Veronica Urzua-Alvero, Vice Chairman
Senior Director of HR and Risk Management, Church Brothers
Having worked her way up through the ag industry for the past 25 years, Veronica Urzua knows a thing or two about what impacts agribusiness operations and motivates people. As Senior Director of Human Resources & Risk Management for Church Brothers, one of the industry’s leading produce companies, she plays a unique and dynamic role on the executive team that includes strategy development, crisis management, employment relations, compliance, benefits, insurance, safety and risk management.
With such a range of responsibilities, to say there’s never a dull moment on the job would be an understatement. “It truly is a unique and exciting position with an employee-owned company,” says Veronica. “It’s a lot of work, and I’m at the office by 6 a.m. most mornings, but I really love what I do.”
Growing up in an ag family in Salinas, California, Veronica credits her parents with giving her a deep understanding and respect for the business, including the value of hard work, goal-setting and achievement. They are valuable lessons that continue to benefit her today.
They also helped inspire her passion for finding effective solutions to the broader challenges facing agribusiness. It’s a passion she shares with the leadership and staff of UnitedAg, and the reason she serves as Treasurer of UnitedAg’s Board of Directors. Effective January 2018, she will begin a yearlong term as Vice Chair of the Board.
“I’ve served on other agriculture industry boards and committees, and support my local industry associations such as Grower-Shipper, AgSafe, and APMA. Currently, UnitedAg is only board I’m serving on due to my work demands,” she says. “With UnitedAg, I feel I’m receiving as much as I give, which is important as I continue to grow and improve, both professionally and personally. We share a desire to develop collaborative and effective real-world solutions to the industry’s ongoing challenges. Agribusiness in California is incredibly dynamic. The issues are constantly evolving, which requires our continual focus and energy.”
Veronica became interested in UnitedAg’s WomenAg Leadership Academy because “Agriculture is historically a male-dominated industry,” she says. “The bulk of my professional life has involved working predominantly with men. Getting to know and work with other women like me, who have made their way up in the agriculture industry, has been very rewarding and beneficial. In addition to networking and learning from one another, we share practical experiences and solutions to the obstacles our organizations face.”
“I have a lot of respect for the women in this Academy,” says Veronica. “Every time we meet, I see our collective strengths, confidence and capabilities grow, which makes me feel good.”