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People making a difference: Steve Korman

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No wonder, then, that Korman recoiled earlier this year when he heard Pfizer Inc. CEO Jeffrey Kindler on CNBC explaining that despite the company's $16 billion profit, it planned to cut 8,000 jobs to boost that profit to $20 billion.

"It was just so cold," Korman says, though in true Korman form, he adds, "I'm sure [Mr.] Kindler didn't mean it to sound that way." But then he returns to his point: "These are not widgets we're talking about.... These are not jobs. These are people, families.... Where are you going to go to find a job these days?"

So, as a Pfizer shareholder, Korman wrote to Kindler and to the CEOs of other companies in which he held stock. He placed ads in The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. His message? Stop the "herd mentality" when it comes to mass layoffs. Forgo some short-term profits and stock value and keep people working. The appeal landed Korman on CNBC himself. His campaign has been the subject of print and Internet reports, and he has gotten thousands of appreciative responses. Some, like one from the CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo, planned to adopt his advice. Others, like the reply from Kindler, were less specific.

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