Editor’s note: Jessica L. Castro is the human resources manager at Harvest Christian Academy.
Prior to the academy, Castro served as a financial advisor for First Command Financial Services from July 2012 to June 2017, as director of participant development from June 2006 to April 2012 and marketing manager from June 2004 to June 2006 at ASC Trust Corp., as a client associate at Merrill Lynch from December 1998 to December 2003, as a flight attendant/ticket counter agent for Pacific Island Aviation from December 1996 to December 1998 and as a VIP concierge at Hyatt Regency Guam from August 1994 to December 1996.
Castro is president of both the Guam Council of Women’s Clubs and Soroptimist International of the Marianas.
She attended the University of Guam for two years and holds certifications in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority National Association of Securities Dealers Series 6, 63 and 65, as well as a Life & Health certification.
Q: What qualities would make a person suited for the human resources profession?
A: This profession demands a high level of interpersonal skills, integrity and dedication to confidentiality. Having an understanding of the business management, finance and accounting that your employer is engaged in is also essential to being effective in your role.
Q: At a school you deal with a variety of different stakeholders — faculty and staff, parents and, of course, the pupils. Is your HR training of help in such a situation or is it managerial skills that are required?
A: As the human resources manager at Harvest Christian Academy, my main role is to provide support and guidance to our faculty and staff. With my past experience working at financial institutions, I’m able to bring 20 years of managerial experience to the table.
Q: What are the attractions of joining community service organizations such as Soroptimist and the Guam Council of Women’s Clubs?
A: Joining community service organizations can open up opportunities to build and nurture a professional network. You would no doubt gain valuable skills and learn more about the world around you.
Q: You are now president of those two non-profits on Guam. How are they different and how are they similar?
A: Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that improves the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. The Guam Council of Women’s Club is the umbrella organization of 14 women’s clubs on Guam.
As a member of Soroptimist, you must be a woman (or man) working in a profession, business or hold responsibilities of those working in a profession or business with a desire to help women and girls. In order to become a member of GCWC, you must have served at least one term as president in one of the 14 women’s clubs.
Both organizations support the advancement of women and girls through charitable contributions and provide encouragement of service to our island community.
Q: Both non-profits are high profile and have active calendars. How do you balance their demands with a full professional and family life?
A: For me personally, trying to juggle the demands of a career, charity work and a personal life can be a challenge if I don’t have a plan to help me maintain focus. In addition to serving in non-profit organizations, I’m a mother of three biological children and a foster parent to four of our island’s children. Keeping track of all seven children takes a lot of care and attention to detail. One of the first things that I do to maintain focus is log all family and business events on a weekly calendar and keep a daily checklist close by. I find that setting alarms on my smartphone for significant activities also keeps me on track. This system helps to prioritize my schedule and allows me to shift any unfinished items to tackle the next day.
Q: There are a huge number of non-profits on Guam. How does a non-profit keep relevant, change with the community and engage not only its membership but potential sponsors and donors?
A: I would have to say that communicating with people in a way that is meaningful to them would help keep a non-profit organization relevant. It would also be advantageous to make content available to their target audience by connecting through social media platforms. How you act and where you appear will help to get the mission across.
Q: What resources outside of the two local groups do you look to for organizational wisdom and to keep the clubs abreast of what is happening in the non-profit field?
A: With all the abrupt changes happening in our modern society, it can make a person’s head spin if one is not careful. So when it comes to any kind of wisdom, the first thing I reach for is God’s word to keep me grounded. This brings me clarity and peace, which allows me stay keen to all the resources around me.
Q: What advice would you give somebody aiming to join an organization, but who doesn’t know where to start in selecting one?
A: Align potential organizations with values that are important to you. Ask yourself if you want to impact local, national or international issues. Knowing your interests would help you choose the right cause. Once you’ve selected an organization, continue to follow their progress, continue to learn about them and most importantly continue to invest in them. mbj