The long nights of studying and solving grueling accounting problems are long behind El Paso Water’s Marcela Navarrete, but the lessons from her days as a UTEP student endure.
The Vice President of Strategic, Financial and Management Services was recently recognized as one of the university’s esteemed Gold Nugget Award recipients, which is awarded to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to their professions and community.
Honored by the University of Texas at El Paso as a female pioneer in her field, Navarrete was also named a Woman of Impact by El Paso Inc. in 2016.
“UTEP prepared me to meet challenges,” Navarrete said. “With tons of homework as an accounting student, you have to manage your time well and really be dedicated. You learn what hard work is really about.”
As a young accountant, Navarrete eventually landed an entry-level job at EPWater after previous stints at a local Certified Public Accounting firm and the City of El Paso.
“When I started working at El Paso Water, I just felt like I found home,” Navarrete said.
Once there, she never looked back. Navarrete flourished in her profession and climbed the ranks after taking on major projects at the utility.
“When opportunities come, you have to take them,” Navarrete said. “What’s the worst that can happen? You fail, but you have learned, and you have tried. It’s a lot of stress and responsibility, but if you don’t take that on you don’t grow.”
The successful VP never expected to stay in a single workplace 20-plus years, acknowledging she is grateful for the capabilities gained and the friendships she has made.
“I was really blessed to have bosses that believed in me, bosses that gave me opportunities to take on special projects to really prove myself,” she said. “They gave me the opportunities to advance. Not only were they supportive in giving me the opportunities, but they also challenged me.”
Navarrete is proudest of the work the utility does for the community and savors having a part in its success. Growing her skills at EPWater led to a very successful career.
“Any success is a team effort, and I wouldn’t be where I am without my team here at work and my team at home,” Navarrete said. “I think my Gold Nugget award is recognition for anyone who has been a part of my life and career.”