Hispanic Heritage Month Series: Storytelling Through Letters

Hispanic Heritage Month Series: Storytelling Through Letters

Todos somos, somos uno. We are all, we are one. The theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the inherent diversity within Hispanic and Latinx communities. There are many backgrounds, cultures and characteristics that make up the diaspora in America, and this month, we celebrate the power of collaboration and unity.

BDO’s Multicultural Alliance has several firmwide events and recognitions planned for the occasion, including a virtual panel discussion on the topic of Driving Prosperity, Power and Progress in America. Additionally, we asked some of our professionals to share their perspectives through letters, touching on personal challenges, triumphs and lessons learned along the way. Read their stories below.

Professional headshot for Gensis Nunez

Dear Mom and Dad,   

The sacrifices you endured and the resilience you showed shaped both my childhood and who I am today. I have you to thank for my success. Our moves between the Dominican Republic (D.R.) and the U.S. were tests for our family. But the way both of you handled these transitions set an example for me and, to this day, drives me toward prosperity in every aspect of my life.  

You came to the U.S. in pursuit of prosperity; to create a better life for our family, not knowing what to expect from the move. Most U.S. immigrant stories typically center around one new beginning. Our family had three — New York, back to the D.R. and then to Charlotte, NC. We moved wherever we saw the best opportunity for a good family life. I have witnessed firsthand how you worked tirelessly to make your vision a reality, often sacrificing your own comfort to ensure both my brother and I had the best opportunities available, whether that involved a good education or a quality childhood. 

Dad, I’m amazed at your persistence. With each move, you started a new business with a determination and passion to make it succeed, and it’s left a tremendous mark on my life. You treated every setback as a stepping stone to future success, and you taught me that obstacles are a part of life. Think of how far you’ve come: starting your own real estate business in the D.R., biking to different properties before you earned enough to get your own car and doing whatever it took to get a deal done. I think it’s remarkable that you had the drive to start from scratch again, especially after you had a successful business in New York, and land in a position to put your children through the best schools in the D.R. Now, you have your own furniture store in Charlotte, and it's been thriving for years. You’re unstoppable!  

Mom, no matter where we lived, you made our house feel like a home. I am in awe of how you made sure my brother and I were shown love, care and guidance amid so many changes. Throughout these moves, we were still close, as you made sure we stuck together as a family. Both you and Dad always prioritized a good education. That wasn’t just something you said; you lived it. Not only did you hold your children accountable with their school work, you and Dad worked toward your accounting and law degrees respectively while taking care of us. There were times the four of us would be doing homework on the same small kitchen table, and that mental image personifies all the hard work you showed throughout my life.  

Your commitment to providing the best — even when resources were low at times — instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to carry your legacy forward. That time as a kid only taught me to make the best of what you have. Because of you, I am committed to achieving my own vision of prosperity.   

Thank you both for your love, guidance and the incredible example you have set. Your story is a testament to the boundless opportunities the U.S. offers — and shows that, with determination, faith and resilience, anything is possible.



Picture of Genesis with her family at her graduation from the University of North CarolinaGenesis and family on her college graduation day
A selfie of Genesis Nunez and her family
Nunez family selfie

Professional headshot for David Chavez


I know you have some concerns about your future right now. Your college plans in Mexico just crumbled, and your parents’ plan for paying for your education didn’t work out. It happens. You may feel a bit hopeless, but don’t let your despair get in the way of your dreams. As your future self, I have three bits of advice for you:

