Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 to October 15, and TD Bank is committed to recognizing the contributions of employees with Hispanic backgrounds. Below, TD Bank employee Amaralys Torres shares her experiences as a part of this community, and explains how her background has influenced her personally and professionally.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage month is important to me because it means family! We Latinos are strong, courageous, passionate and deeply proud of our heritage. Through my life experiences as a Puerto Rican woman, I've come to cherish my roots every single day. I love being a Latina! I'm deeply proud of our culture, of our hospitality, our passion for food, music, tradition and our love for our lands. Hispanic Heritage month reminds me of who I am, and of my deep roots of being a Taína (Indigenous person).
How has being part of the Hispanic community impacted your professional life?
Being a part of the Hispanic community has impacted my life personally and professionally. While working in the Spanish communities, I encountered many challenges. I needed to do more with my life so I decided to go back to college and finish my education. I completed my Masters to ensure I had a voice.
As a child I was taught to be strong and to dream big, but to stay true to yourself. My mother made sure my siblings and I were able to communicate in Spanish. She made us read the Spanish newspaper daily. When I was 13 years old, my parents decided to move the family back to their native land, Puerto Rico. It is there where I learned to speak fluently in Spanish and learned so many amazing things about our culture. Learning to communicate in Spanish helped me raise the bar at work. Being bilingual is powerful.
As a wife and a mother of three wonderful children, I've instilled these same practices and traditions to my children and will always encourage them to be proud of their heritage. I've even enlisted them in a bilingual school.
What do you hope non-Hispanic employees take away from Hispanic Heritage Month?
My hope is for all non-Hispanic employees to appreciate diversity with understanding, knowledge, consideration and appreciation. To embrace and acknowledge that Latinos are such a huge part of this nation. Latinos are always eager to learn, grow and establish a solid ground wherever they go...this is so we're able to also accomplish our dreams and goals.
Amaralys Torres is an Events Planner- Retail for TD Bank, based in Mount Laurel, NJ