In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Regions Bank is celebrating associates, nonprofits and business owners who make a powerful difference in the communities they serve. Here, meet Hanai Sablich, who leads Regions’ community-development strategies in South Florida.
Inspiration. Motivation. Results.
They’re what drive Hanai Sablich to make a difference – every day. She’s had plenty of success. But she’s always looking for the next opportunity. It’s part of who she is.
Sablich learned at an early age that there is tremendous value in taking one’s blessings and sharing them with people who are less fortunate. Even though her own family faced many challenges, they still found opportunities to uplift others.
Today, that shapes the strategies Sablich has developed to enhance Regions’ community impact across South Florida and beyond. Recently, Doing More Today spoke with Sablich to learn more about her heritage and how it defines the way she serves others.
Tell us about your journey over time and how your journey led you to where you are today.
Our journey, like the one most immigrants had, was not an easy one. My family and I migrated to the United States from Peru in the mid-1980s due to terrorism and left behind my dad’s career, our home, family and friends.
I grew up watching my dad volunteer every weekend at the public health clinic, delivering food and clothing to the needy and serving on numerous boards. He truly believed that happiness is found through service. When I questioned why he had to spend weekends volunteering and not with us, he would bring up a quote from Muhammad Ali that I will never forget: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” My dad was my biggest inspiration to become involved in our community and to share the many blessings we receive.
Financial professionals serve a unique role in any community. How has your background enabled you to make a positive difference?
The people I have met throughout my banking career, and opportunities presented by the companies I have worked for, have provided me with the knowledge and experience I utilize to serve those who are most in need. I’ve had the opportunity to work for great managers who shared their expertise selflessly.
Upon starting my banking career, and as a daughter of immigrants who struggled to adjust to their new life in the United States, I started getting involved with smaller nonprofits that offered assistance to those who needed help managing their budgets and understanding the financial steps needed to accomplish the American Dream, regardless of their ethnicity. Throughout my career I have always volunteered and have taught financial literacy to adults and children.
I have also joined forces with mortgage colleagues to help first-time homebuyers through sharing money-management concepts. Our roles are about collaboration, often outside the walls of our own employers. I’ve been able to connect with counterparts at other companies and run campaigns to collect professional clothing for those who’ve recently graduated from community colleges, school supplies for underprivileged children, food during Thanksgiving, and toys during the holidays. I have also had the opportunity to serve on local boards and do my best to encourage others to join in our efforts to make a difference.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity affecting the Hispanic community in South Florida, and how do you see Regions as a part of supporting that opportunity?
I believe the biggest opportunity lies in switching our mindset from upskilling to reskilling and transitioning workers from occupations that have a high risk of job loss or have lower wages to ones that will provide them the opportunity to earn a living wage.
COVID-19 has presented us with unprecedented challenges but also with the opportunity to rethink and make changes for the better.
The road to recovery will require us all to do hard work, understand our economy and identify the needs that should be addressed. It will require collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors with strong leadership that represents diverse backgrounds. We have a lot of work to do, and Regions is committed to being part of the solution. This is clearly demonstrated by the acknowledgement that we can only be as strong as the communities we serve and by embracing the idea of creating inclusive prosperity.
You and your counterpart in Tampa, Victor Avila, have consistently helped Regions Bank build on its progress in supporting community-based initiatives in Florida. What drives your approach to delivering business results that also make a positive impact on people, families and locally owned businesses?
Victor and I have similar backgrounds and connected on day one. We both grew up in Peru, had to start over in our new country, and are truly grateful for the opportunity to serve others – and we love food! We developed a friendship almost instantly and quickly determined we could accomplish more by working collaboratively. Our common goal is to truly impact as many community partners as we can by not only providing financial resources when possible but also by volunteering, serving on committees, providing assistance with special projects and making connections with other community partners when appropriate.
How do you and your family celebrate and share your history and heritage with others – and with future generations?
Hispanics are known for traditions, and we try to incorporate the ones we learned from our parents into the ones we’ve found in this country, which welcomed us with open arms and celebrates us. We have a popular saying in Latin America: “Al país que fueres, haz lo que vieres.” It does not rhyme in English, but it translates to, “Whatever country you are in, do as you see.” Our favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, one that is not observed in our countries, but we love the idea of celebrating the many blessings we receive and have incorporated it to our family traditions.