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HSF Leaders

Veronica Castañeda

  • Gender: Female
  • Major: Business Administration
  • University: California State University, Fullerton
  • Undergraduate Degree: Bachelors
  • Hometown: Santa Ana
  • Company: TIAA
  • Position: Sr. Director, HR Business Partner
  • HSF Leadership Role: ; Member, HSF Advisory Council, Denver

Veronica Castañeda has four younger siblings, and was raised in Santa Ana, California. Although her parents did not have the means to pursue a higher education themselves, they inspired her to become the first in her family to earn a college degree, and work toward a professional career. While she was at school, she recounts, her parents spent long hours working in the strawberry and tomato fields, and at night, she would go with them to clean offices. “My promise to them, she says, was “that one day I would work in an office like the ones we were all cleaning at the time.”

Determined to make that promise a reality, she earned an AA in Business from Santa Ana College, before completing her bachelor’s in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Human Resources (HR), at California State University, Fullerton.

Navigating the process of financing her education was a challenge, she recalls. As the eldest of five, she worked to help her parents meet their financial obligations and medical needs, while simultaneously pursuing a degree. She remembers the weeks were often long, and that there were times when she worked through the night alongside her parents, while also attempting to study.

An HSF Scholarship also helped fund her education, and, despite the demands of home and college, she served on campus as President of the HSF Scholar chapter, and also made time to play soccer on a community team.

Veronica went on to fulfill her promise to her parents. She now works in an office as the Sr. Director, HR Business Partner for TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association), where she began her career as an administrative assistant. Through hard work and dedication, she was quickly able to demonstrate her ability, and within less than a year, she was promoted to a position as an HR staffing analyst. “From that point forward,” she says, “I remained curious about the various possibilities in HR, and one role led to another.” In her current role, she oversees all aspects of human resources strategy for two lines of business within the organization, which includes over 800 employees located across the US. Aside from her professional role, she also engages in community volunteer work through TIAA.

Outside of work, she is a member of the HSF Advisory Council in Denver, which she joined in October 2019. She sees HSF as a community of hard-working individuals who are passionate about the advancement of Hispanic students and professionals. She says that she was motivated to join the HSF Council in order to help students and professionals leverage existing networks, while also continuing to expand her own professional network, and strengthen the partnership between her employer and HSF, in order to ensure Scholar access to professional opportunities within TIAA.

She recently attended an HSF LUNA Reception in Denver, and says that it was “wonderful” to hear the stories of those attending and be reminded of the work that HSF is accomplishing. She believes that HSF is “advancing the education, networking, and resources” available to the Hispanic community in the US, enabling more students to graduate from college, and creating greater representation and diversity across all industries and professions.

Veronica, who is a 2017 TIAA Emerging Leader Program Graduate and a 2019 Nominee for the Downtown Denver Leadership Program, credits perseverance, a strong work ethic, gratitude, empathy, and an open mindset to learning, for her success. She advises students and young professionals, to “remain curious, ask questions, leverage your network and resources, and always be yourself.”