Guest Commentator: Sean Hand, Associate Director — Global Premier Account Management, KPMG LLP @seanwhand @KPMG_US; Vice Chair and incoming Chair, Young Professionals Council @ypcPHL

What amenities (accessibility, affordability, culture, workforce, etc.) motivate you to continue to grow your personal and professional life in the Greater Philadelphia region?

That’s My Jawn
Anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia area knows what “jawn” means. For those of you who don’t know, jawn is a Philly-centric word that means both nothing and everything. It is a blanket term that can take on any identity. I was born and raised in Mayfair, graduated from La Salle University and Temple University, married a St. Hubert’s girl in Old City, and built my career at KPMG Philadelphia. Throughout my Philadelphia tenure, I could ask any of my friends to “pass me that jawn,” nodding vaguely at a dozen different items on a table, and 9 times out of 10, I would be handed exactly what I wanted.

That’s what I love most about jawn. It only works as a communicative device if the speaker and the listener know each other intimately. The word itself doesn’t exist without familiarity and understanding between the two parties, which is the underpinning of my experience in Philadelphia.

The foundation of my life and career in Philadelphia was built upon that same reliance on a community that understands who I am and what will make me successful. Throughout my relatively short time in the workforce, I haven’t encountered a Philly-based organization, manager, or board room that dismissed my ideas or stifled my motivation based on age and experience. I am constantly supported and mentored by fellow Philadelphians who want nothing else but to help their community grow and succeed. That’s my jawn.

The culture of Philadelphia is as difficult to define as the word “jawn” itself. To outsiders, Philadelphians are a confusing bunch, wavering constantly between self-aggrandizement and self-loathing. We have a love/hate relationship with our sports, politics, neighborhoods, and just about anything that can be debated over a pitcher of lager. But spend a semester in our universities, work a year in our companies, live a life in our neighborhoods, and you’ll begin to see the attributes of our culture that make Philadelphia a great place to build a family and career. Whether we’re cheering together or booing together, we are always working together. L