  1. Be grateful. Even though you’re focused on the doors that aren’t open for you right now, your parents were wise enough to teach you the role a good education plays in helping you pursue any career you want. They went as far as moving to a different state just so you and your siblings could learn English and be bilingual. Be grateful for setbacks because they help build character and determination. Be grateful for the people around you, too, who see potential in you.
  2. Don’t be afraid. You have to make some long-term decisions soon. I know it’s scary to look ahead and face the unknown, but when the opportunity comes to go to Idaho for college, embrace the challenge. Yes, it will be very far away from home … and it will be very cold in the winter. You’ll second-guess whether you have what it takes for college in the U.S. because you came from a small school in Mexico with a graduating class of 60. Don’t let that fear stop you from discovering what you can accomplish, though. Being on your own in the U.S. will serve you well later on when you move farther north for your first job as a CPA … to Alaska. You’ll find out that Idaho was just practice for your new, much colder home. Becoming a CPA is a challenge. It’s meant to be hard, but don’t be afraid. Take the leap of faith and enjoy the surprise.
  3. Move forward. Enjoy the satisfaction of every milestone you reach. Enjoy your success when you get your CPA license, but quickly move on and work on being a good CPA. Moving forward will always involve learning from those around you, building relationships and looking for those within your circle of influence who you can help progress. Don’t become stagnant in what you know or in what you can do. Look for new opportunities to contribute and keep improving. At every point, move forward.

The drive you got from your upbringing will be helpful in reaching your goals. Remember to be grateful, don’t be afraid, and keep moving forward. “Si se puede.” or “It can be done.”

If I remember your current goals correctly, I can safely say that you’ll reach them. That vision you’ve had while walking home along the dirt roads of your hometown will be yours. You’ll have a beautiful family, and your accounting career will provide a comfortable living and opportunities for your children. You will be good at what you do, and you’ll enjoy the people with whom you serve your clients. Will you achieve success and prosperity? I would have to say yes — but know that there is even more to come.

David Chavez

P.S. One more thing … you’ll go bald, but remember: don’t be afraid!

A picture of David shoveling snow in Alaska

David showing off his shoveling work 

in the Alaskan snow

A picture of David with his wife and children
David with his wife, Vanessa, and their children, Miguel, Alejandro, Israel, Joaquin, Leonardo and Alyana

Professional headshot for Jose Gonzalez

Dear Jose,

Here’s some advice from your future self: Everything will end up OK. Let me break it down for you — I can tell you that I made it to my mid-40’s relatively unscathed, married and living my best life. I worked my way up in my career; now, I’m happy to be at one of the nation’s leading professional services firms, and things are great. I wanted to write to you as I reflect not only on my own success, but the success of Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S. 

As you move forward in your life, always remember the hard work of those who came before you. You may think you know everything now, but there’s so much left in life to discover. Remember the lessons from Mom and Dad. Watch how you conduct yourself and how you treat others, and live with the utmost integrity in everything you do. Be proud of Dad’s service in the U.S. Army. He fought in the Korean War at the age of 18 with the 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, known as Los Borinqueños because it was composed mainly of Puerto Ricans. Jose, I hope you take time to look up the contributions of this group of trailblazing service members and the impact of their platoon leader, General Richard E. Cavazos.

This was long before you were born, but after all those years, Dad always carried himself like a soldier; walking tall, shirt neatly tucked in and pressed. He was a man of honor and integrity. Remember watching him and Mom do whatever it took to support the family, whether it was getting into photography, building and selling furniture, or any great idea that could help them earn some money. Remember Mom’s “I can do anything” attitude and her long days working and going to school at nights, learning to speak English and eventually becoming a pharmacy technician for over 20 years.

Since moving from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to Orlando, Florida, I’ve seen this country come a long way. When I first arrived, it was rare to see another Hispanic family at the grocery store. Today, more than ever, Hispanics are leaving their mark on everything from the arts to business to public policy. They are driving prosperity, power and progress in America. I like to think that I am part of that. I can’t help but feel proud to be where I am today, yet I still wonder how I did it. How was I this lucky?

When speaking with other Hispanics, I have learned that most of the time, regardless of the country we’re from, we share remarkably similar stories and values which include family, hard work and pride. For this reason, I think it is no small coincidence that Hispanics are making such a great impact worldwide.

I tell you all this to give you perspective on the journey and how much work it took to get to this point. Like so many other Hispanic families, all of this progress was due to the hard work and sacrifices of Mom and Dad. As Hispanics, we must always remember those that came before us, paved the way for us to succeed, and played such a large role in America and the world today. 


Older, Wiser Jose

Jose with his parents

Jose and his parents, Edil and Camelia Gonzalez

Jose's father in his military uniform
Jose’s father, Edil, during his military service
Jose with his parents on his graduation dayJose and his parents on graduation day