Name: Wendy Wilson

Age: 52

Title: Chief Communications Officer/Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Company: The Wright Center for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education

Address: 501 South Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18505

Wendy Wilson believes that laughter truly is the best medicine, and has used it countless times in her life to get through the good and the bad.

“It can help with whatever ails you in life. Even during a pandemic, find something to make you smile,” Wilson advised. “Always find humor, even in the darkest moments.”

As the Chief Communications Officer and Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications at The Wright Center for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, Wilson oversees all marketing, communications and public relations efforts for the organization.

There, despite the trials and tribulations of a global pandemic, amazing things are happening thanks to The Wright Center’s inspiring employees, leaders, board members and patients.

“When COVID-19 first erupted in the region, causing widespread fear and confusion, we didn’t close our doors. We didn’t scale back hours or cut services. We didn’t furlough employees,” Wilson said. “Instead, we did more.”

The Wright Center was the first community health practice in Northeast Pennsylvania to offer outpatient COVID-19 testing and the first to offer COVID vaccinations to healthcare workers, she pointed out, and has since distributed more than 16,000 vaccinations to those eligible.

Wilson also manages a devoted patient and community engagement team that coordinates food and coat giveaways and provides outreach to the community wherever it’s needed most.

“Honestly, I have a dream job because I really feel like I’m working with and for the proverbial ‘good guys.’ We take care of patients, regardless of their ability to pay, and if you can’t afford your medication or your heat has been turned off or you’re being evicted, we’ll help you with that, too,” she explained.

For as long as Wilson can remember, she dreamed of becoming a writer. A graduate of San Jose State University, she started as a clerk with The Scranton Times-Tribune and from there was promoted to news correspondent, reporter, columnist, editor and eventually managing editor of The Times-Tribune’s Community News Group, overseeing six or seven publications.

After 15 years in the print media industry, she joined WVIA, where she met her husband, Ben Payavis, who serves as WVIA’s Chief Content Officer and Executive Producer. Later, Wilson put her college major in public relations to work, with all roads eventually leading to The Wright Center.

Though she’s had many professional mentors throughout her career and feels indebted to them all, Wilson said her greatest source of inspiration and unwavering support comes from the same six “glorious girlfriends” she has had since her childhood growing up in West Scranton.

“Loyalty is not merely noble, it’s crucial to me,” Wilson said. “And these remarkable friends are beyond trustworthy, dependable and committed.”

And Wilson’s daughter, Lily Maopolski, lights up her life, with talents in songwriting and performing that never cease to amaze her mother.

“My heart swells at her creativity and I live vicariously through her,” Wilson laughed.

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