Holly Pilcavage is director of business development for Coal Creative, Wilkes-Barre, and manager of Wilkes-Barre Connect, an initiative of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. A native of Plains Twp. and a graduate of Coughlin High School, she also is involved in the national organization ForCollegeForLife. Pilcavage earned a degree in business management from University of Scranton and a master’s degree in higher education administration from University of Akron. She lives in Kingston.

Meet Holly Pilcavage…

Can you tell us about your work with Coal Creative?
We do a lot with internet marketing, video marketing, live streaming, website design, traditional marketing and graphic design. When a company comes to us, they might have to start from scratch, or they might already have an established brand. Whatever it might be, we do a lot of strategizing and consulting. I’m the left brain of the company. Everyone else is the right brain — the creatives. I do more of client relations, client management, HR and payroll — just trying to keep things organized and moving forward. 

And your work with Wilkes-Barre Connect?
It’s almost like a hub for a lot of the different resources and programs and organizations that already exist. The Allan P. Kirby Center, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Diamond City Partnership … there are a lot of different players that all come together to put together different programs. It’s to connect — especially — entrepreneurs. 

People that don’t know where to start can come through our system, and I can help direct them to wherever they might need to go first, or next. And there’s a lot of follow-up as well, to make sure all of the dominos fall in place. Our five areas of focus are entrepreneurs, veterans, interns, financing and education.

And ForCollegeForLife? How are you involved with that organization?
I go to colleges and universities throughout the country, or different conferences, and speak to college students about different programs, one of which is Project Puzzle Piece, which is an organization that I founded. It helps students to see their place in the larger context of their organizations, community and the world and how they can impact each in a positive way. I do that — visit colleges — about four or five times a year.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a writer. I like to write. And that ties in with Project Wednesday, which I founded. It’s a blog that fosters positive human development through storytelling. We currently have 30 writers from 15 different states, and pretty much — daily — we post a new blog. It helps spread inspiration and connect people with people.

Favorite music?
’90s and 2000s alternative.

Favorite city?
New York. You walk down one street and you’re at a museum. You walk down another street and you’re at the world’s best pizza shop. Or … you’re in a beautiful park.

Favorite place to vacation?
I went to Paris in December, and that’s one place that I just can’t wait to go back to.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
There’s a lot of drive and a lot of potential. I was living out of the state for a little while, and I just moved home 10 months ago. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or I’m more involved, but I just feel that the young professionals that I’m meeting, and even the established professionals — the way that they’re talking and the changes that they want to make — it feels real, and it feels good. I feel like I’m meeting a lot of like-minded people that are pushing forward. Change is inevitable. It’s up to us whether it’s going to be positive or negative.

All-time favorite movie?
“The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I also like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

Favorite TV show?
“The Office.”

Favorite food?
Unhealthy: bacon. Healthy: lettuce.

Guilty pleasure?
Cheese and wine.

Favorite holiday?

Favorite book or author?
“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom.

Favorite quote or catchphrase?
I have two of my own little mantras: “I’m not trying to change the entire world. I’m just trying to make it a better place for some people.” And, before I have to do anything big, or make a presentation, I breathe in and breathe out and repeat to myself, “I know who I am. And I know what I do.” And, from when I went to the University of Scranton, I loved the quote from St. Ignatius: “Go forth and set the world on fire.”

Biggest pet peeve?
Poor grammar. Like when people say, “I don’t” instead of “I didn’t.” It’s actually something I need to fix about myself, because I correct people when I hear them do it before I even think about it. (Laughs) Sometimes I should think before I speak, because it’s not very nice. (Laughs)

Is there anything about you that might surprise people?
I’m actually an extrovert/introvert. I get up every day and meet with people and do what I have to do, but at the end of the day I have to become a hermit and regain my energy and just disconnect, completely. I’m very active on social media, and people may think I’m a social butterfly, but in high school I was really quiet, and I still have that at heart. That’s still there. But I do what I have to do, because it’s important to me.

Have you had a moment in your life, or a person in your life, that has helped define you and shape you into the person you are today?
Throughout my educational experiences — elementary, junior high, high school and college — I’ve always had, for whatever reason, that one teacher that chose me and said, “I need to help her kind of figure out who she is.” And the biggest of all of them was my French teacher from high school. When I was a freshman, she just kind of took me under her wing with that whole concept of, “It takes a village…” I had no idea, but her and my mom would connect and talk about my progress. I was very different. Very quiet. I didn’t know who I was back then. I was lucky to have many educators connect with me, but she was pivotal in me becoming who I am today. 

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.


Photos by Emma Black

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