Behind the Resume #19 – Winnie Corral-Peña

Winnie Corral-PenaWhat is your title at EvCC, and what will you be doing in your day-to-day endeavors at the College?

My new position is Program Manager in the Transitional Studies Division. Right now, I am in the process of learning what my day-to-day endeavors will be. However, I know that it involves working with the great team already there to ensure that students and prospective students leave with their questions answered, smiles on their face and hopefully great plans on how to reach their goals.

On a cruise in Alaska with my husband, Dan

Tell us a little about your professional background.

I have worked many years in the community. Community outreach and making sure that everyone has opportunity to reach their personal goals is my passion. For the past 15 years, I worked in Social Services as a Family Support Center Director. Before that, I was a foster care licensor. I love working in the community and making sure that people get their needs met. Finding ways to make the system work for people is exciting! Working with diverse cultures is fun and rewarding. I love learning about how people see the world.

What was your first job?

My very first job was in an actuarial accounting firm during the summer between high school and college. The days were so long. I spent all day either on a ten key adding columns of figures, or filing. I remember I would hum to myself out of boredom.

Another picture from the Alaska cruise
Another picture from the Alaska cruise

What does a typical day look like for you?

Right now, a typical day means I come in at 8 am, and everyone I work with has been great! I am really excited about learning how to do my job well. Then, I go home to my husband, Dan. We frequently cook together. I like relaxing in the evening; reading, watching TV, listening to music or talking with friends. I am involved in a number of community activities, so just relaxing is always fun.

Describe yourself at 10 years old.

At ten years old I was skinny, quiet, & shy. I was a voracious reader, and I think I was really clumsy. I remember lots of scrapped knees. I loved talking with my mom, spending summer vacations in San Francisco with my grandmother, listening to music, and taking long walks. I have 5 younger sisters and 1 younger brother. It was a busy family in a small town in California.

My grandmother, Marie with me
My grandmother, Marie with me

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

My husband is the one thing I can’t live without. He makes me laugh, and I love to laugh! He is also great at putting things in perspective. We have been married 22 years.

Are you messy or organized?

I am an organized messy person. At home, I keep public areas organized, my closet organized, but my desk and my car are pretty messy.

My in-laws, husband and me
My in-laws, husband and me

What is the most important/valuable thing you have learned in the last five years?

The most important thing I have learned in the last 5 years is to let go. I am a recovering control freak, currently working on not being responsible for the world. Oddly enough, it gets along just fine without me.

What’s on your bucket list?

My bucket list includes: a trip to Spain, and three months in Manhattan eating my way from one end of the Island to the other, cooking school in Tuscany, a beach in Fiji, hiking part of the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu, Uruguay, Argentina and a lot more snorkeling. I have always wanted to sky dive, but don’t know if I would still do it, at least not alone.

What is your favorite hobby or pastime?

I enjoy gardening, cooking, traveling, reading and learning something new; life is too short to pick just one!

Visiting a Greek Orthodox Monestary in the Tuscan, AZ area
Visiting a Greek Orthodox Monestary in the Tuscan, AZ area

What are you reading right now/ what was the last book you read? Are you participating in any reading challenges?

On my night table: “Viva Vegan”, “Death of a Dustman”, “Lord of the Wings” and “Salsa, Soul and Spirit”. I love Agatha Christie, M. C. Beaton and other writers of homey mysteries. No reading challenges. I just do it for fun and learning.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see? Why?

No historical event in particular, but I would go for a future event, first landing on Mars, seeing other galaxies, etc. I am fascinated by space exploration. I really wanted to be the first woman on the moon just to be able to look back at the earth.

My husband, Dan, and me in Victoria
My husband, Dan, and me in Victoria

Where is your hometown? Were you born and raised in the same place?

I consider Arcata, CA my home town. I was born in El Progreso, CA. My family immigrated to the United States when I was 3 years old.

How many homes have you lived in since you were born?

I have lost track of the number of homes I have lived in….it is a lot.

If your life were a book, what would it be titled?

If my life were a book I would call it “Choices.”

Do you have a favorite quote/ piece of advice?

My all time favorite quote is from Auntie Mame, “Life is banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” I saw the movie when I was a kid, and it stuck with me. Life really is a banquet; sometimes we just forget we have choices.

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