From Business Office Administration Graduate to Executive Assistant
Caitlin Nasalroad loves her job. She’s an Executive Assistant at Elite Medical, a company that provides private, on-site medical clinics for small and large self-insured businesses. The company operates 15 clinics, which provide onsite screenings and family practice medical care, along with in-house prescriptions, and flu and COVID vaccines.
Caitlin graduated from the Business Office Administration program at SJVC Visalia in 2015 after taking a leap to follow a new career path. She’s a great success story for SJVC, and her face might look familiar to you—her photo is often still used in their ads.
Here, Caitlin tells us more about her time at SJVC, and a career full of growth and opportunity.
What did you do prior to studying at SJVC?
I was working at Save Mart, bagging groceries. I did that for two years, and then had my daughter. After I became a mom, I didn’t work for nine months—I just had no idea what I wanted to do. Then one day I saw an SJVC television commercial, and I saw all the career programs they offered. At first the Criminal Justice: Corrections program really interested me, so I called the school and met with the advisor the next day. After we met, he said he thought the Business Office Administration program might be a better fit for me based on my interests—I wanted to be a court reporter in high school, and I knew my typing was already one of my strengths. He encouraged me to enroll in the program, and I knew there were many things I could go into if I had those skills.
What was the SJVC Business Office Administration program like?
It was great. I liked how every class was short and to the point, and that it was an accelerated program. I learned a lot, including all the Microsoft applications in depth, and based on how you would be using them on the job. I learned all the tricks with Excel and PowerPoint; I find myself still teaching others how to use it based on what I learned at SJVC. I learned how to write memos correctly and create my boss’s presentations. I felt very prepared for my job because of the program.
They also taught me how to interview properly! I really appreciate that now that I assist in HR and I interview people who have not been prepared; some don’t know how to respond to questions. I learned how to look the part for an interview and to come early; they helped me know what to expect and about the things I might encounter.
Did you have any challenges during school that you had to overcome?
Because I was a mom during that time, I did have to stop school for a while; I was also working full time. I went to school from 7:15-noon, then I worked from 1-10 P.M., and it became very tough for me with a 30-minute commute to school and then another 30-minute commute to work. I got in over my head. I had to write a letter to the admissions clerk to request a break, which they allowed me to do—then I came back to finish the program.
What is your job at Elite Medical like?
My role started out there as a receptionist, and I moved my way up. I dabble in HR and operations, and I’ve been in charge of the inventory supply area for all of our medical clinics starting from the small (four clinics) we had—we have really grown and now have 15. It’s been great to have experience in each area, and to understand what is involved in each role.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like being in a management role and helping people grow the way my boss helped me—he’s been my mentor through my career here—I like being able to do that for the people who are just starting.
How has COVID-19 affected your duties?
That is all we are focused on right now! Our clinics provide care for patients nonstop; it has slowed down a little, and it’s hard for the clinics we have to continue to keep open if the patients we serve are too scared to go in because of COVID, but we still do our best to educate the patients and explain to them all that we are doing to ensure their safety is our number one priority.
We are providing COVID vaccines, and we’ve already given 10,000 doses now; part of my job is being on the COVID program team and helping manage the workflow from start to finish. I love being part of that—helping people get vaccinated and hopefully closer to seeing things get back to normal.
What advice do you have for students in school now?
Just keep your head up and remember that you chose this path for a reason. Keep your mind on the prize, remember why you are there and where you want to see yourself—if you stop, it’s only going to extend the time it takes to get to your goal. Lean on your instructors, they are there to help; they often stayed late just to help me. And just do your best.
Our RN to BSN program is a Bachelors degree completion option for Registered Nurses.