Responsive, Connected, INSPIRING

Judging the INSPIRE Award Nominations

By Diane M. Sweeney

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want” –Zig Ziglar

Community Banking is all about helping people get what they want. It is the work PACB members undertake day in and day out. Whether helping a small business owner get their start, creating a program for school students to understand finance, or hosting an event to support a local charity, our members create positive change in their communities—and we want to celebrate your hard work.

PACB’s annual INSPIRE Awards celebration is an opportunity to recognize the incredible and varied ways that community banks breathe life into the communities they serve. They provide hope and inspiration to individuals and small businesses throughout Pennsylvania. 

This year, we have three remarkable professionals reviewing the nomination submissions and choosing the winners for each category. The 2023 judges are:

  • David M. Sanko, Executive Director, PA State Association of Township Supervisors
  • Jeanette Krebs, President, Krebs Communications & Public Engagement
  • Ryan C. Unger, President & CEO, Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC

Working outside of the community banking world, each judge brings their own experience and expectation to the decision table. Each has worked closely with government and private businesses in Pennsylvania. We thought it could be interesting to get the judges’ perspectives on what the INSPIRE Awards submissions revealed to them about the community banking industry.

David Sanko

What surprised the judges most was learning how consistently responsive PACB members are to the people in the communities they serve.

“It was refreshing to know in this era of big government,” shared David Sanko, “community banks care about what is happening in their communities. They respond to specific needs and help communities thrive by working together.”

Jeanette Krebs

Connection was another trend that Jeanette Krebs noted among the submissions. “I was struck by how connected these banks are to their communities and how they rallied to meet a need. It wasn’t just the ‘bank’ who responded, the employee’s enthusiasm for being involved was impressive. Each individual truly cares about the success of others.”

Ryan Unger recognized similarities between the mission of the regional chamber he heads and community banks. “Our goals are to help each other in the community—and the connections the banks make with their clients and people they serve is remarkable.”

Ryan Unger

All of the judges agree that INSPIRE Award winners will encourage others to make their local communities a better place to live and work. 

Krebs identified what community banks collectively demonstrated—the ability to put a finger on the pulse of the community to understand their needs and then react appropriately. She believes this is a skill every community leader should have. “Having an awareness and being open to what is going on in the community is a key to success.”

“Pennsylvania is a patchwork of communities,” said Sanko. “What makes a good quality of life statewide is recognizing those who make it happen at the local level. I was impressed, but not surprised, at the quality and diversity of submissions.”  

Unger saw how community banks work to recognize existing and potential customers and align them with a common purpose and goal. “It’s great to see throughout our state there is so much giving back.”

While we don’t want to give away details of specific nominations, or potential winners today (look for our wrap-up article after the awards), the variety and range of ideas, programs, and people that were submitted gave these professionals insight into the greater passion of the community effect of community banking.

“Judging was difficult. “There is a lot of passion in what these banks and their employees do,” said Krebs. “They take ‘community’ in their name to heart.” 

Sanko agreed, “People do care about the quality of life in the communities in which they live and work. Being a judge for the INSPIRE Awards left me with a treasure trove of experiences and ideas to share with our members.”

The INSPIRE Event Schedule

(2nd Floor: Reception Hosted in the Metropolitan Room –
Dinner and Event Hosted in the Adjacent Pennsylvania Room) 

5:00 pm – Registration and Networking Reception

5:45 pm – Welcome, Remarks and Dinner

6:15 pm – Keynote Speaker: Sgt. (Ret.) Rick Yarosh 

Rick’s amazing story of challenge and opportunity, is found here

7:00 pm – Award presentations begin

Semi-formal attire, please

Tickets to Attend the INSPIRE Awards

There are still tickets available to attend what is Pennsylvania’s only recognition and awards event for community banking!

Individual tickets are $150 per person, with a table reservation for 10 for $1,200.

To register to attend and to view sponsor opportunities available, Click Here.

Parking Advice When Attending the Event

If you are an overnight hotel guest, your parking fee is $10/day. You will receive a garage pass from the hotel upon check-in which you will scan at the gate’s reader each time you enter or exit the garage.  Overnight guests have in and out privileges at no additional cost. Valet service is available for $24/day.

If you are parking in the Walnut Street garage as a day guest, you will receive a ticket upon entering the garage. The fee for day guests is $5/day for event attendees. Please take your ticket to the Gift Shop on the second floor for validation and payment before leaving the Hilton (the Gift Shop is immediately adjacent to the PACB event).

If the Gift Shop is not open, the hotel’s Front Desk can provide the necessary validation to your ticket. The ticket is good for 10 hours from when you enter the garage. 

Valet service is available for $24/day.

Diane M. Sweeney is a professional copywriter and content strategist. Residing in Chester County, PA, she enjoys writing articles and web content to inform, persuade, and entertain. Connect with her at



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