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Cultivating a global community

by Tom Morlan,

Elizabeth Guzman Ljubetic ’14 stands on a ridge overlooking a city in the mountains of Spain

Accomplished linguist Elizabeth Guzman Ljubetic ’14 is committed to fostering a more interconnected business world. 

Elizabeth Guzman Ljubetic ’14 was the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. Now she’s a citizen of the world. 

She speaks four languages, has lived in four countries and has 24 stamps on her well-worn passport. And she’s thriving as a human resources business partner for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Elizabeth Guzman Ljubetic headshot.jpg

“I love that I get to work with individuals across the globe,” says Guzman Ljubetic, who supports the Latin America sales and global marketing teams. “I also enjoy the fact that I can effectively communicate with them in English and Spanish to create a more interconnected business world.”

The native of Guanajuato, Mexico, came to the United States when she was 10. Her family settled in Hood River, Oregon, and she quickly blossomed into an outstanding student. Guzman Ljubetic showed so much potential in high school that she was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship.

“I was lucky to have the flexibility to attend almost any university in the U.S., but I wanted to stay close to my family,” she said. “Willamette was the university that I ultimately selected.”

She was looking for an academic environment where she could connect with her professors on a personal level, and that’s exactly what she experienced. They helped her master research skills, gave her invaluable career advice and introduced her to incredible learning opportunities at home and abroad.

“One of the advantages of attending Willamette was getting to work so closely with my professors on a daily basis, especially Patricia Varas and April Overstreet,” she said. “I loved how approachable and supportive my professors were. They made sure I understood not only the content, but also how it connected to other disciplines and the world around us."

Her classmates were sources of inspiration as well, reinforcing her desire to live the university’s motto, “Not unto ourselves are we born.”

“I loved being surrounded by students who wanted to develop into the best versions of themselves and think critically about the issues facing us in the world,” Guzman Ljubetic said.

She explored many of those issues in depth when she took part in Willamette’s study abroad programs. She spent her junior year in Chile and Spain before augmenting her international studies with a semester at American University in Washington, D.C.

“Each of those experiences included various courses in Spanish, culture, politics, economics and business,” she said. “It helped shape my understanding of the intersectionality of these fields and how this impacts the world.”

Her time overseas reinforced her desire to pursue a career in international business, and her career came into sharper focus when she landed a part-time job in the university’s Office of Human Resources.

“I knew that I wanted to go into international business but wasn’t sure of the specific field, so I had various internships and part-time jobs while I was a student,” she said. “I was able to work with HR professionals at Willamette and learn about possible routes within HR, and this really helped me focus on developing my skills.”

She joined Aruba in 2014 after graduating with degrees in Spanish and international studies. Guzman Ljubetic enjoys connecting the business to human resource solutions, enhancing the employee experience, supporting employee development, and developing talent management strategies and HR initiatives.

“It’s important that we create an inclusive environment, support our diverse workplace and provide the opportunity for each employee to reach their full potential,” she said.

As she goes about her daily tasks, Guzman Ljubetic constantly draws from the lessons she learned at Willamette. 

“Willamette has helped me think critically about any challenge or issue that I encounter in my career,” she said. “Even though I don’t specifically have an education in HR, I know how to ask the right questions and truly find the best solution for an organization.”

Along the way, she’s become a highly skilled linguist. She’s bilingual in English and Spanish and proficient in French and Portuguese. And whether she’s serving clients or conversing with friends in another time zone, she’s committed to fostering productive relationships within the global community.

“My parents always told me that ‘el ser bilingüe vale por dos’ (‘a person who is bilingual is worth two people’) and reminded me of the advantages of being able to speak multiple languages,” she said. “Language connects us and opens the doors to the world.”

About the College of Arts & Sciences

Based in Salem, Oregon, Willamette is the premier private university in the Pacific Northwest. Willamette’s beautiful, historic campus — located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and co-located with Tokyo International University of America — features a residential undergraduate College of Liberal Arts and two professional graduate schools: the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

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