Hispanic Heritage Month 2023: Susana Mendoza
At TD Securities, we are committed to championing a thriving, inclusive workplace and amplifying the voices and experiences of diverse colleagues. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're spotlighting Susana Mendoza, Managing Director, Equity Capital Markets, Investment Banking.
Tell us about yourself and your career at TD Securities
I was born and raised in Colombia and started working as a trader right after getting my undergraduate degree in engineering. I knew I wanted to work on Wall Street, so I came to the U.S. and got my MBA . I was fortunate to join the Latin America Investment Banking coverage group at Credit Suisse, and in 2015, I moved to Private Placements.
In 2021, I joined TD Securities to start our North American Private Equity Capital Markets team within ECM. My experience at TDS has been amazing. I love partnering with teams across the Firm, and I'm excited about the prospects of what TD Cowen brings to our business.
How has your Hispanic and Latin American heritage shaped your identity?
As a first generation Hispanic American with the benefit of working many years in Latin and North America, I've developed a broad perspective of what our heritage means. The region is so diverse, and my experience is very different from a second or third generation Hispanic, but some of the things I have learned from my heritage are: a strong work ethic, resiliency in the face of adversity, the importance of family, resourcefulness, determination, and the ability to stay positive and enjoy life.
What is it like being Hispanic/Latin American in finance?
I have always been in finance and started my career in Latin America, so it never struck me as odd or an uphill battle. If anything, it helped me better serve our Latin American or Hispanic clients, and for my North American clients, it gave me a unique perspective on operating amongst uncertainty, inflation, and volatile markets.
I do see the significant gap in how low our participation is in finance compared to the overall numbers of Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. workforce. We make up 19% of the population, and we're the fastest growing minority in the United States, yet only account for 9.5% of finance professionals. The underrepresentation is even more acute at the senior level, and there is some struggle to rise within organizations due to language barriers or cultural differences. In the next few years, Latinos are expected to become 20% of the U.S. workforce, so the industry needs to make a shift to attract representative talent and better serve our increasingly diverse client base.
What steps do you think we can take to champion more Hispanic and Latin American talent in investment banking and/or global markets?
TD Securities has robust programming with support from our Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council to maximize impact. For Hispanic and Latin American talent specifically, we are partnering with organizations to recruit early talent through targeted events for students to better understand careers in investment banking and global markets. As we build out the talent pipeline, we must also focus on fostering an inclusive environment with minority-specific sponsorship and training programs to retain and promote diverse talent within the organization.
You're actively involved in the Latinos United Committee/LUC (now Latin Employee Network), the Business Resource Group for Hispanics, Latin Americans and their allies. Why is getting involved in this programming important to you?
In 2022, in partnership with Eileen Solla Diaz, I co-founded LUC because we saw the need to create a space for Latinos and Hispanics to come together, celebrate and amplify diversity at TD Securities. We wanted to make an impact in our communities and pay it forward.
Seeing our committee members and allies at our events, the amazing energy and commitment they show, and how much fun we have is a testament to our identity. I'm very proud of the work we have done and am so happy to now work closely with Unidos, TD Cowen's BRG, in our first joint Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month means an opportunity to celebrate our culture with my colleagues, to educate each other on our differences and similarities, and to network while experiencing our food, music, games and literature. It means highlighting the contributions that Latinos and Hispanics have made to our country and teaching that to my kids. This year, Hispanic Heritage Month gave me the opportunity to participate in our incredible volunteering programming with both TD Securities and TD Cowen colleagues and help some of our local Hispanic communities. It's an exciting month, we have a great line up of events and we invite everyone to participate!