Veronica Sanchez Peavey, ’99, MPA’11, is the Senior Assistant Vice President (Adult Programs) and Michigan Regional Director for SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc., a Detroit-based, workforce development organization established almost 50 years ago.
She has dedicated over 20 years to SER, whose mission is to advance people, grow businesses, and strengthen communities. Peavey is responsible for the administration and implementation of SER Detroit-based programs, including two Detroit at Work Career Centers, a LISC/Citi Foundation-funded bridge program focused on skilled trade apprenticeships, and SER’s Center for Working Families.
Peavey holds a BA and an MPA from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Dearborn, respectively). She is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit Program and the Detroit Workforce System Leadership Academy sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.
She is also proud to be a founding member of the Beta Chapter of the Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus (the largest historically Latina-based, multicultural national sorority) and is Vice Chair of the University of Michigan Latinx Alumni.
She has been married for 18 years to her high school sweetheart (a two-time U-M alumnus) and has three children.
Alumni Association: What has been your proudest accomplishment and highlight of your career?
Veronica Sanchez Peavey: I have been with SER for over 20 years, so there have been many proud moments and highlights, but the best part of my job is seeing how proud our participants are when they graduate from our programs and become employed. Whether it is their first “real” job or they are upskilling after attending training, they leave SER feeling supported and confident that they can and will improve their family’s quality of life.
Alumni Association: What is your best/worst U-M memory?
Sanchez Peavey: My best U-M memories are attending the football games with my then-boyfriend (now husband) and going to the dances with my friends at the Michigan Union hosted by different Latino/a/x organizations. It was amazing to celebrate our culture with such joy and in the “corazon” of the university.
My worst memory is walking up State Street from Packard for a 9 a.m. class at the MLB in 2 feet of snow. I will NEVER forget that!
Alumni Association: How did you become involved with U-M Latinx Alumni?
Sanchez Peavey: Through SER, I have been fortunate to have Latino/x leaders who have become my mentors. Ignacio Salazar, our former SER President and now SER National President and Alumni Association board member, spoke to me about the defunct Hispanic Alumni Organization in 2015 and encouraged me to ask a few alumni friends to help reestablish this group. It has been such a great experience, and we are looking forward to expanding our board and membership.
Alumni Association: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in education that faces the Latinx community? How do you think this challenge can be solved?
Sanchez Peavey: I feel the biggest challenge facing the Latinx community is access and exposure to higher education, especially for those in lower socio-economic backgrounds. I know when I was in high school, my immigrant, mainly Spanish-speaking parents were not able to guide me on pursuing post-secondary education. We can support Spanish and bilingual programs that focus on educating the parents and giving them the tools and resources to help their children. Also, colleges can step up and ensure they hire staff that can communicate with Spanish-speaking parents.
Alumni Association: What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month mean to you?
Sanchez Peavey: It means a chance to celebrate and reflect. Reflect on the past, present, and future, and to use this as a platform to highlight the advances we have made as well as to recognize the work we still need to do. A month is great, but the accomplishments and struggles of the Latino/a/x community are not limited to one month.
Alumni Association: How can alumni contribute to the Latinx community?
Sanchez Peavey: Alumni can engage – join UMLA! Become a UMLA member and support events, join a committee, or apply to become a board member.