To say that Antony DiBruno knows a bit about business is like saying there’s water in the ocean. It’s not wrong, but it’s certainly underselling reality.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was 17, I started my own business — I opened a steak and hoagie joint inside a pool hall in South Philadelphia. It lasted about four years,” said DiBruno, Temple University Ambler’s new Conference Services and Business Development Coordinator. “I moved on to banking and then to the nightclub and bar industry. I was a managing partner of a place in Old City called 'The Five Spot' and a 36,000 square-foot club called 1616 in Rittenhouse Square.
At those venues, he held special events for major sports stars, "A-List" celebrities and future major recording stars such as The Roots, Jill Scott and Alicia Keys worked to make names for themselves. Of course, the DiBruno name comes with its own rich Philadelphia history and with his business acumen, Antony DiBruno doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“Three brothers from Naples — my grandfather Thomas and his brothers Danny and Joe — came here as stone masons and ended up starting Di Bruno Bros. Grocery Store on 9th Street in Philadelphia in 1939,” DiBruno reminisced. “My grandfather passed when I was a baby but Danny and Joe basically took on that role in my life — they were my first bosses and my grandmother was my immediate supervisor. I was taught the often overlooked basics of customer service, that the customer experience starts the moment they walk in the door — when that shop bell rings you always greet the customer with your eyes and give them a kind smile; that immediate connection means everything.”
At 11-years old, “I wore a shirt and a tie to sell cheese. I pulled the same wagon around the Italian Market neighborhood that my father had 30 years prior,” DiBruno said.
“Customer service and civic duty have been part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he said. “The intersections of community and business are essential. It should be synonymous.”
Today, DiBruno in his new role at the Ambler Campus is building bridges between the University, the community and business, creating mutually beneficial relationships and memorable events and experiences.
“I essentially see my role as managing businesses’ and organizations’ use of the spaces on campus — taking that space and bringing the client’s vision to life,” he said. “That also requires working with internal stakeholders — facilities, arboretum, staff, housekeeping, Temple Police — to ensure that our clients and guests have a seamless experience while they are on campus.”
Working primarily with the Office of Non-Credit and Continuing Education, the Conference Services and Business Development Coordinator is responsible for scheduling and managing meetings, events and conferences at the Ambler Campus for both external and internal clients. The coordinator, in partnership with the Temple University Ambler Director’s Office, fosters and maintains relationships with the local business communities in order to promote the various services available at Temple Ambler in addition to corporate training opportunities.
“My goal is to increase the visibility of Temple Ambler with our community and strengthen our connections. I’ve always been civic-minded, I believe in giving back and connecting deeply with the community,” said DiBruno, who has dedicated his time and talent to the Kensington Community food co-op, the Please Touch Museum and served as chair of School District of Philadelphia Policy Council for Head Start Pre-K. “The community at large is essential to the success of the campus. My job is to make sure our community partners are aware of the value of Temple University Ambler.”
In his new role, DiBruno will additionally provide program-specific support and information to a variety of customers across non-credit and continuing education programs located at the Ambler and Center City campuses, including Off-Campus Programs and Training, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the Real Estate Institute.
Returning to Temple is a return home for DiBruno, a Fox School of Business alumnus with a degree in Business Administration who took some of his first classes at the Ambler Campus. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Adult and Organizational Development (AOD) at Temple.
“I believe that the current generation can’t operate using the previous generation’s rule book — you need new ideas, new approaches and fresh concepts,” he said. “I look at the AOD program as an opportunity to work on my personal skills; to increase my emotional intelligence. I think that will help me as a parent, as an employer and as a service leader.”