Belinda Pestana: Fulfilling the Freedom to Dream and Achieve
Story By: Kimberly Olguin
The promise of her future was set long before Belinda Pestana knew it. Her parents came to the United States at ages 11 and 12. “My family left everything behind in Cuba to come here and provide us a future with the freedoms that they no longer had,” she explains. As a successful leader at Ernst & Young (EY), a tax preparation corporation, Pestana reveals her motivation to take charge of her freedom and chase dreams.
As a first-generation American, she was one of the first in her family to attend college. “I was definitely raised in a family where hard work and resilience was a key message,” she remembers. Immediately after college, she joined the workforce as a public accountant. Pestana quickly moved on with EY, contributing to the management team for over five years. Then, she chose to leave EY and become comptroller of a real estate company, allowing her to learn the other side of the business.
Pestana eventually returned to EY with a new outlook, anticipating career advancement and benefiting her new young family. “Careers don’t happen by accident. Having the right relationships and sponsorship is very important,” she says. With the ideal support system, Pestana soon fulfilled her dream and became a partner with EY.
As a global tax accountant leader, her responsibilities are both challenging and exciting. Pestana assists in managing some of the largest global financial institutions by handling global relationships, as well as internal relationships with firm leaders, peers and large teams. Throughout her career, she has mentored others to become successful too. “I want to pay it forward,” she says. Pestana wishes to make a positive impact.
The mentorships she takes on are part of her vision. Pestana wants to see more females and Latinos as CEOs and in board rooms. She believes women must be more outspoken and find role models. So, she’s taken the challenge upon herself.
“I’d like to be recognized as someone who really made a difference with women and Latinos at the firm,” she says.