Q & A with Debra Lyles, DCSEU Extern Working at WDC Solar

Tags: Workforce Development

Meet one of DCSEU's Winter 2020 Externs! Debra Lyles is a Business Analyst at WDC Solar.

Q. How did you hear about the DCSEU's Workforce Development Program?

A. My sister Candance, who works at WDC Solar told me about the program and recommended that I apply.

Q. What interested you about the program?

A. The ability to participate in a program, which focuses on learning about various sustainability topics and green technology from great instructors, who also work in their respective fields.

Q. Describe the tasks and expectations of your job. What are your assignments and things that you do on the day-to-day?

A. I work in business development and therefore am tasked with developing relationships with various entities across all sectors i.e. consumer-to-consumer, business-to-business and the local government. This position requires that I make a lot of phone calls, attend meetings and send emails to make contact with decision makers on a daily and weekly basis. My goal is to move someone from being skeptical or not interested in getting solar to a yes; you have to go through many ‘no’s’ to get to one yes. A major expectation is to educate about solar and renewable energy because a lot of people are still in the dark about it (no pun intended).

Q. What are your goals after completing the WFD program?

A. My goals are to continue learning and use the knowledge and skills improvement in my job to help grow WDC Solar or other business opportunities.

Q. How do you think the DCSEU's WFD program helping you complete those goals?

A. The program has already been successful in highlighting various topics that I may not have thought to investigate or pursue for career and personal enhancement. I have already learned additional information from a few topics that ties back into reasons to promote solar.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone interested in enrolling in the program?

A. I would say find out the information to answer any questions you may have; but at the end just do it! It is well worth the time you will spend in the sessions and the time moves very quickly. One of my favorite quotes says, “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” This could be the first step to a career you have always wanted but didn’t know it.

Q. How has your previous experience as an entrepreneur helped you to adjust and navigate through the WFD program?

A. Being an entrepreneur has meant taking more business risks and being more open minded to change and unpredictability. Because all the sessions are a little different, it helps me to frame them in terms of individual opportunities with inherent pluses and minuses to my way of thinking.

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Ben Burdick
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