Berkeley Today Stories

Berkeley College alumna Nancy Robles-Guess

Graduate Overcomes Personal Obstacles to Succeed in Management

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Berkeley College alumna Nancy Robles-Guess

 

At the age of 7, Nancy Robles-Guess moved from Costa Rica to Paterson, NJ, with her mother. She struggled with poverty and an abusive relationship that left her discouraged and alone with three children. Through it all, Ms. Robles-Guess found an opportunity to provide for her kids and change her life by enrolling at Berkeley College.

Crediting Berkeley College for helping her build self-confidence, Ms. Robles-Guess graduated with an A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies in 2000, and went on to earn her B.S. in Business Administration – Management in 2004. “The staff at Berkeley was phenomenal,” Ms. Robles-Guess said. “It was a tough transition for me because I was the first person in my family to go to college and I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I was the only sibling of the three to graduate high school, so college seemed unattainable at one point.”

Ms. Robles-Guess got her professional start at Fleet Healthcare, while still an undergraduate student, and continued rising the career ladder. She is currently the Vice President of Operations and Compliance Officer for Eastern Funding, LLC.

Motivated to continue building a better life for herself and family, she again returned to school to earn an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. “It took me six and a half years to get my M.B.A.,” Ms. Robles-Guess said. “During that time, I got married, had two more kids and several promotions at work, making school a tough commitment. However, I finally graduated in December 2013.”

Berkeley College 85th anniversary success story
Up Close with Nancy Robles-Guess

What does success mean to you?

It means breaking down barriers for women and minorities.

What initially inspired you to enroll in Berkeley College?

A need to provide for my kids when I was a single mom and the convenience the school offered for adult students.

How did Berkeley College prepare you for success?

I met incredible professors who went out of their way to help me grow and develop a good understanding of my industry. The administrative staff was very supportive and encouraged me to continue to stay focused and get more involved. I was the President of the Paralegal Club and other student government associations. I developed leadership skills and, most importantly, developed self-confidence. My experience at Berkeley College was like no other academic experience I’d had to date.

In which way(s) do you see yourself being successful in the future?

My future success will be measured by how I give back to my community. I grew up in Paterson, NJ, after coming to this country as an immigrant when I was 7. I feel a sense of responsibility to my community to help young people who have never seen success or feel that success is unattainable the way I did. I would like to mentor young minority students to grow their awareness and the drive needed to break the cycle of poverty.

What advice would you offer today’s college-bound students?

A degree is a must. Hard work does pay and a sense of entitlement will get you nowhere. Work ethic and a sense of self-awareness are essential to be successful and feel good about who you are.

What was your most memorable moment at Berkeley College?

My most memorable moment at Berkeley College was a conference of speakers I helped put together regarding domestic violence. With support from the Paralegal Department Chair and the Victim Advocacy Unit of Passaic County, we put together a great event that reached many students. I was the President of the Paralegal Club at the time. It gave me an opportunity to put my leadership skills to use and make a difference in a few lives. A student told me at a later date that we saved her life that day. She got a restraining order and removed herself from an abusive situation.

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