For this Commerce Bank team member, Hispanic Heritage Month is all about family
For Eddy Rosas, Hispanic Heritage Month — celebrated in the U.S. from September 15 to October 15 each year — carries a lot of special meaning. In part, that’s because he’s a first-generation American. His parents came to the United States from Mexico in the early ’90s and initially settled in California, where Eddy was born, before moving to Springfield, Mo., in 2007. People of Mexican descent born in the United States, who refer to themselves as Chicanos, tend to have a lot of pride in their heritage.
“I have my parents to thank for my work ethic and my ambition,” says Rosas, a Business Banking Representative based in Springfield, where his family still lives. “They came from Mexico with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and they taught me that you have to work 100 percent at everything you do — nothing is handed to you. They taught me that no matter how small a task may seem, you have to work hard at it.”
Rosas says the respect he shows everyone he meets — a quality he says he uses every day in his role at Commerce — is also something he learned from his Mexican heritage. “In my culture, respect is everything,” he says. “It’s even built into the Spanish language, where we have a formal and an informal way to address people. I talk to everyone with respect and love. That’s just who I am.”
Working at Commerce is a good fit for Rosas, he explains, because the company values respect for others as much as he does. “I’ve been with Commerce for six years and have loved every bit of it,” he says. “I’m here for the long haul. Commerce’s culture makes it possible for all team members to bring their authentic selves to work. As an organization, we’re doing the right things for customers, employees and stakeholders. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
While Rosas works in commercial lending today, his Commerce career started at one of the bank’s retail locations. “Banking was not a career path that had crossed my mind, but a friend of mine joined Commerce and referred me,” he recalls. “I joined as a personal banker in 2015, and it was a natural fit from the start. I love meeting new people and matching customers with products and services to meet their needs.”
It was during this time that he worked with Sherry Lynch, a market manager for Commerce in Bolivar, Mo. When she met Rosas, she was a group manager who oversaw the branch where he worked. The two eventually worked together as co-chairs for what is now the DEI Council for Commerce’s Southwest region. Right away, she noticed some qualities about Rosas that made him unique.
“I don’t want to sound cheesy, but there’s a spirit of generosity and sincerity about him, and that helps him make connections and build relationships,” she says. “For Eddy, working at Commerce has never been just a job. He uses his experiences to go beyond his day-to-day work and share his story with others, internally and externally, to inspire people with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
One of the ways Rosas shares his story with others is through his work with the Boys & Girls Club in Springfield. “I want to be someone others can look up to and be there for those who need us the most” he says. “Maybe I can inspire someone else of Hispanic heritage to help them realize getting into a professional career is also an option for them.”
Rosas also wants to set a tone for the members of his family. “As tacky as it might sound, I want to have a career my family can be proud of,” he says. “Being the first person in my family to go to college and have a professional career is important to my parents. I also want to be a role model for my younger brother and sister.”
He is currently the regional co-chair of VIBE, Commerce’s employee resource group for multicultural team members. VIBE (which stands for Value, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity) helps raise awareness of multicultural perspectives and provides team members and allies opportunities for networking, personal development and giving back to the community.
Being involved in groups like VIBE and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (DEI) has always been important to Rosas. “That’s something I’m very passionate about,” he says. “I’m not by any means a DEI expert, but I am a Hispanic living in Springfield, Missouri, and there aren’t many of us here. I want to help create that culture where people feel welcomed. That’s really the biggest part of it.”
Lynch says she appreciates the approach Rosas brings to his volunteerism. “There’s a difference between writing a sponsorship check and building relationships,” she says. “Eddy always looks to establish something that comes from a sincere place, and he’s very caring about those efforts. It’s an amazing benefit that Commerce gets from the work he puts into building relationships in the market with the community.”
As for Hispanic Heritage Month, Rosas says it’s a great opportunity to learn about and enjoy Hispanic culture. “To me, personally, it means celebrating all Latin American countries,” he says. “I have ties to Mexico, and as proud as I am to be a Chicano, there are so many countries to celebrate, and each of them have different culture, values and food,” he says. “This month is about celebrating people and culture from every Latin American country.
“I’m glad there’s a Hispanic Heritage Month,” he adds, “but I also think that if you’re of Hispanic descent, celebrate it year-round. Be proud of who you are.”