Lisa Edwards: Optimist, Technologist & Women in Tech Champion

As far back as she can remember, Per Scholas graduate Lisa Edwards has been a natural problem solver. Before Per Scholas, she worked many different firms including accounting, real estate, and insurance. At every placement she worked, she was a valuable asset, always finding ways to save the company money and time.

There was just one problem: at all her jobs, she was a temp. She was tired of always looking for new work, despite excelling at her temporary positions. She wanted something permanent and stable — the kind of job where she could use her well-honed problem solving skills to move up.

One afternoon shortly after being unemployed, Lisa was standing on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn when Jeffrey Hatton, Per Scholas director of community engagement, handed her a flyer for the program. She didn’t look at it, but put it in her bag and kept walking. After a few weeks, she took a look at the flyer again, attended an information session on a Friday, and enrolled in the Women in Tech class starting the following Monday.

“I realized that everything is run on some sort of technology. If I can do this for the next 30 years, there are so many areas that I can be actively working. Technology has so many opportunities for me.”

The training at Per Scholas was just was she had been looking for. She wanted skills, real skills that would translate into a viable career. “When I first walked in on that Monday, they had the motherboards right on the desk. I was totally excited. It was so hands-on.”

Besides the technical skills, Lisa learned a lot from her fellow women classmates. “In class at Per Scholas, I learned to focus. Most women have a lot of responsibility. Their responsibility is not just financial. They are solely responsible for their household, for their family. I learned that I had to delegate things so I could focus on learning this new thing in my life.”

Upon graduating with her CompTIA A+ and Net+ certifications, Lisa landed an internship at the MTA where she worked in the Network Operations Center for 9 months. Through this internship, she gained valuable experience.

Lisa knows the power of connections, especially for women in the vast technology industry of New York City. Through attending networking events, talking to colleagues, and her contacts at Per Scholas, Lisa finished her internship at the MTA and walked straight into a job at Barclays. She is now an Analyst, where she uses her strong skill set to find patterns and solve problems on a daily basis.

This year at the first annual Bronx Tech Summit Lisa got the chance to meet Minerva Tantoco, the Chief Technology Officer of New York City. Ms. Tantoco gave Lisa a tip: a key tool in being successful in this industry is networking. Advice Lisa was already living by. “You have to have the skills, but knowing the people can get you to the front of the line.”

Her passion for women in tech sparked by her education at Per Scholas continues at Barclays. Lisa is part of the Women in Tech program at her employer where she is heavily involved in throwing networking events for women of all ages.

“I want to be a part of getting women to elevate themselves into higher positions,” she says.

She also loves Barclays because she says there’s always room to grow. “With the skills that I have and my understanding of the field, I see myself in a place where I can move up in this company.”

Lisa also commends Barclays for their involvement in the community. Through her position on the Networking Committee in the Women in Tech program there, she gets the chance to help other women follow a path to success.

“I like people. I am happy to see people grow and improve themselves. I hope to constantly improve upon myself. I like to share my positivity.”

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