Leti Magdaleno started with West Pak in 2019 in an entry-level position just for the chance to work with the company. Since then, she’s been promoted into several roles, each time stepping up and running into the fire to help where she’s needed most. According to others, Leti welcomes challenges and works hard to exceed expectations, doing so with a wonderfully positive attitude every time.
Learn more about this humble, hard-working team member and her journey within West Pak.
Were you surprised about being selected for this employee spotlight?
Leti: Yes, I was surprised. I was, like, “Oh, wow, this is really cool!” This is the first time I’ve ever gotten something like this at a job.
How long have you been working at West Pak?
Leti: I’ve been working at West Pak for a little bit over four years. I started working here in April 2019 but came in through an agency, so I didn’t get hired until October 2019.
What was your first job title, and what is it now?
Leti: I started as a Front Desk Assistant/Accounting. My current title is Payroll Administrator.
What was your journey to your current role, and how long did it take along the way?
Leti: Seven years ago, I moved to this area, and while researching it, I came across West Pak’s website. The company values really caught my attention. I thought this company sounded like an interesting place to work, but at that time, West Pak didn’t have any positions for me.
I ended up working somewhere else and, after two years, decided that I needed something different. I went to an employment agency, and they asked me if there were any specific companies that I would like to work for, so I put down West Pak. It turns out the recruiter at the agency knew the controller at West Pak. When she got back to me, she said a position was available, but it was as a front desk assistant. That position was not really something I wanted to take because I was doing billing in my previous job. To me, it was taking a step back.
I decided to go for the interview anyway. West Pak’s interviewer asked me why I wanted to work as a front desk assistant when my resume showed I had more experience. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to work as a front desk assistant, but I want to work at West Pak.” It was a bigger company than the one I worked at, and I knew there was room for growth. I got a call that day saying that I got the job.
On my first day at work, they gave me a tour. As we walked through the Finance department, I told myself that this was where I wanted to be. Two or three months later, I was offered a position to do billing, and I took it.
After that, I was an Accounting Specialist in the Finance department. Besides being in charge of billing, I also did some accounts receivables and assisted with other accounting-related duties.
About a year later, they offered me a position in our California field department, where I was Field Coordinator as part of the Admin team. It was cool to see a different side of West Pak. Being in the Accounting department, I didn’t really get exposed to how the business operates. In the Field department, I was part of the grower side and worked closely with our field buyers, growers, production department, and drivers. I had the opportunity to learn more about the California season and the harvesting and packing process. During this time, the workflow for the Admin team is very fast-paced. I worked there for two and a half years.
A year ago, I was offered the Payroll Administrator position, and here I am, four years later, doing something I enjoy with more experience and another opportunity to continue learning and growing within the company.
What are your current responsibilities?
Leti: I’m responsible for processing our weekly payroll for all our employees; I ensure they get paid correctly and on time. I assist employees with any payroll-related questions, such as PTO, adjustments to their tax withholdings, 401k deductions, or any timeclock issues. I also process loan advances and make sure employees pay this back over several paychecks. In addition, I work closely with the HR department with new hires, addressing any payroll changes, processing termination checks, etc. Besides doing payroll, I take care of our freight accounts payable, which involves a set of procedures before processing final payments on a weekly basis.
What do you find as the best aspect of your current role? What do you love about it?
Leti: What I like the most about this role is career growth; there is something new every day in this position. When I transferred to this position, I had no experience in both payroll and accounts payable. There are times I come across difficult situations because I’m still learning, but I find it motivational whenever I need to push myself harder to learn and overcome any challenges that get in the way. It is encouraging to know there is so much for me to continue learning within payroll and AP and to know that this will allow me to take on new responsibilities and hopefully take my job to another level.
With that said, what do you find to be the biggest challenge of what you do?
Leti: I understand that this position comes with responsibility and accountability but being completely new to the position, at first, it seemed very complex and very overwhelming. Knowing I was responsible for my coworkers’ paychecks made me a bit nervous. I always had questions because I wanted to make sure I understood my position requirements, but sometimes, my lack of knowledge can make it difficult for me to ask the right questions. However, many times, I will ask again to get clarification and make sure I understand.
I also understand that staying in compliance with tax laws and labor regulations is very important, and I know that these are constantly changing. I find this challenging as I want to make sure my job is being done correctly.
What strengths do you bring to your job?
Leti: I would say I’m very self-motivated, which really helps me to stay focused and get through whatever needs to be done, even when it feels challenging. I also feel like I’m very organized. This allows me to feel in control by planning my time more effectively. Things are constantly changing, so I like to prioritize my tasks.
If you have to name one thing that has helped you succeed at West Pak, what would it be?
Leti: I think having a positive mindset. I really believe that it’s a key factor in moving forward and pushing through any challenging situation.
How is West Pak as an employer?
Leti: It’s been very rewarding working for West Pak. They have a positive culture. Employees can grow within the company. I have been given the opportunity to take on courses and learn new skills. It’s been good to me.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Leti: I have a seven-year-old and a two-year-old, so when I get home, I’m busy, busy, busy. But I love any time with them. Spending time with my family is my number one thing. I also really enjoy working out, going hiking, or staying home, watching a good movie or TV series.
Do you like avocados?
Leti: Yes, I do; I incorporate them in a lot of my foods. I could eat them with just tortilla chips or adding them to my sandwich or as a creamy avocado salsa.
Do you have any fun avocado memorabilia?
Leti: Oh, yes, for sure. I have socks, shirts, a mouse pad, and a baby avocado blanket that was given to me at my West Pak baby shower two years ago.
Do you have a favorite motto or saying that you like to live by?
Leti: Always look at the bright side; find the good in the bad.