Lisa Wernli – Cultivating Emerging Tech Leaders

The Mentorship Program is a core component of the Master of Science in Information Systems curriculum. The program connects MSIS students with Seattle-based IT leaders through a unique one-to-one professional relationship that can bridge the gap between academic concepts and real world practices. 

Lisa Wernli, EVP and CIO of Wireless Advocates and Car Toys, has been an active MSIS mentor for five years. Lisa brings to the mentorship program a history of leadership experiences not only from her current role, but from previous leadership roles at Qwest Communications, PACCAR, and Whole Foods. For MSIS students, she offers a unique perspective on career choices, change, opportunities in the Seattle market, and how business and tech leadership is an invaluable skill.

Throughout her career, Lisa had influential mentors and recognizes the importance of mentors for students.

“Whether my students are navigating personal or professional/school issues, I’m able to give them an informal point of view. I see how the mentorship program provides stability and support to help them through the program.”

Students, she explains, share common concerns such as how to get a job and what should be their focus? How do they decide what they are interested in pursuing and then interact with people who can help them find the best positions? She works with them to drill down their goals, whether they are more interested in leadership or technical management roles.

MSIS students come from a variety of backgrounds, with 40% holding a non-technical degree. Through MSIS, students gain a blend of business and technical skills needed to be an IT leader.

Pranav Farswani, MSIS Class of 2018, was one of Lisa Wernli’s mentees. He says that “as an international student, I didn’t have experience in the US work culture. My mentor was invaluable, answering questions, helping me imagine my future.” With Pranav’s interest in a technical management role, Lisa worked with him through his transition from a Consultant at Deloitte to a Program Manager II at Microsoft.

Lisa enjoys the transformation these students undergo. “This program has a special sauce and fuels my desire to learn new things and see how people think.” She says it also allows her to network with the professionals of the future. “I think it’s more rewarding for me than for them.”

Lisa is also an active cheerleader for her students, attending their graduations, staying in contact after they finish the program, and staying part of their professional and personal lives.

Join the MSIS program. Apply today!

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