PENN PERSPECTIVES: A Q&A WITH LISA BRICHTA TRETLER

Tretler, C’94, G’99, WG’99, is the Principal/Founder of Business Boosters Consulting and a member of the Professional Women’s Alliance (PWA). She holds three Penn degrees: a B.A. in International Relations, M.A. in International Affairs, and an M.B.A. in Marketing Strategy.

Friday, December 8, 2017

By Erinn Carey


Lisa Brichta Tretler, C’94, G’99, WG’99



Share a brief overview of your career path and provide a slightly more detailed summary of your current role.

I am the Principal and Founder of Business Boosters Consulting, a company focused on professional development and advising on entrepreneurship, business growth and intrapreneurship. Since graduating from Penn, I have spent nearly 25 years training, coaching and consulting to individuals and companies in the areas of goal setting, business plan development, and new product marketing and growth strategies.  Several years ago, I co-founded and was co-CEO of The Acceleration Project (TAP), a nonprofit which harnesses the talent of professionals to accelerate small business growth. Prior to starting my own firm, I worked as a business strategy consultant at American Express, Accenture and Towers Perrin.    

Over the years, I have developed a love for teaching students of all ages from elementary school to adult about entrepreneurship, volunteerism and career development. I have been a member of the Professional Faculty at the Wharton School of Business, guest lectured for the Fox Leadership Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and also developed courses and facilitated workshops in entrepreneurship in affiliation with the Women’s Enterprise Development Center and the Masters School. 

Volunteer work has also been an important theme in my career and I have served on several nonprofit boards including the Women’s Enterprise Development Center, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at the Masters School, the Scarsdale Adult School and the Junior League of Central Westchester.

I love creating new things and am always looking for new approaches to serving customers, students and my community. 

How has your liberal arts education been influential throughout your career?

Throughout my career, I have felt that the keys to my success have been good communication skills (including speaking and writing), good research skills, and the ability to understand a problem from multiple points of view. As an International Relations major, I learned to take an interdisciplinary approach to my work, pursue new areas of interest, and to write persuasively with evidence to support my viewpoints.  Understanding the nuances in the "relations" between countries and international governments is in many ways similar to understanding the relations between individuals. This has always been a help to me when working with others! 

What career advice would you give your younger self?

To explore multiple career paths by speaking with people who have already worked in areas you may be interested in, and to not only pursue opportunities that can be found through the On-Campus Recruiting (OCR). Some of the most interesting opportunities, those which will give you the greatest learning experiences, never come to campus! I'd also advise to take advantage of meeting with teachers and find a mentor or two before leaving college. Your professors are more invested in your success than you may think, and to also take advantage of Penn's amazing alumni network. Alums love to help out recent graduates, as long as they are asked in a friendly and genuine manner. And finally, that the first few years after college is the best time to explore and failwhen the stakes are low and the learning is high.

How have mentors and/or your professional network played a role in your career, and why were you inspired to become involved as a member of the Penn Arts and Sciences Professional Women's Alliance (PWA)?

Mentors and professional networks help you see your career path more objectively and are great at opening new doors for you at many junctures in your career. They don't judgethey are there to help you out and "pay it forward."

When I first heard of PWA, I was thrilled (and not surprised) that the University was putting together an organization that would benefit women alumni in so many ways. For me, getting involved with PWA is a great way to give back to a school that I care deeply about, gives me an opportunity to meet fascinating, motivated women who are open to sharing and learning from one another's career experiences, and also enables me to learn what is happening on campus. A degree from Penn is far more than a certificate received after completing a prescribed amount of course credits. It is so much more! PWA helps remind alumni that the value of a Penn degree reaches far and wide and keeps giving back, long after Senior year.