Mentoring may be a professional choice or a personal calling. For many, it is a charitable act of “paying it forward.” To Victoria Peralta, encouraging others with purposeful and concrete actions is as innate as breathing; it is instinctive.
Peralta is an application developer and data analyst for Universal Engineering Sciences, Inc. The company, headquartered in Orlando, with offices throughout Florida and Georgia, ranks among the largest, family-owned geotechnical engineering firms in the country.
Born into challenging circumstances in the Dominican Republic and raised by a single parent (her father died when Victoria was five), Peralta has excelled in life, including professionally in a typically, male-dominated career field.
“My beginnings were humble,” Peralta acknowledged. “Throughout my life, my mother mentored me. She was a strong believer in education. Encouraged by her mother, whom she calls “my hero,” Peralta eventually decided to follow a path in computer science.
After college, Peralta collaborated with friends in a startup company developing and implementing insurance software. It resulted in growing one, then two 100-employee firms. “We were all young and ambitious,” Victoria recalled. “At the time, I was fortunate to have bosses as professional and personal mentors. I believe mentoring is a path to professional success and personal growth. I try to pass it to others.”
Her mentors were accessible and helped her navigate different situations. Most importantly, Peralta’s mentors allowed her passage to the front line whenever possible.
Peralta brought her career goals to the United States working first for Hewlett Packard and later in management for several mid-sized companies. Too often, she was the only woman in her department.
“When achieving the level of an application developer and data analyst, you become very involved in the company’s operations,” Peralta said. “Today, management depends on data to discern daily decisions and forecasts. As a woman in this field, it takes a lot to be seen and heard. You must present yourself the way you want to be perceived and treated. Focus
on the work and the result will speak for itself. Be ready to offer feedback, stay the course, and barriers will disappear. You cannot be afraid to speak up and offer opinions.”
Universal Engineering Sciences supports Peralta’s career goals, strengthening her belief that women will continue to play an expanding management role within the firm. Peralta insists mentoring is as vital within the family as it is in the workplace. She is blessed with an encouraging family, including her husband, Jose, a dentist, and two children. Her daughter, Ana, is 26 and works in marketing. Her son, Rafael, is 22 and is a Biomedical Science graduate. “My family supports me 100 percent,” Peralta said. “Whenever a work challenge or concern presents itself, I share my approach and listen to their advice. It is both a teaching and a learning opportunity for me.”
At an early age, Peralta said her mom and a Catholic school environment instilled the belief that “paying it forward” is a privilege and responsibility. Therefore, the busy professional spends a considerable amount of her free time volunteering with local non-profits caring for abused women and providing medical care of underprivileged families.
As for recreation, Victoria’s choice of a participation sport is apropos of her busy life. “I play tennis,” she says, “in a working women’s league.”
Universal Engineering Sciences, Inc. www.universalengineering.com is a consulting engineering firm specializing in geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences, construction materials testing, threshold inspection and building code compliance. In 2016, the family-owned company was ranked Number 210 in Engineer News Record’s Top 500 Design Firms.