News Feature | October 9, 2013

Jameson Publishing/Business Solutions Supports Epilepsy Awareness "Pay It Forward" Campaign

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson


During the opening of Business Solutions’ Channel Transitions VAR/MSP Executive Conference on October 7 in Philadelphia, the magazine’s president Jim Roddy explained why VAR/MSP/ISV registrants and conference sponsors received a $5 Starbucks gift card marked “#AJO.”

The gift was part of what has become an international movement in memory of Alyssa Josephine O’Neill, a Penn State Behrend freshman who passed away after suffering an epileptic seizure.

Alyssa was from Erie, PA — where Business Solutions’ office is located — and several Business Solutions team members are acquainted with her extraordinary family who began a “pay-it-forward” movement to honor the young woman’s life. 

Alyssa had sent a text to her mother about getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, but they never got the chance to go. To let others experience what Alyssa wanted, her parents went to local Starbucks, bought 40 Pumpkin Spice Lattes, writing “ #AJO” on the cups, and asking that whoever received one of the drinks “pay-it-forward” with another act of random kindness. Starbucks employees added more #AJO drinks to make it a total of 90, and customers did indeed pay it forward, spreading the word. In the past month the #AJO pay-it-forward movement has extended beyond Erie to Australia, China, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Korea, and to the troops in Afghanistan — with random acts of kindness happening all over the world. “AJO Forever In Our Hearts” has 32,000 likes on Facebook, media coverage including NBC, Huffington Post, CNN, The Daily Mail in the UK, The Today Show.

Roddy said, “So at BSM we wanted to pay it forward and give Starbucks gift cards to the VARs, MSPs, and software developers who are attending our conference … and we ask you this week to pay it forward, one random act of kindness. You never know how important one small act of kindness can be.”

Roddy went on to set the stage for the conference, telling attendees BSM wanted them to experience real-world stories of the transition to the as-a-Service business model and to connect with vendors who could help them make the transition. He said one of BSM’s strengths is its audience — channel executives who are eager to grow and adapt their businesses — and he pointed out the attendees at the conference were from among this group. He said another of the magazine’s strengths is providing education about the most important topics in the channel. “In print and online we’ve shared details stories of successful solution providers. Today we’ll do that on stage during the breakout sessions,” Roddy said.

Channel Transitions is sponsored by: AVG Managed Workplace, Mercury, OKI Data Americas, GFI MAX, ModernOffice Suite, and Harbortouch with industry association partners The ASCII Group, CompTIA, and the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA).