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Our family, nuestra familia …
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to send a warm acknowledgement to all of our Latino(a) coworkers within the Wintrust family and beyond! This month, we celebrate the rich cultures and contributions of our Hispanic communities that are rooted throughout our country.
For me, it is very important that we continue to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and share our beautiful experiences, traditions, and our contributions to our country. Moreover, I think is especially important that we carry on the family traditions and share our rich backgrounds with everyone, and provide an inclusive environment where we can freely express ourselves while educating others of what it means to us. As a Mexican American, some of my family’s traditions are based on the key life stages. Celebrations include religious ceremonies like baptisms, First Communions, Quinciñeras (our sweet 15 celebrations), graduations, and the Day of the Dead, to name a few. I personally had the honor to have a quinciñera with a church mass to bless my new beginning and a family party with live music and a lot of food, of course! This is widely celebrated amongst Hispanics, and the quinceañera marks an important milestone in a girl's life. This is usually a big birthday party and a rite of passage; it symbolizes a girl's entrance into womanhood when turning 15. My family made this happen and I will never forget that. There was no way that my parents alone would have been able to pay for this.
My parents migrated to the United States and brought me here when I was only 2 years old. When I went to Kindergarten, I did not know a word of English. Despite this barrier, I quickly learned the English language. Years later, I was a first-generation Mexican American who was the first to graduate high school and get a college degree. My family was my rock and they were my inspiration to keep reaching for success. My family’s cultural values helped shape the person I am today. My parents were hardworking, honest, and positive people. They always found a way to take care of our family. These are all values that I live every day and hope that I can influence others as well.
Most importantly, I think you’ll see that the common denominator is “family.” It is one of the most important things for our Hispanic culture. It influences people and behaviors, plus it reinforces the importance of traditions and unity. My parents always made it a point to take me back to Mexico as a kid. We drove 40-plus hours each way to visit my family in Mexico. We experienced the love of family in Mexico at a higher level. Our trip was all about spending time with immediate family members, specifically my only living grandmother. She was a wise woman who talked about all of our traditions and made sure that we learned about our past. She was our leader and influenced and impacted all of us. As a leader of Wintrust, I plan to also influence others just like my parents and grandmother did.
When I think of Wintrust, I think of community and family. I am especially proud to see how Wintrust supports many of our Hispanic communities, specifically in our low-to-moderate census tracts. Our family of locally run community banks are all connected with the same mission where our customers and clients come first. Hispanics share the same mindset of family and community. Lastly, I’d like to encourage participation with our business resource groups, where you can discuss important, real-time discussions that impact our workplace and communities. Let’s continue to make a difference!