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Proof of performance

Software entrepreneur John Tersigni

Software entrepreneur John Tersigni '04G knows how to leave a good impression. Now he’s making it easier for others to do the same.

Tersigni and his colleagues, including two fellow Lehigh graduates, are on the cutting-edge of interactive technology that redefines the way college admissions and employers look at applicants. His self-marketing software is called DigitallyU, a tool through which subscribers can build multimedia broadcast portfolios to highlight their academic and professional accomplishments.

It’s all about showcasing your strengths in the right light, according to Tersigni.

“It all comes down to authenticity,” says Tersigni. “The idea came from listening to people talk about how they really can’t convey who they are to colleges or employers. When it comes down to it, DigitallyU provides anyone the ability to be their own online news organization and show proof of their performance using broadcast media."

And that can go a long way for students and professionals looking for that extra edge, especially during a highly-competitive application process. The software not only lets you create a personal digital documentary, but it allows you to include video recommendations and multimedia milestones.

Essentially, DigitallyU is helping career consultants and educational counselors change the way organizations look at applicants.

DigitallyU has unusual ties to Lehigh in that three of four of its team members have master's degrees from Lehigh. Along with Tersigni, former aircraft mechanic Jeremy Wischusen, a talented multimedia developer who also spent time in South Korea teaching English, and Tiedan Huang, an interface designer who is currently working towards a doctorate in educational leadership at the College of Education, graduated from Lehigh with M.S. degrees in 2004. Heidi Weber is the other contributor and has made a name for herself researching technology standards in post-secondary education.

Tersigni is not new to the field of software development. In 1987, he started Mercantile Software Systems, Inc., one of the first companies in the United States to offer a complete customer relationship management (CRM) solution for Fortune 500 companies.

Ten years after its founding, Mercantile was acquired by Harte-Hanks Communications Inc., a publicly-traded direct and targeted marketing provider with offices in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. At Harte-Hanks, Tersigni was a senior vice president of marketing and sales.

It was during that time when Tersigni turned to Lehigh to advance his understanding and learn more about the evolving role of multimedia technology in the marketplace.

“I had just sold a software company that I founded back in 1987. Prior to enrolling, I read a lot about the financial success of online learning companies and universities using multimedia for learning, training and communication,” he said. “I thought Lehigh would provide me with new product ideas with a broadcast media focal point.”

That new outlook has opened some unexpected doors for Tersigni.

From 2005-06, he taught entrepreneurship to full-time MBA students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; he’s also conducted marketing workshops related to Wharton’s prestigious Business Plan Competition and even lectured a few times at Lehigh. He also acts as an advisor to the Bear Stearns consulting organization Primary Insight, an institutional investment service that links institutional investors to subject matter experts.

“DigitallyU is a nice team—it’s a Lehigh team,” said Tersigni. “We’re having fun. Maybe that’s an important lesson; more people like posting video and watching YouTube versus building Web sites or writing Java code. Companies today are selling fun and entertainment.”

“What can I say? With DigitallyU, we seemed to strike the right balance between value and fun.”

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007

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