Mentor Monday: Veronica Dejeu
Veronica Dejeu is Vice President of Operations for Dorinco Reinsurance at The Dow Chemical Company. She joined the company at 27 and hasn’t looked back. She’s forged a career that’s allowed her to live all over the world and move into impactful leadership positions.
Tell us about your current position and some of your day-to-day responsibilities.
I’m transitioning from my prior role as associate director of Corporate Financial Planning where I was responsible for projecting and analyzing the cash flow of the company, looking at the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, analyzing the capital structure, finding efficient ways to repatriate cash from outside the USA and also projecting foreign exchange exposures. My day-to-day was never the same.
I am now starting my new role as Vice President of Operations for our insurance subsidiaries, and I am really excited about the challenge.
What was your first job out of college and how did you land that initial position?
My first job was a finance analyst role in a joint venture between a British and French glass manufacturing company in Argentina. I joined that company through a young professionals program for students in their last semester in University and recent graduates.
What were the most valuable things you learned earlier in your career that you still use today?
One of the early learnings came from my first boss; he taught me that you need to make sure you can explain things in a clear way such that someone who doesn't understand that topic can follow. Don't try to explain methodology just explain simple concepts. I think that focusing on effective communication was a very valuable and useful lesson
What's the biggest challenge you've faced this far in your career? And how did you overcome it?
I changed roles in the middle of my career. I was working in Business Finance and I moved to Customer Financial Services which is the area that manages the credit risk of customers. At the beginning it was challenging to be in a position that was a little more confrontational than what I was used in the past. I got advice from people but I realized I needed to find my own style, I needed to negotiate the way I was comfortable. It took me a month or two, to find my own negotiating style and once I found it, it was great and I still use it all the time. It was a great learning experience but it took me out of my comfort zone at the beginning
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself working for the same company. I like the company I work for. They're very good to me, shares the same values that I have, and provide me with opportunities and challenges to keep growing personally and professionally,
How does having a mentor help you in your career? Is there someone specific that you attribute to being a great mentor for you?
I have never had an official mentor but I’ve had so many people throughout my career that I look up to, they are available when I need some advice, so in a way they act as mentors. Throughout my career, I have had so many people that helped me, gave me good advice, and to me that was very valuable. At different stages, I used the input from different people for different topics.
What would you tell your 24 year old self?
I would give her a lot of encouragement and I tell her, speak up; it took me some time to feel comfortable bringing up my ideas. It happened to me so many times that I was sitting in a meeting and had an idea, and I wouldn't speak up. Then someone else would come up with that same idea, and people would be like “Oh, that's great!”, and I'm thinking “I thought about that before”. With experience and with time I learned to speak up, but early on I wish I would have done that more often.
I'd love to hear more about you outside of your 9 to 5. What are some of your hobbies?
I have two young kids, 3 and 6, and I love to spend time with them, I like to travel and read when I have time. My husband and I are building a house which is an exciting project.