saturday afternoon was hosted by the League of 1789, which was established nine years ago to honor the emergence of bipartisan leaders of color in Pennsylvania and New York. To that end, it was great looking around the room on Saturday and seeing people from a multitude of backgrounds represented. Host and Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green personally called out and thanked a number of people in the room. He specifically honored Urban Affairs Coalition President & CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner and Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, both fierce advocates of minority communities who work hard to bring equity to all Philadelphians.
When I first learned of PA Society, I was confused as to why all of these people from Pennsylvania would make the trip up to New York City for a weekend. But being in the room with folks I see regularly, like clients such as Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages and American Airlines, as well as those I don’t see regularly, such as Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the reason became apparent – the intentionality of the weekend is unique.
It becomes something of a bad habit to see these elected officials and business leaders at events in cities and towns across Pennsylvania, and comments are exchanged about how you should get together for coffee or lunch sometime soon to catch up. But then that thought is quickly superseded by all of the emails, text and phone calls one has to respond to in a given day.
But when you’re intentional about creating a time and space to gather with the folks who want what’s best for Pennsylvania and its 12.8 million residents, you can feel a revived energy and commitment. It was certainly something special to witness and be a part of.
Next year, I look forward to attending more events and connecting with more leaders. I also look forward to giving myself more time to catch my train so I am not sprinting through Penn Station – an unfortunate situation I found myself in this year.
Elise Corbett is an Associate in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office.