To celebrate Latinx Heritage Month, the OneHaas podcast welcomes Patty Juarez, the executive vice president and head of Hispanic and Latino Affairs at Wells Fargo Bank.
Patty found her passion for finance and banking at an early age, growing up in Mexicali, Mexico, watching her father run his business. After moving to the U.S. at age 11, education became a top priority for Patty and her siblings. When it came time to apply for colleges, Patty knew Haas was the school for her.
She and host Sean Li discuss her childhood in Mexico and how her life changed after moving to the U.S., the work she’s done at Wells Fargo to increase capital access for minority business owners, and how she got her nickname of “the people’s banker.”
*OneHaas Alumni Podcast is a production of Haas School of Business and is produced by University FM.*
What it was like to leave Mexico at a young age
As a sixth grader, I felt like it was the end of the world, like moving away from my birth country. Even if it was just across the border, really a few miles away, it just felt like a huge change. Of course, you know, you leave your friends behind and you start a whole new world in the U.S.
Where her passion for finance began
I always knew I wanted to be a banker. It’s almost like since I was a kid, I was the bank. Monopoly, I was the bank. If we played like little store, I was always the bank. I always handled the cash. And I always had money. I would save my money from birthdays and things. I would lend my money if my grandmother was short or whatever, and then she would pay me back. And if I’d give her $20, she’d give me back $21 or $22. And she taught me about interest when I was a little girl.
On her idea to diversify commercial banking
I just wondered how much more business we could get if we did it, right? If we actually came to clients in a culturally relevant way, if we recruited talent that looked like our client base, you know, how much more successful could we be? And that was the basis of me launching diverse segments, which really propelled my career to new heights at Wells Fargo.
How she hopes to make a difference for minority business owners
My goal is to have no access to capital gap, right? So that any business owner can get the financing they need and there’s no bias in the decisioning process that leads to them getting turned down for a loan. And that’s not gonna be something that’s maybe gonna be solved in my lifetime, but I’m damn gonna try really hard to help it along.
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
[00:00] Sean: Welcome to the OneHaas Alumni Podcast. I’m your host, Sean Li. And today, we’re joined by Patty Juarez. Patty is the Executive Vice President and Head of Hispanic and Latino Affairs at Wells Fargo Bank. She is also a Haas alum, class of ‘94, undergraduate program. You are also pretty close to me. I could consider you a neighbor down in Southern California.
Welcome to the podcast, Patty.
[00:36] Patty: Thank you so much, Sean. It’s just such a pleasure to be here. And yes, we’re virtually neighbors. I can’t wait to get in touch with you so we can have a coffee or something.
[00:46] Sean: Yeah, I would love that. Patty, before we get into your 20-plus years of experience at Wells Fargo, can you start us off with your origin story? Where are you from, where are your parents from, and how you grew up.
[00:58] Patty: Yeah. Well, I was born and raised in Mexicali, Mexico, which is in the northern tip of the Baja area. And it’s a border town, so it bordered a city by the name of Calexico, California. And I lived in Mexicali, which is across the border. And that’s a play on, obviously, the two words, “Mexico” and “California.”
I lived on the Mexican side of the border. And growing up, my dad worked for a maquiladora. He managed the maquiladora operation for an American company. I have a big family in Mexicali, Mexico. I spoke Spanish my entire childhood up until 11 years of age when I moved to the States. My dad was offered a job with this American company to come and work on their operation in the United States. They had a manufacturing operation in Oceanside.
And so, my father received a job offer to come and join and bring his family with him. So, we were all sponsored to come to the U.S. And as a sixth grader, I felt like it was the end of the world, moving away from my birth country to, even if it was just across the border, really, a few miles away. It just felt like a huge change. Of course, you leave your friends behind and you start a whole new world in the U.S. And it was four of us siblings, so, my parents and the two of us. And we just packed up and went to Calexico and then ended up moving into El Centro, which is a little bit further, maybe 10, 15 minutes from Calexico, but ended up settling down there.
