Employee Spotlight - Tracy Edwards

Photo of Tracy Edwards
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
What is your current role at Yale University? 
I am the Seminary Administrator for Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School.
What are your main responsibilities?  
I oversee administrative functions of the seminary through engagement with students, faculty, and staff. This work entails managing student records, financials and budgets, support of the ANS Board of Trustees, and coordinating events that focus on preparing religious leaders for service in locally governed faith communities, including (but not limited to) United Church of Christ and American Baptist Churches (USA) congregations.
What do you like most about your work?
Engaging with students, faculty, and staff, and developing systems and processes that will enhance the efficiency of the seminary.  In addition, the fact that I am now part of the history of Andover Newton Theological School, a 200+ year seminary, that was in Newton Massachusetts, that physically moved to Yale in 2017 and is now heading toward permanent affiliation as Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School.
How does your job affect your general lifestyle? 
My job affects my general lifestyle in a positive way because the mission that I support intersects with many of my personal religious beliefs and serves as a reminder that my work aids in supporting the greater good for our society and the world.
How did you begin your career? 
My career at Yale began through an internship that was required as part of a Medical Administrative Assistant certification program that I completed at Stone Academy in the early 1990s.  Upon completion of the internship, I was hired to work as an office assistant in the OBGYN-Oncology clinic, and later worked as a protocol specialist with the Pediatric AIDS Care program at the Medical School.  Through the work in those two units, I recognized my preference for administrative work over clinical work and later supported residency training programs, and professional schools and units that managed administrative processes directly focused on faculty, staff, and students.
What steps would you recommend one take to prepare to enter this field? 
I would recommend that someone interested in a role such as mine be flexible and committed to learning and helping with work that may not be in the scope of their general duties.  I encourage employees to take advantage of the many opportunities that Yale offers through the Learn and Grow initiative and tuition assistance benefit to aid in their professional development.  Employees could also consider setting up informational interviews, seeking out mentoring programs through the affinity groups, and consider applying for lateral positions in units that may offer a different skill set than the one they are in which could ultimately lead to advancement opportunities.
What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
Optimism and good-naturedness with a willingness to accept constructive criticism creates spaces of positivity that are important to the success of any unit.  In addition, excellent communication, organizational skills, professionalism, collaborative skills, and a commitment to life-long learning is essential.
If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?
I would choose the same path.  I have met some wonderful people in the roles that I’ve worked.  Many of whom encouraged and supported me as I grew personally and professionally.  All the positions that I have held in my 28+ years at Yale have been part of the reason why I am where I am today.
What does YAAA mean to you and how have you contributed as a member?
The events and activities sponsored by YAAA provide education, professional development, personal growth, and cultivates a collective sense of pride and belonging for the work that African Americans bring to Yale and the New Haven community.   The work of this collective offers space to network and engage with others who may be siloed in spaces where they may be the only person of color – a situation that I have found myself in on many occasions at Yale.
As a member of YAAA I have volunteered for various events over the years, participated in book clubs, networking events, and as time permits attend the monthly steering committee meetings.  In addition, I share event information about the affinity group and encourage current and new employees of African American descent to sign-up, get involved, join the affinity group, and attend events and meetings.