OLLU: A Pipeline to USAA

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013


 Becky Martinez

Becky Martinez is a portrait of perseverance, a picture of success. She started as an hourly employee at USAA in 1999, working as a frontline processor of home equity loans. Almost 14 years and two college degrees later, she supervises 90 employees as a director in financial foundations.


 Tiffany Walton

An education from Our Lady of the Lake University made her climb at USAA possible. “It took me 10 years to get my undergraduate degree,” says Martinez, 46. “And I did it all through the Weekend College.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s in business in 2009, Martinez earned an MBA. “I had a couple of professors at The Lake who were very entrepreneurial, who helped me advance my career at USAA,” she says.

Martinez is one of approximately 200 Lake alumni who work for USAA, a financial services company with more than eight million members. Alumni serve USAA customers in a variety of capacities, and often recruit OLLU graduates to the company.

Tiffany Walton (BA Psychology ‘12) joined USAA last April, just months after graduating from OLLU. She applied on the recommendation of a friend who happened to be a USAA employee and Lake graduate. After USAA hired Walton as a financial foundations representative, she asked a roommate and fellow Lake graduate, Richaundra Darden, to apply. Darden now serves USAA as a mortgage processor.

Walton is happy to work at the same company with her roommate. “I know five Lake graduates at USAA,” Walton says, “and that doesn’t include a few managers who are currently getting their education there. 


 Richaundra Darden

“You really have to stick together. Finding jobs isn’t the easiest thing. But we’ve done pretty well in trying to refer people we know to the company. USAA is a really good place to work. If you’ve come from The Lake, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a good foundation to work here.”


 Patrick Krawietz

Darden agrees. “It’s amazing to work with so many Lake grads,” she says. “To have so many people around who have the same values and work ethic.”

A native of Dallas, Darden spent eight years at OLLU, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration, an MBA and a Master of Science in organizational leadership. “When I graduated, I was so nervous about going to someplace new,” she says. “I had come to The Lake at 18 and I was just turning 26. I was leaving the only place I knew as an adult. But when I came to USAA and saw how many people went to school with me, it made the transition much easier.”

Patrick and Katie Krawietz arrived at OLLU together. They met at USAA, got married, and started graduate work at OLLU shortly thereafter. “We figured we could help each other along the way,” says, Patrick, a secondary marketing specialist at USAA. “It’s been a unique experience to do that.” 

 Katie Krawietz

Husband and wife – a fitness specialist at USAA – graduated together in December 2012, each with a master’s in organizational leadership.


 Paul Galan

Paul Galan (Class of ‘92) has a bachelor’s in computer information systems. He uses the degree as an Operations Solutions Integrator, managing the build of servers for different teams at USAA.

“I know a few Lake grads here,” Galan says. “I’ve worked with quite a few of them in the past.”

Becky Martinez will remain forever grateful to OLLU. Her husband, Paul Martinez, earned a PhD in Leadership Studies from The Lake in 2005. And Becky’s daughter, a graduate of UT-Austin, received a taste of The Lake at Providence High School (also sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence) from Sister Jane Ann Slater, former superior general of the Congregation of Divine Providence and OLLU trustee emeritus.

“Sister Slater’s strong presence at Providence inspired our daughter to become a teacher,’” Becky says.

OLLU, Becky says, has been an immeasurable blessing to her family. Some would say she deserves credit for persevering through 10 years to get her first degree from The Lake. But Becky says The Lake provided the necessary support – and helped her secure a fulfilling leadership role at USAA.