And I went to the local junior high. And I had no friends. I had no friends. Everybody had been left behind. Our family was close. We could cross the border and visit. But really, it was the beginning of a brand-new life. And my dad made it very clear that we were all going to be after the American dream and we were all going to go to school. So, those two things he made clear right on day one. And my siblings and I began a brand-new life.
[03:24] Sean: That’s wonderful. I’d have to ask. I’m an immigrant as well, and I moved to Michigan. And so, I grew up in an environment that had very few Asians at the time. You moved to California, but California is also very diverse in itself. What was that environment like? Were there a lot of Hispanics, at least, in the community?
[03:47] Patty: Yes. I have a funny story about it. So, we moved. And the high school or the junior high that I enrolled in was 94% Hispanic. And so, everybody’s speaking Spanish. I’m like, “Oh, this isn’t too bad. Everybody speaks my language.” And then, I get into class and everybody continues to speak Spanish, and then the teacher’s speaking Spanish. And so, then I’m like, “Oh, my God. Well, how am I supposed to learn English if I’m in this full… immersed, in Spanish-speaking place?”
And so, I raised my hand and I told the teacher, “I really want to be in the English class because I want to learn English.” And he’s like, “This is the ESL program (English as a Second Language program), and everything’s taught in Spanish. And all your classmates speak Spanish. But if you want to talk to your counselor, you can go and see them.”
And so, then I went to see my counselor and I said, “I would really like to be in a class where people speak English. I’m learning. I need to really get acquainted with this new language and I need to practice it. And so, I need to be in a regular English class.” And so, lo and behold, they moved me to the regular English class. And I was really, really lost, initially. But as most young people, resilient and you pick up fast. And living in a border town, I had always had an ear for the language, not necessarily spoke it fluently, but I had had an ear for it. I had watched television growing up, The Price is Right with Bob Barker and Wheel of the Fortune, and these were things I used to watch. And so, I picked up fairly quickly from there. And it was probably one of the best moves because it just enabled me to really pick up the language faster and be immersed in it. But if I hadn’t spoken up, I’d probably still be somewhere else. But that was the first experience I had the first day of school.
[05:40] Sean: I love that. That’s our student always and question the status quo Haas mentality.
[05:46] Patty: That’s right. I was born to be at Haas.
[05:51] Sean: And it’s, funny, you bring up Wheel of Fortune and Price is Right. Growing up, I feel everybody watched during that generation with, Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
[06:02] Patty: Yes, absolutely.
[06:04] Sean: So, Patty, what brought you to Haas?
[06:08] Patty: After attending high school, I had a wonderful college counselor, Mr. Benson. Mr. Benson had a lot of faith in me. He met with me. I had really good grades. I had straight As, regardless of language or no language. I was really strong academically. I had a lot of math. I tested out of math and science. I had really strong background, coming from Mexico, having been in a private school. It was just really I was strong on the sciences and the maths. And so, I was just really working on my English and other things.
But Mr. Benson saw my grades, and I said, “Well, Mr. Benson, I think I’m going to go to the junior college. My parents told me that there’s this Imperial Valley College here in El Centro and that, maybe, I go there and then transfer maybe to a university down the road.” And he says, “No, you have really good grades, and I think you would do great at Haas, my alma mater.” So, Mr. Benson said I should apply to his school.
And he really shepherd me and helped me through the process. And lo and behold, he introduced me. There was a scholarship that was available in, because there was an alum that was a Cal graduate who was a judge of the town at the time. And so, he introduced me. I was able to apply for that scholarship. I applied to Berkeley and other universities. And I got in, and I think it just so resonated that he loved Berkeley so much. I had met this judge. He was from Berkeley. And I was like, “All the stars are pointing to one direction.” And so, I decided to go to Haas. And at the time, it wasn’t even the business school, it was just general admission. And you then had to work your way up to applying to the business school your second year.
