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Moravian College
Economics and Business

Santo D. Marabella

Santo D. Marabella

Professor of Management (1992)


  • B.S., Villanova University, 1982
  • M.B.A., St. Joseph’s University, 1984
  • D.S.W., University of Pennsylvania, 1991


Phone: 610-625-7903
Office: Comenius Hall, Room 203

Areas of Research and/or Expertise

Leadership; arts & entertainment management; board governance; strategic planning; ethics; human diversity.


A Professor of Management at Moravian College, Dr. Marabella’s experience and study includes work in management, social work, the arts, public housing and not-for-profit boards. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Villanova University, an MBA from St. Joseph’s University, and a Doctor of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

At Moravian, Dr. Marabella served as Chair of the Economics & Business Department from 2005 to 2008. He also directed The Moravian MBA for seven years and the Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management program for two years. His research and consulting focus is primarily on not-for-profit boards (NFPs). He works with NFPs to strengthen their board structure, orientation, governance and participation, as well as designing and guiding organizational planning and facilitating leadership development. Over the past 20 years, he has consulted for, spoken to and served on more than 65 not-for-profit boards at the regional and national level, among these organizations are: National Association for Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), National Association for Social Workers – PA Chapter, American Red Cross – PA Chapter, Lutheran Seminary of Philadelphia; and regional divisions or chapters of national organizations such as American Lung Association, Easter Seals Society, United Way.

Marabella’s professional and volunteer experiences include leadership in the founding or “renaissance” of a number of organizations. He was the first Executive Director of Leadership Berks, a community leadership development program for emerging leaders in Reading & Berks County, PA, a position he held from 1985 to 1997. Through leadership Berks, he was instrumental in founding a state-wide leadership program, known as Leadership Pennsylvania, along with colleagues from four other community leadership programs.

As a volunteer, he served as president of the Berks County Arts Council from 1987 to 1991, and was responsible for leading that organization through a period of redefining its mission and programs. During the first three years of his tenure, the Arts Council hired its first executive director and secured an unprecedented level of funding ($300,000) and cooperation from city, county and state governments. Also, Marabella created the SUNYCELEBRATION program, a recreation event for homebound and institutionalized persons. SUNYCELEBRATION has been held annually in Reading, Philadelphia and Villanova since 1979, and has treated thousands of shut-in guests from its inception. In 1990 and 1991, Dr. Marabella served as the President of his high school alumni association - Reading Central Catholic High School Alumni Association. Under his leadership, the Association organized its structure and operations, raised more than $60,000 for the school and established the “Distinguished Alumni Award.” He also was Chair of Advisors for Alpha Phi Omega (Nu Lambda Chapter); Member, National Philanthropy Committee, Alpha Chi Rho National Fraternity Committee; Regional Finalist of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (1991) and Chair for the Moravian College Diversity Committee from 1993 to 1995.

In 2005, he introduced his model for new board member orientation to the not-for-profit sector. The model includes NFP-specific and general board training content that one would expect to find in an orientation program for new board members. In addition, it includes three factors which make it distinct: teaching a board member the “universal truths” that can enhance their perceived ability to govern; creating a dialogue through which a board member can articulate his or her perceived needs and obstacles to fully participate; and, implementing a process for the NFP to be responsive to board member needs and obstacles so board participation increases.

In 2012, Marabella created a model for training customer service personnel that is based on theatre and includes the development of a Job Character Profile. The premise of his research is that customer service positions have a character, much like a character in a play. If customer service employees understand and take on their job character like the consummate actor, they will be authentic, fully present, disciplined and trusting. And, ultimately, they will be more aware of how and who to be in their jobs, not just how and what to do their jobs. In other words, great customer service is all an act! To promote his model, Marabella wrote a three-act playshop (workshop using a play) called “Customer Service: It’s All an Act!” and presents it to various industries and organizations.

Marabella is also a playwright who penned My Inside Out (2007) a one-act play about self-discovery, Baile, Abuela! (2013), a two-act musical production showcasing salsa dance and Symphony of Dreams, (2011) an original musical combining his script with songs written by his musician-father – all of which have been produced in regional theatre; Senior Exploits, (2013) a film-play developed to help protect senior citizens from scams by telling a very important message in an entertaining way. His most recent play, Getting: COMPLETE! (2014) is the story of what happens when the bully grows up. Currently, he is developing two new plays: My Dad's First Dog and Letters from Carl. In addition, he is The Practical Prof, a regular columnist for the Reading Eagle’s Business Weekly. His book, The Practical Prof: Simple Lessons for Anyone Who Works! had its first national release in September 2013.

Marabella’s current community leadership includes: Founder and Film Commissioner for ReadingFilm, a division of the Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau, which he founded in 2006 to attract film and digital media projects to Reading, PA; Immediate Past Chair, Alumni Council of the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania; Immediate Past Chair, Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres.