Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal March 2015

Page 36

TOP 25 WOMEN Empowering women in NEPA

Not a fan of what could have been




aura Ducceschi tends to see the glass half full. As a result, she enjoys a successful career. She holds the title of president and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation (SAF). In addition, she also manages Lackawanna County’s Community Foundation, a $31 million public foundation which provides grants to support important projects and causes and which helps individual donors achieve their charitable giving intentions. She also serves as the administrator of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, a $16 million public foundation. Her most recent initiative at SAF is “Women in Philanthropy,” which will provide grants that make transformative change for women and girls in the region. Examples of such projects include microloans for women who have difficulty accessing credit. The loans enable them to start small businesses and funding for STEM education in the public schools. “One of the most exciting parts of Women in Philanthropy is that it will empower women in our community to have an active role in making funding decisions,” she says. Having graduated summa cum laude from the University of Scranton, Ducceschi earned a fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in communication at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania and she earned her MBA from Drexel’s Le

Bow College of Business. She then spent 15 years working in the nonprofit sector in Philadelphia, performing work such as grant-making, advocacy, managing programs and operations, and advancing public policy. “I had many opportunities to travel internationally, which were valuable career experiences. I feel very fortunate that I was able to return to my hometown to take the position as president and CEO at SAF, and to be able to use my skills and education to help to make a difference in our community,” she acknowledges. Her parents immediately come to mind as her mentors. “They taught me value of humility; to have pride in your work; to treat every person with respect; to be compassionate; and to live with character and integrity,” she says. In the business world, Ducceschi points out that communication skills and a strong work ethic with a good follow-through are very important. She has always had a keen interest in listening to others and a willingness to take calculated risks. She lives by the following quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”


hristina Hitchcock is not going to be that person that wakes up one day wondering about what could have been. “I wake up every day excited to take on the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead,” says the full-time blogger/publisher and cookbook author. Her responsibilities include spending the majority of her “work” day cooking, testing recipes and sharing them with her readers at www.itisakeeper. com. Hitchcock has also published her first ebook, Dinner411: How to Get Dinner on the Table in 30 Minutes or Less, which outlines her proven, stepby-step approach to feeding a busy family while keeping one’s sanity. There are recipes, tips and strategies to creatively feed a family. She also offers blogging classes for those who want to start or grow a successful blog. The entrepreneur recently partnered with another blogger to launch a media management company. “We work with businesses and brands to help them generate social buzz about their products and services,” she explains. Cooking has always been her passion. In 2010, she started her blog as a hobby while she was working full time. “Through the years, my blog continued to grow and, in 2012, I was at the point where I needed to focus on it full-time to take it to the next level. I made the decision to leave my full-

time job and focus on growing my website. It was the best decision I ever made,” she says. She believes that success is not something that is given to someone, instead that it has to be earned. “My parents taught me the value of hard work and gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams,” she says. “I wouldn’t be doing what I am today without the support of my family, including my supportive husband and son who are my biggest fans and recipe testers,” she says. Her favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning, because in her industry is ever changing, and she never knows what the day will bring her. “It’s exciting to face new challenges,” she noted. It’s a Keeper was named the Best Blog of 2014 by Happenings magazine; Best Local Blog of 2014 by the Weekender readers choice awards; and Best Blogger of 2013 by Electric City. Hitchcock is also field editor for Taste of Home magazine, a national cooking magazine and have had several recipes published. In addition, she has been featured on numerous national blogs and websites, including, BlogHer and Yummly. She is a member of the North Pocono Preschool and Childcare Center board of directors and a member of the First Friday Scranton board of directors. Hitchcock is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation congratulates its President & CEO, Laura Ducceschi, and all of 2015’s Top 25 Women in Business on their success.

Engage. Empower. Transform.

The Foundation is proud to announce the launch of Women in Philanthropy: a fund to empower and transform the lives of women and girls. This exciting new initiative is open to members who want an active role in making funding decisions that will change lives. 615 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 102 36 NORTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA BUSINESS JOURNAL TS_CNG/NPBJ/PAGES [B36] | 02/25/15


Contact the Foundation to join.

Scranton, PA 18510 MARCH 2015

(570) 347-6203