Age- 29 and 11 months 🙂
Home town- Queens, NY
Current town- Queens, NY
I am meeting life long New Yorker Veronica near Gramercy park, after her day of volunteering at neighborhood animal shelter.
Hey, so what are you up to right now in your life?
I’m currently taking a break from work, and exploring myself and my options. I have been working full time for the last 8 years (fashion and events industry) so I haven’t had the opportunity to do anything like this before. So I am just using this free time to find my true passions in life and focus on me.
What lead you to your career in the fashion and events industry?
I actually grew up as a dancer so I’ve always been involved in the arts. Growing up in New York I was constantly surrounded and inspired by this creative environment. However later on I found out my body couldn’t handle dancing full time anymore so I shifted gears to fashion which I always loved. Upon graduation from LaGuardia high school I went to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and studied Fashion Merchandising. Funny enough I was actually waitlisted at FIT and was planning to go to Stony Brook. I had my dorm and roommate organized (located in Long Island) and a week before I was supposed to pack up and go, FIT called and said I was in. I would have probably studied something else at Stony Brook like business or marketing. So it’s interesting how things can change last minute. Also at the start of school I thought I wanted to be a buyer. But I soon realized number crunching wasn’t quite my thing, and it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, so I shifted gears and leaned towards the communications route. Ultimately I landed some really cool internships at Elle Magazine and Prada. Then close to graduation during my senior year a guest speaker came to my class and spoke to us about her work experience. She was a former FIT student who worked for EILEEN FISHER and after she spoke, she asked us if anyone was interested in working for EF and I raised my hand. Later, I sent in my resume, had 3 interviews and a month after graduating I had a job. I worked there for 7 years and it was a wonderful experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better job and I almost felt a little spoiled because I had a lot of other friends who shared horror stories about their first jobs. I was definitely very grateful for a pleasant work environment that was filled with positivity, good work life balance and where everyone had a voice regardless of title.
Did you have a hard time picking a career?
Well when I first started at EILEEN FISHER, it wasn’t necessarily a path I had set out to take, but now I’m so happy I did. It just reinforced that I did love working in special events and everything that comes along with that sort of job. But now that I’m not working I’m definitely taking a step back and reassessing what I want in a career. So it’s funny because I remember at the time I was really happy but now that I’ve been reflecting on things, I do maybe want to try new path and see what else is out there for me.
Any advice for young women considering a similar career or unsure what direction to take in their lives?
I would say be open to any opportunity that comes your way, have an open mind and try to stay positive. Think that any experience is a good experience. In this industry they say your network is your net worth so it’s really important to speak up and put yourself out there. Things don’t just won’t fall into your lap so you really need to pursue it and be proactive.
So tell me about your volunteering at this animal shelter? What got you started?
I love animals and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a nice way to give back but I’m also learning a lot about myself too and it’s something I love doing. It’s an animal shelter primarily servicing dogs and of course I fell in love and had my heartbroken by one dog already. Her name is Tootsie and unfortunately she was adopted but I’m happy she is with a family and new home. It was hard though because it was my 2nd week volunteering and I just fell in love with her instantly. Every week I would see her, play with her, and I would go home and tell my boyfriend and my mom about her. My boyfriend is allergic to dogs but even he said “screw it just get her!”. It was during this time I was going away to Mexico for a trip and I said if she is still there when I get back I am going to adopt her. And when I returned she had been adopted. So selfishly I felt she should have been with me, but I’m happy she found a forever home. There was just something special about her.
What was it like growing up in Queens and in New York in general?
I loved growing up as a New Yorker. I feel like NYC kids mature quickly, are self-sufficient and independent. New York is a big melting pot of different nationalities and cultures, so growing up I had friends from Ecuador, China, Russia and France, among so many other countries. I don’t think you can find that type of diversity anywhere else in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want my kids (one day) to grow up in NY too.
How was it going to the famous LaGuardia High School?
LaGuardia was amazing, it kind of ties into the whole diverse environment thing. Going to a city school where everyone had a talent was really special. It was so nice to be around that energy, creativity and passion. There’s a girl that I was a dance major with who now works at the school and posts videos of the students. Watching them I think wow that was me back then! It was just a really unique environment and magical place.
Do you think you’re a lot like a Leo?
Yes and no. More yes than no because I am a little dominant, with a powerful voice and opinion but I also think I’m timid sometimes. I have a core group of girlfriends and most of us are actually Leos. We always lean on each other so you can say we definitely work together like a lion pack.
What career change are you exploring?
I still love event planning and I will always love fashion but maybe doing events in a different setting like entertainment, music or sports would be my next step. I’m really open right now and I would never turn down any opportunity so it could be anything. I think I had a good run in fashion and I may end up still working in that field, but I am interested in trying something new. I am almost 30 and I may have a family soon and sometimes in the fashion industry people pressure you to make your job your life. I need some normalcy in my life to be a better worker, provider to my family and ultimately myself.
Do you have a favorite country or place to visit?
My favorite country I always like going back to is Romania, seeing my roots it’s always nice. I used to go more often but I don’t have any more living relatives there so I miss it. Just seeing where my parents came from, my heritage and origins it’s really amazing. Life there is a bit more simple (nothing like New York), and sometimes I am little sad going there but I feel more connected.
Do you think your parents are happy they immigrated?
Yes, New York was a beacon of hope to them. They grew up in communist Romania. America was definitely the land of opportunity for them but it was hard of course.
Do you have plans for the summer?
I would love to travel a little locally and just visit my favorite cities in the US. Some long weekend trips to Hudson Valley and upstate New York would be nice. I love summers in New York actually, it can be a bit of an exodus because everyone is away or out in the Hamptons but I like the summer in the city. Lots of fun beach trips and just enjoying all the things New York has to offer.
Thank you Veronica for this wonderfully sweet and honest interview, you inspire me so much by your inner strength and your vivacious energy shines through in every way.