Isabel Zippel


My name is Isabel Zippel and have been with Online Trading Academy for almost 2 years where I am the Senior HR Manager. I am originally from Frankfurt, Germany, where I lived until my early 20s. As a child I struggled in the very regimented German school system,and after high school decided to pursue an apprenticeship in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Sheraton at the Frankfurt Airport. My initial apprenticeship was wonderful because it led me to find my passion in Human Resources. However, my path in Human Resources took a many-year detour after that initial experience.

When I was twenty-one, I decided to take the plunge to satisfy a childhood dream of living in California. Through a family friend, I landed in Pasadena, where I met my first husband. We were married for 15 years and had two daughters. We eventually divorced. After being a stay-at-home mom for many years, it was extremely challenging to land on my feet without a college degree or recent work experience. I found an administrative job in the engineering department of a hotel in Newport Beach. I answered phones and dispatched people via walkie talkie to where there were issues: burned out light bulbs, torn carpet, broken refrigerators, etc. While this job was really helpful to get working, I knew it wouldn’t lead to a fulfilling career. So, I decided to go back to school and took some business classes at the local college. During one of my classes, I sat behind a woman who was very, very pregnant. She told me about her job in Human Resources. I asked her if she was planning to go back to work after the baby was born and she no, she was going to stay home with the baby. I looked at her and said, “I want your job,” one thing led to another, and I got it!

I worked in that position for 2 years, but that company relocated to Colorado. They offered to move me and my daughters,but I wanted to stay here. I found another job in Human Resources with a manufacturing company. They had a program in which they would pay for your B.A.if you worked for two years after completing each class. They paid for my entire college education and I am so grateful to them. The year I turned 50, I graduated with my B.A. with honors! It’s weird how things work out -- that same summer my younger daughter graduated with her B.A. and my older daughter graduated with her J.D.; we had a triple celebration. Since then, I’ve been working in Human Resources and I continue to love it! I get to connect with people throughout an entire company, and can solve problems using my creativity.

In addition to my passion for my job, physical fitness has always been important to me. In 1987, I became an avid Jazzerciser. Almost 10 years later in 1996, I became an instructor, teaching up to 6 classes per week in addition to working full-time until 2012, when I went back to being a Jazzercise student. However, I then started having joint problems, leading to a knee replacement and a hip replacement. So, I swapped out Jazzercise for swimming, which I quickly came to love through the help of earbuds and a water proof music player.

This past April, I decided that I wanted to become a better swimmer joined the US Masters. When I showed up for my first class, the coach asked me for which school or team I had been swimming when I was young. I told him that I had never been on any team before. His answer was, "Are you sure you want to do this?" I said, "Of course! I don't give up. You’ll see." Just this month I completed the swimming leg (1,800 yards) of the OC Triathlon in Lake Mission Viejo with a wetsuit and all. It was a little scary,but I did it! In August I am participating in the 2019 US Masters Summer Nationals in Mission Viejo. I really enjoy swimming laps in the early mornings before work, it makes me relaxed and happy and every time I get out of the water, I know my day is going to be another good one!