Elizabeth Tellez — Oct. 2011
Waubonsee’s Featured Alumna Serves Local Bilingual Community
Sugar Grove — Since moving from Mexico to Aurora when she was 18, Elizabeth Tellez has logged volunteer hours and built a career serving the bilingual community of her new hometown. In recognition of her community service and business success, Waubonsee Community College named Tellez its Featured Alumna for October 2011.
Tellez studied accounting and graduated from high school in Mexico, but she wanted to earn her college degree in the United States, so she moved to Aurora and attended East Aurora High School for six months, earning her U.S. high school diploma. It was an East High counselor who recommended Waubonsee.
“I visited the Sugar Grove and Aurora Campuses, and I fell in love with Waubonsee,” Tellez said. “To me, it was like a four-year university rather than a two-year college.”
Tellez also remembers the personal care and attention she received from her Waubonsee economics professor, Dr. Martha Price, and from her counselor, Gail Finley. Tellez said it was Finley’s guidance and advice that helped her make a smooth transition to the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) after earning her associate degree in 1993.
“I got good grades at IIT, and I felt academically prepared,” Tellez said.
The final step in Tellez’ education was preparing for her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam through a program at DePaul University. After passing the exam in 2000, Tellez immediately established her own business — Advanced Accounting Center, Ltd.
“There was a real need for this service,” Tellez said. “There are a number of local small businesses owned by Hispanics, and I could not find a bilingual CPA in Aurora.”
The numbers support Tellez’ statement; her office serves more than 400 clients, including both individuals and businesses.
“It’s important to educate business owners and keep them up to date with the tax laws,” Tellez said. “I’m doing that, while also helping them create jobs for the local community.”
While serving the current community and helping grow its future, Tellez is also preserving the city’s past by operating her business out a restored Victorian home at 305 W. Downer Place. With original woodwork, stained glass, wallpaper and lighting fixtures, the home makes for beautiful office space.
Outside of the office, Tellez continues to serve local residents by teaching computer classes in Spanish at the Aurora Public Library. Every two weeks, Tellez teaches a two-hour class, which can cover anything from using a mouse to learning Microsoft Excel to setting up a Facebook account.
“Everyone volunteers to help the younger generation, but I don’t think there’s enough help out there for adults,” Tellez said. “I have friends who need computer help, so I thought that would be a great way to give back.”