Meet Tony, a multilingual Portfolio Manager at JPMorgan Chase, who speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French. He learned Portuguese and French to expand his career opportunities…and meet women! Read more to find out what his language learning journey was like and his tips for learning another language.

BGLL: Thanks, so much for agreeing to be interviewed and being open to sharing your story! Tell us about yourself.

Tony: My name is Tony W. Haywood. I live in Plano, Texas. I am of Afro-Cuban and Bahamian descent. My native language is English, but I have been speaking Spanish for 13 years. I have Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Finance from SUNY Empire State College and I work in Corporate Finance of JPMorgan Chase as a Portfolio Manager. I have been with the firm for 5 years since my internship. I am very active in my community, so I help translate medical forms for folks who are underinsured here in Dallas. I am also a fellow and ambassador with CubaOne Inc, a group geared towards providing Cuban Americans an opportunity to visit Cuba.

BGLL: What opportunity/opportunities were you able to take advantage of because of your language?

Tony: I got my internship with JPMorgan Chase because I listed Spanish and Portuguese as foreign language skills on my resume. So, these languages helped me kickoff my career. My greatest accomplishment, though, would be starting an internal group geared towards vendor managers and having it influence 1,000 people in the company. I made the company homepage 4 times.

BGLL: What was your hardest struggle with language and how did you overcome it?

Tony: I am a naturally shy person so I overcome my shyness by taking it slow and jumping right in. The biggest fight you have is with yourself to overcome anything. But my hardest struggle is accent. I think, self-consciously, I did not want to sound like a gringo. I had a French professor that told me that every language is a chance to be someone different and that character slowly becomes a part of you.

BGLL: What other languages do you know besides Spanish? How did you learn them?

Tony: I know and am still learning Portuguese and French. As shallow as it sounds, I learned Portuguese to go to Brazil and meet women. I used it during my internship to translate legal documents, so it has been useful. French was fun and I took it because it has many practical uses.

I learned both languages in a classroom structure. I also used a lot of apps. Learning a language is a commitment to yourself and is the ultimate test of discipline. I wanted to learn more languages to meet more people and I knew that I would have more career opportunities because of it and, of course, to meet women.

BGLL: Which foreign language is your favorite and why?

Tony: Spanish is my favorite. You can take Spanish anywhere and everyone speaks it differently. Spanish is such a beautiful language. 

BGLL: What are 3 tips you can offer those who are trying to learn another language?

Tony: First, I suggest changing your phone and all your apps to the language you want to learn. Next, find a group on Facebook and practice with native speakers. Lastly, I suggest re-watching some of your favorite shows in the language you want to learn.

BGLL: How can we keep up with you on social (social media)?

Tony: Toño HWood (Facebook)

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