Break the Ice, Break the Stress: Making Remote Meetings Fun

You know the drill. Click “join meeting,” watch the webcam flicker on, and hope the faces you’re staring at feel more enthusiastic than you. How is it that 87% of workers report wanting work-from-home flexibility yet most of us dread virtual meetings?

And what’s the cost of boring meetings? Employee disengagement, lost productivity, and poor workplace satisfaction. In other words, there’s reason to want a better virtual meeting experience. The good news is that you can trade your underwhelming Zoom calls for something more fun and engaging. The catch? It might feel a little awkward at first. Read on to learn more about using humor to lighten the mood and how to make the most of your virtual meetings.

Tackling Virtual Meeting Awkwardness Head-On

It’s fascinating how we can transmit faces wirelessly across the globe in real-time, yet we still face challenges in effectively managing conversations during Zoom calls. Additionally, there are moments of profound silence during virtual meetings when the boss requests feedback, and the only response is the echoing void of cyberspace.

But here’s the kicker: It’s not your fault, or even your Wi-Fi’s. Experts tell us that we’re missing out on the super subtle body language and energy vibes that normally happen in person. 

The Secret Sauce: Humor and Icebreakers

So, what’s the secret sauce to shaking the stiffness and building a virtual campfire of team camaraderie? According to one professional meeting facilitator, it’s asking attendees an honest question: “What are you wearing on your feet?” 

This probably sounds a little crazy, but it’s been shown to work. Why? Because everyone can laugh about the reality of at-home meetings. Some may be dressed from head to toe, others may be barefoot or wearing slippers. And there’s always someone in oddball socks or unexplainable foot wear. As it turns out, laughter is more than fun. It’s been scientifically shown to increase team performance. 

The Science of Sensible Silliness

Our brains are naturally inclined to relax and foster creativity in the presence of humor. Laughing can be likened to a form of mental exercise for the prefrontal cortex. A calm mind resembles that of a jazz musician—improvising, riffing, and conjuring creative wonders. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t prefer a meeting that exudes the ambiance of a jazz club rather than a dental waiting room?

Supporting this notion, scientific findings suggest that leaders who sprinkle humor into their interactions possess remarkable qualities—motivating, engaging, and even transforming mundane tasks like the quarterly budget review into a more enjoyable experience.

Real Talk: Know Your Audience

A note on cracking jokes: Jackie Colburn, the creator of the footwear ice breaker, reminds us to always consider timing and audience. The idea is to build rapport, so ensuring your icebreaker is appropriate and doesn’t create unnecessary discomfort is crucial. If the group has a relaxed atmosphere and everyone is comfortable with one another, feel free to initiate a conversation and observe how your team responds.

Wrap it Up, Ringmaster!

Next time you’re preparing for another remote meeting, why not start with a touch of inquisitiveness about their choice of shoes (or no shoes)? It could be the lighthearted push your team needs to foster connections, encourage creativity, and energize collaboration.

Until then, keep your meetings engaging, and remember: work is important, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves along the way.

IMC Recognized by SHRM to Offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRMCP® or SHRM-SCP® Recertification Activities

Central PA – The Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), Inc. is thrilled to announce its recent
recognition by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a SHRM
Recertification General Provider. IMC is now authorized to offer Professional Development
Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.
As a SHRM Recertification General Provider, IMC’s SHRM approved training programs will
qualify for SHRM Professional Development Credits. These credits are specifically designed to
enhance HR knowledge and competency in alignment with the SHRM Body of Applied Skills
and Knowledge™ (the SHRM BASK™).
Dennis Gilbert, President of IMC, expressed his enthusiasm about this recognition, stating, “IMC
is excited that our approved training programs and events will be able to provide SHRM
Professional Development Credits to our manufacturing clients. Small and mid-sized
businesses, including manufacturing, face a special challenge in attracting, selecting,
onboarding, engaging, and retaining workers today, and IMC continues to add programs and
services to assist our clients in addressing these concerns, including our 5 Module webinar
series, ‘Meeting the HR Challenge.'”
IMC, a public-private partnership, is dedicated to enhancing Central Pennsylvania’s
manufacturing community through innovation, productivity, and profitable growth to drive
economic impact. The center’s experts collaborate with Central Pennsylvania manufacturers in
various areas, including human resources, continuous improvement, quality assurance, product
development, marketing, sales, and more.
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
Dennis Gilbert, President, Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), Inc.
About IMC: The Innovative Manufacturers’ Center (IMC), Inc. is a public-private partnership
committed to fostering growth and innovation within Central Pennsylvania’s manufacturing
community. IMC’s range of expertise includes human resources, continuous improvement,
quality assurance, product development, marketing, sales, and more. Through collaborative
efforts, IMC aims to drive economic impact and sustainability for manufacturers in the region.
Founded in 1988, IMC connects manufacturers in 12 Pennsylvania counties with the most
effective regional, state and national resources to help them innovate, grow and prosper. IMC
is supported through the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and
Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Pennsylvania Department
of Community and Economic Development’s Industrial Resource Center program. IMC serves
manufacturers in Bedford, Blair, Centre, Clinton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin,
Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.
About SHRM: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a leading professional
organization dedicated to advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM
provides resources, tools, and networking opportunities to HR professionals globally, aiming to
elevate the HR profession and contribute to organizational success.

