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November 22, 2022

 

CIVIL-MINDED INSTITUTIONS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

PITTSBURGH (November 22, 2022) – As the daughter of an elected official, I was used to joining my father at all different kinds of political and civic events. Fundraisers, parades and county fairs were among the many functions I attended growing up in Northeast Pennsylvania.

 

I learned at an early age that politics was a contact sport — especially when your father is a Republican seeking votes in the birthplace of popular Democrats like Governor Robert Casey. I quickly came to realize that not everyone loved my dad like I did — and they weren’t afraid to make that known. A thick skin and a short memory were prerequisites.

 

I soon discovered that not all of these events we attended were created equal. I was just 18 when my father took me to New York for my first Pennsylvania Society dinner. The annual gathering, which dates back to 1899 and is held at the grand Waldorf Astoria hotel in early December, brought political, business and civic leaders together from all regions of Pennsylvania with the purpose of celebrating and honoring good works done by fellow Pennsylvanians. It also emphasizes charity and community. Governors, senators, lobbyists and captains of industry all attend.

 

The real beauty of PA Society weekend is that civil and respectful conversation isn't just commonplace — it is expected. Angry barbs and hateful rhetoric are replaced with a welcoming smile and a handshake, or even a hug, if you can imagine that.

 

PA Society is an event each year I truly look forward to. It is the one time where those with opposing political points of view — oftentimes diametrically opposed — can find a common purpose and appreciate the things we all have in common, rather than highlight our differences.

 

My father, who was Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, would make it a point each Society dinner to seek out his political opponents to say hello and even explore opportunities for partnerships to get things done for Pennsylvanians. I have made lifelong friends with people I met at the Society dinner — people I likely never would have met nor embraced otherwise due to our political differences.

 

So, it is particularly meaningful to me that I now have the privilege to lead The Pennsylvania Society as its president. In fact, I’m the first woman to have the honor to do so. And, like my immediate predecessor and friend, Ed Sheehan, I too am committed to ensuring that PA Society weekend remains a place of civility, free of the venom that too often accompanies our politics. And not just our politics. Even today’s business leaders have seen fractures in civil discourse.

 

I’m delighted that we will present this year’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement to the charitable-minded Broadhurst family of Pittsburgh, who own and operate Eat’n Park restaurants. With their iconic ‘smiley face’ cookies, the Broadhursts seem to understand and embrace the value of civility across corporate America. I look forward to celebrating their example on Dec. 3.

 

I will confess that there have been times recently where I struggled to maintain civility given my own political involvement. As secretary of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party and the Montgomery County Party, I have found myself, more than once, on the receiving end of some pretty stinging, and unfair personal attacks, especially during this recent election season. I have had to catch myself before reflexively firing back. My affiliation with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia where I proudly serve on the board of directors has reminded me why it’s best that I don’t engage.

 

At a time when political polarization has reached new levels, the Constitution Center is the leader on civil debate about our Constitution. The Center brings together people of all ages and political perspectives to teach students about our founding documents. And to exemplify the importance of civil debate in America, the Center recently elected the liberal Supreme Court Justice Breyer and conservative Justice Gorsuch as honorary co-chairs of the Center.

 

We must learn to disagree without being disagreeable, without name calling and hate. Institutions like the NCC and The Pennsylvania Society thankfully promote the kind of civility that is critical to making this country the best place to live in the world. It is important to support these kinds of institutions and participate — now more than ever.

 

Elizabeth Preate Havey, an attorney at Dilworth Paxson in Philadelphia, is president of The Pennsylvania Society and serves as secretary of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and chairwoman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee. She is the daughter of former Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernie Preate.

 

 

 

October 13, 2022

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY FORMS NEW ‘KEYSTONE COUNCIL’ TO REACH COMMONWEALTH’S EMERGING LEADERS AGE 35 AND UNDER 

 

New effort focuses on engaging next generation of leaders to lower the barrier of participation in Society events throughout the year 

PITTSBURGH (October 12, 2022) – Elizabeth Preate Havey, President of The Pennsylvania Society, today announced the formation of a new Keystone Council made up of Society members from across the state to help guide new initiatives focused on engaging the next generation of Society leaders.  

