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Hispanic Heritage Month Profile: Noodle Enrollment Coordinator, Carolina Velez

October 3, 2022

Get to Know Noodle’s Enrollment Coordinator, Carolina Velez

“Showing up authentically and being able to adapt has helped me support the success of my team.”

‍Carolina Velez is Noodle’s Enrollment Coordinator. Her father immigrated from Colombia and her mother is a first generation daughter from Colombian and Cuban parents. Carolina was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and received her degree in Management and Marketing from Menlo College. Education holds a high value in her life and she believes it is a basic human right for any person to receive an education. She learned from her Cuban grandfather that people can take away many things, but the knowledge one has is priceless and can never be taken away. Now here at Noodle, Carolina supports the Enrollment team and Noodle’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) Employee Resource Group through showing up authentically and utilizing empathy, honesty and passion through her leadership.

‍What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?

‍Many variations of different elements and traits make a great leader. Personally, I hold 3 traits in high esteem: empathy, honesty, and passion. First, empathy, because no one cares about other things if you can’t relate or listen. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Next, honesty, because transparency leaves any matter crystal clear. No one likes to be lied to. Lastly, passion, because what is life without some spice? People love to be inspired by things that others are passionate about. Passion drives people to change the world!

‍When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?

‍My answer may be simple, but it would be my mom. There is not one thing I have seen my mom go through and not overcome. She is not only a super mom, but she has also excelled in her career throughout my life. She is a woman admired by so many—always putting others before herself. She not only embodies my top 3 leadership traits (empathy, honesty, and passion) but she is patient, yet firm; direct, but not mean and always is the first to play devil’s advocate.

‍How has your personal leadership style evolved?

‍I would say I have become more outspoken and involved in conversations where in the past, I would have usually kept quiet. I became a co-lead of Noodle’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) ERG all because I was involved and reached out as a volunteer. I never thought I would be asked to be a part of leading it, but I often think stepping out of my comfort zone has yet to fail me.

‍What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.

‍Growing up in a multicultural home has quite the advantages. Between all the yelling in English, Spanish and Spanglish—there were few things that ever got lost in translation. I learned that working hard is a must—either do it 100% or don’t do it at all. Also, if you are able to help someone then you should because one day you may need help yourself. My parents played a huge part in instilling these core values in me. I also must thank being an athlete from the age of 5  through college for my discipline and work ethic. I have had the opportunity to work in leadership with the American Red Cross, which gave me big responsibilities to help  foster how I lead in diversity. Ultimately, I started my first “real job” in real estate and ended up receiving a full-time job with Noodle when I had only interviewed for an internship. The best things in life arrive unexpectedly.

‍How do you support the success of your team?

‍Showing up authentically and being able to adapt has helped me support the success of my team and of course all the other university teams that I support daily. The Enrollment Ops slogan is “Every school is different” because we are constantly learning and adjusting what we do to better support the Enrollment Department. My team is literally jam-packed with All-Stars, super talented, and just incredible people all around. When one of us succeeds, the entire team does.

‍Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places or experiences.

‍I have been very fortunate to visit many countries, learn about many cultures and meet some incredible people. In my first year in college, I had one roomie from Sweden and another one from South Africa. Little did I know how much I would learn from them both. I think having spontaneous travels and conversations with people I didn’t know or would never see again unlocked a new way of viewing the world for me. Traveling has allowed me to connect with many people and enhance my communication skills. Every person has a story to tell and sometimes if you just listen, they’ll tell you without you having to ask.

‍What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?

‍I have worked with both great and horrible leaders. When I think of the leader I am or strive to be, I always like to reflect on whether I do things that I would dislike if the shoe was on the other foot. Nothing is more humbling than realizing you would dislike yourself too if you weren’t leading. I believe genuinely caring about the conversations one has and time spent with others is invaluable. Nobody’s time is more valuable than yours or vice versa. Communication has become one of my strongest skills in my tool kit because so many issues and solutions are resolved just by having a quick chat. It is so simple and I think many overlook it.

‍Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.

‍When I was 8, I fractured 2 fingers playing tetherball because I completely missed the ball and punched the pole. I got out of doing schoolwork for 2 weeks because I couldn’t write!

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