Featured Alumni: Aleeta Benito
Class of 2001
Van Buren High School
Queens Village, New York
Briefly describe what you do in your current job role.
I’m a CPA and currently an Audit Manager at EisnerAmper LLP in New York City, one of the largest accounting firms in the nation. My duties involve implementing and managing financial statement audits of commercial/business entities. I’m involved with preparing and analyzing financial statements of clients while closely supervising the work of staff members of an audit team.
What was your favorite part of VE?
My favorite part of VE was that it provided me an outlet to step out of the role of being a typical high school student while getting the opportunity to obtain hands-on knowledge of the inner workings of a business. In retrospect, I’m thankful that it provided me with the valuable experience of working in a professional environment.
How does your VE experience relate to your current role? How does it relate to what you ultimately want to do in your professional life?
While in VE, and much to my disappointment at the time, I was positioned as the Vice President of Finance/Accounting. I hated accounting then, I never dreamt of becoming an accountant or working in the accounting field, but I always knew that business was the field for me. Now as an accounting professional, I have come to realize that a successful business cannot exist without good accounting. I see now that being a part of VE helped remove some of the misconceptions I had about accounting and may have planted the seeds that brought me to my current profession.
How did you get reconnected with VE?
I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to serve as a mentor and counselor. So I jumped at the chance when I was contacted by Rachel Robins, Events and Partnerships Manager, who solicited me to participate as a judge for an upcoming event. Almost fifteen years later, I’m glad to have reconnected with VE.
How do you hope to stay involved?
I look forward to continue serving as a judge and/or counselor for future events and ultimately, I hope to have more of an expanded role within the program.
From your perspective, what are the differences between VE in 2001 and VE in 2016?
I’m happy to see how well the program has evolved; much like how our everyday lives have changed over the past fifteen years as a result of the rapidly growing internet and information age, dating back to when I was a high school student in the “old” days of Y2K scares. The biggest indication of change is showcased in the students themselves. I’m impressed by these now fifteen, sixteen and seventeen year olds who seem much more sophisticated and educated in the field of business than me and my counterparts were when we were in the program.
What advice do you have for current VE students?
Always be open to learning something new, regardless of how well it fits with your current life goals, since you will find use for it later. I always stress the added value education can bring to a person’s life, whether it can be obtained by hitting the books or via a hands-on apprenticeship program like VE; a life spent learning will never grow old.