A female student in front of a college building.
Jethzabel Alonso Hernandez will be the first in her family to graduate college.

More Than Managing: Jethzabel Alonso Hernandez

Management and customer service can take a reserved approach. While business can be flashy and aggressive, a quiet listener can sometimes achieve better results. Jethzabel Alonso Hernandez is just that. The business administration student at Beaufort County Community College puts in the work and wins over customers, all while staying humble.

“I love learning about the world and business,” said Alonso. “It’s good for life, too.”

She started early, participating in both Future Business Leaders of America and Science Olympiad at Northside High School. Her parents were constantly zipping her around the county, but it paid off when Alonso won a medal for Top Ten in Intro to Business Communications at a statewide competition.

When the Pinetown resident graduates in May, she will be the first in her family to graduate college. Her parents are farmers, both working on a hog farm in Pantego, and like so many other immigrant families, they will be happy to see their sacrifices pay off when their daughter walks across the stage.

Alonso hopes to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting, but for now, she needs to work after graduation. With the help of her instructor, Donna Dunn, she already has some job prospects lined up. She thinks her fluency in Spanish will help her in business, with the growing economic power of the Latino community.

She has her eye on working at an insurance agency or as a bank teller. Her sights are set a little higher though, with hopes of rising to management. She is clearly positioned to do so. At her current position as a cashier at Food Lion, she has quickly taken on more responsibility, receiving a promotion after five months to office assistant. She now helps manage and train other cashiers.

Her management technique is a gentle one. When someone shows up late, she talks them through their problem, instead of immediately placing blame.

A diligent student, she will finish the business administration program in just three semesters. She has taken most of her classes online, making only one trip to campus per week.

“It gives me a chance to work and make money. Plus, I get to do them at my own pace,” she said.

Offering tips on how she has succeeded with online classes, she said, “I print out calendars, and I don’t let myself fall behind.” With four or five online classes, she needs to stay organized. A shockingly simple, yet neglected, organizational technique she uses is to set a personal deadline for an assignment that is before the actual deadline.

While she may have started out shy, her business classes have helped her open up. She is also an ambassador for the college, yet another role where she has to be a strong communicator.

“You have to talk to people every day in business,” she relayed, and while that may be true, how people in business communicate varies. Sometimes, the key to making a sale is having an open ear and an encouraging word.