Sandra Olivas-Talavera

Vice President of Business Development at Bank of Labor

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Torreon, Coahuila Mexico. My parents, Candelario and Graciela Olivas came to America in 1973, when I was only 6 months old, to give their children a better future. They raised our family in Wyandotte County surrounded by hard working families where I made so many wonderful childhood memories and friends of all races. I married my best friend, Daniel Talavera, and we have two wonderful children, Cristina and Danny.

What is your family heritage?
I am proud of my Mexican heritage because family, faith, & friendship are embedded in everything we do in our daily lives. Our big colorful celebrations are usually filled music, laughter, dancing & an array of delicious traditional Mexican dishes. We've all heard the phrase "Mi Casa es su Casa" which means my "My Home is your Home." I love this phrase so much because it shows how our culture values the importance of being warm, generous and welcoming people to everyone.

What is your occupation?
I am currently Vice President of Business Development at Bank of Labor with our Commercial Lending team.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
For the past 6 years I have been able to support the local Hispanic community by being a trusted resource for Spanish speaking individuals and business owners who need help navigating bank services & financing. Recent Data by the FDIC reveals 16% of Hispanic households do not have bank accounts. For many, turning to a bank can be intimidating. That's why at Bank of Labor we have been proud to be involved in the Hispanic community by hosting workshops on the importance of understanding and building good credit, we have hosted Lunch & Learns to help business owners understand new tax laws, how to prepare your loan request for bank financing, and QuickBooks Classes in Spanish to teach local business owners how to improve their daily accounting. It means so much to me personally to be able to help my community build a better future for their families. I always remember how hard my parents worked to support our family. So when I am able to help someone with their financial needs, I feel that's the best way I can honor the hard work and sacrifices of my mom and dad.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I love to connect to my Hispanic culture by staying involved in various activities throughout the community such as serving as the emcee at the Mexican Consulate Independence Day celebrations at Fiesta KC at Barney Allis Plaza each year. I also enjoy giving back to the community. I have had the honor of volunteering with important non profits in KCK like Community Housing of Wyandotte County and the Bethel Neighborhood Center. These organizations provide important services that improve the lives of so many families.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Every little girl in the Hispanic community dreams of the day she will celebrate her Quinceañera . I remember planning all the details of the big day with my mom. We spent months working on finding the perfect location for the celebration, the cake, the decorations, practicing the waltz every weekend with a dance instructor with my friends who were a part of the Quince court. On that special day, I felt like a princess, wearing a big puffy pink dress, surrounded by my family and all my friends as we attended a special Mass at Saint Thomas Church in KCK. My sweet grandma Teresa traveled from Mexico to be here and to help prepare her delicious Chicken mole for the special dinner. It was a day I will never forget! Years later, I was so excited to be able to continue this important tradition with my own daughter Cristina when she turned 15.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage month is a time to honor and celebrate the many positive contributions Latinos have made in this country. We are brave men and women who serve in the armed forces, we are business owners, we are professionals, we are dedicated teachers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, farm workers and members of the essential workforce. We are an integral part of the US economy and for generations Hispanics have strengthened and shaped the fabric of this nation. My hope is that during this month communities across the country will celebrate our beautiful Hispanic culture, delicious dishes, and most importantly continue to show love and support for your Hispanic neighbors and friends.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
I believe there are several important issues that continue to impact the lives of the Hispanic community such as improving access to higher education, quality health care, better payings jobs, and immigration reform. Taking part in the U.S. Census and the Ballot Box during elections are essential actions we must participate in to make sure our Latino voice will be counted and our concerns are addressed. Our Hispanic families are like any other family in this country who seek a better life for their children, a strong financial future and a sense of community as they aspire to live the American Dream.

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