Coworker Corner: Edgar Zavala

Coworker Corner: Edgar Zavala

During his three years at Mercy Home, Edgar Zavala has not hesitated to get involved. In addition to his role as a data entry operator, he is also a liaison for our Associate Board and helps set up celebrations for events like LatinX Heritage Month.

With such a commitment to our mission, you may be surprised to hear that Edgar had never heard of Mercy Home before getting the job here. He became connected with Mercy Home after completing the Year Up program.

“I first got involved with [Year Up] when I was in college,” he said. “I wanted to study education, but right before I applied to the college of education, I [decided] it wasn’t for me anymore. Somebody had recommended Year Up, where they do a whole year of training for jobs that are in demand. So I did it, I gave myself a year off school [and then] went to Year Up.”

The Year Up program was evolving when Edgar joined it and had recently expanded to include training in fields like IT, finance, cybersecurity, and project management. He decided to focus on project management, and started an internship at US Foods, where he worked in the human resources and IT departments. When he completed the program, Edgar immediately was on the lookout for career opportunities. When a former Mercy Home coworker recommended a job in data entry here to him, he did a quick Google search and was ready to join the team.

As a data entry operator, Edgar works in a software program called Portfolio to update our donors’ profiles and make sure it’s always up to date with contact information. He also makes sure to direct questions and communications from our donors to the proper channel, whether it be Fr. Scott Donahue or our donor relations department. He also helps out in caging, which is where our physical donations go after arriving at the Home. In addition to handling the cash and checks Mercy Home receives, he also makes sure that letters receive acknowledgements so that our donors always know how appreciated they are.

“I like how every day is a different thing,” he said. “I’m never stuck doing the same thing for eight hours. One day I could be working on the bigger acknowledgements, while other days I could be working on making sure the emails for a donor who chose to send in gifts online are up to date.”

I’m never stuck doing the same thing for eight hours. One day I could be working on the bigger acknowledgements, while other days I could be working on making sure the emails for a donor who chose to send in gifts online are up to date.

As with all departments at Mercy Home, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the “business as usual” routine in data entry.

“The pandemic surprisingly has made us extremely busy,” he said.

“[Because of the pandemic], we’ve encouraged donors to give electronically as opposed to cash or check. So we have to make sure that their acknowledgements either go directly to their email address or, if they request something mailed to them, we set it up.”

Data entry also has the distinction of being the first department to move to working from home when COVID-19 forced most of our employees to stay home.

“IT and [Vice President/CFO of Finance, HR, and Facilities] Cheryl [Murphy] asked us if we could be the guinea pigs to test out [how it would work] so in case things went from bad to worse, they would get a feeling of what they should improve [in the work from home experience].”

Another area the pandemic has affected is how Mercy Home connects with our boards. Edgar became a liaison of the Associate Board shortly before our Home had to adjust the way we hold events and meetings for our board members. But pandemic or not, he was always excited to be part of interacting with our board.

“I didn’t hesitate to join,” he said.

Edgar’s first event with the Associate Board was the March for Kids Kickoff, one of the last in-person get togethers our Home held. Now that things have moved to virtual events, he is still enjoying getting to know our board members and being part of the process of transitioning to a new way of doing things.

“We’re trying to create a whole new type of environment or a whole new type of experience for us to fundraise and bring awareness to the Home,” he said.

He is also looking forward to planning more events to celebrate LatinX Heritage Month with our kids in person, even if that can’t happen this year. He noted how much he enjoyed working with Manager of Spiritual Development Marc Velasquez and other coworkers to put together events that celebrate Mercy Home’s diversity with our boys and girls.

We’re trying to create a whole new type of environment or a whole new type of experience for us to fundraise and bring awareness to the Home.

Edgar’s great attitude, even in the midst of change, is highly representative of what he likes most about Mercy Home.

“[My favorite thing about working here] is the fact that we’re all positive, there’s never that one day where somebody is in a bad mood and simply shuts another person down,” he said. “So I guess the environment, even with all the different departments, we all work together.”

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