Topical Thoughts from MICPA President & CEO, Bob Doyle What About...Bob?

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

 

As the MICPA continues to celebrate 120 years, I am so grateful for the conversations I’ve been able to have with the many talented members we serve throughout Michigan. I feel fortunate to have been provided so many opportunities to learn more about our members individually – where they come from, what attracted them to accounting and the unexpected trials and opportunities they found along their journey. So, when Governor Whitmer declared Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 Hispanic Heritage Month in Michigan to recognize the many contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Michiganders, I saw in this as an opportunity to draw awareness to the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx CPAs within our own organization.

Fortunately, Imelda Castro Scott, CPA, MBA and Director of Accounting North America at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors agreed to sit down with me recently and discuss her journey within the profession, her mentorship with Detroit’s Hispanic population and the culture of belonging she works to create each day. Imelda, who is Hispanic and Latina – two different things which are frequently used interchangeably but actually refer ancestral language and geographic origin, respectively – began her accounting career in Mexico.

“It was one of my biggest accomplishments,” Imelda said of her journey to CPA, which saw her relocate to the U.S. and later intern at GM before she decided to go for it in 2009. “I was working fulltime; I had just had my second child...It took a lot of dedication, discipline and hard work.”

Imelda describes the difference having earned the CPA credential has made to her career. “It gave me a leg up, and the ability to move to other jobs that I otherwise would not have been able to,” she said. “Especially with me being an immigrant, a Latina, and English is my second language, I did have to work harder not only to earn degrees but expand my experience, but I’ve been fortunate to have great leaders as well that supported my career.”

This is a common theme I have noticed among the many members I have talked to in the past. So many of our members honor the leaders along their journey by becoming a leader themselves and paying it forward in support – in their firms, their communities, and institutions. Imelda is no different.

“I believe that is a purpose, to me, to do the same for others, especially with younger generations.” Imelda does this by volunteering as a mentor with multiple organizations, providing a continual source of encouragement and guidance to college students, particularly underrepresented youth and Latinos. “Making sure they’re prepared for their first internship, or their first job a couple of years down the road, and that they have the necessary skills they need to be successful.” 

Imelda describes how having a diverse background impacts her leadership style, making it easier to adapt, negotiate and communicate with people. “Having that experience of living in other countries and interacting with people from different backgrounds has given me a different way to look at, not just the business relationship, but how you interact with people.” 

Keeping an open mind, listening to people and their stories, and fostering an environment of inclusiveness where everyone feels their input is welcome and valued is important to working with others from different cultures, especially if you are in leadership. This culture of belonging she describes is exactly what the profession is working so hard to build upon, and I feel hopeful that with more leaders like Imelda, we are truly on our way to a more diverse, inclusive and equitable future.

Be sure to check out more of my conversation with Imelda on YouTube, and share your own experiences and advice for supporting DE&I initiatives in the comments. Until next time…

 

All the best,

Bob

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