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Presented by Republic Bank
Photos By David Michael Howarth 

 

SJ Magazine invited 10 prominent men to The Capital Grille in Cherry Hill for an evening of open conversation with Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Marianne Aleardi. The accomplished leaders were interesting and insightful, sharing stories that revealed much about their character and careers – and, of course, how much they loved that Super Bowl win. 

Brian Adler, Assistant Director, Katz JCC 

Jason Avant,  Former Philadelphia Eagle & owner, Launch Trampoline Park 

Bill Caruso, Attorney, Archer & Greiner  

Trent Cole, Former Philadelphia Eagle & host, Blitz TV 

Dr. Ken Lacovara, Director, Edelman Fossil Park at Rowan University 

Chris Lukach, President, AKCG – Public Relations Counselors 

Bruce Main, Founder/President, UrbanPromise

N.J. Senator Troy Singleton 

Dave Spadaro, Eagles Insider 

Rob Worley, Senior Vice President, Republic Bank 

 

On their childhoods… 

My mother became very ill when I was 15. She was dying. I was the one who took care of her. I turned her, fed her, made sure she was in as much comfort as she could be. She passed away when I was 20, and there just weren’t that many tears left. I look back on it now with great memories of her. I feel like I learned a lesson in love that some would never appreciate.
– Dave Spadaro

I grew up on the south side of Chicago. My family were members of a gang. My mom and my dad were strung out. My mom left me when I was a baby, and my dad was in and out of jail. So I’m not supposed to be sitting here at this table. But I wouldn’t trade what I experienced, because my childhood made me who I am today. It taught me how to be grateful in all circumstances.
– Jason Avant 

When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time outside. We weren’t in organized sports, we were organizing our own sports. We used to build tree forts and go-carts. It was great training for nonprofit work, because it was about building something with no resources and mobilizing people around a vision. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was great training, because that’s basically what I do now.
– Bruce Main 

 

On the #MeToo movement… 

It’s opened up a lot of eyes to people who, because of a cavalier attitude, decided they can say and do whatever they want in any type of company.
– Troy Singleton

I try to look at my women colleagues just as colleagues. I’m a scientist, and I’m interested in what’s in their head.
– Ken Lacovara 

I run a crisis and issues public relations firm, so we’re dealing with organizations that are confronting #MeToo-related crises. The organizations that don’t recover are those that never recognize they don’t have the right to say someone is being hypersensitive. None of us share the same perspective, and this is about respecting what another person perceives to be an unpleasant experience.
– Chris Lukach 

  

On social media… 

I don’t de-friend people. I debate. Keep it clean and don’t get nasty, but debate is good. You can’t just put your viewpoint out there. You’ve got to listen to what’s coming at you too, and be able to deal with that. It’s a skill.
– Bill Caruso 

A leader in one of these companies told me that when the product is free, you’re the product. That’s the truth about social media.
– Ken Lacovara

On coping with stress… 

When you get to my age, you have a confidence that you can solve a problem if you take the time to take it apart and put it back together. But when something comes up that seems insurmountable, that’s what is stressful.
– Rob Worley

In the nonprofit world, it’s stressful meeting payroll every two weeks. You know you’re going to get through it, but it’s just always there. I’m the only one who doesn’t enjoy payday,
– Bruce Main 

In the NFL, there may be somebody new in the locker room, because your buddy got cut. Add to that 70,000 people in the stands, and it’s fourth down and they call a play for you. That’s stress. When I’m in the day-to-day world at my business and somebody dropped the cake at a birthday party, it’s really not that bad. I’m going to have to deal with the mom, but at least I can go outside. If I dropped a game-winner in Philadelphia, I can’t go outside. That’s stress.
– Jason Avant 

 

On work ethic…  

I was a fairly smart kid when I was growing up, but too often I was also in a lot of classes where there wasn’t a lot of people who looked like me. So there were folks who thought, “Well, he’s in here because we have to have one in the room.” Because of that, I’ve always tried to outwork whoever is around me. The one thing you can control is your work ethic.
– Troy Singleton 

I never see myself as the smartest guy in the room, and certainly not the tallest, but I always count on myself to be the hardest worker.
– Bill Caruso

What I’ve had going for me is I made a career being willing to do things other people won’t do and go places other people won’t go, like the bottom of Patagonia where it’s freezing in the summer. But I went to those places and endured those things. That’s made the difference for me.
– Ken Lacovara 

