SJVC Business Office Administration Graduate Combines Education And Experience To Help Influence Others
Adan Mendoza always knew his career future was in the business world. “I want to wake up and go somewhere in a suit,” he says. “And SJVC offered that.”
San Joaquin Valley College’s Business Office Administration (BOA) program met Adan’s needs in all the ways that were most important to him. “I’m a really impatient person, and if I can get it done faster, let’s get it done faster.” The accelerated BOA program matched the fast-track he was on to get to the upper levels of business management.
At just 22-years old, Adan had already accomplished a lot toward that career goal. He spent several years in the hospitality business working for hotels, resorts and casinos, advancing from banquet and equipment responsibilities to leading teams of 50-70 other stewards.
As Executive Assistant Steward Adan is currently responsible for producing annual departmental budgets, managing labor and supply costs, determining costs for multiple restaurant operations, developing employee training programs, scheduling vacations for about 42 employees and grooming support staff for advancement. His position holds a lot of responsibility and challenge, but he had his eyes on the long-term role he might play.
Adan’s position in the 24-hour hospitality business meant he would likely never enjoy the benefits of a 9 to 5, weekends off kind of schedule. But where else could he take his talents? “I didn’t necessarily want a cubical job,” he recognized. A friend suggested Adan check out the business program at SJVC.
He phoned SJVC’s Temecula campus and scheduled an appointment with an Admissions Representative. Before Adan even completed the tour of the campus, he knew this was the direction he would go to get where he wanted to be.
“I decided that day,” he remembers. “I had two friends in the program, and it appealed to me that I had people there I knew already.”
The first three months proved more challenging than Adan expected. He knew balancing a full-time job with school would be a stretch, but the reality was more intense than he anticipated. “With my morning classes and work at night, I was getting about four hours of sleep a night,” he remembers. Something had to bend before it was completely broken.
Adan was able to take some of his business classes online to stabilize his time constraints. He worked closely with a faculty member to make certain all program requirements were met. “Tawny Williams really helped in the end for me to finish my courses and checked on me throughout the whole program.”
Adan successfully completed his Business Office Administration program a few weeks ago and has a new appreciation for what he has accomplished and how he reflects his success. He has also come to realize the importance of a mentor, someone who inspires you to greater heights.
Mentorship has become one of the attributes he wants to embody.
“With work you have to deliver on what everyone is expecting of you,” says Adan. “But it’s more than papers and numbers; it’s seeing people instead.” Manuel Zuno, Adan’s predecessor at work, was such a role model and mentor. “He trained me for my leadership role.”
Adan takes the best from all he sees, hears, learns and experiences when he supervises or counsels others.
“It’s people over paper. Don’t base everything off what you see on the computer. Learn to listen. Hear what’s going on in their lives and how you might help them. Don’t just say you have an ‘open door’ policy; let people know you’re going to be there, return their calls and are willing to do that off the clock. That’s what shows you’re a person.”
Adan has worked hard to get to this point of understanding. He has combined formal education and training with life experience and the influence of those he respects and admires. Many strong examples were found right at home.
His parents, Antonio and Eva, are quiet sources of wisdom and encouragement. “They just trust me to figure it out on my own. Whatever I decide, they’re going to support it.”
Adan’s go-to for advice is his older sister, Maria. “She told me that sometimes you have to be the one talking, not just lending your ear.”
Maria taught him something else that is important to making big life choices. “Lots of people get stagnant (with their job), reach a standstill and just give in to that,” says Adan. “Maria has four kids and decided to switch her career. She started at the bottom after ten years as a supervisor. She played her cards and is on her way up again. She shows you instead of telling you.”
Adan has plans to be the very best at what he does for a living. He also has an exit plan. “I want to keep rising in the industry and eventually – I know it’s possible – retire in my early 30s or early 40s. It’s being free and being able to do what you want to do.”
Going back to school to better position himself for early retirement was not an easy experience. But Adan has some hard-won advice for those who might be on that same difficult path and wavering to keep the pace and on track toward completion.
“You can’t put yourself in other people’s shoes every time. But if someone wants to quit because they are bored or think they have better things to do, they have to ask, ‘Did mama raise a quitter?’”
It is a question everyone might need to answer at important times in life. Adan is always ready to answer that one.
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