A Conversation with Victoria Valencia | See previous interviews

Victoria Valencia
High-Value Care and Caring Wisely Project Manager and Data Analyst

Victoria Valencia

Are you a shy person?

In general I am shy but I really try to work on that, especially at work, and be more outgoing. As a child I was very shy but I enjoy spending time alone and prefer not always being in a group.

What are the benefits of being tall?

I get to help people when they need something off of a high shelf, especially at the grocery store when I can just reach up and grab whatever they need. I was told I should have been a basketball player or runner in high school but I am not a sports person.

Where were you born? What can you share about your family and growing up?

I grew up close by, in Mountain View. My dad is in Santa Clara and my mom is in Folsom, near Sacramento. I have one sister, who is in college and doing a business internship at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. I went to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, about a 4-hour drive from SF, and I love it there, it’s such a gorgeous town and the weather is perfect year-round. I think it has been my favorite of all places I have lived (which are all in California!). It’s got a small town feel but there’s lots going on because it’s a college town.

Are you a cook, a baker, or a candlestick maker? What is a personal accomplishment that brings you and/or others pleasure?

I love to bake cookies and cakes, and I really like making scones. I’m a pretty decent cook and my favorite recipes are Japanese curry and salmon cooked with lemon on a cedar plank. I am a better eater than cook I think.

Did you study ballet as a youngster?

No, but I took some dance classes, mostly jazz, as a youngster. I picked up ballet in college when I needed some extra units, then picked it up again in grad school. Once I moved to San Francisco, where I’ve stayed the longest at one studio, I started classes again and feel that I’ve finally progressed. I am even en pointe! What I love about ballet is the discipline and how you can be the best dancer you can be but there is always room to do better: to dance better, to be stronger, to jump higher, and to turn tighter. I love its classicism and I think it’s really beautiful to watch a ballet dancer. People may appreciate the beauty of ballet but what I think is truly beautiful about ballet is the ability to take something that is physically very difficult and make it look easy. When I go to ballet class, it’s the one place that I can go to forget about everything else, to be in the moment and focus on the exercises in the center and at the barre. I love wearing my pointe shoes! While not the most comfortable shoes in the world, they make me feel like a true ballet dancer.

When did you last feel compelled to apologize?

Maybe for my messy habits. I tend to throw everything on the ground when I get home, and I have bad habit of leaving all of the kitchen cabinets open (sometimes all of them) and I apologize for that—but I am trying to do better!

Who is Victoria’s alter ego? Is she a Jane Austen character or an anime action hero?

Not so much either one as I can be bratty or snappy sometimes and I’ve been accused of talking too professionally as if I am still speaking with doctors—sometimes it takes me a while to get out of work mode when I come home. I guess you could say I am a bit punky—I did have pink hair in college for a very short period of time.

What is your new favorite restaurant or place to be in The City?

Suppenküche in the Hayes Valley, a German restaurant that has an awesome beer collection. They serve pretzels, potato soup, and all kinds of meat dishes. I am a major beer drinker! I like Kölsch, a dry beer, which is my favorite style, but I also like Belgian beers, which are usually higher in alcohol, with funky sweet fruity flavors. We brew our own beer at home, too, and have a batch fermenting right now in our garage! It is a slow process but it’s fun. I don’t like the sitting and waiting part, but I help with bottling and, of course, sampling.

When it comes to weekends, are you a planner or do you prefer being spontaneous?

We like to go hiking so we sometimes plan a hike when it involves driving to get somewhere. But I like to be more spontaneous and sleep in, maybe go to breakfast, check what’s going on in the city and often just hang out in Golden Gate Park. I love to go out to dinner; you could never go out to all of the restaurants here! There’s a French bistro on Clement in the inner Richmond, Chapeau!, and I think it’s the best French food I’ve ever had. What I love about it is that you can sit for 2–3 hours, and just talk over wine and cocktails; I love bourbon cocktails like Old Fashions.

Can you share a gratifying moment from this past week? 

I’d have to say my last pointe class. I really felt really good although my feet hurt.  I felt accomplished because I’ve worked really hard at going to class regularly for two years. Sometimes, after a long day, I think about not going but then I make myself and, once I’m there, I am so glad I did. I also came up with a number of analytical solutions to track data for our Division Incentive metrics with programming in R. While sometimes frustrating, it is gratifying to write code that works!

Thank you, Victoria!

- by Oralia Schatzman

View Victoria's professional bio | See previous interviews