 

“As an organization representing all Pennsylvanians, we are pleased to announce our Emerging Leaders Initiative to engage the next generation of Society members,” said Preate Havey. “The Keystone Council’s first act is to make our Annual Dinner and membership more accessible to members age 35 and under by lowering their barrier for entry. For this age group, the opportunity to build new relationships and expand their networks across the state is invaluable. I know it was for me when I was early in my career. The Society is committed to play a helpful role in their growth in the Commonwealth.” 

 

The Society is pleased to offer the following exciting new opportunities to Emerging Leaders: 

  • A reduced ticket price to the Annual Dinner in New York for just $350 

  • The choice to attend an exclusive ‘Dessert Reception Only’ event after the Dinner for $135 – the first time the Society has held such an event 

  • An Emerging Leaders NYC hotel room block option at a cost significantly less than other area offerings 

  • An Emerging Leaders pin to wear at the Annual Dinner so longtime members can identify you and connect 

  • Reduced Society Annual Membership rate of $100 per year 

“We know that members join the Society for fellowship with Pennsylvanians who share a deep affection for our state, pride in giving back to the Commonwealth, and a commitment to civil engagement,” said Julien Scranton, the Society’s Executive Director. “As always, Society events provide a forum for civil discussion and our revenues have made possible millions of dollars in charitable contributions to Commonwealth non-profits and college-bound high school students. We look forward to welcoming these emerging leaders from all 67 counties.” 

 

Members of the new Keystone Council come from across the state and will help guide the initiative. Members include: 

  • Taylor Cobb (Reify Solutions)                

  • Maria Hudacek (Merrill Lynch) 

  • Blake Lynch (WITF) 

  • Michael Magnatta (Goldman Sachs) 

  • Clare Pozos, Esq. (Dechert) 

  • Robert Trinkle (PNC Private Bank Hawthorn) 

  • John Ventura (WSFS Bank) 

  • Matt Wachter, Esq. (Carnegie Foundry)  

 

September 10, 2021

THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY JOINS WITH FRIENDS OF FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL IN SALUTING FIRST FLIGHT 93 HEROES AWARD WINNER

Sivad Johnson of Detroit honored posthumously for his heroic efforts 

to save three drowning children

SOMERSET, PA (Sept. 10, 2021) – Edward Sheehan, Jr., President of The Pennsylvania Society, today joined with Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial to announce that Sivad Johnson has been selected as the first-ever Flight 93 Heroes Award recipient. The announcement was made standing on Memorial Plaza at Flight 93 National Memorial one day before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Sheehan presented the Johnson family with a check for $5,000 on behalf of The Pennsylvania Society. 

 

The Flight 93 Heroes Award was created by the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial to honor the remarkable bravery shown by the 40 passengers and crew members on board Flight 93 and to ensure their story is told to future generations. The award identifies individuals who act with extraordinary heroism; show courage at the risk of one’s own personal safety; and who put the physical well-being of someone else above themselves.

 

“Pennsylvania and Flight 93, and certainly the families of those who were on board the airplane, will always have a special and unique bond,” Sheehan said. “And so, the leadership council of The Pennsylvania Society has committed for the first five years of the Flight 93 Heroes Award to present a contribution to the honoree. It is The Pennsylvania Society’s way of honoring the recipient and their family and thanking them for reminding all of us of what selfless sacrifice looks like and the importance of the Flight 93 story.”

 

Sheehan said the Johnson family has shared that they intend to establish a trust for Sivad’s daughters and to give a portion to the charities of their choice in Sivad’s honor.

 

Johnson, a Detroit firefighter, was off duty on Aug. 21, 2020 and walking with this daughter when he heard three girls in the Detroit River screaming for help. He told his daughter to call 911 and immediately jumped into the water. Johnson died trying to save the girls. It is believed he was caught in a rip current. The three girls were rescued. 

 

“Sivad Johnson’s actions help to remind all Americans – and those watching across the globe – of the remarkable bravery shown by the 40 passengers and crew members on board Flight 93,” Sheehan said. “The Flight 93 Heroes Award will now become a way for us to tell that story, year after year, connecting the heroic actions of 9/11 to stories of heroism all across this country, today and tomorrow.”

