We asked locals to nominate Montgomery County’s most influential people – men and women who are shaping the community, influencing their industries, and making a difference. Dozens of amazing stories were submitted about passionate and committed locals. At Montco Happening, we salute all those who wake up every morning with the intention of leaving the world just a little bit better.
10 outstanding individuals have been named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of the year, and we have the honor of sharing their stories on Montco Happening. Meet Marci Schankweiler of North Wales, the founder of For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation, a nonprofit organization that would provide respite opportunities to young adult cancer patients and their families to spend time away to refresh, reconnect and recognize that love is greater than cancer.
Montco Happening: Where did you attend school?
Marci: I am a graduate of Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, PA. Following the Mount, I pursued a teaching degree in Mathematics from LaSalle University.
I completed my law degree from Temple University Law School and later received an LLM in Taxation in May, 1998, also from Temple University Law School.
Montco Happening: What motivates you every morning?
Marci: People. Knowing I spend my time with people I love – my family, my friends, my colleagues – motivates me every morning!
Montco Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
Marci: I love water, so a day with my family and friends at the beach is all I need (with no cell phones of course).
Montco Happening: Who inspires you?
Marci: My mom and dad inspire me – as the oldest of nine children I have an appreciation for all the hard work and sacrifices they made to ensure we had a happy home and boundless opportunities.
Montco Happening: How did you decide to start For Pete’s Sake?
Marci: It is not something that I foresaw, but when my young husband Pete passed away from cancer at the age of 30, I realized that resources were slim to none for this age group and that offering respite to young patients and their families to improve emotional health was a “medicine” so necessary during one’s cancer treatment.
Montco Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
Marci: I am most proud of rallying such amazing support for the FPS mission from donors and volunteers – recognizing that we all travel the cancer journey together and it is only together that we are able to strengthen the hearts, minds and souls of all those in the fight against this disease.
Montco Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Marci: I think the challenge was an internal one, and for me it was having the humility to be able to recognize I didn’t have all the answers and I needed to ask others for support and help! Once I was able to do this, the beauty of FPS flourished and will continue to do so for years to come! This is how you build a legacy!
Montco Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
Marci: I would like to see FPS continue to help more families facing cancer each year and at the same time, continue to build sustaining sources of support to ensure our life-changing services will always be available to those who need our assistance.
Montco Happening: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
Marci: I think they would say I am empathetic to others, reliable as a colleague, and enjoyable and fun to be around – a good and loyal friend.
Montco Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Montgomery County?
Marci: I enjoy taking a walk with my husband, two daughters and our family dog on the Green Ribbon Trail close to my home.
Montco Happening: You can take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?
Marci: Ten years ago my children were infants and I was balancing being a Mom with building a business. I would tell new Moms to truly cherish those special moments when your children are small, curious and so full of love! It’s the old adage – the days are long and the years are short!
Montco Happening: Same question 10 years in the future.
Marci: I would have to say health is so important, especially as I age and begin to recognize my limitations, so I punt back to the humorous, but very wise, statement from Jimmy Buffet – Be sure to treat your body like a temple, not a tent! I want to grow old and be able to enjoy the fullness of life and the people who encapsulate this fullness!
Your 2016 Montgomery County Movers & Shakers is sponsored by BKZ Consulting Partners, LLC, a veteran-owned credit card processing provider based in North Wales. BKZ manages and maintains relationships with the best processing and merchant services companies in the United States and delivers that expertise to local businesses. First-hand experience of the strengths and weaknesses of each company assures the right group of providers are working to meet your company’s specific needs. It also fosters long term effective solutions by creating a competitive environment in which each provider focuses on their core competency. Here’s how it works:
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- Support: BKZ Consulting Partners continues to assist and provide support long after the solution is installed and operating. Quarterly reviews, technology briefings and ongoing guidance is a hallmark of our service.
BKZ founder Bob Zimmerman, a veteran of the USAF and Pennsylvania Air National Guard, worked in avionics on A-10’s. Years of attention to detail in a process oriented operation has translated nicely to the BKZ’s delivery of customer satisfaction.