Thursday, October 15, 2020

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month and introducing you to three Hispanic American colleagues​

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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year in the U.S. on September 15 – independence day for several Latin American countries. For the 30 days that follow, the nation recognizes the contributions of Hispanic/Latino Americans to U.S. history, culture, political life, science and more.

In honor of this year’s celebratory month, we wanted to introduce you to three Hispanic-American women who’ve made a significant contribution to HSBC. Now all based in Miami and working for HSBC’s Commercial Bank, Cary Alfonso Figueroa and Caroline Sanchez are Senior Relationship Managers, and Milagros Resto is a Market Executive.

Cary has been with HSBC for about two years and is responsible for the sales, service and risk management of a portfolio of commercial customers. “I was drawn to the opportunity to work for a truly international bank and to be part of a talented team of people who support companies as they grow their businesses,” she says.

Caroline joined the bank nearly 15 years ago as a Relationship Manager in Government and Institutional Banking in Washington, D.C., initially for the Latin America region. “I was then promoted to manage the entire portfolio in Latin America and Spain,” explains Caroline. “My clients range from embassies and consulates, to diplomatic offices and foreign government representations – both here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Milagros, or Mila, was recruited almost 10 years ago to help launch HSBC’s LATAM desk in Miami. “The bank wanted to capitalize on Miami’s location, as well is its business opportunities and the cultural heritage that connects the city with Latin America,” she says. For the last two years, Mila has been overseeing business development, sales and relationship management across Florida.

Building Trust through Heritage

All three women agree that their heritage has been critical to developing relationships with their Latin American client base.

In a global world, crossing borders is easy,” “But crossing cultures is difficult." Over my more than 20-year career, my heritage has helped me better connect with my clients in their own cultures and languages.

Caroline Sanchez

This includes successfully expanding one client relationship that initially began with their office representation in the U.S. “Now, I work with their home country’s main offices, as well as their representation offices in 15 other countries.”

Cary, who immigrated from Cuba with her parents when she was four, agrees. “I have one client, an alarm company, who has been in business for several years,” she says. “While the owner and office manager speak English, they find it easier to do business in Spanish – their primary language.” They were especially appreciative, Cary says, while she was helping them apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan earlier this year.

For Mila, who left Puerto Rico to build her career, the greatest satisfaction comes from helping companies develop their strategies and explore different angles to expand into new markets.

I love being able to listen to a client’s goals and dreams and then connect them to the solutions that will take them there

Milagros Resto

Mila explains. In particular, she says, she enjoys helping Latin American companies establish their presence in the U.S.

On a Personal Note

On top of her professional accomplishments, Caroline is also proud of her role in leading the first Employee Resource Group for the Hispanic Latino Diversity Committee in the Mid-Atlantic region. “For six years, I was able to connect with HSBC colleagues and clients to promote the Hispanic Latino culture at the bank with programs such as financial literacy workshops for low-income Latin youth organizations,” she explains.

Cary feels her parents and Cuban heritage have provided a strong foundation for her life and career. 

My parents embedded a strong work ethic in me combined with deep gratitude for having the opportunity to be raised in America

Cary Alfonso

 she says. “I think my appreciation for the opportunities afforded me helps me connect with my clients and colleagues on a more personal level.”

Leaving Puerto Rico and her family to develop her career was a difficult decision for Mila. “Over the years, however, I’ve come to realize that what I had initially seen as sacrifices ended up opening doors for me, both personally and professionally. I’m very grateful for the team I work with now and our accomplishments, and I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.”

Thanks to Cary, Caroline and Mila for their hard work and dedication to HSBC, as well as to the many companies and business owners they’ve supported in the South Florida community.

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