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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

LOVE AND LOYALTY: Liz Briseno is Celebrated for 31 Years at SJVC

December 12, 2023

In the parent company of SJVC, the word Family is interchangeable with Team. The corporate statement describes this core value of Family as, “We are a caring and supportive team.” That kind of friendly, supportive and trusting atmosphere has grown since its beginning in 1977 and influences every staff, faculty member and student. There is no better example of loyalty, teamsmanship, and family than one of its longest employees to date, Liz Briseno, who has worked in the administrative offices of SJVC for the last 31 years.

On January 6, 1992, Liz was hired as a secretary for the founders of SJVC, Shirley and Bob Perry. She immediately became an integral part of the company. Simultaneously, she served other senior leaders in Financial Aid, Education, Operations, and the Controller. As SJVC grew into a much larger organization, she grew too and was promoted several times with a new title and job responsibilities. When the founders retired, she continued to work for their sons, Mark and Mike, who became Chairman and CEO, respectively. By that time, she says, she knew the brothers so well it felt more like a sibling relationship. She continues to this day to be as valued and indispensable.

This is her story.


What else was it about working at SJVC for you personally all those years?

I really cared about them as people. I cared about them as family. And so, I wanted them to be the best they could be, which meant I had to do the best job I could. I made sure they were on time for appointments, I took good minutes of meetings and followed up with them to ensure their tasks as owners were completed.


What was it like working for two brothers at the same time?

The first year after their parents retired, I worked as Administrative Assistant for Mark and Mike. I got their names mixed up so many times, it was embarrassing! They do look alike. And they both were either clean shaven or had beards at the same time. There was a moment, though, when one had a beard and the other didn’t, so that was easier! Eventually, I got to know their personalities better and realized they were complete opposites. Mark is one year older than me and Mike is one year younger, so I was almost like a sister.


Can you point out one memorable moment in your career?

There isn’t a specific moment, it was more the feeling of being part of their family that has meant so much to me over the years. It’s priceless.


What are some descriptive words that immediately come to mind when you look back on your experience?

It has been and still is a phenomenal ride, I’ve grown so much as a person, I got to travel; I completed the Business Administration Program in 2011 through SJVC; I think about everything I’ve learned…makes me get choked up a little.


How do you feel about this moment in time right now?

I haven’t said anything to them about the “R” word…I know it’s somewhere in the horizon. But they keep me really busy. I love it and I want to make sure I keep doing the best job I can. For now, I’m as content as I always have been, as long as I can keep up with them!


How has SJVC grown in the time you have been there?

Expansion has made a huge change for all employees as well as the fact that since COVID, many continue to work remotely. In the early years, I knew just about everybody. Now that it’s so big, of course I don’t know as many employees, but it’s just part of a growing business.


Do you have anything else you would like to add? Anyone in particular you would like to call out and thank or show your appreciation?

Looking back, Mrs. Perry was such an example of empowerment for women. She made us young ones realize that any woman can reach their goals if that’s what they want. They have always hired a lot of women in management positions. I looked up to her and still do.


Thank you so much for sharing your experience with SJVC. And congratulations on your career!

Thank you, and you’re welcome!

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