 

 

June 8, 2021

THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY ANNUAL DINNER SET TO RETURN  

THIS DECEMBER IN NEW YORK  

 

December 4 Event Will Spotlight Pennsylvania’s COVID Heroes  

 

PITTSBURGH (June 8, 2021) – Edward Sheehan, Jr., President of The Pennsylvania Society, today is pleased to announce that the organization’s Annual Dinner is set to return to New York City on December 4, 2021. For the first time in the Society’s 122-year history, the Annual Dinner was canceled in 2020 in light of the global health pandemic. Sheehan says this year’s Annual Dinner will provide an ideal forum to shine a light on Pennsylvania’s frontline workers who have contributed greatly to the health and safety of the Commonwealth. 

 

“The Pennsylvania Society Annual Dinner comes at the start of the holiday season and is a time when we come together as friends to celebrate service to the Commonwealth we all love,” said President Sheehan. “I know our members missed that opportunity very much in 2020. So, it will be particularly special to gather again this December as we continue to pay special tribute to our fellow Pennsylvanians on the frontlines of the pandemic who have allowed us to resume this festive event. We have been proud to recognize their outstanding work on Instagram using the hashtag #pacovidheroes.” 

 

The Annual Dinner will once again be held at the New York Hilton Midtown. The Pennsylvania Society will work closely with the Hilton to follow all government guidelines related to indoor capacity, social distancing and any other New York City COVID-19 health requirements.  

 

“We will do everything to ensure the safety of our members and work with the Hilton every step of the way,” said Julien Scranton, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Society. “New information is continually released, and we will keep everyone apprised as we move through the event planning process, especially as it relates to seating capacity. For now, we are excited to bring the dinner back to celebrate with and honor Pennsylvanians!” 

 

A Gold Medal winner will be announced over the summer, along with additional details about the event. Updates will be shared on the homepage of the Society’s website, www.PASociety.com.   

 

May 20, 2021

THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY WELCOMES THREE NEW MEMBERS TO LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

 

PITTSBURGH (May 20, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Society – now in its 122nd year of honoring achievement, rewarding excellence, promoting good will and celebrating service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – recently welcomed three new members to its leadership Council. President Edward Sheehan, Jr. said Evan Frazier, Deborah Rice-Johnson and Dr. Susie Shah each bring unique skills and a passion for Pennsylvania that will greatly benefit the organization. 

 

“We are delighted to welcome Evan, Deborah and Susie to Council, where they will undoubtedly help the Society continue to grow and to ensure ours is an organization welcoming to all Pennsylvanians,” said Sheehan. “Each of these three outstanding individuals are leaders in their communities and who appreciate why it is important that we encourage and publicly recognize selfless service to our Commonwealth.”

 

The Pennsylvania Society provides members fellowship with Pennsylvanians who share a deep affection for Pennsylvania, pride in giving back to the Commonwealth, and a commitment to civil engagement. The Pennsylvania Society celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth and of its members. Society members come from many professions and walks of life and live throughout Pennsylvania, the United States and the world. 

 

Evan S. Frazier – Pittsburgh 

Evan Frazier is president and CEO of The Advanced Leadership Institute, an organization aimed at cultivating African American executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities. It was Frazier’s early vision that led to the formation of The Advanced Leadership Initiative in 2018 that focused on building the pipeline of talented African American leaders in Pittsburgh.

 

Deborah L. Rice-Johnson – Pittsburgh

Deborah Rice-Johnson is president of Highmark Inc. and chief growth officer of Highmark Health. She is known as an innovative health insurance leader, driven by a passion for reinventing health care experiences and pioneering provider relationships designed to keep care close to home and change antiquated reimbursement methods. Ms. Rice-Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in the health insurance industry. 

Susie J. Shah, M.D. – Philadelphia​

Dr. Susie Shah has been practicing Diagnostic Radiology, specializing in Breast Imaging, since 1998 in Philadelphia. She completed her internship at Pennsylvania Hospital and residency training at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Dr. Shah was board certified in 1998 by the American College of Radiology, and has been practicing Diagnostic Radiology. She worked at Regional Radiology in New Jersey from 1998 to 2002, and since 2002 has practiced at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia. 

