In an interview for the Lead(H)er series with VentureFizz, our Regional Vice President of Sales Hayley Islas-Wolf covered a wide range of topics about her professional career and gave us a glimpse into her personal achievements, too.
Below is a glimpse of the topics covered and the full article can be found here.
Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I was always fiercely independent, loved the arts, was a social butterfly and an achiever. I could be found making art, playing the piano, singing, dancing, and working with my dad around the house on projects. I am the middle child between two sisters. With a family legacy in the entertainment industry, I had thought I would end up in that world, but I instead made my own path.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I was an Interpersonal Communication major with a minor in Music at California State University Long Beach. I worked throughout college and held several internships, but my first job post graduation was at Deutsch, an advertising agency in LA. I was a human resources assistant and started hiring for all of the entry level jobs at the agency and running the internship program along with making lots of copies and filling. I quickly realized that human resources was not where I was going to stay and somehow stumbled into working on a college campus.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I don’t know if I had a particular goal of being an RVP early on in my career, but as I found my direction and what I was passionate about, it makes sense. I love solving problems and thinking creatively – ultimately helping others achieve their goals and dreams. Technology and strategy removes barriers and enhances the human element. I love the consulting side of my job – using what I have spent my career doing and helping colleges and universities at a much larger scale and then I also love my team. It is also fun to be a part of our company’s strategies and helping to voice the staff and customers voices in the process. I knew I would be in leadership and use my people and technical skills in a role, so though I may not have known I would be a Regional Vice President at a large technology company, I knew the skills and goals I had that align with my current role.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
Working in the technology space in higher education can be challenging and my career in higher education prior as I am an innovator and often like to see results quickly. Higher education can oftentimes feel like a very big ship that take a very long time to turn. I guess it is also part of the thrill, when you can be a part of that change, but change moves slowly. I truly believe in the work we are doing. Whether I was in my roles as a Director of Admissions or now as a Regional Vice President helping Higher Education Administration and end users serve students better, we are indirectly and directly helping set up the future generation. I am also very passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion. It was a very large focus in all of my roles on campuses and I think even if technology or consulting can bring down some of the barriers or biases, then we are winning. That is meaningful work!