Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Philadelphia, PA, recently presented its Solas Awards (Gaelic for light) to shine a light on visionary leaders that illuminate the positive impact immigrants have on our regional economy. "Each of our honorees is a visionary leader in their field who see welcoming immigrants as a vital component to our region's economic growth," said Peter Gonzales, President and CEO of the Welcoming Center. "We are grateful for their personal commitment to enhancing the profile of immigrants as innovators and connectors to the global economy," Gonzales said.
Osagie O. Imasogie is the embodiment of the Realizing the American Dream Award. An immigrant from Nigeria, Osagie has built an impressive career over the course of 30 years in the fields of law, finance and global business management in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. He is a lawyer, an academic, an investor, a seasoned business executive, and a global entrepreneur who launched several successful enterprises. Those who know him well will tell you that, above all, Osagie is a truly wonderful human being who cares deeply about the success of others.
Imasogie is currently the Senior Managing Partner of Phoenix IP Ventures (1), a private equity and venture capital firm which he co-founded in 2005. Investing primarily in the life sciences, his company's work impacts the quality of our health. ÂPhoenix IP Ventures was built off of Osagie's work at GlaxoSmithKline where he conceptualized and established GSK Ventures. Prior to GSK, he held executive positions at SmithKline Beecham, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and DuPont Merck.
On the entrepreneurial front, Imasogie was a co-founder of Ception Therapeutics Inc. and the founder of Trigenesis Therapeutics Inc. Both biopharmaceutical companies were successfully sold. He also serves on the board of several financial institutions, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including Iroko Pharmaceutical, iCeutica Inc., and StoneRidge Investment Partners.
Outside of the business realm, Imasogie is active in charitable and community pursuits and serves as a Board and Executive Committee member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition, he is a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Daniel K. Fitzpatrick and Citizens Bank are shining examples of how corporate leaders welcome immigrants as part of their regional growth strategy, so we are delighted to honor them with the Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunity.
Citizens Bank entered the Philadelphia region about the same time the Welcoming Center was founded, in 2003, and has been a strong supporter of ours since we first opened our doors. Together, Dan and Citizens Bank have been committed to enhancing the economic growth of the Greater Philadelphia region and are keenly aware of the role that immigrants play in the regional economy.
They have demonstrated a commitment to building a strong and diverse workplace by recruiting and retaining diverse talent and providing opportunities to hardworking individuals of all backgrounds. In naming the Welcoming Center a Champion in Action in 2010, Dan and Citizens Bank acknowledged the vital contributions newcomers provide to our economy and the very fabric of society.
Last year, the Citizens Bank Foundation invested in neighborhood-based merchants by awarding the Welcoming Center $40,000 to complete storefront improvements along the Woodland Avenue Commercial Corridor. This project includes new awnings, signage, gates, and security improvements to help small businesses in the area. More recently, they invested $48,000 in our Immigrant Professionals Program so we can assist our first cohort of skilled immigrants in the STEM fields reenter their professions in our region.
R. Andrew Swinney has fully captured the spirit of the Dennis Clark Solas Award through his philanthropic leadership, civic engagement and drawing on the strength and diversity of the broader community to effect positive change. He has led the foundation Âin the region in awarding grants and scholarships that benefit the quality of life in SE Pennsylvania with a commitment to diversity and addressing the needs of underrepresented groups.
Recognized for his leadership and involvement in the community, Andrew is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Greater Philadelphia Cares 2005 Leadership STAR Award and the 2004 Good Citizen's Award from the Potter's House Mission. As an immigrant himself, Andrew has a personal and professional appreciation for the contributions that immigrants are making in America. In 2008, The Philadelphia Foundation funded a Brookings Institute report to establish a profile of the region's immigrants that continues to be cited as evidence that Philadelphia has reemerged as a gateway city for newcomers.
Since 2003 the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians has connected more than 13,000 individuals from 140 countries with economic opportunities. The Welcoming Center encourages regional economic growth by connecting local companies with skilled job seekers and by helping immigrant and U.S. born entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses. For more information go to www.welcomingcenter.org/solas.
About Phoenix IP Ventures: A fully integrated Private Equity and Venture Capital Fund which specializes in life sciences, principally in the pharmaceutical sector. The Fund acquires intellectual property protected assets that meet its criteria for value maximization. Phoenix IP Ventures works in collaboration with major players in the financial community to scale its own proprietary investments in transactions identified and managed by the Firm.
Getting to Know Osagie O. Imasogie[su_row] [su_column]
The Realizing the American Dream Award is an honor that I was surprised to receive from The Welcoming Center and I'm very grateful to have! I think one big thing clear to me was that I was an immigrant who focused my attention to the fact that I am in America. My mother said that â€˜He who chases two rats, misses both'. For me it was being able to say now I am here, I want to be successful within the American system. I did not dissipate my energy running between here and Nigeria. I still go to Nigeria but for me the focus is to be successful in America. All of it came together through the education, the hard work and focus. So if you ask me what were the crucial elements that's what I'd say.
Since you asked about my legacy, hopefully I am able to do good with my life. I still expect to live for many, many more years (laughter) but I think the most important thing for any individual is how did you live your life as a moral agent. I think everyone of us is a moral agent and every day we all make moral decisions and that some are right and some are wrong. I do not think that there is much confusion even though people will like you to believe that there is confusion in differentiating right from wrong. If there is anything I would like to be remembered for it is being a good person and a moral agent that brings happiness to others.
My message to others striving in the system is that it really does matter how hard you work, it does matter how focused you are and it really does matter, if you have the opportunity, how much education you get.