Clinton Global Initiative America Hosts our Very Own

What began as an invitation for a student story quickly turned into more than Tiffany Lewin ever thought possible: being interviewed by Chelsea Clinton in front of 1,000 people, the whole Clinton family included. Queue the goose-bumps–and not just Tiffany’s. Everybody at Per Scholas, too. Her first time flying, Tiffany took off for Denver along with Per Scholas Executive Director of New York, Angie Kamath, and took the stage the second day of the meeting.

Tiffany contributed one-of-a-kind insight to the elite panel where she was joined by a CEO of a global company, a President of a college, a U.S. Secretary, and a founder of a local nonprofit. She was the sole representative on the stage speaking from a lens that always doesn’t get the spotlight: a young adult who was hungry for an opportunity and guidance. Tiffany came to Per Scholas at the age of 19 with no work experience, no income, no pathway to higher-ed and no outside guidance to change her path. She graduated from the Per Scholas IT training and by 20 landed her first job ever as a Hardware and Systems Analyst at New York-Presbyterian. Now, nearly three years later, she’s moved up in her responsibilities and now manages others. Her voice on that stage was all the more important because she also represents a population that makes up only 5% of the tech industry – a minority woman. We have a lot to learn from her.

Following her stage time with Chelsea, Tiffany has been on the ride of her life.

​She emailed us the below to recap her experience:

6/24/14 7:15 p.m. EST

Wow!

What an amazing 48 hours I had at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Denver. Never in a million years would I have thought to be a speaker on a panel with Chelsea Clinton! Or a speaker PERIOD! When I first heard of this opportunity back in February, my initial thought was: “there is no way that I’ll get chosen for such a HUGE honor,” but of course I wasn’t going to tell Jessicah White not to share my story. Next thing I knew, I received that memorable phone call at work from Jess, stating that they want ME to speak at CGI! Let’s fast forward to the now. First, I have never spoken in front of 1,000 people, and I have never spoken in front of 1,000 people while the CLINTONS were watching. The nerves were definitely there, but I had a ton of guidance and help from both CGI members and Per Scholas. Luckily I was able to view the material beforehand, and I had an awesome speech coach, Jezra Kaye, who taught me how to stay confident in the moment. Once on stage, the nerves went to space, and I was just being myself. OH! And I made the audience laugh, which is ALWAYS a plus!

I can honestly say that Per Scholas has changed my life tremendously from the moment I walked into those doors. I was lost and had nothing. All I did have though was the willingness to learn. And Per Scholas definitely delivered what I asked for and more. Oh and did I mention they sent me to Denver?!?

Right now I am still working in the IT field as a Systems Hardware Analyst at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. I just completed my Mobility+ certification to continue moving my career upward toward Mobility management and/or networking infrastructure (since I do hold my Network+ and A+, thanks to Per Scholas). I still see myself working in IT for many years to come–and hey, even doing more speeches!

The advice that I would give to others that are lost and/or confused (since I didn’t get to cover this at the panel) is:

1. Never feel like you’re alone. EVERYONE gets stuck in life and it’s a matter of finding out why you’re stuck and how to fix it.

2. Never be scared to ask for help. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish if you just ask. A lady at CGI even told me: “All you have to do is ask someone to be your mentor, and 9 times out of 10 they will say yes.” I totally agreed with her, and I should have asked someone for help when I needed it. Just know that you are worth more than you think you are, and never hold yourself back, or let anyone say that you can’t do something!

Lastly, I want to thank CGI and Per Scholas for being amazing, amazing, and – did I say amazing? – people. I met so many individuals on my journey, and I’m sure to meet many more. This was a great networking event and opportunity for me, and I hope more grads attend CGI next year! Per Sholas will ALWAYS be my #1 school, and I thank them forever!!

Tiffany A. Lewin

Desktop Services

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Mobile – 646-730-6076

Email – [email protected]

When you support Per Scholas, you are supporting bright men and women like Tiffany, and helping them reach opportunities they never knew were possible. We thank our supporters, and continue to ask everyone to get involved to help us bridge the opportunity gap for more people. Tiffany certainly is more than grateful, as you read. Her whole life has changed for the better.

Please email Angie Kamath at [email protected] if you have interest in getting involved with Per Scholas.

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