Lozano discusses his Peruvian roots during National Hispanic Heritage Month and why it’s important to learn from people with diverse backgrounds.
10/11/2022 11:30 A.M.
6.5 minute read
ACA International’s membership and the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry are becoming increasingly diverse. In recognition of that growth and National Hispanic Heritage Month, ACA is highlighting members’ and staff’s stories.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic American Heritage Month Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov.
Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, celebrated on Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period as well.
ACA represents a diverse industry. Hispanic workers have a high rate of representation at collection agencies, making up 17.2% of total collection agents in 2021, according to research from Kaulkin Ginsberg in partnership with ACA.
In this spotlight, Bruno Lozano, ACA’s education specialist, shares the importance of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and taking the time to be thankful of connections with his family and loved ones.
Q. How did you get started in your career?
A. I am ACA’s education specialist, and I didn’t think this career path was even an option when I graduated from college. I was searching for a job during the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to jump at the opportunity. I honestly didn’t think this was going to be for me because I had no knowledge about the credit and collection industry.
After the first few months of working with ACA and attending my first in-person event, I realized that this was an amazing place to work and the people in this industry are the best. I learn new things every day and I think that’s something that I need to thrive. I am truly happy with my job, and I am glad that I get to start my career path in this industry.
Q. Tell me about your heritage and where you and your family are from.
A. I was born in Lima, Peru, and partially raised there. I moved to the U.S. when I was 8 years old, so I am fortunate enough to remember a lot of the Peruvian culture and ideals but also I was able to fully integrate into the American culture. Most of my family is currently in Peru, but we try to visit as often as possible.
Q. What brings you joy about your heritage and culture, and how has it shaped the person you are today?
A. There are many things that bring me joy about being Peruvian, but the thing I want to focus on is how close family is and the culture and customs that come with having a Hispanic family. I remember talking to a lot of my friends about their family traditions and how close in proximity everyone is to each other.
In Peru, similar to other Hispanic and Spanish-speaking countries, it’s common to see many generations all living under one roof. I grew up with my mom, aunt and grandparents all in the same house while I was in Peru. We would also have frequent visits from my uncles two to three times a week. That was a normal part of my upbringing and it was a shock when I discovered that families in the U.S. were often living across the country and would maybe only see each other during big life events or holidays.
This drastic change in culture, I believe, has changed the way that I value relationships. I know that distance plays a big role when it comes to your friendships and relationships, and because of that, I value the authentic connections that people have.
I go out of my way to talk to my family in Peru, and I wish I could talk to them more often, but it’s those conversations that I value. I carry that same mentality when I FaceTime with a friend who lives down the road. It’s important to connect with friends and have that authentic connections because those are the people who are there for you.
Q. What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A. To me personally, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on my culture, the influence that it has on me and the people around me, and to celebrate those little things that remind me of home. I think we can all say that the place we’re born always has that influence and we should always celebrate and reflect on where we come from, but we often forget.
We are often moving so fast that we forget our backgrounds and why they are important. It’s nice that we have months to highlight minorities because it gives others the opportunity to support communities that may not have seen support in the past and teach people around us the importance that culture can have on our lives.
Q. How do you celebrate and honor National Hispanic Heritage Month on a personal level and/or at ACA?
A. I celebrate it in a more internal and holistic way. It’s a time for me to reflect on where I come from and the impact that it has on my everyday life. I also keep up with more current news related to Peru. Something that I am thankful for and fortunate to do is travel with ACA International and do site visits in Chicago. I bring this up because Chicago has a popular Peruvian restaurant, and I am able to go and enjoy some of my favorite Peruvian dishes.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for other companies working on educational and inclusiveness programs in the industry?
A. I think starting the conversation of diversity is a big step in the right direction when it comes to inclusiveness. I feel like a lot of companies have those chats where they might say how beneficial it is to have a diverse team or might send that simple email letting people know that this month celebrates a group of people, but in reality, I think those situations don’t do much when it comes to celebrating diversity.
I’m not suggesting having a party with food from a specific part of the world that’s influenced by that culture. I believe that having authentic conversations with people and just being able to share some educational information goes a long way.
Sharing with your staff the importance of diversity outside of your business can have a huge positive impact on the people around them. I think society can grow and thrive if it’s aware of its diversity and focuses on fostering a positive environment for everyone. It’s easier said than done, so let’s start small, look at the true and authentic significance Hispanic Heritage Month has, and reflect on why it’s good to celebrate it.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is celebrating this month by recognizing the part Hispanic Americans play in influencing and contributing to the American society and workforce.
The SBA has a number of resources listed on its website to help Hispanic business owners and offer assistance to firms and entrepreneurs with access to capital, mentorship and business opportunities.
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.
If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.