Regions is proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, when we honor the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots back to Spain, Mexico, and Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Leroy Abrahams’ role as head of Community Affairs at Regions Bank calls for spending a great deal of time out in the markets the bank serves.
On a regular basis, Abrahams meets with community and civic leaders, local government officials, corporate executives and customers. These encounters often result in conversations with interesting, inspiring individuals who have fascinating stories to tell.
Abrahams found a remarkable story when he met Mike Suco, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED in Birmingham, Alabama. Abrahams and Suco are serving as co-chairs of the recently launched Miles College fundraising campaign in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the college, which is a historically black college and university, or HBCU.
“My first impression of Mike was that he was a personable guy and an effective leader,” Abrahams recalled. “But when I got to know him better and learned about his family history and how it shaped his professional life – I was even more impressed.”
And he knew that others would find the story inspiring, as well. So, this summer Abrahams invited Suco to participate in a video interview and share his personal story for a Regions leadership meeting.
My first impression of Mike was that he was a personable guy and an effective leader, but when I got to know him better and learned about his family history and how it shaped his professional life – I was even more impressed.
Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs at Regions Bank
In this video excerpt, Suco tells the story of his family’s migration from Cuba in 1962, shortly after the Communist Revolution took over the country. His family was not supportive of the Castro regime and his father and uncle were jailed for speaking out.
Forced out of their country, the family – grandparents, parents and 13-day-old baby brother – came to the United States with no money and only one bag of belongings per person.
Suco describes his family’s journey from Miami to Alabama. He reminisces about growing up in the small town of Jacksonville, Alabama, speaking Spanish and eating Cuban food at home and making the transition to “good southern English” when he went to school. “It was an interesting way to grow up,” he says with a smile.
Certain themes emerge from his family’s experience: the importance of education, family, community and a strong work ethic. These valuable lessons continue to influence his life today – and according to Suco, have played a direct role in his professional success.
“We’re not perfect, but we’re the best country in the world,” he said. “Anybody can come here from anywhere in the world and build a successful life, like my parents and grandparents did – and many others.”
Watch this video to hear Suco’s inspiring story.