Soboba Honors Excellent Employees

Winners named at annual party ◆ By Mike Hiles

The annual Soboba Tribal Administration Christmas Party on Dec. 8 was well attended by those who are employees of the many Tribal Administrative entities operated by the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

About 400 guests at the Soboba Springs Golf Course were delighted by the venue designed to showcase Tim Burton’s holiday classic movie: “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The decorations were done by Soboba Tribal Members Michelle Modesto, Adona Modesto-Salgado and their mom, Lani Modesto.

Each year a tribal administrative employee is chosen to be recognized as its Employee of the Year and one is named Manager of the Year. This year, the latter title went to Andrew Vallejos, who is the Sponsorships and Higher Education Program Manager. He has worked for Soboba for 10 years.

“I try to be on top of all things at all times, but they got this one past me. I really thought it was going to be someone else and then I heard my name called,” said Vallejos, of Hemet. “I was shocked, but feel very honored.”

In making the announcement, Soboba Tribal Vice Chair Isaiah Vivanco kept the winner’s identity a secret by talking in generic terms. He said the Council takes the task of choosing the right person very seriously and appreciated everyone that was being considered.

“This person always makes time for others,” he told the audience. “Not a day goes by that we don’t see this person in every department, trying to help out. I just can’t say enough good things.”

Vivanco also said that Vallejos spends a lot of time doing many things for the Tribe, and always has, which is why Tribal Council wanted to acknowledge him with this well-deserved award. From 10 nominees for Employee of the Year, the honor went to Anna Moses, who has worked at Soboba for more than two years as a Senior Accounting Specialist in the Accounting Department at Tribal Administration.

“I was aware that I was nominated but I did not know ahead of time that I had won,” said Moses, 30. “It has been a great honor working here and getting to know everyone. To be recognized for what I contribute to the tribe is rewarding and humbling.”

Moses has more than seven years’ experience working in the accounting field in various positions such as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk and now as an accounting specialist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and will be graduating with her master’s degree next month.

Processing payments and assisting managers and other employees with verifying purchase orders and maintaining an accurate vendor database are key components of Moses’ daily duties. She said everyone in her department is always willing to help. If there are any questions or concerns, someone will always listen and do everything in the department’s power to assist where it can.

“I enjoy interacting with everyone that comes into the office or stops by the accounting window,” she said. “I enjoy being a part of the Tribe’s growth, working on projects and seeing the expansion take place.”

Since she began working in the accounting department, Moses has seen the hiring of two new accounting specialists and an accounting assistant.

“They have been a great asset to our team. We have developed a great team atmosphere and are working on improving our accounts payable department,” she said. “Any challenges that are experienced are handled in a team manner.”

When she is not busy at work, the San Jacinto resident enjoys reading, cooking and watching sports.

“I especially love college football and the University of Alabama. Roll Tide!” Moses said.

Although her current job will not change after the Soboba Casino Resort opens, she is looking forward to the growth of her department.

“The replacement casino will be opening soon, the new fire station is in the works and there is still more to come,” Moses said. “I am excited to see what all is in store for Soboba and its entities.”

Anna Moses, of San Jacinto, was named Soboba’s Employee of the Year

Anna Moses, of San Jacinto, was named Soboba’s Employee of the Year

Andrew Vallejos, of Hemet, was named Soboba’s Manager of the Year

Andrew Vallejos, of Hemet, was named Soboba’s Manager of the Year

The annual Soboba Christmas Party included decorations, like this oversized Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” created by Lani Modesto and her daughters, Michelle and Adona

The annual Soboba Christmas Party included decorations, like this oversized Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” created by Lani Modesto and her daughters, Michelle and Adona

Lani Modesto and her daughters, Michelle and Adona, used “The Nightmare Before Christmas” theme to decorate the Soboba Springs Golf Course for this year’s annual employee holiday party on Dec. 8

Lani Modesto and her daughters, Michelle and Adona, used “The Nightmare Before Christmas” theme to decorate the Soboba Springs Golf Course for this year’s annual employee holiday party on Dec. 8