Monthly Archives: October 2021
Featured Colleague: Irene Acevedo-Melendez – From Student Leader to Champion of the College’s MissionShare
Monday, October 4, 2021
By Jennifer Keefe
You might not recognize Irene Acevedo-Melendez, implementation coordinator, by name, but you will recognize the products of her work. Irene is part of the project management team of the Marketing and Public Affairs department at the College. A self-proclaimed “middle-man and initiator,” she helps to make sure every billboard, bus shelter, and print and digital advertisement for Valencia College ends up in the right place at the right time and looking the way it should. She also helps to identify marketing needs from around the College and then plans the timelines for how those needs will be met from start to finish.
But there’s more to Irene’s story than helping create the plans to recruit students and promote our programs. Irene was once a Valencia student herself. In fact, Irene was the student marketing coordinator for the Financial Learning Ambassadors Program (FLAP). She calls working at Valencia one of her greatest accomplishments.
“When I started working as a student leader, I was very shy, ashamed of my accent and terrified of public speaking. With time, hard work and the support of my colleagues, I am the professional that I am today,” she says.
For the past eight years — which includes her previous roles in advising and international student services — she’s used her own experience as motivation to work behind the scenes to continue the College’s mission of meeting students where they are and helping them to achieve their educational goals.
“I am very proud and honored to have helped countless students and their families from behind the scenes. Over the years, I’ve encountered many students that were struggling with speaking or writing in English and it reminded me of my past self. I hope to be an example that anything is possible with hard work and practice,” she says.
Even though she’s worked on countless projects since starting her role on the Marketing team in 2019, she says she still gets a kick out of seeing the team’s work all around Central Florida.
“It fills me with pride to know how hard our team has worked to develop and support our brand,” she says.
But the College is more than just a brand to Irene, it’s also a family. She notes, “What I like the best about working at Valencia College is how everyone treats each other as a family in my department. We truly look out for each other in every area that we can.”
She’s also really proud of how everyone at the College supported one another through the pandemic.
Irene’s supervisor, Director of Marketing Allie Vatcher, says Irene adds real value to the College’s Marketing team.
“Irene is a kind, compassionate and adventurous person, and she brings all that to the workplace — having a profound impact on our team. She has the ability to see things from the students’ perspective (a lifelong learner herself) and is the first to make a suggestion that would enhance the students’ experience,” Allie shares.
Irene also admires the way the whole College works together to help students.
“I love that we are an institution that gives and believes in second chances,” she explains. “It doesn’t matter your background or how you start but here we motivate others to become the best version of themselves.”
To Irene, Valencia signifies support and new beginnings.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from; you are welcomed here and ‘We Say You Can,’” she exclaims.
When Irene isn’t working to keep the College’s marketing plans on track, she’s seeking out new restaurants to try. She says, “Also, I love going to theme parks, museums, the beach and finding aesthetically pleasing places for inspiration. I also love to support my Kissimmee community by providing food and clothing to those in need through an organization from my church.”
Irene also dabbles in creating social media content for fun and likes to critique different product packaging designs because “presentation is everything!” she says.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.