And so, my parents drove me up in the family van, our Ford Aerostar van, with all my siblings. And they drove me up to Berkeley. My dad is driving on Telegraph Avenue, and he’s looking for unit three where my dorm assignment was. And he is looking everywhere and he goes, “No, no, I can’t leave you here. There’s too many people I don’t know. This is scary. You’re my child. How am I going to leave you here?” Oh, my God, so many tears later. And with my mom calming him, they were, “Okay.” They settled me into my dorm. And then, it was time for them to go. And I still remember waving and all my siblings faces covered in tears and my parents covered in tears. And I was trying to just keep a strong face and smile. But as soon as they turned the corner, I went upstairs and I cried my eyes out for hours.
And I was like, “That’s it. This is it. This is home. And I’m on my own now. So, we’ll see how we do.” It’s a giant leap of faith.
[09:06] Sean: It’s an interesting story, I feel like, in two parts. One, we’ve always celebrated Latinx Month on this podcast. But we just started last month having conversations with first-generation immigrants. And some of the stories that we hear, especially, I think, with immigrant families is how traditional and resistant sometimes parents are with their kids leaving or going to school far away. But it sounds like your parents were pretty progressive. Obviously, they were a little bit distressed, but…
[09:42] Patty: Yeah. Well, it helped that they both were teachers. My dad’s an engineer, but then he also taught at university. And so, he had been immersed in the university system by his teaching. And my mom was a teacher at a grade school. And so, education was always really important to them.
And my dad, like I mentioned to you earlier, he made it very clear, “You guys are going to go to school and you’re going to achieve your American dream.” And so, there was no question that I was going to go to school. It’s just where. And I think that their initial thoughts were, well, if I go to a junior college, that’s there. And then, I slowly, maybe, moved to San Diego, where it’s an hour and a half away, not seven hours away. But I just ripped that Band-Aid and I’m like, “I’m going to Cal.”
[10:30] Sean: That’s funny.
[10:31] Patty: They were shocked, to say the least. But they went along with it. It was a difficult step. But the beauty of it, Sean, is that I then brought my sister who’s five years my junior. I brought my sister to school with me in the summers when she was off from school. And I exposed her to Berkeley and the beautiful campus and everything. And so, she ended up going to college at Berkeley and is now an attorney and works at Microsoft and is doing really well.
But I think that it really helped to just set the path and open the floodgates for my siblings so that they could also pursue their dreams. And I think it was easier once they went to school than when I was the first one to leave.
[11:18] Sean: That’s amazing. Did you go to Berkeley with the intention of going to the business school? How did you come to pick a business degree?
[11:25] Patty: Yeah. So, what I knew is that my dad, as he worked his business, so the maquiladora is a small business, and so I used to go into the office and I used to do his payroll. You pay payroll in cash in Mexico, so you had little envelopes and I had to put a certain amount of money. And I would love to do the weekly payroll. And then, of course, at the very end with the last envelope, I’m like, “I’m sure, to whatever it was.” And then, my dad would go into his wallet and take out the money and give it to me. And he’s like, “You’re not taking care of everybody.” And I would say, “Well, dad, why are you putting money from your wallet into this payroll? Why don’t you get a loan from a bank?” And my dad would say, “Oh, my gosh, no. That is super impossible. And there’s no loans to be had. And so, we’ll just make it work this way.”
And I remember that, that it was hard for my dad to access capital and it was hard to get a loan from a bank, particularly in the third-world country. But as we came to the U.S. and I saw more, I thought, “Oh, it’s very important for small businesses to have funding.” And so, I always knew I wanted to be a banker. It’s almost like, since I was a kid, I was the bank at Monopoly. I was the bank if we played little store. I was always the bank. I always handled the cash and I always had money. I would save my money from birthdays and things. I would lend my money if my grandmother was short or whatever, and then she would pay me back. And if I’d give her $20, she’d give me back $21 or $22. And she taught me about interest when I was a little girl.
