Woman standing in front of a small waterfall
Powered by People Like Zulema 01/06/2020

Ask staff who work in EWEB's contact center about their best day at work, and you'll lose count of how many times the stories involve Zulema.

Growing up on a nursery in Southern California, Zulema's father taught her the value of energy and water conservation early on.

"We lived on the nursery, and didn't have to pay for the utilities. But, that didn't stop him from reminding us that electricity doesn't grow on trees," laughs Zulema.

At 18, Zulema packed up and headed to Seattle, eventually backtracking a little south settling in Eugene. Wanting to help others, she found herself in a variety of customer service positions and remembers reading a Craigslist ad for a position in EWEB's call center.

"Really, the ad didn't make it sound like a very fun job. Data entry and difficult customer interactions. For some reason I applied anyway. And it turned out, I would find my niche and meet my people here," says Zulema.

That niche and those people were involved with EWEB's limited income programs. Combined with her incredible capacity for empathy and engrained awareness of energy and water conservation, Zulema is a perfect fit for the Customer Service Specialist position she now holds, administering EWEB's Customer Care program.

"It's like the Cinderella's shoe of EWEB," says Zulema. "It's the most fulfilling job I have ever had. I have lived a pretty privileged life. I've never experienced food or home insecurity. Working to help people, who just keep getting hit by life circumstances through no fault of their own..."

With that Zulema trails off as her eyes fill with tears. "I can cry just thinking about it. I am such a sap!" she exclaims.

Zulema's work for the community extends beyond her work with EWEB, not that she will tell you about all of the good she does, which includes routinely volunteering with Egan Warming Center. Spend time with her, and you'll realize it's because she doesn't even recognize it as above-and-beyond, but just what we should do as members of a community-look after those less fortunate or who have fallen on hard times.   

If the heart of an organization can take the form of an employee, EWEB's walking, talking heart just might look like Zulema. When asked what is next for her, Zulema reassures we are not losing this piece of our heart any time soon, "I'm devoted to EWEB and this work. I'm going back to school so I can gain additional skills that will help me champion this work further. "

*Phew.*

Thank you Zulema  for your role in providing customers with vital services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.