Timing is Everything - Veronica Valdez '10

Timing is Everything

Veronica, Gloria, and Martha Smith, WEI project director.
Veronica Valdez '10, a petite young woman with curly hair and a broad smile, sits concentrating in front of a computer screen with her client, Gloria. Valdez is helping Gloria, a local entrepreneur with a religious books business, design her Web site. Gloria poses a question in Spanish and Valdez answers in kind, adjusting something on the screen.

Since graduating from Saint Mary’s in May, Valdez has been working for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), a new program sponsored by the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). 

Valdez meets with local businesswomen like Gloria every Tuesday and Thursday in the Department of Business Administration and Economics in Spes Unica Hall. There, Valdez assesses their needs and assists them in various entrepreneurial endeavors like Web site design, bookkeeping, and obtaining necessities like merchant certificates from the Internal Revenue Service.

Ever resourceful, Valdez makes use of what’s available to her. She scouts out free Web site hosting services and works up inventory tracking charts in Microsoft Excel. Valdez is bilingual and graduated with a degree in accounting, two qualifications that landed her the internship with WEI.

But it’s her easy confidence and professional poise that make Valdez a standout at her job. She lets the WEI clients know off the bat that she’s there to help. “Timing is everything,” she says. “First you create a relationship with the client, and then you can start suggesting things like, 'I think you should track your inventory.'”

The internship has its challenges. Some of the women she works with don’t have a way to track whether they’re making profits or losses. Valdez works confidently and patiently with them. Patience is a virtue she refined as a Saint Mary’s student, specifically through projects like the senior comprehensive, throughout which business majors work in groups of five and present their research to a panel of professors.

“It’s totally team based. Sometimes you have ideas that clash, but you talk it out. You have to be a really good listener,” she explains. Valdez learned how to get her ideas heard too. The key, she says, is to wait for the right moment. “Then you get a feeling that it’s the right time and people will be receptive to you.”

So, despite the straightforward logic and number-sense an accounting major implies, Valdez became adept at collaboration and developed the confidence to navigate working relationships.

Valdez doesn’t see herself working for a large corporation in the future. “I just like to be my own boss,” she laughs. It’s her dream to build an accounting firm with her sister, Erica Valdez '07, also an accounting graduate. She’s even researched the potential location, referencing an article she read recently about Austin, Texas, lauded as one of the best places to start a new business. “And with the Spanish-speaking population there, we’re going to have a lot of business,” says Valdez.

One thing Valdez keeps in mind is her desire to help new business owners, especially in Hispanic communities. She’s sensitive to the fact that people who don’t speak English can be easily taken advantage of. “I want to continue to help. No matter where I go, I will always be willing to help people.”