6/24/14 7:15 p.m. EST
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
Mobile – 646-730-6076
Email – [email protected]