Latina leadership in finance and building a pipeline for Latinx small businesses
During the past decade, the number of Latina-owned businesses in the US rose by 137%. Latino-Owned businesses are seeing record growth and spur in American economic growth. Latinas launch a business at six times the national rate. During the past decade, the number of Latina-owned businesses in the US rose by 137%. With the guidance and support of Latinas like Letticia Flores, business fund opportunities are considered and available for the Latinx culture.
Letticia Flores Poole has been in banking for over 20yrs. She joined BMO Harris Bank in 2016, and her current role is Co-Head for BMO for Black and Latinx Small Business Program. Recently she was awarded the Best Small Business Product amongst 700 others and showcased her resiliency and commitment to her local communities.
She has the pleasure of providing financial education and solutions to Small Businesses. She enjoys educating and helping people in her communities reach their financial goals through teaching, coaching, and connecting.
She is trusted and viewed as the professional Advisor she is to the number of businesses she gets to guide. Recently Letticia had the opportunity to work with her State of Minority Small Business group, where she helped the minority business's voices be heard and acknowledged.
She has been a part of multiple organizations, from Non-profits to resource groups. Holding various positions throughout her career
on the board, from President to Treasurer to Member at Large. Some of those boards have been, the Supporting Professionals Network Association, South Chicago Chamber, Northwest Connection Chamber, Latinas in Childcare, and Northside Latinos Progress.
In the middle of this Summer 2022, I had the pleasure to Interview Letticia Flores Poole regarding her career, accomplishments, and what advice she would give to today's Latina and the future Latina.
OLM: How did you become interested in your field?
Letticia: I have always had a passion for helping small businesses in our communities especially our people of color. Our people of color face the biggest challenges and I want to be able to help them with their challenges. Remove barriers for them.
OLM: How did you begin your career?
Letticia: I started managing people over 25 years ago in retail locations. I wanted to expand my experience and help consumers understand their financial options and help them understand how banks can help them make their dreams come true. I want to help build trust.
OLM: What do you like most about your work?
Letticia: I love that I can make a difference in small business's life and help them grow their business, educate them and give them much-needed resources.
OLM: What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in your field?
Letticia: When you make Real Financial Progress in consumers' and business owner's life. When we can see the real impact we make based on the resources and education we can provide.
OLM: How does your position fit within the organization/career field/industry?
Letticia: My role is extremely important due to the need to add value to Small Businesses and try to remove the barriers that they face. There is a huge need to help businesses access capital and education.
OLM: Why do you feel you are the most suited for this role?
Letticia: I am passionate about what I do, You can’t teach passion. You have to have a true passion for helping Small Businesses even if you don’t get an actual monetary reward for it.
OLM: What kind of mindset is required for your duties and responsibilities?
Letticia: You have to want to help people, understand their needs, and how to help them.
OLM: What are the areas of opportunity that you foresee in your role?
Letticia: Growing awareness.
OLM: How do you stay inspired and motivated in your role?
Letticia: When we help a business keep its doors open When a customer gives us feedback we helped. When I hear how our program helped new businesses get their first job done.
OLM: What advice would you give to today's Latina and the future Latina?
Letticia: Be your authentic self, don’t water yourself down, allow people to learn about our cultural differences, and advocate for yourself.