Repay Your Debt: Reflections During Hispanic Heritage Month

By Marcos Torres
Published October 21, 2020 | 3 min read

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates Latinx people and their many enriching contributions to American society and culture. Running September 15th through October 15th, the U.S. Congress first instituted the celebration over 50 years ago. Marcos Torres, our Head of the U.S. Communications, Media and Entertainment group, reflects on his own experiences as a Puerto Rican and how it has influenced his life and various roles at RBC Capital Markets.

My 20-year journey from an Analyst to Head of the U.S. Communications, Media and Entertainment group at RBC Capital Markets is intrinsically linked to my Hispanic heritage. My motivation to succeed came from my parents’ courageous journey that brought them from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S. I am forever indebted to them for the many life lessons they shared with me.

A child of immigrants

 

My parents emigrated to the mainland U.S. when I was a young boy. As is often the case, they came to this country without knowing English, without an education, without an established social network, and without any money. As a young couple with six children, they faced significant challenges. I am acutely aware of the unbelievable sacrifices they made to support my siblings and me, and this awareness is what continues to fuel me.

There are more than 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. today – and they all share a common immigrant experience. Despite Hispanics being the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., their economic and political power is yet to be fully harnessed. But the data suggests that this time is coming soon - by 2060, nearly one in every three Americans will be of Hispanic descent.

“Despite Hispanics being the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., their economic and political power is yet to be fully harnessed.”

Advocacy as a motivator

 

My Hispanic heritage fuels me. Not only am I tied to the culture - the food, the music, the warmness of the people - but I do what I do to honor the legacy of my immigrant parents.

My childhood experiences motivated me to enter the financial services industry, as it represented an opportunity to be rewarded for hard work and to take care of my family. Upon entering the industry, I immediately saw there were very few people of color and close to zero at the most senior levels. This disparity drove me to succeed and it continues to drive me to work hard and work smart every day, and to give back to my community.

Advocacy for the under-privileged and under-represented, especially by people in seats of influence, is incredibly inspiring. I sit on several national non-profit boards that are focused on the advancement of under-represented minorities. I am also the Co-Chair of the U.S. Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) at RBC Capital Markets. These roles allow me to directly influence policy and create opportunities for others from diverse backgrounds. Put another way, my participation in these important initiatives allows me to be the change that I want to see in the world.

Diversity and inclusion at RBC

 

I am incredibly lucky to be a senior banker at RBC Capital Markets. Diversity and Inclusion is built into the DNA of RBC and the firm is constantly challenging itself to create parity for under-represented minority groups. At the DLC, which consists of senior leaders from across the firm, we study data and work with businesses to set targets for new hires and upward mobility targets for under-represented minority groups.

I am particularly proud of the important work that my DLC partners and I do to foster inclusion at RBC Capital Markets. We recognize that D&I is not simply about hiring a set number of people from diverse backgrounds. Achieving inclusion is much more complex and involves ensuring under-represented minorities feel comfortable at work and have true opportunities to build long-term financially and professionally enriching careers. Many firms succeed at achieving diversity, but very few succeed at achieving inclusion.

“Achieving inclusion is much more complex and involves ensuring under-represented minorities feel comfortable at work and have true opportunities to build long-term financially and professionally enriching careers.”

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s be thankful for all the opportunities we have been afforded and continue repaying the debt we owe to the generation that preceded us. Let’s find more ways to action meaningful change and be the change that we want to see in the world!

 


Marcos Torres

Marcos Torres
Head, U.S. Communications, Media & Entertainment Investment Banking


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