I always wanted to go into finance. And so, I went to Cal thinking I wanted to definitely get an accounting or a finance degree. And so, I knew I wanted to apply to the business school. And at the time, when I applied to Haas, I was one of, maybe, four Hispanics in the business school. It was small. We all found each other. A lot of people ended up in other majors, PEIS (political economy of industrial societies), econ, if they didn’t get accepted Haas.
And so, when I got accepted, I thought, “Oh, my goodness, this is phenomenal.” But then, I thought, “Oh, my goodness, I’m at Haas. It’s super competitive. And this is such a wonderful school and I got to make sure I do my best.”
And it was a shocker to me when I got to college because, honestly, I felt like I was so good at grades in high school, and then I get to college and it’s like I have 30 hours a week of work study and I’m in a new environment, learning how to be an adult and a grownup. And I started getting… I got some Bs. And I was like, “Wait a minute. I can’t even deal. I’d never seen a B in my transcript in my life.”
And so, it was a learning experience, but I did well enough that I was accepted into the business school. And then, I just pursued accounting and finance. And I was just really fortunate to be in the program. And then, I ended up being roommates with the other three Latinos that were in the business school. So, we had a good support system, and we got through it. But it was definitely a challenging time, just keeping balance between work and my parents, my dad with a single salary for four kids. It wasn’t really a possibility for him to be paying for all my stuff for school. So, I had some student loans, but I also had some help — Pell Grants and Cal Grants and all this stuff. So, I’m in the Alumni Association, and I’ve been giving for 25 years because the scholarships I received when I was at Haas from the Alumni Association were crucial to me getting through school and my books and all that.
It was definitely a learning experience. And you grow up quick when you have to work and you’re in charge of yourself. Your parents are no longer there to tell you what to do or what not to do, and so you have to figure it out and be responsible.
[15:29] Sean: Yeah, that’s very true. I don’t miss those days now that I feel like I have my life together of sorts.
[15:36] Patty: Yes. Definitely, I look back to it very fondly because I made some lifelong friends at Cal. I loved our school. I loved Haas. I just loved my entire experience. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. And it taught me a lot. It taught me to be resilient. It taught me to be hardworking, dedicated. And when I graduated, I had my pick of jobs. Between investment banking, which I knew I didn’t want to do, but between accounting and banking jobs, I had, I don’t know, six or seven offers. And I was thrilled that I would be making as much as my dad was making, who had worked his entire life. So, it was life-changing.
[16:21] Sean: That’s amazing. So, how did you get into your current line of work, ultimately?
[16:26] Patty: So, Wells Fargo was actually a company that was constantly on campus. And I was part of the Undergraduate Minority Business Association. They would host a workshop for us. They would come recruit. They would come socialize. The recruiters would come, socialize with the students. And I got to meet a couple of the recruiters from Berkeley and Sandra Banks-Loggins and Laurel Covington. And they were just lovely ladies.
I think they took an interest in me. I think they saw how hungry I was to have a good job. And I had worked two summers at Chevron Corporation through the Inroads Program. So, it was a program that was like a college internship program and you got paid. And I needed to make money over the summer so I can actually save it to live over the year. And so, I worked my summers. And so, they just saw I was always juggling a lot and somehow never dropped the balls. And so, they took an interest, and they started recruiting me right out of school.
[17:26] Sean: What were some of the hardest challenges that you encountered early in your career?
[17:31] Patty: Early on, I think I was really more excited than anything else to go into this field of banking. What I really wanted was apply my accounting and finance skills and then interact with people. And this platform would allow me to do that. But I think some of the challenges were just really being in, in a fully corporate environment, understanding how to interact with clients and how to take care of their financial needs. It’s not something you come into banking knowing and understanding, and you have to really forge relationships. And many times, you have to call on someone 10 times before they even take a meeting or really want to speak to you about their financial needs.
