STORY BY: STEVE PENHOLLOW AND MARIANA BRIONES, Latino Leaders Magazine
Journalists like Erika L. Sánchez of NBC News have stated that the financial sector “sees Latinos as a key growth area and is seeking to boost the number of Hispanics working in the financial industry to help draw more Latino families into the savings and investments world.” Many of the most prominent Latinos in the financial services industry pursue the mission of encouraging other Latinos to enter this field – and they are leading by example
Our top 12 are all stand outs in an industry being disrupted. The influencers selected are considered thought leaders on critical topics such as capital markets, digital transformation, innovation, payments and customer experience - transforming their fields one idea at a time. All of these leaders are making a significant impact in the finance industry through the sharing of ideas and visionary perspectives. They are all worth following as they set the bar for next year’s top 12 – and a new wave of Latino industry leaders.
Juan Rajlin is Corporate Treasurer at MasterCard. Embracing change and uncertainty has been a constant theme in Juan Rajlin’s career: Over the last two decades, he has worked in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, taking on increasingly challenging positions under one guiding principle: to stretch beyond his comfort zone. For the past three and a half years, he has served as Corporate Treasurer at MasterCard, overseeing the company’s corporate finance strategy and overall risk management activities. Before joining MasterCard he gained a broad set of experiences through an executive development program at General Motors, serving in eight different and increasingly senior roles over a decade with the company. During that historic period for the auto industry, Rajlin actively sought opportunities to contribute to solve the critical issues facing the business, becoming heavily involved in the planning and execution of both the largest bankruptcy filing and the largest initial public offering in history at the time. The MBA program at General Motors provided Rajlin with continuous stretch opportunities and the flexibility to explore different roles and functions, an experience that Rajlin credits with providing him the diverse perspectives that are required for a senior finance executive of a large cap, global company. When the opportunity to take on a broader role at MasterCard presented itself, it was a challenge he couldn’t turn down. Today, he plays a leading role in helping to drive a hungry organization, focused on creativity, innovation and differentiation.
Fernando Iraola is the Managing Director and Head of Latin America Corporate Banking (CBK) and Global Transaction Services (GTS) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Born in Argentina and now Based in New York Mr. Iraiola is responsible for taking the Latin America CBK franchise to a new level of growth with a focus on multi-product client relationships at both the parent and subsidiary level. He is also accountable for the global coordination of client coverage for Latin America based clients and multinationals, and the execution of global growth strategy in the region. Mr. Iraola assumed responsibility for GTS in Latin America in December 2015. In this role he is responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategy for the full end-to-end regional transaction services business, including: treasury and trade sales; treasury product solutions; trade and supply chain finance; service and fulfillment; technology and operations; and product innovation, development and management. He is a member of the Global Corporate Banking Executive Committee, the Latin America Executive Committee, and the Global Transaction Services Executive Committee.
Yvonne Garcia serves in Investment Manager Services as senior vice president and global head of client solutions at State Street Corporation, a worldwide financial services holding company located in Boston. In that capacity, she nurtures new client relationships and curates existing ones. She was selected as one of the Top 5 Latina Executives in the Country by Latina Style Magazine. She was included in a Top 100 Executives Under 50 list by Diversity MBA magazine. Garcia is chairwoman of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA), the largest Latino business organization in the country. She is a co-founder of Milagros para Niños, dedicated to raising funds for Hispanic children who can’t afford medical care.
Genaro Perez Jr. is managing director of strategic accounts for Resources Global Professionals (RGP), which provides consulting services in finance and accounting, among other areas. He has also worked at Deloitte, which offers tax and audit consulting services, and at Goldman Sachs. At Goldman, Genaro led the Controller’s Hispanic Professionals Network. He is one of the founders of ALPFA’s New York Chapter. He currently serves on ALPFA's New York and national boards and is an ALPFA liaison to several colleges in the New York City area. He told Hispanic Executive magazine that he is happy to introduce Latinos to the world of accounting and finance. “I had good fortune to have opportunities with top firms that supported my development, so I took on the responsibility to reach out to communities with few role models to expose them to the career of finance and accounting,” he said. “Finance and accounting is a great field and should be open and accessible to all. Just because you’re Latino doesn’t mean you can’t be part of it. It’s a great career path and I wanted to introduce it to our communities.”
