Xochitl Velazquez, 29
Assistant director, Washington Apple Education Foundation
After graduating from Eastmont High School and Wenatchee Valley College in 2009, Xochitl Velazquez went on to attend Gonzaga University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 2012, and the following year earned a master of business administration degree.
She started her career at Goodale & Barbieri Co., a Spokane property management firm, as an office coordinator, residential assistant and later a commercial property assistant.
About four years ago she accepted a job as a lender at Cashmere Valley Bank, a move that allowed her to return to the Wenatchee Valley to be closer to family. Once here, she got involved in the community, joining the board of the NCW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and stepping up her volunteer efforts with the Washington Apple Education Foundation.
The nonprofit foundation provides scholarships and career preparation resources to college-bound students from the state’s tree fruit regions. She had received a renewable WAEF scholarship that helped fund her college career and, after graduating, started volunteering to help others with the process. Her volunteer efforts included helping with scholarships selections, serving as a mentor at WAEF events and facilitating summer workshop sessions. She was named WAEF Alumni Volunteer of the year in 2018.
In September 2019, she accepted the post of assistant director at the WAEF. Her focus is now on coordinating events for current college scholarship recipients and working with volunteers to fulfill the foundation’s goal of its students graduating on-time, career ready. This spring, she adapted WAEF events to move from in-person to virtual settings to help make sure students did not get behind on their education dreams and career goals despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: Attending and graduating from college is one of my greatest accomplishments since I am a first-generation college student.
One of my passions is helping students achieve their dream of pursuing higher education, which led me to join the Washington Apple Education Foundation as the assistant director in September 2019. Most of the work I do is centered around student stewardship to help students graduate on time and prepare for their future careers. I enjoy planning social and professional networking events, checking in with students and coordinating career development activities.
Q: Who or what inspires you to be successful?
A: My family has been my inspiration from a very young age. Growing up, I remember my parents working long hours and at times seven days a week. They inspire me to be dedicated, hard-working and grateful. Setting a positive example for my younger brother also gives me purpose and drive to continue growing personally and professionally. My brother is now in college and, though I don’t see him often since he is studying in Texas, I try to help him pave his way to a successful future.
Being a successful and accomplished individual is my way of giving back to my family for their continuous love and support.
— Nevonne McDaniels,