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Lorena Pinzon shares her reflections on Hispanic Heritage Month

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we hear from Lorena Pinzon, Associate Director, Stressed Assets Group, who shares the importance of a diverse workforce, how being Hispanic has shaped her professional life, and her role in influencing a culture that supports the development of Hispanic/LatinX colleagues

Can you share a little background about your Hispanic heritage?

I was born and raised in Colombia and come from a family of eight siblings. Growing up in a large family, I have come to appreciate the strong family bond that identifies our Hispanic culture.

My family has been integral to my personal and career development. I started my career with a bank which was acquired by Standard Chartered in Latin America. I relocated from Colombia to New York City in 2008 and had the opportunity to work mainly with the risk team and am currently with the Stressed Assets Group as part of Credit Portfolio Management team. The decision to move with my children was a milestone in my career and I am extremely grateful that the Bank supported this transition.

Why is Hispanic Heritage Month important?

This is the time we celebrate the contributions, from our community, that have shaped this nation and enriched its cultural diversity. It serves to recognize the many ways our ancestors have positively influenced the American society and provides an opportunity to raise awareness about our cultural identities and experiences.

This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” The theme encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation. What do you think about this theme?

Encouraging people of all upbringings and ethnicities to work together, can drive innovation and lead to growth. It provides an avenue to incorporate different ideas and experiences to enrich our work environment and promote unity. Society will flourish if there is respect and acceptance among groups from different backgrounds. Therefore, it is critical we create a diverse workforce to promote tolerance and development in our communities.

How do colleagues who are not Hispanic help raise awareness and advocate for their Hispanic colleagues beyond Hispanic Heritage Month?

Standard Chartered is recognized as a welcoming work environment, which prioritizes initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion. I have witnessed the management provide career advancement opportunities to people from different backgrounds, and clearly communicate how this will enhance the capabilities of the group’s dynamics, better support our clients and each other.

How has being Hispanic/LatinX shaped your professional life?

As part of my career in the Bank, I have had the opportunity to interact with numerous colleagues from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me appreciate our differences and support each other’s needs.  Being Hispanic and bilingual has also positively influenced my career as I can facilitate interactions with clients and other colleagues in offices in Latin America. The opportunity to understanding employees’ perspectives and culture has an incredible impact. It has shaped my professional life — allowing me to grow and enrich my colleagues’ experience with Standard Chartered.

How are you influencing a culture that supports the development of Latinx / Hispanic talent in your everyday work at Standard Chartered?

Throughout the many years that I have been part of the Standard Chartered workforce, I have strived to be a team player, support my colleagues, and join efforts to tackle obstacles at work. I hope to continue leading by example and raise awareness of the importance of having a diverse workforce. In doing so, increase career advancement opportunities for other Latinx colleagues.

What are some resources provided by the Bank that have helped you navigate your career? What resources aren’t available for Hispanics that you’d like to be?

The Bank provides a variety of resources for career development, including self-instructed trainings and mentorship opportunities. I also look forward to being part of more networking events and leadership skills building workshops.

What advice do you have for other Hispanic/ Latinx colleagues who want to progress in their career?

Work with ethic and discipline. Challenge yourself to learn new skills as you work alongside your colleagues to tackle different projects and carry out your day-to-day obligations. There are ample opportunities to learn from others and showcase the unique skills that you bring to the table.

Working in a diverse organization such as Standard Chartered means there are many different viewpoints/ ideas. What are the advantages and challenges to this? 

The ability to offer different views gives an advantage to an organization as it encourages creativity and innovation. This in turn translates  to a more resilient organization. However, a challenge that is often faced is around the need to navigate situations in which different opinions may make the decision process more cumbersome. As part of building any project you should work towards the best scenario but be prepared for setbacks and be open minded to find alternatives. To overcome such challenges, Standard Chartered strives to create a work environment that promotes respect and sees diversity of ideas as a tool more than an obstacle.