Aug. 18, 2022

Elyse Pivnick - "Parlaying a Love of 'Gritty Cities' into a Career of Community Service"

Elyse Pivnick -

As we continue Season 2 of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, I’m wondering if it’s time to change the title…I’ve had such great guests, I’m definitely not lonely anymore! Yet while COVID’s no longer engraved in our thoughts, the focus of our conversations hasn’t changed. We continue to share people’s stories about their passions, drivers, evolution, resilience and of course…connections.

Today we’re talking with Elyse Pivnick, who’s focused her expertise in city planning on a 30+ year career in community service. Her role as Senior Director of Environmental Health at Isles, Inc. a community development organization based in Trenton, gives her the perfect platform to act on her love of “gritty cities”.

We hear how a stint working in communities in Africa inspired Elyse to apply city planning strategies she learned while there, here in New Jersey. She describes the myriad programs provided by Isles to support and revitalize Trenton communities, including an alternative high school, over 70 community gardens, training programs, and her specialty: healthy homes. And the bonus is getting to work toward a common goal with “kindred spirits”!

Elyse shares her personal story of loss, becoming a widow in 2019 after 38 years of a happy marriage, and how that impacted her navigation of the pandemic. (She also tells us how she bravely started dating again!)

Elyse advises us to nurture our relationships, go deep with our interests and find a way to contribute to our communities. Great advice!

Visit the following sites for more information:

Isles, Inc. -

National Center for Healthy Housing -

Just some of the many books Elyse recommends:

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

   by Charles Mann

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

   by Charles Mann

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel

   Novel by Kathleen Rooney

The Plot Against America

   By Philip Roth

   (This is uncannily prescient of today’s situation)