And so, I learned early on that banking was a relationship business and I needed to figure out how to appeal to my clients. And what that brought out was that I was particularly good at taking care of people’s needs. And so, therefore, that made me a good banker. And I also was fully bilingual. And so, clients that were Hispanic would take an immediate liking to me, and they would talk to me in Spanish and I would talk to them in Spanish about all their needs. And suddenly, they were referring me their uncle and their abuela and their cousin. And it was like the never-ending referral funnel, which I loved.
And so, that made me experience some early success in my career because I was really good at business, bringing in business, and also cultivating those existing relationships.
But I think that, needless to say, banking is a male-dominated industry. And so, I would definitely get recognized. But early on, and when you’re young, you don’t necessarily know how to advocate for yourself, how to advocate for a promotion or a title. Those are things you learn, maybe, later in life or when you have a mentor or someone that’s assisting you in trying to figure out these things. So, I think that, for me, luckily, I was working hard enough and the results spoke for themselves, so I would get the recognition. But then, as I moved up the corporate ladder, things got a little bit more interesting, more political, and more interesting.
But what I always tell my mentees, and I have a lot of them, but what I tell them is, there’s no substitution for hard work. The number one thing to get noticed first is that you’re doing an excellent job — you’re bringing it, you’re coming in with lots of energy, very dedicated. I would be the last one to leave the office almost every day. I would do extra things in the office that would be good for other people. I rearranged our whole office supply room, which was a disaster. And nobody could find a thing. I just stayed three different nights in a row and I organized the entire thing and labeled everything. And people came in, and they literally started applauding. And you do those things and you get noticed.
[20:47] Sean: You brought up a couple of really good points and you already answered some of the questions I want to ask you. First and foremost, around what it was like in the ‘90s. You had mentioned at Haas you were one of the four Hispanic students at Haas. I imagine going into banking being Hispanic and being female. I was wondering what that environment was like, and you spoke to that a little bit. But your example of how you being able to connect with Hispanic clientele, I think it’s so telling of why diversity is so important.
[21:21] Patty: Yes, absolutely.
[21:23] Sean: And the fact that having you at Wells Fargo allowed you to connect with more diverse clients and bring in more business for the bank. I don’t think there’s a better example than that, that you brought up.
[21:36] Patty: Well, it was I think that I used my Latin dad as a point of pride in my career development. I am proud of being Latina. I’m proud that I speak two languages, that’s like a superpower. I really wanted to leverage that to the advantage of the organization. And I think I proved to them that it was successful. And in fact, I would go on to launch many years later the first diverse segments program in commercial banking completely dedicated at attracting and retaining clients that are women-owned and diverse-owned and fully dedicated to them. And the reason I did that, that was seven or eight years ago, we were pioneers in this space, is because I saw that the composition of my clients was increasingly diverse.
As I was acquiring clients and bringing them to the firm, there were so many women, there were so many diverse people. I was in Southern California. It’s so diverse here. And so, it really opened my eyes that we were getting our fair share of these clients without even doing anything different. We weren’t culturally sensitive, in a way, from a business acquisition standpoint. And I just wondered how much more business we could get if we did it right. If we actually came to clients in a culturally relevant way, if we recruited talent that looked like our client base, how much more successful could we be? And that was the basis of me launching diverse segments, which really propelled my career to new heights at Wells Fargo.
[23:16] Sean: You just made me realize that I think a lot of businesses, they get tunnel vision. They have one kind of customer base.
[23:24] Patty: One size fits all, yeah.
[23:26] Sean: And they just think, “All right, well, let’s just keep serving this,” without realizing, oh, there’s other types of customers out there. And the fact that you’re really, again, question I hate… sometimes, I hate bringing this up over and over again, but really question the status quo, and seeing, “Wow, look at this other opportunity. How can we connect with these people?” It is just such an amazing skill to have.
