Ofelia Castillo says National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of her culture.
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, Ofelia Castillo, collections supervisor at Creditors Bureau USA, shares how her family and accounts receivable management industry colleagues honor their heritage.
Q. What is your family heritage?
A. I was born Zacatecas, Mexico, and am proud to be Hispanic. I come from a family of five children and I am my parents’ only daughter. My parents taught my siblings and I the value of being a humble person and showing respect for others. We are all human beings regardless of our color and ethnicity. They also taught us to continue passing these traditions to our own kids and educate them about our heritage, beliefs, religion and humility. Our heritage is also based on religion, and festivities are performed in honor of local holy patrons (Santo Nino De Atocha). When we would gather with the whole town, everyone would bring a dish to share. The festivities also include our traditional dance, Tamborazo, which comes from the essential use of drums, trumpets and the saxophone, followed by the rodeo.
Q. What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A. National Hispanic Heritage means a lot to me. For one, it means we get together and honor and celebrate the past achievements of Hispanics and the contributions we have made. It helps me remember our culture and never to be ashamed of where we come from.
Q. How is your company embracing diversity and inclusion among your team and in the industry, both this month and year-round?
A. Our company, where I have worked for 17 years, celebrates by encouraging us to have a potluck meal. Employees will share a traditional dish from their culture, as well as the recipe.
Q. How do you celebrate and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month on a personal level and/or at your company?
A. It’s an honor for my family and I to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. We celebrate our ancestors’ achievements by passing down our stories and traditional dishes while educating the younger generations. We enjoy the tradition game of Loteria, which helps younger generations learn Spanish.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for other companies working on educational and inclusiveness programs in the industry?
A. My recommendation for companies is to educate employees about the importance of National Hispanic Heritage month by arranging to host a Hispanic/Latino speaker. Companies can also honor an employee of Hispanic culture during the month by sharing their photo and positive recognition of what they have done for the company. This form of recognition helps inclusion in the workforce.
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