In this series, Wiss employees Eddy Alay, Omar Francisco Pérez, Jonathan Suarez and Isaiah Torres share their stories in light of Hispanic Heritage Month, a period that formally celebrates the immeasurable contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to US economy, culture, and society.
The theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage month is Esperanza (Hope). What are you most hopeful of in terms of Hispanic and Latinx representation in the workforce, today and in the future?
Eddy Alay: One thing that I’ve realized as I continue to grow into the profession of an accountant is that there aren’t many Hispanic accountants/CPAs out there. According to Zippa.com, Hispanics/Latinos only make up 9.6% of all accountants in the United States. I would love for accounting firms to take an approach to inspire the younger Hispanic culture to consider the profession of accounting. Most of us speak English and Spanish, and this is such a valuable skill set as it would give firms the edge against competitors and more potential to expand their clientele as well!
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
Eddy: I’m a Tax Associate here at Wiss. I’m a First-Generation Hispanic American born and raised in the urban town of Plainfield, New Jersey. My parents migrated from Jutiapa, Guatemala back in 1994. I’m also the first from my family to have graduated high school, college, and obtain several degrees!
How has your Hispanic or Latinx heritage shaped who you are as a person?
Eddy: The person I am today has a lot to do with my Hispanic heritage. Being that both my parents were immigrants and I come from such an urban area, I always felt that I had something to prove, especially during my college days. I made it a goal of mine to never give up and always reach for the stars, no matter what the task was. This mentality has helped me get so far in life.
Is there something about the Hispanic or Latinx community that isn’t appreciated enough or known about?
Eddy: The food! Because I was born in the United States, I was adapted to the food from here. When I was younger, I never really appreciated my mother’s Hispanic cooking style; but now I enjoy every single plate. There are so many types of variations and styles that I would still love to try.
Tell us about a dish you think everyone should try.
Eddy: A Latin dish everyone must try at least once in their lifetime are Pupusas. They are very popular amongst the Central American culture. A quick description: stuffed tortillas with meat, cheese, beans and veggies, with a side of shredded cabbage and homemade tomato sauce. Sounds good, right?!