When it comes to wealth in the United States, Latino families hold $36,100 in net worth, compared to $188,200 held by white families. UnidosUS’s Latinos in Finance program, generously supported by Bank of America, was created to change that, to ensure that Hispanics can contribute to and share in the nation’s economic opportunities.
By Beatriz Paniego-Béjar, Affiliate Communications Specialist, UnidosUS
Latinos in Finance success stories can be found here, and today we bring you one more, a very special one: how a brother inspired his sister to be part of the program and improve her chances at a career in financial services. Here’s Nancy Rodríguez’s story.
When Nancy lost her job of 11 years as a cashier, she was very upset. At that time, her brother Victor was taking the Latinos in Finance course at PODER, UnidosUS’s 2018 Affiliate of the Year, but her worries about having lost her job were so overwhelming that she didn’t pay much attention to what her brother shared about the training with her.
That was until she saw an ad with her brother’s picture in it: “One day as I was on my Facebook page, I saw an ad with my brother’s picture on it. The ad was about the program and just seeing [him] in that ad made me want to get a little more information, so I called him first,” Nancy explains.
In that call, Victor gave her all the details about Latinos in Finance and told her the wonderful news that he was placed at a job at BMO Harris Bank during the onset of the pandemic: “[He] motivated me and told me that the years of experience I had as a cashier would be a good help if I wanted to work for the bank industry.” Everything her brother told her sounded very convincing, and that’s when Nancy called PODER to sign up to their Latinos in Finance training, knowing that enrollment could change her professional trajectory as well.
THE DETERMINING FAMILY FACTOR
Nancy thrived at the Latinos in Finance program: she was inquisitive, willing to receive feedback, and devoted to the training. Plus, she knew that with more than a decade of experience as a cashier, she had an advantage to start a career in banking. “But [as] with most students who harbor a significant amount of experience in the retail industry, their ability to ‘sell’ these skills to an employer are usually underdeveloped,” explains Emmanuel Wilder, Latinos in Finance Talent Acquisition & Development Specialist at PODER. “Nancy was no exception in this regard, but what was truly exceptional was her desire to be coached and pushed beyond her comfort.”
She had an incredible motivation: her children. “My kids motivate me to do better,” she says. “Everything I do is for them. I want them to feel proud of their mom. I want to be a role model for them and show them that it is never too late to accomplish something in life.” And she did show them.
Nancy had been working for 11 years in the same company, but she didn’t let that discourage her from taking this step. She had made up her mind: she was certain she didn’t want to continue down the retail track, where she saw little real advancement beyond the register. However, banking would give her that opportunity, and she had the resiliency to go for it.
EFFORT AND DRIVE
The training showed Nancy that her previous job was much more than a simple cashier job, as she used to see it: “The program showed me that my job was much more important than the way I saw it. And they were able to help me make my resume look very professional from what I thought was a simple cashier job. I felt very confident thanks to that,” Nancy explained, the reason why the process of applying for jobs was very easy for her: “I knew exactly what I had to look for in the career websites and also what to put.”
“Due to her own effort and drive, she imagined herself as an ‘asset’ instead of a ‘longshot,” Emmanuel continued. He explained how Nancy took the advice of her instructors to apply to at least 10 financial institutions per day: some of these organizations are still working towards a “post-COVID” world and are not thinking about hiring, so being proactive is key to be successful. “The same day [Nancy] received this advice, she applied to no less than 10 financial institutions and before the partner interviews were full underway [one of the Latinos in Finance training sessions], Nancy received and accepted an offer with TCF Bank!” Emmanuel happily shares.
Nancy is now a full-time employee, earning a living wage, and setting an example for her daughter. And both she and her brother are bankers, something neither of them ever dreamed was possible. Nancy told Emmanuel how grateful she was for Latinos in Finance: “I’m very happy for all the help and motivation, and my brother is proud of me too.”
A MOTIVATOR TO OTHERS
Working in the banking industry, Nancy and Victor now share similar experiences at their jobs, and she tells how they’ve gotten closer because of this commonality: “I never felt any type of competition between my brother and me. I’m very happy of all his accomplishments, as I’m sure he is of mine.”
Something that made Nancy stood out during her training at PODER was her encouragement and motivation to her classmates: she knew she had an advantage due to her extensive experience as a cashier, and she used it to help them. Emmanuel explained how she reminded her peers that her brother worked for BMO Harris during the same hours that class was being held and reinforced the idea that success was attainable.
Nancy also shared advice for anyone thinking of embarking on the Latinos in Finance journey: “DO IT!! It has helped me in so many ways in life. I have a nice, decent job that I feel very proud of,” she shared. “It has only been a few of months that all this started for me and so many things are changing for the better. So many dreams that I have had for my family and I for a couple of years now, I can see coming sooner than planned and it is all thanks to this program.”
If you want to learn more about Latinos in Finance, you can visit this site and check UnidosUS’s Affiliates and partners providing the training near you.