Lisa Redekop '83 was a Growth and Structure of Cities major at Bryn Mawr and is now the global head of specialist sales enablement at Gartner.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m., Lisa will join Lynda Pak '90, and Winnie Hien '12 for "Mawrters in Tech" as part of the Career & Civic Engagement Office’s remote Alumnae/i in Residence program. For a current list of guests, dates, and registration, log into Handshake.
In the below Q&A, Lisa talks about finding her career passion, the value of attending a women's college, and more.
How did you get involved in your current field?
I graduated from Columbia with an M.A. in architectural history and after realizing that publishing was too low paying to support myself in New York City, I took a temp job as a receptionist at Digital Equipment Corporation (at the time, a large computer hardware and software company that many years ago was purchased by Dell and then HP). A sales manager in the office spent time with me and said that she couldn't create natural sales talent, but she could teach me everything there was to know about the computer industry. She persuaded me to take a job in computer sales at Digital—where I went through a six-month sales training program that did indeed teach me what I needed to know about the tech industry. I have never looked back as that sales background has stood me in good stead in every job I have had since. We all sell in every job we have whether we know it or not! I have parlayed this into jobs in product and field marketing, sales training, and sales enablement roles both here in the U.S. and in Europe.
What part of your Bryn Mawr experience has been most important to your professional development?
What I appreciate about my Bryn Mawr experience is my ability to think, problem solve, and my lack of fear. I learned that women in leadership positions should be expected and the norm, so I spoke up early and often and was gender blind. It never intimidated me that the technology industry is primarily men. I have attended conferences and sat at lunch tables at those conferences where I was the only woman and it never phased me in the least. I always had the confidence and felt that I had the right to be there and that my perspective as a woman mattered and made the input as important as anyone's.
What career advice do you have for current Bryn Mawr students?
Be fearless. Ask for feedback and learn from that feedback and don't be afraid to create your own path. Never give up and you will get knocked down but be resilient.
What made you choose to attend Bryn Mawr?
I went to a large public high school in Tucson, Ariz., where I was the only girl who took calculus and the only girl in the National Honor Society. I knew nothing about the Seven Sisters colleges and my guidance counselor encouraged me to "take the package" from the University of Arizona. By accident, my mom met a woman who went to Mount Holyoke and was hosting a Seven Sisters' tea as there weren't enough women in the late '70s early '80s to host separate events. I was so impressed by the one woman there who had attended Bryn Mawr that I put Bryn Mawr on my limited list of colleges. I wanted to go east for school but because I had little college guidance support I knew little about what other options there were and Pennsylvania seemed like a nice place to go school—what did I know? I was so lucky! I found my home, my friends, and my future life at Bryn Mawr. It wasn't easy; I didn't even own a winter coat! But I Ioved it so much and Bryn Mawr did so much for me that four years later, my sister followed me and graduated from Bryn Mawr four years after me. I just consider myself lucky and with fate on my side.