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Susquehanna Life

Susquehanna Life Magazine Founder to Speak at University of Tampa Commencement

May 01, 2019 11:16AM ● By Erica Shames

Erica L. Shames, founder and publisher of Susquehanna Life magazine, has been selected as the keynote speaker for the University of Tampa’s School of Business and School of Arts & Letters Commencement, May 11, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds, in Tampa. The commencement will be attended by more than 700 students and their parents. Shames is a graduate of the University of Tampa.

Shames is in her 26th year as publisher and founder of Susquehanna Life magazine, the original lifestyle magazine for Central Pennsylvania, which has been recognized statewide and nationally for its high quality, and editorial and graphic design excellence. In 1993, Shames started the magazine, which has attracted subscribers nationwide, to showcase the high quality of life in 27 PA counties. The magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018.

Susquehanna Life magazine was named Small Business of the Year by the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and identified by the trade publication Folio as a “Small Magazine We Adore.”

Erica was recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business by PA’s Department of Community and Economic Development, and featured on WVIA’s Northeast PA Business Journal recognizing outstanding entrepreneurs. She was hired by WVIA, the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre PBS affiliate, to host the State of PA public affairs television show, viewed by 194,000 people weekly.

Erica received national recognition when she was named to Folio’s 2016 class of Top Women in Media, honoring a select group of women hand-picked by the Folio team to represent the best and brightest magazine entrepreneurs nationwide.

In 2018, Susquehanna Life magazine was awarded Honorable Mention in Folio’s prestigious Eddie and Ozzie national magazine awards.

Erica is a member of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau, Susquehanna University’s Weis Partners and Evangelical Community Hospital’s Business Partners. She was chosen by Focus Central PA to serve as an Ambassador to represent Central PA as a great place to start or grow a business. She is the Volunteer-Editor of The Green Dragon Foundation’s annual report and is on the Board of Directors of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, and serves on its Communications Committee.      

Erica is a graduate of Leadership Susquehanna Valley and frequently is invited to talk to service groups, students and businesspeople about the life of an entrepreneur. And she was recently invited to serve as a Committee Member for WVIA’s Bill Kelly Fund for Civic Engagement & Public Affairs.

She serves as a Mentor for Susquehanna University’s Internship Program, and as an Advisor to students interested in careers in magazine publishing and writing. She speaks at Susquehanna University’s Public Relations Society of America Week, to classes at the Sigmund Weis School of Business and she taught a class for Bucknell University’s Arts Entrepreneurship Program.

In 2013, Erica co-founded the Women’s Professional Partnership and was the founder and convener, in conjunction with Bucknell University, of the Empowering Our Region through Mentoring and Leadership Conference in 2015.

In Fall 2016, Erica was Susquehanna University’s first Professional-in-Residence, for which she taught a course on magazine publishing.

In 2018 Shames expanded her business with the launch of the Susquehanna Life Custom Publishing Division. The entity leverages Susquehanna Life magazine’s 26-year, high-quality reputation for creating award-winning graphic design and content to create print and digital communications pieces—ranging from magazines, guides and brochures to feature articles, newsletters, brochures and profiles—for businesses and organizations. One of the first projects is a quarterly health and wellness magazine created for an integrated healthcare organization in PA and NJ.

Erica can be reached at

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