Esmeralda Juarez: Marketplace Profile
MarketPlace manager and alumna: Driving the Foundation Economy and Student Success
First in her family to attend college, Esmeralda Juarez as a student 16 years ago started working part-time for the Ventura College Marketplace. The Marketplace is a $1.5-million enterprise of the Ventura College Foundation, and generates revenue to sustain Foundation operations and programs. Yet for Esmeralda, Marketplace Manager, it helped support her, and now her family, to achieve lifelong goals.
“Working for the Marketplace and being around the Foundation’s staff was very encouraging,” Esmeralda said. After graduating VC, she continued working at the Marketplace and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne. “The Foundation’s tuition reimbursement allowed me to get my bachelor’s degree.”
She also was promoted to supervisor in charge of 12 employees and 350 vendors. In the last eight years under Esmeralda’s leadership, the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace has doubled the revenue it generates to support the Foundation, helping to cover costs of staff and operations so that 100 percent of donor funds go directly in support of its core programs: scholarships, the VC Promise and the textbook lending support. In addition, the Marketplace revenue allows for the Foundation staff to be able to process donations on behalf of campus programs as well. Many of the VC students who Esmeralda hires are recipients of Promise Program grants funded by the Marketplace.
“Marketplace and the Foundation have had a profound impact on my life. At the Foundation, we say, ‘your dream is our mission,’ and we really take that to heart,” she said. “I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here.” Indeed, while working there she became her family’s first college graduate, and in 2011 she married her long-time boyfriend. In 2012, she and her husband had their first child, and now Esmeralda has a second child who is a year old.
Esmeralda still enjoys her Marketplace career, as it provides for her family, and also enables so many students to receive scholarships, grants and other financial support to achieve their dreams of higher education, just as she achieved her dream.