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Bright Minds Connect at Spotlight Series


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — Some of the brightest and most innovative minds in Northeastern Pennsylvania came to the aptly-named THINK Center to talk shop as part of Wilkes-Barre Connect’s Spotlight, a series highlighting local entrepreneurs and young professionals.



“These Spotlight sessions are kind of like our TED Talks,” said Joseph Boylan, the executive director of Wilkes-Barre Connect. “We have an interesting way of bringing people with different perspectives together.”


Partially a networking event, partially a platform for local entrepreneurs to spread the word about their ventures, Spotlight had plenty to offer on Wednesday night.


The keynote speaker was former Exeter mayor and current executive director of America250PA Cassandra Coleman. Appointed to fill the term of her late grandfather Joseph Coyne at the age of 20, Coleman won reelection twice before joining Gov. Tom Wolf’s staff as a special adviser. She currently is heading up America250PA, Pennsylvania’s commission for the United States Semiquincentennial set for 2026.


“I love being able to do these presentations here at home,” Coleman said.


Boylan and Dale Jones, the chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, took turns rattling off Coleman’s career accomplishments before welcoming her to the stage.


Her presentation focused on the commission and what its goals are as America’s 250th birthday draws closer. Her main goal is to highlight Pennsylvania’s integral role in the birth and shaping of the nation.


A lot of the talk focused on taking pride in being a resident of Pennsylvania.


“We want to hear from you … what makes you Pennsylvania proud?” Coleman asked the audience.


Her presentation came to a close with a video for America250PA put together by Coal Creative, a Wilkes-Barre based creative agency.


The video featured numerous public figures that call Pennsylvania home, ranging from Wolf to Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper. These men and women touted the history of Pennsylvania, the many firsts that occurred in the commonwealth, and some of Pennsylvania’s best-known innovations and hotspots.


In addition to Coleman, this month’s Spotlight event featured three local talents making waves in their own respective fields of work: Kevin Jones, the CEO and head of creative for VizVibe LLC, Denis Kennedy, a senior marketing major at King’s College and Cynthia Pritchard, the chairwoman for the Wyoming Valley chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.


Each of these three individuals had a short video played explaining who they were and what they did, and had stations set up throughout the THINK Center for audience members to come up and experience first-hand the work that they do.

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