Grant Gegwich is Director of Public Relations at Independence Blue Cross. He's a new PPRA member this year.
PPRA: Grant, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.
GG: I joined Independence in August 2017 and now help to lead the company's efforts related to news media outreach, public relations, corporate communications and executive thought leadership. Before coming to Independence, I worked for 15 years with Crozer-Keystone Health System in Delaware County, serving as Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for the last five years of my tenure there. In that role, I oversaw the strategic public relations, marketing and branding efforts for the five-hospital health system. Before Crozer-Keystone, I served as Director of Publications with Drexel University.
I earned a bachelor's in communications from Elizabethtown College and a master's in journalism from Syracuse University.
Since 2010, I have been an adjunct professor with Penn State Brandywine. I am the president of the board of Family Support Line, a nonprofit in Media dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. I am also on the board of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.
I live in Media with my wife, Elizabeth Romaine, who is also a communications professional.
PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?
GG: I am working on a range of projects for Independence related to the company's corporate messaging and branding as well as preparations for announcements and campaigns for new initiatives and policies. I'm also part of a team dedicated to updating the the Independence website and am working to enhance our team's media relations and PR efforts using digital tools and social media.
PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?
GG: I really like my colleagues at Independence. They are very smart, interesting and hard-working. I also like that I work for a company that really seems to care about the community. In my short time with Independence, I've been amazed at all of the great things the company does to support various nonprofits throughout the region, and how employees are actively encouraged to volunteer.
PPRA: What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?
GG: I'm relatively new in my my position with Independence, but just recently I had the pleasure of promoting some of the company's efforts to support Philadelphia Eagles fans during the team's Super Bowl run, including sponsoring "underdog" masks in the Philadelphia Inquirer and partnering with SEPTA to offer free subway rides during the championship parade. We have also done some great work recently related to helping to fight the opioid abuse crisis. In my previous role with Crozer-Keystone, I was able to oversee many successful marketing/PR campaigns as well as lead the communications efforts for a number of crisis situations, including layoffs, two five-day nursing strikes, transitioning from a non-profit company to a for-profit company, and intense trauma and burn emergencies — including once when a patient was hit by a bullet inside the hospital.
PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?
GG: Be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Hard work and having the right attitude can go a long way.
PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?
GG: I am a movie buff who has attended the Toronto Film Festival for the last 15 years. Here are three films I can't turn off if they are on: Do the Right Thing, Rushmore, and Back to the Future.
PPRA: What's your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?
GG: Hard to pick one, so here are a few:
- The Philadelphia Art Museum or the Mutter Museum.
- Any of the city's very good breweries and beer bars.
- The Wells Fargo Center during a Sixers game.
PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?
GG: American, without.
PPRA: Our PPRA 2017-18 PRoactive partnership is with Tree House Books. What was your favorite childhood book and why?
GG: I think I read all of the books in the Encyclopedia Brown series when I was young.