We shared previously how our IDEAL (Inclusion of Diverse Employees and Leaders) team is helping ensure that every Armanino employee feels respected and valued for their uniqueness and experiences. With National Hispanic Heritage Month taking place from September 15 through October 15, we sat down with General Counsel Sarah Harris, Partner Ricardo Martinez and Director Velma Coronado, to learn more about how IDEAL is providing opportunities for Armanino employees to come together and celebrate Hispanic and Latinx culture. Here is a summary of their collective thoughts.
Why did you feel it was important to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month?
We are very focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in all our efforts. National Hispanic Heritage Month was important to us to highlight because Hispanic and Latinx individuals have had such a huge impact on the United States and in particular the regions where our employees are located. The month commemorates the incredibly diverse, rich cultures and histories of several Latin countries.
How is Armanino celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month?
We kicked off the month with a panel discussion highlighting professionals of all levels and practice areas at our firm sharing their various experiences and diverse cultures. Partner Ricardo Martinez, as well as Senior Manager Lisa Boyd, Senior Manager Leslie Carballo, Manager Uriel Reyes and Supervising Senior Baru Sanchez spoke about their childhoods, ancestors and traditions and discussed breaking barriers in the accounting and consulting profession.
In just a few of many inspiring stories, Sanchez told us about his time serving as mayor for the primarily Latinx city of Cudahy, California. And Reyes shared about his mother’s journey raising a family as a widow in Mexico City and immigrating to the United States.
We also hosted a National Hispanic Heritage Month cultural celebration where we showcased Latinx food, drink, music and dance. Our Chief People Officer Carol Ann Nash taught us how to make delicious black beans and Cuban style picadillo inspired by her dear friend and neighbor, Lucy. Partner Ken Coelho shared his proven margarita recipe adapted from his favorite Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica, California. And Uriel Reyes showed off his amazing salsa dancing skills.
Just like previous IDEAL events, our National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations have been led by an amazing and diverse group of people working together. Some are part of the IDEAL team and some are not.
How have employees responded?
We had a great turnout for both events, and that is pretty tough for an accounting firm to pull off with one of the largest tax deadlines of the year approaching. Furthermore, a lot of people have watched the recordings. One of the unintended opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we are able to reach more people at the firm with these events and do so in a way where they can choose to engage live or later, whenever works best for them.
There has also been a strong appreciation for the combination of intellectual connection that came from the panel with the lightheartedness of the cultural celebration. People appreciate the ability to connect, laugh and just destress during these stressful times.
What’s next for IDEAL?
We are committed to our communities and are very open to Armanino employees from all levels and geographies stepping forward and sharing what is important to them. The broader firm has a lot of opportunity to help shape where we go from here. Our upcoming events include celebrations of National Coming Out Day in October and Diwali in November.