[23:53] Patty: Thank you. And one of the things I knew, Sean, is that, in order for me to resonate with my Caucasian male boss, I had to come to him with ideas that made sense and that were based on true data. So, what I did is I did it in the weekends and in the evenings. I started researching the shift in demographics our country has experienced. And I started researching the shift in demographics of entrepreneurs. And I started researching and finding that Latinas and women were starting businesses at twice the rate, three times the rate of other segments.
And this was eight years ago or more, and what I realized is that, wow, the numbers are just tremendous. And so, I put together pie charts. I put together this whole presentation. I call this my Shark Tank moment. I went to San Francisco to the head of the commercial bank, and I said, “Look at all this. Look at the future. This is the future. We don’t succeed as an organization if we don’t serve these growing markets.” And I just put it out there and I said, “This is all based on data and evidence, and here’s all my sources.” And man, oh man, was he impressed? And he’s like, “Why are we doing this? Why aren’t my strategy people telling me I need to go after this?” And I said, “Well, I have no idea. Maybe you need new strategy people. But point is I’d like to do this. I’d like to do this.” And so, that’s how I got my job.
[25:26] Sean: That’s amazing. So, tell us a little bit about your job now and the wonderful work that you do.
[25:33] Patty: So, back then, I led the diverse segments work for Wells Fargo in commercial banking, which is basically serving all of our clients who are women-owned or led and minority-owned and led companies, and figuring out how to deliver the power of the bank and the financial services and products to them and service their needs, help them meet their financial objectives.
About two months ago, three months ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to take on a new role within the bank, which is Head of Hispanic and Latino Affairs. I think that my early success as a banker in the Latino community gave me a lot of visibility in this community. And I am very active within the community doing financial literacy workshops, how to get a loan approved, how to put a set of projections. I really always coached and mentor business owners in trying to land their first bank loan. And so, I became very-well known in the community. Some people call me the people’s banker. It’s been a wonderful experience to try to really get the bank, a huge bank like Wells Fargo, to realize the power of serving our diverse communities.
And so, that was what I did. And so, they’ve asked me now to oversee all the Hispanic and Latino work across the bank, across all of our lines of business — so, whether it’s consumer or mortgage or small business or large business corporate, et cetera. I’m involved in some way, shape, or form identifying ways in which we can serve these clients better, if there’s any product gaps, bracing those, et cetera.
I’m also always in the community. So, I do a lot of public speaking. I am often doing welcome remarks for a lot of events and doing really great things where we show up for our community. And then, lastly, they’ve asked me to also help the bank increase the number of Latinos in senior leader roles. So, two down from our CEO, two and three steps down from our CEO, how do we increase the number of Hispanics in senior leadership?
I am the highest-ranking Latina at the company. There is plenty of room at the table to bring others along. And so, I’m working really diligently on identifying the talent that we have, retaining the talent that we have, and also recruiting Hispanics into Wells Fargo, because Hispanics are the number-one minority at Wells Fargo, at about 16% of the population of the employee population, but they’re 20% of our incoming hires. So, it’s a really important segment that we lean on.
And then, from a client standpoint, our business with Hispanic business owners has really increased over the last five, seven years. And we see how, based on all this demographic work that I love to do, there is no stopping it. And it’s just going to continue to get bigger. And so, I’m excited to lead that work.
[28:35] Sean: From what I just heard, my mind just exploded because I can’t even grasp all the hats that you’re wearing and the roles that you’re serving. And it sounds like there’s definitely room at the table to support and help you, right?
[28:49] Patty: My favorite thing, honestly, if I do anything else, career-wise, is to bring others up with me. And that is what I live for. I love coaching and mentoring young students. I actually just coached one of my mentees getting accepted into the full-time Haas MBA program.
[29:07] Sean: Wow.
[29:08] Patty: And she’s going to get started here in a few months, and I’m so excited for her. So, it’s really being there.
[29:17] Sean: I think you mentioned you volunteer or serve on boards and things like that.
