In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, EY (No. 1 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) hosted a Facebook Live event in New York City on Oct. 13 featuring Latino leaders within the company.
Belinda Pestana, Tax Partner for the Financial Services Organization (FSO) at EY, along with Ted Acosta, Americas Vice Chair, Risk Management, shared their career journey while also addressing the importance of mentoring and sponsorship. FSO Assurance Senior Manager Javier Montes moderated the lively discussion.
Pestana, a daughter of Cuban immigrants, said that at an early age mentors helped to establish her path to higher education and eventually her career.
“Being the daughter of immigrants and the first generation to go to college, I really didn’t have that mentorship and sponsorship at home to guide me in the college selection process,” she said. “So I had mentors in my high school, my counselors, my teachers, parents of my friends that really helped me to navigate the college process.”
Upon entering the workforce and joining EY, Pestana said she “moved around the firm a lot, and it was due to the mentor relationships that I’ve built.”
She mentioned that through EY’s Latino Professional Network she met people who eventually became mentors.
Pestana noted that sponsorship is “something that you earn; it’s a two-way street relationship.”
She said that a sponsor is “a person who is going to take that extra effort to take you under their brand and vouch for you.”
Pestana, who has been recognized by mainstream publications, added that brand building is significant.
“One of the most important things is your brand and how people perceive you,” she said.
Pestana has more than 15 years of experience with EY and joined the partnership in 2008. As a tax partner she helps financial services clients in banking and capital markets and wealth and asset management solve their most complex challenges. Pestana is also the Global Tax Account Leader on one of the firm’s largest clients, managing $50 million plus of tax revenue.
Acosta, who is the executive sponsor of EY’s Latino Professional Network (LPN), said the group has a “very important role in our firm because it allows for a forum and community where people of similar backgrounds, who identify as having this heritage in common, come together to meet each other, expand their network of people internally, to learn from one another.”
He mentioned that LPN produces activities each year such as personal and client development seminars.
Acosta also offered advice for employees just beginning their careers — don’t be shy when it comes to building relationships with mentors. He said to raise your hand, approach them and make your intentions and aspirations as genuinely visible as possible.
In his current role at EY, Acosta oversees activities designed to help meet the firm’s compliance responsibilities and supports client-facing teams in delivering service. His team works closely with all parts of the business to identify and manage EY’s risk, providing coordinated advice and assistance on internal risk assessments, compliance, ethics, privacy, independence, security, client engagement acceptance and enterprise risk management.
An attorney by training, Acosta joined EY’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS) practice as a principal in 2001 and took on a leadership role in 2004.
Watch the Facebook Live video: