Northeast Woman: Make-A-Wish Foundation Beneficiary Gives Back To Program, Others As An Adult
Kalie Cedré grew up on Pittston Avenue in Scranton’s South Side, and like many native Northeast Pennsylvania kids, she dreamed of getting out of town after finishing her education.
The Scranton High School graduate started college at University of Scranton, where she studied accounting, before transferring to Bloomsburg University and earning a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in Arabic. She hoped to work for the government or in the private sector near Washington, D.C., and so Cedré moved to Baltimore to take a position with the U.S. Department of State.
But just two days into the job she had taken so many steps to attain, Cedré realized that she didn’t want what she thought she had all along.
“It was super-structured, and there was lots of travel expected. They wanted me to go to Morocco for like the first four years,” she said. “In terms of advancement, you’re on a timeline that’s up to someone else. I needed more stability and also more freedom.”
Cedré quit the job and joined a Baltimore creative agency, where she served as coordinator for all its departments and as task manager for incoming projects, overseeing everything from scheduling to budgets. It was there that she met her future husband, Jean-Carlos, who hailed from Puerto Rico, and when she became pregnant with their first child, she convinced him to move back to Scranton where all of her family lived to have a support system for when the baby arrived.
Upon her return, Cedré, now 26, found Scranton to be a very different place than the one she had noticed growing up.
“Everyone was moving here to start businesses. The vibe is so much different (now),” she said. “Growing up in Scranton, it was set in its ways. Everyone wanted to go to college and get out. But now, for instance, downtown there’s salons opening up, clothing stores and mom-and-pops. It feels very young.
“To raise your kids, as of late, this is a really great place. It means really big things for our generation. We can really make it what we wish it to be. In Scranton, we have these opportunities to do cool things at a lower cost of living.”
She quickly found work as an account strategist with Pepperjam in Wilkes-Barre, a boutique performance marketing agency. In her role, Cedré is responsible for 15 brands that range from fashion and apparel to food and gourmet companies within the affiliate market — meaning she grows a brand’s online revenue through thoroughly researched advertising.
For her accounts, Cedré manages promotional calendars, analytics and data, and she does tons of reporting, she explained. With the growth of the blogging and influencer industry, she also works to tap into and mold that demographic for her clients.
“What I like most about my portfolio is the small brands,” Cedré said. “That’s where you see the positive return and the reaction from the audience.”
She’s visited her alma mater in Bloomsburg for its career boot camp to talk about career myths, strong resumes and “interviewing like a rock star.”
“To have younger people, especially recent grads, come in is really helpful so that I can talk about the tools I’ve used (in my career),” Cedré said. “It’s a nice volunteer opportunity.”
Her giving attitude extends even further. As a member of Pepperjam’s Giving Committee, Cedré also takes part in Community Reading Days in schools in Luzerne County, coordinates donations for the Catherine McAuley House in Plymouth and helps coworkers going through tough times.
Outside of work, Cedré feels most passionate about giving back to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, since she once was on the receiving end of a generous gift from the organization. Born with a serious heart condition, Cedré’s wish was granted in 2000, and since then, she has devoted a great deal of time and effort supporting the cause. When she was younger, this meant making and selling suncatchers to raise money, traveling to events to speak about the foundation and even serving as a Make-A-Wish Princess one year.
As an adult, Cedré worked as a Wish Granter for two years when she lived in Baltimore. Locally, she attends fundraisers such as walks, and the Wishmakers on Campus club she founded at Bloomsburg has blossomed since she graduated, even earning a feature on CNN.
Online, Cedré shows support in groups for fellow moms (she is the proud mother of a smiley 1-year-old named Gianluca) and military families.
“In the age of social media, it’s important to relate or find comfort in others,” she said. “It’s technically a form of volunteerism if you’re active in those groups.
“It’s free to be kind to people. You don’t have to budget to be nice to someone. There are ways to find time or ways that don’t cost a thing to give back.”
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Meet Kalie Cedré
At home: Lives in South Scranton with her husband, Jean-Carlos, and their son, Gianluca, 1
At work: Account strategist for Pepperjam,
Inspiration: The city of Scranton
Aspiration: “It would be really nice to be in a place where all my work is bettering someone else.”
Diversion: Shopping sales
Aversion: When others take for granted what they have
Quote: “It could always be worse.” — a saying she adopted from her mother, Lisa Reidenbach, who often uses it to remain positive even when bad things happen.