[29:21] Patty: Oh, yeah, that too, Sean. I am prolific in some of my board appointments. I sit on the board of the United States Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, representing millions of Hispanic businesses. So, I just started my term there. I just finished my term as chair of CASA of Orange County, which is a foster youth support organization. I also serve on Chapman University’s board of governors. And then, I serve on my daughter’s foundation school board, raising money for kids that are not able to pay their way for this charter school and to give them full rights. And so, that’s what I do in my spare, spare time.
[30:03] Sean: I was going to ask, do you sleep?
[30:06] Patty: About six hours a day.
[30:09] Sean: You must be like Hermione Granger of that magical charm that allows you to double yourself.
[30:15] Patty: It would be nice sometimes to clone myself, but I do like to spend time doing these other things for the community and, obviously, for my children. My parents, they were always there. And we have a beautiful foundation as a Hispanic family where family’s at the center of everything we do. And we show up for each other. And so, we do a lot of family things. We love to cook and we love to eat. So, what’s not to like?
[30:45] Sean: That reminds me of an interesting question I’ve been enjoying asking, which is, what are some, and this is a pretty tough question, in my opinion, what are some traditions or family traditions, especially, that you have preserved from your parents? And what are some things that you’ve changed from the way that your parents had raised you and your siblings?
[31:09] Patty: Sure. Well, I think, from a preservation standpoint, one of the biggest things has been our cuisine. I’m a pretty good cook. I am the keeper of all my grandmother’s recipes.
[31:25] Sean: Love it.
[31:25] Patty: I spent a lot of time as a child making tamales for Christmas and making mole, and not out of the bottle or the can.
[31:30] Sean: Making mole? Wow.
[31:31] Patty: Yeah. Not out of the can, where you take the seeds and the chocolate and everything and the peppers and prepare it from scratch. And so, I think for me, teaching my kids how to cook has been an important endeavor in keeping our tradition.
And my kids celebrate holidays that most people here don’t celebrate. So, on the beginning of January, we have La Rosca de Reyes, which is the Three Kings bread. And we celebrate the coming of the three kings for the Baby Jesus. And there’s this round ring-looking bread and little Baby Jesuses are hidden within it. And whoever gets the Baby Jesus is going to be assured good luck and prosperity but also has to throw a party on the 2nd of February, which happens to be my birthday. So, whomever gets the Baby Jesus is always throwing my birthday party, essentially. And so, that tradition, I have not let go of. And it’s something we keep up with. And so, a lot of it isn’t…
And we are fairly conservative natured families. My daughter’s like, “Well, mom, my curfew is an hour earlier than all of my friends, or two hours earlier.” And I said, “Well, yeah, I’m sorry. That’s just the way it goes.” So, you take the good and the bad. But anyhow, so that’s been some of the preserved things.
And then, the things that we’ve done different is I think we’ve really welcomed and enjoyed the new traditions of this country. And so, celebrating 4th of July is a big deal in our family. We go all out. We all dress up in red, white, and blue. And we have the fireworks show that we always go see here in our neighborhood. And we bake cupcakes and barbecue hamburgers. And we enjoy it so, so much, and we invite neighbors along. And so, we’ve picked up. And we don’t let go of those traditions, either. So, it’s such a nice blend of both cultures that my kids get to grow up and be completely bicultural.
[33:32] Sean: I love it. How can listeners support you in your work?
[33:36] Patty: Well, I think the work that I do is really something that’s going to be the catalyst to enable minority business owners to… My goal is to have no access to capital gap, so that any business owner can get the financing they need and there’s no bias in the decisioning process that leads to them getting turned down for a loan.
And that’s not going to be something that’s, maybe, going to be solved in my lifetime, but I’m damn going to try really hard to help it along. And I would say, for your listeners, I think anything that you can do where you could really make an impact, a positive impact. And it doesn’t have to be in the financial industry, but just anything — your extracurricular activities, anything in your life, helping young Haas students find their way around at school and supporting them.
