There has been a buzz about “entrepreneurship” at Neumann University for the past several years. Dr. Debbi Bromley, Neumann’s newly hired Abessinio Endowed Chair for Management and Entrepreneurship, is eager to turn the chatter into reality.
According to School of Business Dean Eric Wellington, alumnus Rocco Abessinio made a donation in 2016 to create the endowed position for management and entrepreneurship and fund the annual Rocco A. ’79 and Mary F. Abessinio Lecture. The department conducted a comprehensive hiring search to fill this position, and selected Bromley.
“It’s difficult to find professors who have an understanding of how to set up and run a business, and who have a doctorate degree. It’s not something you generally find every day. She checked off all of the boxes, and it was a perfect win,” Wellington said of Bromley. “She’s a great communicator, and the students love her.”
Wellington was impressed with Bromley’s qualifications and past experiences. In addition to being an adjunct professor in the School of Business for the past two years, she had spent most of her career in the HR field, ran her own business (Pairings Cigar Bar on State Street in Media), and earned her Doctor of Education from Wilmington University.
“She’s a professor, but she’s also in charge of all entrepreneurship programs here at the college, and part of that is running the Sora Luna Lounge, the student-run business on campus. She will be building that (business),” Wellington explained. “Next year, she’s going to develop the minor in entrepreneurship.”
Before accepting this job, Bromley was at a crossroads with her career. She worked in human resources for more than 40 years and knew that another career was out there waiting for her. As a lifelong learner, Bromley always valued education and enjoyed the academic process.
“I thought this position would be an interesting fit, and I jumped at the chance. Quite frankly, I love this institution. The people here are great, and the chance to work here full-time was a dream come true,” she said.
Bromley sees excellent potential for the entrepreneurship minor and believes it will appeal to students across all majors. The focus of this program will be about developing businesses, exploring risk-taking, and being creative in the business/commercial world.
“I’m very excited about this because I see the value of entrepreneurship. I see a generation that has a great desire for that sense of individuality and that sense of creation. They understand that things don’t have to look the way they always looked,” Bromley said.
As a first-generation college student, Bromley grew up with the philosophy that one can be anything they want to, but that success has to come through learning. Her goal is to help make her students’ time at NU worthy and meaningful.
“I don’t believe my role here is to teach (students) what to think. It’s to teach them how to think. It’s helping them find those things that are going to shape their lives differently,” Bromley said of her students.