by Ruth Passo, VEP Board Member and Tutor
Magali and I met a little over three years ago through the VEP program. Her husband, Jose, had been transferred here from Venezuela with SAP, a large German high tech company with US headquarters nearby. Magali had also worked at SAP as a consultant but was not offered a job with the relocation. So, a little after two weeks of moving here, she was actively seeking ways to improve her English skills with an ultimate goal of finding a job here.
While her conversational skills were of a decent intermediate level, she needed more advanced grammatical and vocabulary improvements on both a verbal and written level. We immediately started working on her resume and met at my house two times a week. We bonded immediately and enjoyed each other’s company as well.
Over the next few months, we worked hard. As interview opportunities arose, we practiced and talked about the types of questions that might be posed and appropriate responses. As a result of her serious efforts, she eventually received a great opportunity to interview with WaWa. After a series of contacts, the company requested that she prepare a mock powerpoint presentation to further review her English language capabilities. Also, the company had never hired a foreigner before. Eventually, she was hired.
It is now almost three years since then, and the company has been extremely happy with her performance. Recently, she joined the company’s Diversity Council, which has a greater Philadelphia footprint. The attached picture with Mayor Nutter took place at a recent, annual Diversity Council gala.
As a footnote, Magali and her husband liked my home so much they bought the same model just a block away. And 2 ½ years ago, they had their first child, Valentina, who is my “granddaughter.” We are a very close “family” and have even planned vacations together. The special one-on-one VEP program is more than just an English language program for me. It is a special opportunity to become connected with someone from another culture and to learn a lot about each other in the process.