Did your experiences as a first-generation Latina affect your access to the accounting industry?
I think a lack of exposure to the industry is a big hindrance. Some students have accounting classes in their high schools, but many of us don’t know anything about it until college. My parents are immigrants, so they didn’t use accountants the same as other families might.
Before I decided on Moss Adams, I attended an accounting recruiting event with other college students. I quickly realized my friend and I were the only people of color in the entire room. It was alarming to think that this was a glimpse at my future career. I considered whether it was something I wanted to pursue.
Much later at a different recruiting event, I stopped by a booth with two Latinas on staff. I remember thinking this career would be possible for me. We had an amazing conversation, and I almost joined that firm. It’s a testament to the power of representation. I ended up choosing Moss Adams because I enjoyed the culture, but it was a tough choice. I hadn’t met any Latinx professionals at Moss Adams until my first day at the firm.
Sometimes when you step in a room and feel like you don’t belong, you feel like an imposter. There are days I walk in a room and immediately realize I’ll be the only person of color present. Feeling like you’re occupying space can be emotionally tiring. It’s something I still struggle with and I’m working on combating that.
How is Moss Adams supporting the Latinx community?
The Oregon chapter of the LatinX BRG was created because three staff members in the region realized we didn’t have one. They made it happen, and it’s really making a difference for us.
It speaks to the impact you can have at Moss Adams at any level. I think the firm sponsoring these leadership opportunities is proof there’s support for our inclusion and diversity needs. I’d love to see that pulled through at all levels, with mentorships and recruitment from underprivileged high schools, to see the full impact of that commitment.
When we hosted interns this past summer, a handful of them were Latinx. They gave me the same look I gave those two Latinas from the other firm. I think it goes a long way—knowing that there’s someone out there who not only looks like you but celebrates the culture you do. It helps with defeating that imposter syndrome.
This month is Latinx Heritage Month, and the theme is “United and Present.” What does that mean to you?
It’s challenging being in the United States and searching for the balance of embracing my Mexican culture. I’ve become more aware of things I’ve done in the past, like codeswitching in high school and even during my recruiting processes. I’m a proud Latina, but it took time for me to outwardly present myself that way and find my confidence.
Latinx Heritage Month is an opportunity to embrace our culture, be that through food, dance, the arts, or any other way we connect to our history.
As a Latinx community, we’ve grown so much and are continuing to grow. I’m starting to see that unity in political movements and representation that validates that we’re here. Our community has already contributed so much, and we’re ready to validate those contributions.