Her work with the UN and other organizations makes this goal a reality
TD Bank's Yarisa Walsh learned a lesson at just six years old that she hopes future children will never know about discrimination.
The Dominican Republic native comes from a mixed family, whose roots include a mother who is part Italian and Indigenous and an Afro-Haitian father. As an Afro-Latino, her parents did their best to shield her from discrimination, but she was still picked on by others for her dark curly hair and skin tone at a very young age.
She also saw the crime and violence surrounding her community and how it hurt so many people.
"After that, I wanted to be one thing – a person that helps others, that builds community, not someone who makes things worse," Yarisa said. "I didn't want anyone else to go through what I did."
'We are a lot more than what you see on TV'
Yarisa takes a great deal of pride in her roots. It has driven her to ensure that both her younger family members and community at large learn more about the deep history of Hispanics in the United States.
For Yarisa, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to bring people together, both in the Latin community and outside it.
"It's a time of reflection and for everyone to start exploring and understanding our culture," she said. "We are a lot more that what you see on TV. We are so much more than what people think. Come explore it. You'll see we are a rich and diverse culture."
Yarisa has been with TD for 18 years, first starting out as a store supervisor. Today, she is a TD Investigative Analyst in Global Securities and Investigations. She lauds the bank for its "true belief in inclusion."
But she is also a strong advocate for continuing to strive for improvements, such as increasing the number of top Hispanic executives throughout the industry.
Volunteer work around the globe
Yarisa certainly has more than met her goal of helping to make the world a better place.
Her volunteer work crosses international borders. She is the director for the International Outreach Committee, a volunteer position at the International Association of Crime Analysts. In this role, she assists communities and law enforcement in Latin America with collaborative training, translation and editing.
Yarisa has conducted multiple Spanish translations for the United Nations Online volunteer program in the areas of domestic violence, crime and corruption, and environmental protection.
She was asked to join a UN Congress Panel to speak on financial crimes. Yarisa was the only person from the private sector asked to participate in the panel and it's something she's beyond proud of.
'Helping people like me'
Locally, Yarisa, who works for TD in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, volunteers with the Red Cross, along with other organizations.
This summer, she was named as an AL DIA 40 Under Forty honoree. AL DIA is a media company that highlights the contributions Americans of Latino descent are making in society. They honored impactful young professionals in various fields of work across the Philadelphia region.
While she works with some of the most distinguished people from around the globe, Yarisa has never forgotten where she spent her youth.
"I grew up in a crime infested area, and I know what it's like to be sad and lonely," Yarisa said. "My volunteer work helps people like me."