Oct 13, 2023
Hispanic Heritage Month ends this weekend and before it does, we would like to highlight our Finance Director, a mother, and a Hispanic woman. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15th to October 15th to align with the dates when most of the Latin countries celebrate their Independence Day.
Hispanic Heritage Month provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by individuals of Latin American, Spanish, and Caribbean descent. From art, literature, music, and cuisine to science, politics, and social activism. Hispanic Americans have significantly influenced every aspect of our collective American identity.
For the reasons above in this newsletter, we are delighted to share the life experience of one of our own, our Finance Director, Mrs. Jessica Palacios Oprea. Jessica shares with us her journey to become the Finance Director at Boca Bearings.
Jessica coming from humble beginnings had to face many difficult challenges. As an immigrant from Colombia, she needed to work extra hard to achieve her American dream. For starters she needed to learn a second language, secondly, she needed to attend college to be academically ready to head a finance team in the near future. Finally, after college, she obtained one of her biggest goals: to become a USA citizen.
However, those challenges pale in comparison to being a mother, and later on a single one. Jessica shares, “Being a mom has been the biggest challenge. Being a single mom is hard enough but on top of that at the beginning of my career, I had demanding school work and industry pressures to meet. To have a balance between my personal and professional life has never been easy, especially because I have a personal motto of excellence. Excellence is the driving force for all my initiatives and ultimately success. ”
It’s that pursuit of excellence that allowed Jessica to win many scholarships, attend Graduate School, become a homeowner at an early age, and be disciplined with her finances. She explains, “Early on, I developed great stewardship habits with my finances and was able to manage my life in a strategic way. I thrive for excellence and it’s very rewarding to see the fruits of that effort.”
Jessica acknowledges that as a Spanish-speaking professional, she was very lucky to live in South Florida, a part of the United States that has a prominent Hispanic population. For this reason, she explains “My transition into the labor force was a smooth one. I lived in Miami and I always had opportunities for growth.”
Joining the Finance Team at Boca Bearings
Seeking additional growth and new challenges Jessica wanted to be part of something bigger. Her answers came through a Boca Bearings opportunity. Jessica recalls meeting the Boca Bearings team. “I could feel their passion for bearings and for the industry as a whole, it was so palpable, especially from the company’s president. I thought to myself this is the level of passion and excellence that matches my own. Immediately, I knew I wanted to be part of this amazing company. Not only do they possess the brilliance and passion for innovation and growth but they also appreciate diversity and have a global business outlook. The company’s global reach has allowed us to have a business presence in Colombia, Thailand, and China.” As Boca Bearings grows nationally and internationally the need for a diversified team became apparent. It’s the ultimate goal for Boca Bearings to assist all our customers in a cross-cultural and multilingual way. This is in alignment with our core value of radical customer service.
While Boca Bearings was founded by Mr. Allen Baum almost 40 years ago the company in recent years has experienced the most growth. Jessica explains, “In the summer of 2023 I celebrated my 5th year anniversary with Boca Bearings. The company has grown tremendously over the last few years, even through the global pandemic. Our shelves are full of inventory and our customer list continues to grow.”
Naturally, growth can also bring in a new set of challenges, Jessica explains, “In order to support the company’s growth, the finance/accounting team needed to double in size. Quickly we needed to establish and maintain the highest standards, and practices while forming new and growing old relationships with our customers and vendors.”
The Finacial Strategy
Utilizing her natural talents Jessica as the company’s Finance Director set in place a new strategic plan which included:
Our team successfully implemented a new financial software system that has greatly improved our efficiency and accuracy in managing financial data. This new system has allowed us to streamline our processes and provide more timely and accurate financial reports to support decision-making across the organization.
Our team has been able to reduce costs through careful analysis and negotiation with vendors. Through this effort, we were able to identify several opportunities for savings without compromising the quality or efficiency of our operations. This has resulted in significant cost savings for the company and has positively impacted our bottom line.
Our team has implemented robust financial controls and risk management procedures to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and protect the company's financial assets. Our team has worked diligently to stay up to date with changes in regulations and technology to mitigate financial risks and ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization.
Lastly, our finance department has played a key role in supporting the company's growth and expansion plans. We have successfully secured funding for various projects and initiatives, enabling the company to pursue strategic opportunities and drive innovation in our industry. Our ability to effectively manage our financial resources has been instrumental in positioning the company for continued growth and success.
None of the above Jessica admits could’ve been accomplished without the mentorship of a seasoned and excellent CFO. Jessica explains, “I am fortunate enough to have an amazing finance mentor who has decades of experience and esoteric knowledge. I meet with him religiously on a weekly basis. The owners of Boca Bearings also possess incredible insight, knowledge, and industry experience I consider them great mentors as well. It really takes a village of financial experts to achieve this level of success.”
In addition to the above Jessica explains, “Boca Bearings is a well-established company possessing a strong corporate social responsibility strategy. Apart from providing cash scholarships to engineering students we also carry out an annual national Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. This campaign is currently running and it has the purpose of raising breast cancer awareness for early screenings and prevention. Consequently, I aspire to conclude my career journey in this very company after several decades.”
Boca Bearings thrives on diversity, and we happily celebrate the crucial role the Hispanic Community has played in shaping the fabric of our society. At Boca Bearings we foster an atmosphere of inclusivity, equality, and mutual respect.
We believe It is vital that we listen, learn, and amplify the voices that have often been ignored or overshadowed.
We thank Jessica for sharing her story and we thank our readers for their time and continued support.
¡Viva el Mes de la Herencia Hispana!