Kish Bank’s Kish for the Cure Campaign Raises Record $74,800 for Central PA Cancer-Fighting Nonprofits

STATE COLLEGE, PA – January 24, 2024 – Kish Bank is proud to announce that its 2023 Kish for the Cure campaign, an annual employee-led fundraising effort supporting local cancer-relatednonprofits, raised a record-breaking grand total of over $74,800. The donations were distributed this week to the campaign’s three beneficiaries: the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund, Pennsylvania Pink Zone, and Relay For Life of Mifflin/Juniata.

Kish’s annual campaign has raised more than $530,000 in total over the last decade, and it continues to grow in scope each year. The Bob Perks Fund, Pink Zone, and Relay For Life lead the fight against cancer in the Central Pennsylvania region by providing financial support forlocal individuals and families facing cancer, as well as funding cancer awareness, research, andtreatment and prevention programs at the region’s hospitals.

Upon receiving the donation, Bob Perks Fund founder Doreen Perks said, “The partnership between the Bob Perks Fund and Kish Bank has positioned us to continue to grow and allocate more and more funds each year to cancer patients in our region. I am amazed and impressed every year by the commitment and dedication of each employee at Kish Bank to making this campaign a huge success and continuing to better this community. We are grateful for this partnership with Kish Bank.”

Tom Chucuddy, Senior Development Manager for the American Cancer Society, also expressed gratitude on behalf of the organization, saying, “The American Cancer Society is the leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. We could not advance our mission without the passionate support of our volunteers and our communities.Cancer touches all of us in one way or another. By supporting the American Cancer Society, Kish Bank is helping to bring hope to those facing a cancer diagnosis.”

Finally, Carol Baney, President of Pink Zone, said, “Pink Zone remains committed to serving breast cancer patients and survivors here in our community. We are so fortunate to have a partner in Kish Bank who shares our passion to make a difference in the community where we all live. Because of Kish’s generosity, we will be able to continue to assist those breast cancer patients who are most vulnerable. Thank you to everyone at Kish Bank for making this possible.”

Kish would like to extend special thanks to three of its partners—Computer Services, Inc. (CSI), Summit Technology Group, and ImageQuest—for supporting the fight against cancer with significant donations to the Kish for the Cure campaign.

About Kish Bank

Kish Bank is a $1.5 billion regional community bank that operates 18 offices and financial centers serving Centre, Mifflin, Huntingdon, Blair, and Juniata counties, and northeastern OhioOther business units of Kish Bank include Kish Insurance, Kish Financial Solutions, Kish Benefits Consulting, and Kish Travel. Kish Bank is a subsidiary of Kish Bancorp, Inc., trading under the OTCQX stock ticker symbol of KISB. For additional information, please visit

Geisinger Healthplex State College set to expand

Facility expansion allows more specialty services and appointment availability

Port Matilda, Pa. – A facility expansion is underway at Geisinger Healthplex State College (formerly Gray’s Woods). This development will make better health easier for patients in Centre County and beyond by allowing for growth of specialty services and increased appointment availability.  

The expanding clinic, at 132 Abigail Lane in Port Matilda, will be two floors and will include existing specialties and services such as:

  • Family practice/community medicine
  • Imaging services
  • Orthopaedics
  • Pediatrics

Other services at the healthplex include: 

  • Bariatrics
  • Cardiology
  • ENT
  • GI/GI nutrition
  • Lab 
  • Ophthalmology 
  • Pharmacy
  • Pulmonology 
  • Surgery
  • Urology

Demand for these services is growing in Centre County, and the growing healthplex will reduce patients’ wait times through expanding programs, hiring more providers and offering more appointments. As programs mature, the development will improve access for our patients making better health easier for our communities.

“The expansion of Geisinger Healthplex State College will address the growing need for care in Centre County,” said Tammy Anderer, chief administrative officer of Geisinger’s western region. “This is another step toward making better health easier by bringing a comprehensive spectrum of services to our patients and community.” 

Services will be grouped in the facility for convenience, such as placing pediatrics next to women’s health, and orthopaedics near imaging services. The main entrance will also be redesigned in the back of the building.

“The expansion project exemplifies the commitment of Geisinger to best support our team in the pursuit of continued access to efficient, convenient and top-quality care for our patients,” said Michael Sobolewski, D.O., division chief of musculoskeletal in Geisinger’s western region. “It will also provide growth and diversity of subspecialty providers and the treatment options our team is able to provide right here in our community.” 

“Our pediatrics patients will enjoy a larger clinic, allowing for more exam rooms and a dedicated space for pediatric subspecialists as well as our child psychology and psychiatry partners,” said Joy Drass, M.D., medical director for pediatrics in Geisinger’s western and north-central regions. “We’ll have a separate clinic flow for sick and well patients and will have rooms outfitted to be more comfortable for our breastfeeding moms and lactation appointments.”

Facility expansion is set to be complete at the end of 2024. 

To learn more about Geisinger Healthplex State College, call 800-230-4565.

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.