Hefren-Tillotson Step Challenge Takeover!

By:  Hefren-Tillotson Team

Hefren-Tillotson is taking over! We’re back to defend our title as top Medium Size Company for the SparkPittsburgh 2nd Annual Company Step Challenge. Last challenge, participating employees took 16,058,430 (almost 7,603.5 miles)!

Our company values play a large part in our culture.  We believe in respect for the individual, integrity in thought and action, teamwork supported by a family oriented culture, and a relentless commitment to excellence.  We strive to provide our employees the same level of care and concern we give to our clients.  The health and wellbeing of our employees is a top priority, without them our firm would not be the same.

Since 1948, our family-owned firm focuses on providing clients with unbiased advice relating to all aspects of their financial situations.  Founder Willard J. “Bill” Tillotson had the foresight to recognize that in order for clients to achieve their long-term financial goals, they’d need a step-by-step, detailed plan.  And as such, the MASTERPLAN® approach was born!

Hefren-Tillotson is one of the oldest and largest full-service wealth management firms headquartered in Western Pennsylvania.  We were recently named among the “Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania” by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2011, 2015 and 2017.

We are proud supporters of numerous charitable, arts, and cultural institutions throughout the Pittsburgh region, spawning our dedicated community outreach program HT Cares.  Our employees serve and work together to make lasting contributions to the lives of others in our community through volunteering and community service.

One way we seek to achieve this is by offering a wellness program with events and challenges that address specific concerns and interests of our employees.  Some of our wellness opportunities include health fairs, flu shots, biometric testing, lunch and learn presentations on various topics, and physical fitness challenges.  In each of our branches we have wellness captains who help promote the wellness program, answer questions, and encourage employee participation.

We are fortunate to have a workforce of active and health conscious individuals, so the SparkPittsburgh challenge was of great interest to us.  The activity allowed our firm to work together, encourage each other to get in daily steps, and also have a fun and friendly competition.  Understanding the health benefits of physical activity encouraged employees to participate in the step challenge.  We saw groups going out on walks together during lunch time, heard conversations comparing steps achieved, received inspiring emails to keep stepping, and watched the total steps continue to climb for our group.

Our employees are excited to participate in the SparkPittsburgh challenge again this year and ready defend our title for the medium company category.  We are confident our employees will “step” up to the contest and hope to beat our total steps from last year.  We would like to wish the best of luck to all the participating companies.

Happy stepping!

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Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Are you a fan of Spinach Artichoke Dip?  Do you wish you could have it as your entrée?  Then you are going to love this delicious Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Chicken recipe we found on skinnyms.com.

This recipe has all the great parts of the dip and turns it into a full-fledged meal for you and your family.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups loosely packed spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 (6-8 ounce) whole chicken breasts (bone-in with skin)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, reduced-fat but not fat free
  • 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 (14-ounce) can preservative-free artichoke hearts OR 6- 8 artichoke hearts from a jar, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a 4-quart slow cooker, pop in the spinach, chicken, and chicken broth.  Sprinkle garlic, salt, onion, and pepper on top of everything.  Place the cover on top and cook for approximately 6-8 hours on low, or if you’d like, 4-6 hours on high.

Right before you serve this dish, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and set them on serving platters.

In a separate bowl, stir together cream cheese, artichokes, and Parmesan cheese.  Keep stirring until it becomes a creamy mixture.  Spoon over the chicken breasts.

Top it all off with the tomatoes and extra Parmesan cheese, if you so desire.

 

Why Your Steps Matter

By:  Lynsey Bish

Marathoners are the thoroughbreds of high performance, but even if you are a slow and steady jogger or walker, a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that even five or ten minutes a day of low-intensity activities can be enough to extend life by several years.  This minimal healthy “dose” of exercise is smaller than many might assume.

Running is a widespread and convenient physical activity with a steady growth, despite some public concerns about the possible harmful effects of running[1]. It is well-known that physical activity has significant health benefits. The World Health Organization and the U.S. government have recently released evidence-based Physical Activity Guidelines, recommending at least 150 min. of moderate-intensity or 75 min. of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week[2].

This also applies to those who enjoy a brisk walk in the park with pets or friends. Without a doubt, making a decision to even start exercising – whether it’s walking, jogging, cycling, or using an elliptical machine – will pay dividends in the long run.

Although running can trim away some of your existing risk of cardiovascular disease, it doesn’t completely eliminate it. The combined effects of lifestyle, diet, and family history still contribute to your lifetime risk.

Mood Enhancement

If you’ve ever gone for a run or workout after a stressful day, chances are you felt better afterward. But the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term. Research shows that any form of exercise can also alleviate long-term depression[3]. Some evidence comes from broad, population-based correlation studies, and there is epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people.

Fight-or-Flight

Researchers have also explored running as a tool for treating – and perhaps preventing – anxiety[4]. When we’re spooked or threatened, our nervous systems jump into action, setting off a cascade of reaction in our body. People with heightened sensitivities to anxiety respond to those sensations with fear.

