Tell us about yourself
My name is Laura Paez and my role is Senior Manager, Operational Risk Management. I came to Canada 17 years ago from Monterrey, Mexico as an international student at the University of Toronto. I met my husband right after I arrived in Canada and we have been together ever since. We have two kids who we absolutely adore and two cats at home (a beautiful Main Coon and a Tuxedo cat who are like my other two kids). Like many people, I bought an unholy number of plants during the pandemic and spend way too much time caring for them, but it makes me happy and I find it therapeutic. I also play video games when I can find some time to myself (not very often), and I try to hit the gym a few times a week (this happens even less).
What does a typical day at Interac look like for you?
My day at Interac is usually filled with meetings with colleagues from across all lines of business. The work I do is dedicated to business continuity management and corporate insurance. Daily, I have a lot of discussions around what critical activities and processes each team performs and how they do it to support Interac products and services. This allows me to meet a lot of people and to catch up regularly with what is going on across the organization. I try to keep these conversations fun for everyone so we can build a rapport for the business to understand why it is so important to talk about business continuity and building a more resilient culture.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is interacting with many people daily and learning about what they do and how they do it. I get to learn so much about Interac products, services and new initiatives. It helps me understand where our risks may be and how to best help the company manage those risks. Having these conversations allows me to get to know people better, learn about their backgrounds and what they are passionate about. I have found that in general, we all have more in common than we probably think.
Can you share more about your journey at Interac so far?
While it has been a short journey, I cannot begin to tell you how much I have grown and learned from this one year. Interac is a fantastic company. The culture and the people are top notch. The Risk team is filled with incredible individuals who truly care about making an impact at Interac. Although I joined Interac virtually and most of my time is spent working remotely, everyone has been so welcoming. I cherish the days I go to the office and get to see people face-to-face.
What does being part of the Latinx Employee Resource Group (ERG) mean to you?
Having the opportunity to represent Latinos and Latinas at Interac is HUGE. I have felt in my personal experience in other organizations, that Latinos/Latinas were perhaps hiding behind the masses so they would not be recognized as such. I am not sure why we sometimes do this, but likely it has to do with our immigration journey and our struggles and efforts to speak the language without the accent, to be accepted as Canadian or American, etc. Being Latina means so much to me: it means my culture, my roots, my ancestry, the food I like to cook, the way I raise my children and to instill in them the “work hard and you will succeed” mindset and culture that I was raised with. I am incredibly thankful that Interac has such tremendous support for all DE&I initiatives including the LatinX ERG.
What has been a project that the ERG has worked on that you are proud of?
Alongside my colleague Sergio Ledesma, we organized a panel for Latin American Heritage Month which took place on October 18th. In 2018, the Parliament of Canada proclaimed October as Latin American Heritage Month in recognition of the Latin American community’s tremendous contribution to Canadian society. In Ontario, October also commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month.
Working with Hispanotech, a professional association that originated as a platform of Latinx folks in the Canadian tech industry, we celebrated and commemorated Latin American Heritage month with a panel of Latinx folks who live, work and play in Canada. Together, we shared more about the meaning of this month, our experiences and contributions to our 1Interac family.
What is a piece of advice you would give to others looking to get involved in an ERG?
Ask questions, be curious. Even if you don’t necessarily fit the ‘profile’ of the group, you are encouraged to join. Get to know people, network and contribute to not only Interac strategic objectives, but at large, Canadian culture. You can make a big difference simply by being present.
What makes Interac a unique place to work?
The people – everyone is so kind and genuine. There is a huge emphasis on mental health that embraces humans having ups and downs and how Interac can help us navigate through it. The investment we have made as a company in ERG groups showcases our progressive D&I efforts. I love being part of a company that sees my value, not only in my work, but in my culture and takes steps to invest in it.
Interested in learning more about life at Interac? Click here.