Featured Colleague — Valentina Calabrese Johnson

valentina-johnson-fc-grove

By Laura Knight

Valentina Calabrese Johnson, purchasing agent in the Procurement Department, moved to the United States from Italy in 2004. At the time, her husband was the only person she knew here. Now, after over nine years of working at Valencia, her coworkers have become good friends and even like family to her. “I’ve felt very welcome from the beginning, [I] never felt any different because I was coming from another country,” she reflects.

Valentina’s journey at Valencia began in May 2004, when she was hired as a staff assistant in the Business, IT and Public Services Department. Some tasks she handled in that role included preparing an inventory of available textbooks for faculty members, ensuring that students were getting the correct books for their classes and textbook orders for faculty members. Completing these tasks with professionalism is something that she took pride in and highlighted in her work history.

The professionalism she brought to her job as a staff assistant was not unnoticed – in July 2005, she was promoted to staff assistant II in the Plant Operations Department. Her new position gave her the opportunity to continue to build strong relationships with staff and vendors while interacting with them through daily customer service.

In addition to developing those relationships, Valentina was given a variety of administrative duties to help keep the plant operations office running efficiently. As a staff assistant II, she was a caretaker for financial tasks too, and routinely reviewed and approved procurement card purchases, created requisitions for supplies and materials, prepared budget reports and funds transfers and tracked and reconciled bills.

In January 2011, after almost six years as a staff assistant II in the Plant Operations Department, Valentina was offered a position as office supervisor III in that same department. As an office supervisor III, she was responsible for the administration of three plant operations offices on East, West and Osceola Campuses. Her focus was to ensure that day-to-day clerical and secretarial functions were completed and that these departments were running seamlessly on each of those campuses.

After a short, but impactful stint as an office supervisor III, in September 2013, Valentina transitioned to her new job as a purchasing agent in the Procurement Department.

“I am delighted to have Valentina as part of the Procurement team. Working closely with her when she worked in plant operations, I was able to determine her excellent customer service with people, her dedication to her job, the fact that she could quickly solve issues and her willingness to learn new things. These attributes and more were the reasons why I knew Valentina would make a great purchasing agent,” shares Mary Ellen Davies, procurement operations manager.

Valentina explains that her new role as a purchasing agent focuses on reviewing and analyzing requisitions and vendor quotations to create purchase orders, developing specifications for invitations to bid and request for proposals. She is now also responsible for training College staff in Banner – a new opportunity that she is excited to begin..

“Being involved in training is a new thing to me. As an office supervisor, of course, I trained new-comers to the plant operations office, but now part of my job in procurement will be exclusively related to training employees in Banner. That is very exciting for me, because of the direct contact I will have with employees from all areas of the College and for the possibility of traveling between campuses on a regular basis. “

Valentina is motivated to make an impression in her new position as a purchasing agent. She explains that in her years working at Valencia she has been inspired by the bosses she has worked for because they showed “impeccable service and dedication.”

“After several years in plant operations and now in procurement, I can say I am proud and grateful for the professional growth opportunities the College offers to its employees. I am very excited about working as a purchasing agent now and being able to look at certain processes from a different angle, bringing the experience I’ve had as an end user with the knowledge and the abilities I’m learning now to serve the College better.”

As someone who moved to the United States less than a decade ago and has managed to build a successful career– Valentina embodies opportunity, not only as an American citizen, but as a Valencia employee, too. She has a wide-ranging view of Valencia’s role in the community, and she expresses, “I think Valencia provides a great reference point for the community, it empowers students…[by] offering them different tools to achieve. I think it’s a wonderful mission.”

Valentina attended the Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli L’ Orientale in Naples, Italy, where she earned a master’s degree in international relations and political science and graduated magna cum laude.

Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so he or she can be one of our featured colleagues!

4 Comments

  • Jennyly Charriez said:

    Congratulations Valentina!

    PMTue, 15 Oct 2013 19:14:03 +0000Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:14:03 +0000pm13,7:14 pm

  • Lily said:

    So proud of you!

    AMWed, 16 Oct 2013 07:42:33 +0000Wed, 16 Oct 2013 07:42:33 +0000am13,7:42 am

  • joseantoniopalau said:

    Awesome Valentina! Tanti Auguri!!!

    AMThu, 24 Oct 2013 10:36:18 +0000Thu, 24 Oct 2013 10:36:18 +0000am13,10:36 am

  • Valentina Johnson said:

    Grazie!

    PMThu, 24 Oct 2013 13:25:16 +0000Thu, 24 Oct 2013 13:25:16 +0000pm13,1:25 pm

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