Sean and Kenny Salas are the chief executive officer and VP of operations and finance, respectively, of Glendale, California’s Camino Financial. Camino Financial, an online lending website that caters to underserved Latino business owners and prospective business owners. "Traditional banks ... aren't incentivized to lend to Hispanic business owners,” Sean Salas told CNN. Camino Financial doesn’t just help clients find money; it provides advice. "We fundamentally believe that capital in isolation is not the solution," Kenny Salas told the Latin Post. "Especially working with a first-time borrower. They need more than just capital. They need guidance." Kenny Salas said Camino Financial helps clients build their credit, improve their financial reporting and identify potential vulnerabilities in their business plan.
Toni Cornelius is the chief inclusion and human resources officer at Mesirow Financial, a financial services firm in Chicago. Not only has Cornelius developed and implemented strategies that increase diversity at Mesirow, she has worked to bring more blacks and Latinos into the financial services industry citywide and even nationwide. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Mesirow has partnered with organizations like the National Society of Hispanic MBAs to host in-house recruitment events. Cornelius told Elejalde-Ruiz that financial firms can’t afford not to try to reverse trends that show the percentage of blacks and Latinos in senior management positions at such firms is slipping. "The people who hold the money that we want to be a part of investing are asking these questions (about diversity), and it's making a difference in how far you get in the process," she said. Cornelius serves on the Steering Committee of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, which was created by 16 financial institutions for the express purpose of addressing diversity. She was the recipient of the Chicago Defender 2016 Women of Excellence Award.
Emilia Lopez is Managing Vice President, U.S. Card division at Capital One. In this role Emilia leads their strategy for the Venture and Quicksilver credit card portfolios. Prior to taking this role, Emilia led the U.S. Card Hispanic and Underserved segments. Emilia also led Capital One’s agenda “to help people use credit wisely”, including CreditWise, a financial wellness digital tool that is now available to all consumers to help them understand and monitor their credit score. Her accomplishments include making CreditWise available in Spanish and bringing Capital One’s Single Sign-On technology to life for customers with multiple products.
Prior to joining Capital One, Emilia was a Principal with The Boston Consulting Group working with clients in the banking and payments sectors and also held several positions related to corporate credit and risk management at Citibank.
She was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth and a Bachelor’s Degree in business from C.E.S.A, Colombia.
Fabian Gonzalez is VP, Multicultural Sales, Insurance Solutions at Voya Financial. He leads multicultural sales opportunities for Voya Financial's Insurance Solutions business, which includes individual life insurance, annuities and employee benefits. In addition, he provides leadership and support for the company’s overall Asian and Hispanic marketing efforts in the U.S., including the High Net Worth Foreign National program. Gonzalez has been instrumental in the launch of multicultural research examining the attitudes, behaviors and preparedness of different ethnic groups regarding retirement. He has more than two decades of insurance experience in the U.S. and South America. Gonzalez has been named one of Latino Leaders' “101 Most Influential Latinos” and is regularly interviewed by media outlets regarding financial habits of multicultural consumers and the importance of life insurance as a part of every American's holistic retirement strategy.
Garson Guzman is a managing director at Corinthian Capital, a private equity firm in New York City. He has also worked at Clearview Capital, Mercer Management Consulting and SBC Communications in California. A native of Guatemala, Guzman is actively involved improving occupational and educational opportunities for Latinos in this country. He was the first graduate of the UC-Berkeley Latino Business Student Association and led the formation of the organization’s Alumni Network and annual scholarship program. He is a member of the New American Alliance, an organization devoted to advancing Latino economic development, and he serves on the Northeast Advisory Board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Raquel Filmanowicz is director of U.S. community affairs for BMO Harris Bank. She oversees districts in Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Arizona.
She develops community affairs plans that include philanthropic outreach. She also helps provide scholarships to the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee organization. Prior to joining BMO Harris Bank, she was health operations administrator in the health department of the city of Milwaukee. She planned the department’s $21 million budget. “Working with Mayor Barrett and United Way of Greater Milwaukee, we established a goal of reducing teen pregnancy by 46 percent by the year 2015,” she told Urban Milwaukee magazine. It dropped 36 percent in six years, according to the magazine. In 2010, Filmanowicz made Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list.
R. Martin Chavez is the chief information officer for Goldman Sachs. He also is a member of the Firmwide Hispanic/Latino Network and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network. Prior to joining the firm, Chavez co-founded Quorum Software Systems and he was global head of energy derivatives at Credit Suisse Financial Products. As Nathanial Popper wrote in the New York Times, transparency is a kind of personal credo for Chavez. “He displays his gay and Latino identities proudly, as well as the Japanese tattoos on his arms,” Popper wrote. “Conversations with him routinely turn to the intricacies of marrying his husband, a Briton, and raising their baby son, who was born to a surrogate in California. He urges his colleagues to open up more as well, arguing that it can serve as an antidote to the negative public image of Goldman.”