 

On their mentors…  

My Uncle Jerry is my idol, he’s the guy I want to be like. He’s the one who taught me to treat people how I want to be treated, and stay out of other people’s business unless it’s affecting you. I’ve always wanted to be like him.
– Trent Cole 

I had always wanted to become a paleontologist, but then I found out I was pretty good at playing drums, and I ended up being house drummer at the Golden Nugget Casino for a year. Then Carl Sagan’s book “Cosmos” came out. I actually tried to read it in book stores, because I couldn’t afford to buy it. I would read a chapter at a time. Then my girlfriend bought me a copy and I read it, and it was like Carl Sagan had drilled inside my head and answered questions just for me. I realized I had to become a scientist. I remember I went to my first high school reunion, and people would come up to me and they’d say, “Hey, Ken, where you playing?” And I’d say, “Well, actually, I have a PhD in geology, and I’m a professor.” And the response 100 percent of the time was, “So, where you playing?”
– Ken Lacovara 

 

On when the Eagles won the Super Bowl… 

I cried the night they won, partially because my dad wasn’t there with me. I wanted him to be there to see it, because of all the games he had taken me to and all the times we said it would never happen, but it did.
– Troy Singleton

I grew up as a New York Giants fan, but I have to say this to you: If you live down here, you see what everyone is invested in. The Eagles have been so close for so long, you couldn’t help but root for them. I mean, even I was rooting for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.
– Bill Caruso

My dad and I have been sitting – well, we were sitting in section 650 when I was a kid, and then we moved over to Lincoln Financial Field – with the same people for the past 30-plus years. If it was an away game, he’d come to my place or vice versa. For the Super Bowl, we were at my house, and he cried like a baby. I mean, just broke down, a 71-year-old man. We went to the parade together, and it was fantastic. There’s a renewed spirit on the team and a renewed spirit in the city. We’ll take another one too. We’ll take another one.
– Brian Adler

What impressed me so much was the leadership. There was a vision about how the game was going to be played, and that is: we’re playing aggressive, that’s the only way we’re going to beat these guys. It seemed like there was no doubt about what they were going to do. It really spoke to me as a leader.
– Bruce Main

I’ve noticed, traveling around the country since the Super Bowl, that I’m seeing people in Eagles gear. I don’t think all these people were brought up in Philadelphia. I just think the thing to be now is an Eagles fan.
– Ken Lacovara 

 

On success… 

The Eagles won the Super Bowl, and the night before the parade I was told I would emcee the parade. It was just a mind-blowing, life-changing, positive experience for me. I certainly haven’t lost the hunger to be great every day, but at that moment, I felt it will never get better than this.
– Dave Spadaro 

People define success differently than you define it for yourself. I’m sure there are people in my circle who think I’m successful. I don’t know what their measure is, but it’s not the one I hold for myself. What I’m looking for now is a level of self-determination that I haven’t had but that I cherish. I look at everyone in this room as someone who’s achieved great success, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how you define it for yourself.
– Chris Lukach 

I knew someone who said, “I spent my life climbing the ladder of success. I got to the top and found out it was leaning against the wrong house.” I think when you get in your 50s and 60s, you develop that perspective. It’s like, hey, I’ve got money in the bank, but there’s more to life than that.
– Bruce Main 

I still got my trophies in boxes. I never put my trophies on the wall, never did one time. Do you want to know why? Growing up, I used to watch the military, the Navy Seals, and they never brag about what they did. That stuck with me to this day.
– Trent Cole 

  

On advice to your 21-year-old self… 

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and stay true to yourself.
– Rob Worley 

YOLO – you only live once. At 21, I took life way too seriously. I started working and became an adult at 20, so I didn’t have the same experiences as my friends did.
– Brian Adler 

Ask for help when you need it. People are always willing to give it, much more so than you think.
– Chris Lukach 

More is possible than you think is possible.
– Ken Lacovara 

 


MENU 

Starter
Beet Salad or French Onion Soup 

Entrée Choice
Chef’s Fried Lobster Tail Feature or Porcini Crusted Bone-In Sirloin

Accompaniments
Mashed Potatoes and Soy Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Bacon 

Dessert
Strawberries & Cream or Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake 

June 2018
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