Main Navigation
Carrie Arrieta

Sometimes “success stories” make winning look too easy. In truth, success often stems from grit – the ability to overcome obstacles, pursue passions, and translate persistence into measurable growth, thereby opening doors to new opportunities. Carrie Arrieta, currently a Managing Consultant with United Health Group's Optum sector, exemplifies the transformative power of higher education, which she credits in part to her experience at Irvine Valley College (IVC).

Arrieta's academic journey at IVC began with a broad exploration of interests as part of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). She pursued a traditional transfer path, delving into subjects like geography and psychology, fueled by her deep interest in understanding human interaction. She says this foundational exploration allowed her to develop a well-rounded perspective, laying the groundwork for future success.

Transitioning to Capella University, Arrieta applied her studies at IVC to further her education in management and leadership. Reflecting on her time at IVC, she emphasizes the significance of the lower-division education she received, highlighting the importance of general education and core competencies. "Lower division education really equipped me to go into anything I wanted to go into," she notes, emphasizing the foundational importance of skills such as writing and understanding statistics.

Arrieta's educational journey wasn't just about academic skills; it also encompassed the development of crucial soft skills. She says the social and behavioral studies at IVC, particularly in understanding how people interact, became a cornerstone of her leadership style. As a Managing Consultant, she leverages this knowledge to foster a culture of innovation and inclusion within her clinical network and management team at Optum. 

"Being effective in understanding how people interact is crucial to achieving a position of leadership," Arrieta asserts. Her experience at IVC provided her with the tools to create a work environment where authenticity thrives, empowering employees to bring their true selves to the table. The emphasis on social and behavioral studies at IVC translates into practical leadership skills, enabling Arrieta to navigate relationships and inspire innovation.

Looking forward, Arrieta is set to embark on an MBA journey at Capella University, furthering her commitment to continuous learning. She notes that her success at IVC not only paved the way for her career but also garnered recognition from United Health, providing her with a full scholarship to pursue advanced education.

Carrie's story also highlights the crucial role of support systems within educational institutions. Starting at IVC in her 20s, she initially counted herself out due to financial constraints and self-doubt. However, IVC's commitment to student success, evidenced through financial aid, work-study programs, and supportive faculty and staff, changed the trajectory of her life. "There are people along the way that were so instrumental: Bill Hewitt, John in counseling. All the teachers are lined up at graduation and they are cheering for you. From start to finish, there was support," Arrieta affirms.

Arrieta's success is not only a testament to IVC’s commitment to providing a comprehensive educational experience, but also a prime example of how investing in IVC can contribute to the growth of a high-caliber workforce and ultimately result in a success story that, in Arrieta’s case, is still going strong.