From Call Center Agent to Director of Operations, Veronica DeHerrera Shares Her 27 Years of Insights

By Lyle Weischwill | Mar. 14, 2023 6:05 am PST

My Humble Beginning

Straight out of high school, I began my career with Sears in January 1996 as a front-line telephone sales representative. A typical day started by running up a long flight of stairs to a punch card to clock in for the day. On a small desk, there would be a stack of paper leads to call for the day and a sales quota to go along with it. In my drawer I had a three-ring binder where I would keep my backlog of leads. Our very small office was located in the back corner above the retail store in Salt Lake City, Utah. I worked hard to excel.

Moving Upward

Over the next three years, I was promoted to increasingly important leadership positions from trainer to sales supervisor – all of which introduced me to my love for coaching and mentoring. My ability to paint a picture of success while coaching and making common sense decisions to overcome business challenges is what eventually led to a pivotal moment in my career and life.

I was offered the Sales Development Manager role in Spokane, Washington –working for the first female mentor of my career. While I’ve had many influential mentors throughout my life, she was the one that helped me build my foundational beliefs about leadership and driving performance. She not only taught me the value of teamwork, but also how to appreciate and leverage the diverse skills within a team. She supported and encouraged me to be open and honest with my communication while being self-aware and open to feedback. When she left the company her parting words were “never stop speaking up for what you believe in”. I salute and appreciate this successful woman who invested in me.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have had many impactful mentors throughout the years, all of them helping build me into the leader that I am today.

Now, I strive to help women (and men) thrive in their roles and move up as I did at Sears.

Defining Moments

Great people helped mold me, but situations and scenarios also defined me. From leaving my hometown and core family and friends, to growing roots with my husband and children in Spokane, Washington, I’ve had many challenging situations that have forced me to become confident and natural problem solver.

The most notable obstacles were significant company challenges and changes during 2018, sustaining business execution during COVID-related shutdowns in 2020, and driving business performance in a post-pandemic environment, where many long-standing best practices and customer dynamics had shifted drastically.

These situations and more have challenged me to think creatively – questioning the impossible and finding ways to say yes, let’s do this.

Advice for Professional Women

When offering advice to someone starting their career and aspiring to grow within Sears, I always recommend that they constantly seek feedback. In our company, your peers, mentors, customers and leaders will help teach and develop you to be the leader they need – if you listen.

Surround yourself with people who don’t always agree with you – they will help you learn amazing things. And when you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath because there isn’t anything you can’t work through when surrounded by strong individuals and teams.

I am truly thankful for the many great years working at Sears. This company has not only helped me grow professionally but personally as well. Thank you to everyone who has helped me through this journey. I’m truly honored to work with each and every one of you! Together, we all help make Sears stronger.

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