The book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression  and Enhancing Well-being, by the Anxiety Research and Treatment program at Southern Methodist University, reasoned that regular workouts might help people prone to anxiety become less likely to panic when they experience fight or flight like symptoms. The science behind this theory states that your body is producing many of the same physical reactions as anxiety like heavy perspiration or increased heart rate.

There lies a problem with only prescribing exercise for mental health. Researchers don’t yet have a handle on which types of exercise are the most effective, how much is necessary, or even whether exercise works best in conjunction with other therapies. The is potential exists, but further research needs to be conducted.

Going Green

Go green, minimize your carbon footprint, recycle, are all common words and phrases that are often used in relation to the environment. There are countless opportunities to get out and exercise. More than just a training environment, it turns out that people who exercise outdoors, in their natural settings, are benefiting from more than just their sweat efforts.

Research has shown that time spent in nature has numerous benefits for a person’s well-being, from reduced feelings of tension and anger to overall improvements in mood[5].

So why do we feel so much better? One theory is that by spending time in natural environments, our concentration and overall functioning is restored. By comparing this to our indoor environments, which are full of mentally fatiguing stimuli (TV, phones, computers), our outdoor environment requires effortless attention.

If you’re new to exercising outdoors, take time to adapt: start with a few minutes at the end of your workout to do some cool down stretches, relax, and enjoy your surroundings.

Sign your company up today for the SparkPittsburgh Company Step Challenge and prove that you are committed to being one of the healthiest and most active companies in Western Pennsylvania.

To sign your company up visit sparkpittsburgh.com.


Resources:

[1] Statistics. Running USA. Available at: http://www.runningusa.org/statistics. Accessed July 19, 2017.

[2] Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. World Health Organization. Available at:http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/. Accessed July 19, 2017.

[3] Journal of the American College of Cardiology Sep 2012, 60 (12) 1064-1066; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.05.015

[4] Journal of the American College of Cardiology Nov 2010, 56 (20) 1681-1682; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.07.022

[5] 1. Brown K, Stanforth D. Go green with outdoor activity. ACSM Health Fitness J. 2017

Employee Spotlight: Jonathan Gregory

What is your role here at Babb, Inc.? 

I am an Account Manager for Property & Casualty department.

 Where did you go to school? (High School, trade school, college, etc.)

I went to Bethel Park High School and then attended The Pennsylvania State University – Behrend campus.

 What’s the last good book you read?

The last book I read was “On the Road” by Jack Keroac, a great novel about travel, adventure, discovery, and the Beatnik/counter culture of the 1950s.

 Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

 A Pittsburgh food truck has a sandwich created in my honor.

What’s your favorite part of working at Babb, Inc.?

The best part about working at Babb is my coworkers’ dynamic personalities.

 What Hogwarts House would you be sorted into?

Hufflepuff – people need to value loyalty & kindness more!

What or who is your spirit animal and why?

Ron Swanson (from the TV show Parks & Rec) for his blunt honesty.

What was the first concert you went to?

My first concert was to see the ultimate 90s ska band, No Doubt.

What 3 fictional characters best describe you and why?

Ron Weasley – because of the red hair

Charlie Bucket – because of his selfless nature

Atticus Finch – because of his honor and his ability to personify what being a role model is

If you could be any animal what would it be and why?

A dolphin because they are social, swim all day, and turn off half of their brain when sleeping. Plus echolocation and the ability and intelligence to do cool tricks are just added bonuses.

National Give Something Away Day

Tomorrow, July 15, we will be celebrating a wonderful, unsung holiday, National Give Something Away Day.  It’s a day that reminds us to give back to our communities and those in need.

There are many ways in which you can give back.  Whether you decide to pay it forward and pay for someone else’s meal or groceries, donate unused items you no longer use, donate blood, or just buy someone some flowers.  This is a great day that reminds us that we don’t necessarily need to spend money, or exorbitant amounts of money, to be able to give back.  Take the time to clean out the rooms in your homes, garages, storage lockers, etc. and see what items you have that would benefit someone else more.

Once you decide what you want to donate, where should you go?  The following list are just a few places where you can donate all of your unused goods.

Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh

There are Goodwill stores all over Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.  Donating your stuff is as easy as taking it to a drop-off center.  Not only do they accept clothing and home goods, but they will also accept books, computers, all types of automobiles, motorcycles, boats, etc.  All you have to do is ask if they will accept the item.

Vietnam Veterans of America

This organization makes the donation process extraordinarily easy.  They have trucks that will come and pick up your household items.  They will not pick up large furniture, however, smaller items like clothing, small appliances and furniture, etc., they will pick up.  All of your items go towards helping veterans of the Vietnam War.  Call to schedule a pick up and make sure your items are easily accessible.  You don’t even have to be home in order for them to pick up your goods.

Washington City Mission

Washington City Mission is passionate about providing clothing, shelter, and food to the homeless and those in need.  Located in Washington County, this mission is always happy to accept clothing, smaller home goods, furniture, and even automobiles.  The most in demand items however, are children’s clothing and winter coats.  There are several drop off locations to donate your stuff or you can call them to set up a home pick-up.

