Diaz says this is a time to be proud of her roots and honor the sacrifices made by those who came before.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is ongoing through Oct. 15 and marks a time to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively impacted and enriched the U.S. and society.
ACA International represents a diverse industry. Hispanic workers have much higher rates of representation at collection agencies than they do in the general workforce, making up 16% of total bill collectors in 2019, respectively, according to research from Kaulkin Ginsberg and ACA.
In this member spotlight, Maryrose Diaz, collection and compliance manager at Grant Mercantile Agency Inc., shares how she honors her Hispanic heritage.
Q. Tell me about your heritage and where you and your family are from.
A. I was born in Purepero, an exceptionally small Aztec town 5 miles from Tlazazalca in the northern region of Michoacan, Mexico. My grandfather on my mother’s side was the town’s “medicine man.” My grandfather on my father’s side worked the land, planted crops, and sold and traded lands. I attended preschool and first grade in Tlazazalca before my parents migrated to the United States.
My parents had nothing and no one to help them, but a kind ranch owner saw and appreciated my father’s relentless efforts to work and helped us attain legal status in the States, moving us all out to Oakhurst, California, in 1982. I became a U.S. citizen in 1996. I have two younger brothers and I married my next-door neighbor from Mexico. We reunited in California when I was 27, and we now have two boys together.
Q. How long have you been with Grant Mercantile Agency and in the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry?
A. I have been in the ARM industry for 29 years, and with Grant Mercantile Agency for those 29 years.
Q. What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A. National Hispanic Heritage Month for me, personally, is being proud of my roots and the many sacrifices those before me went through just so I could have a better life than theirs.
Q. How is your company embracing diversity and inclusion among your team and in the industry, both this month and year-round?
A. As a company, GMA has always welcomed diversity. And just like they welcomed me, we continue to search for new additions to our team.
Q. How do you celebrate and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month on a personal level and/or at your company?
A. My family usually finds any reason to get together, but heritage is a topic that we discuss frequently! We share old, sad and funny stories that have been passed down. My mother has a box of old photos that help us remember those who have passed. We prepare traditional recipes for special occasions.
Celebrating our heritage as a child was so fun! Piñatas, parties, traditional dishes and Mexican holidays were a big part of it. My heritage is an essential part of who I am. My Aztec roots and all the Mexican traditions cannot be forgotten: Mexican art, quinceañeras, beading, colorful decorations, tamales, games such as ‘La Loteria,’ songs and dancing, and more! I have written down my mother’s recipes so I can pass them down to my kids just like my grandma passed them down to my mother. These are just some of the traditions we will forever share and hope that our children can pass on to their children.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for other companies working on educational and inclusiveness programs in the industry?
A. I would recommend companies embrace the benefits of working with a diverse group. People are interesting and different backgrounds bring different work ethics, but they can all help us build a strong team. You can’t paint a colorful picture with only two colors or make a tasty recipe without a variety of spices. Have potlucks to celebrate the roots of those around you. Be ready to listen, be open-minded, and only then will we understand and accept new ideas.
Do you know a member you would like to see featured in ACA Daily’s Member Spotlight or Collector magazine’s Origin Story? Would you like to share your story? We are also looking to highlight our international members and new members of ACA. Simply reach out to our communications team at [email protected] with your ideas. We’d love to hear from you! View our news submission guidelines here.
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