Staff Spotlight: Irene Velasquez
Interview with Irene Velasquez, Membership Associate
Irene started working at the JCC in April 2012 and has been going full force ever since. She started in babysitting and then decided she would like to move into member services. In her second year here, Jeffrey Rips identified her potential and her wonderful ability to shine around people, and she became the customer service lead. Irene was trained on schedule and payroll, and then she became Customer Relations’ Supervisor. In 2013, she became a part of the membership department and she began to do tours and rentals. At the end of 2014, she became the Membership Associate, where she was in charge of tours, member changes, updating member information, in addition to rentals. She also organizes membership fundraisers.
Irene graduated from Long Beach Poly in 2006 and when she was there she took ROP programs which included animal caretaking, child development, and retail merchandising, where she really excelled. This led to her first job at America Eagles Outfitters and then later at JC Penney. She was a retail merchandiser for 6 years. Irene explains, “This training helped me a lot because I was in customer service, and learned how important it is to always be providing good customer service. One of the things I love to see is how engaged the staff is with the members. It’s great to see Jeffrey interacting with the members and guests, and the member relations team always greets people as they come and go. It’s very a very friendly community.”
There are many facets to her job here, and, she says, “I’m really enjoying the rental side of my position at the J. I get to meet a lot of new people and learn something all the time about the community that we serve. There are different religions, different beliefs, and different backgrounds. We recently had an Indian wedding where I learned a lot about that culture. I’m also helping the J build relationships with other organizations such as FoodFinders, the Red Cross, CSULB, and Long Beach Children’s Theater. As sad as it is, I also help with funeral services, and I am glad that I can help the families through a difficult time, and that we are a facility that can accommodate them last minute. We are able to help the community and I enjoy that. There’s so much diversity in the community here. We are building relationships with a lot of different people, and that makes this a great place to work.”