Anything you can do to improve and help this world, it’s just that multiplier effect, I don’t think people realize. Whether you have five minutes or five hours to do something good for somebody else, it will be a much better world for our children if we teach them to be that way and if we encourage that and if we ourselves lead by example and do that. And so, be passionate about doing that and serving your communities, I think it’s such a wonderful thing to see and to experience and teach your young ones to do it early on, too. Your quality of life will also improve.
[35:07] Sean: Absolutely.
[35:11] Patty: Because what I learn in life is that what goes around comes around. And so many blessings have come into my life. Meeting you, Sean, today. Just so many blessings come into our lives that I’m so grateful for. And I think that the only way that I feel I can give back is by really supporting all those young people and students and helping them. They know innately sometimes what to do, but sometimes it makes all the difference if they can ask you something and you can help with something. So, I think coaching and mentoring, if you have an opportunity to do that, you get as much out of it as you put into it.
[35:50] Sean: Agreed. And for any listeners that may be interested in that and have questions about how to engage, I think just reach out to the school. The school is always looking for, or your local alumni chapter, they’re always looking for mentors.
[36:04] Patty: Absolutely.
[36:05] Sean: That’s a great way to get started. Easy way, I should say.
[36:09] Patty: Yeah, absolutely, and a fun way.
[36:12] Sean: Yeah.
[36:12] Patty: Well, I know you’re going to ask me this question because I’ve seen some of your podcasts, which is, is there any anything else that you haven’t asked me?
[36:20] Sean: I was just going to ask that. You’re too good. So, what haven’t I asked you yet, Patty?
[36:26] Patty: Well, the last time I was at Haas, I think it’s a fun question for us graduates, because you don’t set foot at the campus very often. But the last time I came to Haas is because I was told that the school was running this campaign at the business school of highlighting notable students that had had an interesting career path. And they took our photos, and then they told me that I needed to come to Haas to see this product. And so, I’m going to the school. And I’m reminiscing. And I never got to be at the Haas Business School, the new beautiful school the way it is. It was a Borough’s Hall where it was old and it was so long ago.
[37:13] Sean: I think you were before Cheit.
[37:16] Patty: Yes.
[37:17] Sean: Definitely before Chou, but before Cheit, right?
[37:20] Patty: Totally. So, old, old, you know. And so coming into this beautiful school, the two bears that are like the statue of the two bears, I was just mesmerized by it. I’m going through the arches and the gateways and the hallways, and it was just such a wonderful feeling. It warmed my heart in such a way.
And then, I’m looking, and there’s the Wells Fargo room. And I’m sure there’s a Bank of America room and all this stuff. I’m looking at all this stuff, and I’m just like, “Oh, my God, this is just so incredible.” And then, lo and behold, I turn around and I’m with a friend of mine. And we looked to the right and there’s Patty’s face plastered on the wall. And the quote was that I brought an emphasis into minorities and into minority-owned businesses to big banking.
And so, it was an interesting experience to go through that and to see your face in a wall of an institution that you respect so much and that I’m so fond of was pretty incredible. So, I think you should ask in your podcast now forever, when was the last time they…
[38:32] Sean: They were at Haas?
[38:32] Patty: That they were at Haas.
[38:34] Sean: Well, I love how we’re wrapping up this podcast, because not only did you come full circle from that dream, seeing your dad not believing, even knowing how to get a loan or thinking that he could get a loan, to now helping immigrants and Latinx and underserved people get loans. But the second thing was just how the school itself also helped you on that career path to realize your dream. And I think that’s really beautiful.
[39:07] Patty: Yeah, it is. That’s why I love Haas. I love Cal. Go Bears, forever.
[39:13] Sean: Go Bears. All right. Well, thank you so much, Patty, for coming on the podcast today. It was a real pleasure talking to you.
[39:20] Patty: Thank you, Sean. It was so easy. Thank you for being so welcoming. And I look forward to hopefully meeting you in person soon.
[39:27] Sean: Yeah, absolutely.
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OneHaas Podcast is a production of the Haas School of Business and produced by University FM. Until next time. Go, bears.