Laura Vaccaro

Laura Vaccaro Laura Vaccaro is the Director of Learning, Education and Development for Valero Energy Corporation, where she has served for the past nine years.  In this role she has primary responsibility for the development and oversight of Leadership Development and E-learning as well as general professional development strategies for Valero‚Äôs 22,000+ employees throughout the United States, UK, Canada and Aruba.  Prior to this role, she worked for 13 years in the health care industry where she has a wide breadth of management experience in marketing and public relations, project management, physician relations and finance/operations. In addition, Laura served five years as an adjunct faculty member for University of the Incarnate Word teaching Management and Marketing curriculum. A highly active member of the San Antonio community, Laura is an alumnus of Leadership SA (class 35), serves on the board of trustees for the South Central Region of the National MS Society, and is the President for the Valero Volunteer Council.  Originally a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she is now happy to call San Antonio her home with husband Ricardo and two dogs Bogie and Cosmo.  Laura's educational background includes a B.S. in Chemistry from Gannon University and a Masters in Business Administration from University of the Incarnate Word. 

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Meet a Powerful Peer: Laura Vacarro


What communication practices have contributed to your success at Valero?

I believe one of the most important qualities in any communication scenario is demonstrating authenticity. When you are honest and genuine, people perceive you as trustworthy and this in turn, makes you approachable. Another communication practice I value is displaying empathy and listening for the intention behind the communication.  By this I mean, truly putting yourself in the other person’s ‘shoes’ and seeing the communication from their lens. If there is one thing I have learned in my career, it’s that personality differences and lack of appreciation for their role in communication drives much of the conflict in the workplace. Until you gain appreciation for how people are ‘wired’, what they value and what stresses them out, you really aren’t able to have an effective conversation with them. Why? Because much of the time, you are listening and interpreting their messages through YOUR lens. This often leads to misinterpreted intentions and negative assumptions.

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© 2011 Laura Vaccaro

Labels: communication skills  conflict resolution  laura vaccaro  peer power