April 14, 2021

THREE PENNSYLVANIA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WIN COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS 

IN ESSAY CONTEST SPONSORED BY THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY

 

PITTSBURGH (April 14, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Society today announced winners of its 15th Annual Benjamin Franklin Scholar Award. The Award, created in honor of one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, comes with $12,000 in total prize money for the three winners. The writing competition is open to Pennsylvania public high school juniors and received more than 110 submissions. Students submit an original essay of not more than 750 words discussing the modern day relevance of a selected Franklin quote. This year’s quote was, “A great Empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.”

 

The winning entries chosen by the judging panel are:

 

1st Place – The Flames of Unrest by Sophie Lu, North Allegheny Senior High School in the North Allegheny School District, Allegheny County;

 

2nd Place – The American ‘Empire’ by Amulya Nasta, Penncrest High School, Rose Tree Media School District, Delaware County; and

 

3rd Place – The Fight for Suffrage, Continued by Aditi Srivastava, South Fayette High School, South Fayette Township School District, Allegheny County. 

 

“These three young women inspired our judging panel with their creativity, wisdom and ability to connect our nation’s earliest days to the challenges that continue to confront us nearly 250 years later,” said Julien Scranton, executive director, The Pennsylvania Society. “The Pennsylvania Society brings together Pennsylvanians from all walks of life to honor achievement and recognize greatness. We are delighted to recognize Sophie, Amulya and Aditi, congratulate them and their families on this academic achievement, and wish them well as they head into their senior years.”

 

Sophie will receive a $6,000 scholarship for 1st place; Amulya will receive $4,000 for 2nd place; and Aditi $2,000 for her 3rdplace finish. All three essays can be found at www.PASociety.com.   

 

January 18, 2021

Pennsylvania Society President Edward Sheehan Jr. authored an op-ed featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Please click here to read his essay.

 

 

December 4, 2020

Pennsylvania Society President Edward Sheehan Jr. authored an op-ed featured in the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Please click here to read his essay.

 

 

July 6, 2020

THE PENNSYLVANIA SOCIETY TO SALUTE COMMONWEALTH’S  FRONTLINE WORKERS FOR REMARKABLE PANDEMIC RESPONSE 

 

Annual New York City Dinner Canceled in Light of Global Health Pandemic; 

Dinner Will Resume in Manhattan in 2021

 

PITTSBURGH (July 16, 2020) – The Annual Dinner of The Pennsylvania Society, scheduled for December 5th in midtown New York, has been canceled in light of the global health pandemic. A Gold Medal winner will not be named in 2020. Instead, President Edward Sheehan, Jr. says The Pennsylvania Society will focus its efforts this year on saluting the extraordinary efforts of Pennsylvania’s frontline workers from across the Commonwealth who have worked tirelessly in difficult conditions to keep their fellow Pennsylvanians safe. 

 

“Canceling the Annual Dinner was not an easy decision, but it was the only decision,” said President Sheehan. “So much remains in doubt regarding the severity of the COVID-19 virus this fall and winter. Our leadership Council simply was not comfortable putting our members and their guests at risk. By announcing now, we provide attendees with time to adjust their holiday plans. 

 

“More importantly, we can begin to plan activities that properly honor Pennsylvania’s frontline workers who have sacrificed much during an unprecedented health crisis for their fellow Pennsylvanians. The Pennsylvania Society is all about celebrating service to the Commonwealth we all love, and so we can think of no better focus this year than celebrating these selfless men and women. 

 

“We very much look forward to returning to New York in December 2021 and resuming the presentation of our Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement.”

 

The much-anticipated annual holiday dinner has recognized a Gold Medal recipient since 1908. Past winners include such luminaries as Andrew Carnegie (1911); General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1947); Arnold Palmer (1972); and Guion Bluford (2011). The Pennsylvania Society contributes to a Pennsylvania charity chosen by the recipient of the Gold Medal.   

 

Details about activities to salute Pennsylvania’s frontline workers will be shared in the months ahead. 

 

Contact: Steve Aaron

President, SRA Communications

(717) 554-8614

steve@SRACommunications.com