by Gary Axelbank
January 10, 2019
The 2019 New Year’s gift Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) gave to its Bronx Campus students was a new Executive Director, John Edwards. Prior to his appointment Edwards had spent more than two decades in workforce development. Not suprisingly, in a weekday afternoon interview in his office, he told thisistheBronX that he’s thrilled to be in a position where he can guide MCNY students to success in the world of work.
“I’m not only looking at the students from an academic lens,” he said, “I’m looking at how we are preparing them to walk the walk, talk the talk and compete for a job. I want to help others advance and realize their potential. I’m passionate about that.”
Edwards, who is a native Panamanian and earned a Master’s in Public Affairs and Administration from MCNY, worked at the college between 2009-2015. More than a year ago, he returned to oversee the college’s Office of Career Development. In between he was the Executive Director at the Brooklyn Navy Yards and he admits, while there he couldn’t stop helping MCNY students.
“In my heart, I really love this college and we had tons of opportunity at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that I shared with our students,” he said. “I coached them through the process and they ended up getting jobs.”
Less than a week into his new position at the Bronx Campus on 149th Street in the Hub, he’s already inspired young people who could use positive change in their lives. Sometimes they don’t even know it themselves.
As he explained, earlier in the day Edwards called Tyric Henderson, the campus’ second floor security guard, into his office and after a friendly, supportive chat, he was ready to move his life forward and do what he really loves, helping young people do better.
For the first time, Henderson said he had someone help him visualize a path to success that he didn’t know was attainable. He’s currently enrolling for the spring semester.
“I liked the way he approached me,” Henderson said. “He really showed me that he cares for his staff and he really wants to push us forward and see us do better. This is something new that I thought about doing, but never really took that initiative.”
That’s just the sort of hands-on leadership that excites the MCNY administration.
“We needed someone with strong leadership skills, excellent interpersonal skills, and that sense of maturity,” said Dr. Tilokie Depoo, Chief Academic Officer and Dean for School of Business. “John is well positioned to be extremely successful here and it comes with an extremely well-groomed background and a fantastic portfolio of tools that will help our students to be successful.”
Edwards said that along with empowering Bronx college students with employment opportunity, he plans to build on the college’s well-earned reputation as a community friendly institution.
“My hope is that I can apply all that I’ve learned, pay it forward and give to our Bronx community what is needed to advance our Campus and continue the strong bond we have formed with our neighbors. We have a long-term commitment to this community and I look forward to working with local businesses and government officials to keep the momentum going.”