Critical advice: We need to invest in girls, stay curious, and step out of our comfort zones
A PNC exec shares insight on career advice, the financial sector and support of Girl Scouts.
The following post is part of a new corporate sponsored series feature for the GSHPA Blog. The series will highlight local business and community leaders who understand the value and impact Girl Scouts can play in your community.
This month we are featuring Debbie Kolsovsky of Lackawanna County.
Kolsovsky is the executive vice president and regional managing director northeast region, Institutional Asset Management at PNC. She is also the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA.
GSHPA: PNC has been a great supporter of GSHPA and we thank you for that support. Tell us, why is it important for a company to invest in the growth and development of girls?
Kolsovsky: We should all care about investing in the growth and development of girls because they are our future leaders. Speaking from personal experience in the financial services industry, we know better outcomes are achieved for clients when we have diverse teams, and that means more women in leadership roles. To have more women in leadership roles, it’s critical to start investing in young girls and giving them the opportunities to take risks and succeed.
Speaking more generally, PNC is focused on helping our communities thrive. Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA is aligned with our philosophy. They work to invest in our future generations across all economic backgrounds to develop strong girls with leadership abilities, an investment that will pay dividends for the future of our community and our world.
GSHPA: We have 59 girls in the 2021 class that we are honoring this year who have achieved their Gold Award for our council. Many of them will be graduating this year from high school. What career and young-adult advice would you given them as they take this next step in their journey?
Kolsovsky: First, I would like to say congratulations to all the Gold Award winners on this significant accomplishment. My advice would be to enjoy the next part of your journey and fully embrace the next step, whether it’s entering the workforce or going to college. As you embark on your career, don’t be afraid to ask questions and take risks—that is how you learn and grow.
GSHPA: How did you choose your career path? What were some of your influencers/mentors along the way?
Kolsovsky: I was given an opportunity through one of PNC’s development programs, and that’s how I learned about finance. My job has remained interesting and engaging because I’ve stayed curious, I’ve asked questions and I’ve taken risks, and that has all led me to where I am today. A lot of opportunities and challenges have kept my role interesting as well.
I have had the privilege of working with several great people here at PNC who have been mentors to me throughout my career. Much of the advice that I give others now was given to me at one time by a mentor. The most valuable advice I’ve received was to step outside of my comfort zone, because that is how you learn something new and expand your professional experiences. The worst that could happen is that it won’t work out, and you will still have learned something.
GSHPA: You are very involved in both leadership growth and volunteer activities in Lackawanna County. Tell us about them and why is it important to being active in your community?
Kolsovsky: In addition to my work with Girl Scouts, I am involved with a higher education organization, a few healthcare organizations, and nonprofits that focus on economic development and community support. I find value in giving back in a variety of ways, and I learn from each organization I’m involved in.
Something that was said to me when I started at PNC has always stuck with me: we ask a lot from our communities — we live, work and do business here, so it’s only right that we also give back here. That is my philosophy and that is why it’s so important for me to stay involved in these organizations.
GSHPA: What advice would you give to someone interested in finance as a career?
Kolsovsky: You might be surprised how many different types of opportunities there are in the financial services industry. I’ve been with PNC for 31 years and I’ve held several different jobs over the course of my career. While numbers are a part of my work, banking is still very much a people business. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding what our clients need and coming to the table with innovative solutions that can help make their lives easier.
GSHPA: As the Vice Chair of GSHPA’s Board of Directors, is there anything else that you would like to add about your involvement in our organization?
Kolsovsky: I was never a Girl Scout, but through my work on the Girl Scouts board, my appreciation has only grown for the organization and its impact on our community. So many former Girl Scouts are still involved, which speaks to the positive impact this organization has had on their lives. GSHPA gives girls access to programming that opens their minds and expands their worldviews. They help girls develop the confidence to be leaders focused on making a positive difference in the world.
This Corporate Spotlight blog is proudly supported by PNC.