Virginia “Ginny” Roth: Speaking Up for Others

President’s Society: VIRGINIA “GINNY” A. ROTH

Virginia “Ginny” A. Roth
Virginia “Ginny” A. Roth

Even though she has proven herself to be a master communicator with more than three decades of strategic leadership, Virginia (“Ginny”) A. Roth admits that she was surprisingly shy as a child. That reticence prevented her from speaking up in class, or even from telling her elementary school teacher that she preferred to be called “Ginny,” not “Virginia.” So when her teacher started calling her “Ginny,” she asked her mom if she had something to do with the teacher’s change.

Her mom just replied, “I knew you would get there, but I was glad to help.”

That simple act of caring had a lasting impact on Roth, and lies at the heart of her decision to help Central Penn students find their voice. She knows they have the power within them, but she is glad to help.

Since those formative years, Roth has lent her powerful voice to many worthwhile causes, with remarkable diplomacy, thoughtful analysis and persuasive power.

Now the Chief Brand and Strategy Officer at Color and Culture, the successor firm to the renowned strategic communications firm, PPO&S (once Packer, Oesterling & Smith), Roth served on the Central
Penn Education Foundation, and formerly served as a member of the 1881 Society, at the invitation of President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, who she finds to be a singularly “magnetic” leader.

She is a graduate of Cedar Cliff High School and Lock Haven University, where she also provided trusted

counsel and support as a trustee. She has spent large chunks of her life living first in Cumberland County, then Dauphin County and Perry County, and now, back in Cumberland County.

In each place she resides, she has given back, because she lives out the mantra, “It takes a village.” At Lock Haven in the mid-‘70s, her career goal was to be a trainer for the New York Jets football team. With that backdrop, a lifetime living in sweatpants seemed like a good plan—until she took courses like anatomy and sports medicine, and decided sweatpants are overrated; she’d rather wear business attire and start her own business.

One of her first jobs was at PPO&S, inspired by her mentor, the late Carolyne L. Smith, the PPO&S founder. Roth has spent more than four decades at PPO&S, becoming CEO in 2010, recently merging her business and rebranding it as “Color and Culture. ” Professional accolades followed. She was chosen as the 2020 Chamber Business Woman of the Year, and 2019 Legacy Award Recipient at the YWCA Woman of Excellence’s annual banquet.

A Phillies fan and a World Cup watcher, she believes in the power of sports and embraces the opportunities afforded by Central Penn’s sport teams. Yes, most collegiate student-athletes may never play professionally, but that’s not the goal, she notes. Team collegiality, resilience and a sense of self are by- products you won’t get anywhere else, she said.

She also cited the remarkable 90.5 percent of Central Penn College graduates who are either working in their field or continuing their education. (2022-23 Graduate Survey.)

“They’re getting results. They’re getting the jobs,” she said.

“For someone with kids, working three jobs, Central Penn meets them where they are.”

And in embracing a diverse community, “Central Penn is where we need to be in the future.”

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