Even before she graduated from UD in 2012, Mariana Zayas (BA ‘12) knew that she wanted to work in human resources. “I love people and I really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. Zayas started her HR career on campus as an intern for the UD Office of Human Resources. She said that one of the most valuable parts of the experience was learning important professional skills: “I learned things like how to communicate within the boss/subordinate relationship.”
Zayas was able to translate her HR internship into an entry-level position with Omni Hotels and has since moved up to the role of Corporate Human Resources Manager. “Our employees are spending eight or nine hours a day away from their families,” she said. “So employee relations is the best part of my job because I can help those hard-working people grow.”
Zayas credits the critical thinking skills she developed at UD with helping her hone her ability to communicate professionally. “When I’m in a meeting, I have to listen to what people are saying, then make my case and support my conclusions with facts, just as if I were writing a paper in Lit Trad. UD grads are smart and eager to learn, and they reflect that when they become professionals.”
Alongside her career in HR, another way in which Zayas helps people grow is through her role as president of the Young Catholic Professionals Organization. “YCP brings together everyone from experts to recent graduates,” she said. “We host executive speakers and hold panel events and mixers designed to help you grow a network of friends who share the same values.” You can visit their website here for more information about the organization.
Zayas advises students to say “yes” to opportunities that present themselves: “Get to know your professors. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be ‘that person’ that says ‘yes’ to opportunities and be passionate about what you do.”
Most importantly, Zayas said, is that you love what you do: “Make sure the company you work for is a good fit. And if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll be motivated every single day.”