Free Ride!

Free Ride is committed to teaching people about bicycle repair and maintenance, and promoting bicycle use.  Located in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, they accept all types of bikes, parts, and accessories.  By recycling your bikes, old parts, and accessories, you are helping to keep them from sitting in landfills.  You can donate in two ways.  When the shop is open, Free Ride accepts all donations.  However, when the shop is closed, Construction Junction (see below) will accept all donations on their behalf.

 Dress For Success

Dress For Success’ focus is to empower women to achieve success and independence by providing support networks, professional clothing, and developmental lessons.  Their vision is to create a world “where women do not live in poverty; are treated with dignity and respect; and are strengthening their families and shaping their communities.”  How can you get involved?  First, you can donate your gently- used clothing which helps boost women’s confidence and get them set up to achieve success at interviews and future jobs.  Second, you can donate your money, which is used to finance great developmental programs for women who are striving to become financially independence.  Third, volunteer your time working with these women, planning events, teaching, inventory, picking up donations, etc.

Hopeline Cell Phone Donation

Hopeline collects old cell phones, accessories, chargers, and batteries in all conditions and from any service providers.  These phones are for survivors of domestic violence.  Many survivors are unable to use their old phones and so your unused phone will go towards helping these survivors get back on their feet.  There are a few ways to help.  You can donate your own unused, old phones at any Verizon Wireless retail store.  Or, you could host a phone drive, collecting phones from everyone in your office, at your gym, from friends and friends, etc.

Construction Junction

Did you just clean out your garage or shed and find a bunch of unused building materials that are wasting away?  Well, now there is a place to take those unused items.  Also located in Point Breeze, (point of fact:  Free Ride is located within Construction Junction) Construction Junction is a retail store that is committed to providing affordable building materials for low-income families and help protect the environment.  If you have large materials, they also have a free pick up service, all you have to do is call and set up a time to have your items picked up.

Light of Life

Located right down the street from Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side, Light of Life is dedicated to providing a place for the hungry and homeless to be taken care of and learning how to turn their lives around.  They provide programs that are designed to equip those in need with the education, resources, and stability needed to gain employment and housing.  Light of Life provides a safe space for women and children escaping abuse and helps them get the counseling they need, and provides education and shelter.  They are also committed to helping people who are homeless because of mental illness.  They are always accepting clothing, food, and volunteers.

All of these organizations are committed to not only helping people in their times of greatest need, but also protecting the environment and education.  Don’t forget to celebrate National Give Something Away Day tomorrow, July 15!


Source:  https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-donate-items-in-pittsburgh-2707877

Happy Social Media Day!

In honor of Social Media Day, we wanted to introduce to you our marketing team, the dynamic duo that creates all of the entertaining content for all of our marketing and social media outlets.

(from left to right)

Kaylee Kirsch is our fearless Marketing Manager.  A creative master, Kaylee designs all of our internal and external marketing materials and is devoted to elevating Babb’s brand recognition.  She has an M.S in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and a B.S. in Communication, Public Relations from Slippery Rock.

Tip for social media: Things change so quickly that it’s important to stay current with trends. That being said, social media can become consuming. I always encourage people to step away from time to time.

Sami Melaragno is our Group Benefits and Marketing Assistant and Social Media Coordinator.  She works tirelessly to keep our social media accounts updated with important information and current events happening throughout the company and Pittsburgh area.  A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in History and Political Science, the social media and marketing world is fairly new to her, only becoming an integral part of the team 2 years ago.

Tip for social media:  Be open, honest, and relatable.  People value authenticity and transparency from companies which are easily shown through posts that reflect what your company culture looks like, whether that’s a company picnic, an in house event, or just the day to day activities that make your company a great place to work.

#SMDay

L3 Leadership Breakfasts at Babb, Inc.

By:  Russell Livingston, President & CEO, Babb, Inc.

Once a month, on Saturday mornings, a group of aspiring and thoughtful young people get together in our ballroom here at Babb, Inc. to hear a presentation from a prominent Western Pennsylvanian leader.  The presentations have moved me to tears, made me laugh foolishly, stretched my views, and strengthened my beliefs.

Doug Smith, the founder of L3 Leadership, created this organization to create a community of like-minded individuals that want to grow and harness their leadership abilities.  For every new leader that Doug meets and talks with, he creates a podcast, interviewing them on their experiences, struggles, and what it takes to be a great and effective leader.  You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes (L3 Leadership Podcast)

L3 Leadership has created a community of leaders through monthly breakfasts, leadership events, Master Mind groups, and service opportunities.  All of the activities can be found on their website, and on all of their social media pages.

If you haven’t experienced an L3 Leadership program or event yet, I would encourage you to give it a try.  The stories and the people are amazing.

To follow L3 Leadership

Facebook:  L3 Leadership
Twitter: @L3Leader
Instagram: @L3Leadership
LinkedIn:  L3 Leadership