Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS: The Importance of Advocating for All Women

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ACAMS Today sat down with its own editor-in-chief Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS, to discuss the importance of mentorship and championing women’s voices.

Monterrosa-Yancey is an award-winning editor, who, over the past 15 years, has turned the ACAMS Today (AT) magazine into an award-winning publication. Under her guidance the AT magazine has won over 200 awards for content, design, copywriting, interviews and much more. Articles published within the magazine have been recognized by the Vatican, United Nations, World Bank, Antiquities Coalistion and the American University of Paris. The magazine has featured interviews from Financial Crimes Enforcement Network directors, IRS chiefs, a former New York Police Department commissioner, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI agents, Financial Action Task Force directors and many other notable international leaders in the anti-financial crime industry. Monterrosa-Yancey has expanded the global reach of AT by launching two additional titles to the ACAMS Today repertoire: ACAMS Today Europe and ACAMS Today Español. Launched in 2019, AT Europe is published in English, French and German. ACAMS Today Español was also first published in 2019. She is responsible for the ACAMS Today editorial department. In addition to overseeing the editorial content and production of the print ACAMS Today magazine in English, Spanish, French, German and traditional and simplified Chinese, Monterrosa-Yancey also guides and manages the content and design creation of the ACAMSToday.org website, ACAMS Connection and Conexión newsletters, AT social media account, ACAMS members’ career headquarters and community forums.

Monterrosa-Yancey is currently Florida Magazine Association (FMA) president and has sat on the FMA board since 2018. She also sits on the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative board.

Monterrosa-Yancey is extremely involved in the publishing industry and has judged for both the prestigious Azbee Awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the Eddie and Ozzie Folio: Awards. Prior to joining ACAMS, Monterrosa-Yancey worked in the accounting, education and technology industries. Monterrosa-Yancey received her Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist certification in 2008. She is fluent in Spanish and French and holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s degree in business administration.

ACAMS Today: What led you to a career in anti-financial crime?

KMY: I was introduced to this industry by one of my mentors. I guess you can say I accidently fell into it, but I have to say it has been a happy and rewarding experience. I am grateful to my mentor for introducing me to a world of people who choose to challenge the acts of financial criminals daily. I truly enjoy this industry, but most of all I have learned immensely from the ACAMS’ members and have made long-lasting friendships.

AT: The International Women’s Day theme this year is “choose to challenge.” How do you choose to challenge inequality in the workplace?

KMY: I choose to challenge inequality in the workplace by championing the voices and accomplishments of women through my platforms.

AT: What can the anti-financial crime industry do to provide equal opportunities for women?

KMY: I strongly believe in mentoring programs. A good mentor can open doors that you might not be aware of. More people should be open to becoming a mentor, especially women in our industry. Women should not feel that they have to reinvent the wheel for advancement along their career path. As women, we should be advocating for other women and ourselves. We should seek to have women at the decision table, no matter the industry.

AT: Is there a woman who has inspired or helped you get to where you are today?

KMY: I have been fortunate in my life to be surrounded by many intelligent, driven, strong and inspiring women. The woman who has inspired me from the beginning is my mother. This year’s International Women’s Day theme was made for her. My mother has chosen to challenge inequality and biases her entire life. From protesting on the streets for change to starting programs for the less fortunate in her community, my mother taught me what women’s empowerment looked like not only in word, but in deed at an early age in my life. My mother also instilled in me the importance of a hard work ethic. She always told me that “wherever I go or whatever I do, once I leave, I should leave it better than I found it.”

AT: Tell us about a memorable moment in your career?

KMY: One of the most memorable moments in my career was the opportunity I had to interview Lydia Cacho. Lydia is an investigative journalist and a human rights activist. She has fought tirelessly in bringing awareness to and in destroying human trafficking. She has written numerous books ranging from poetry to fiction and her book Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking is a bestseller. She was once referred to as the “rock star of Mexican journalism.” During the interview when I mentioned this to her, she simply said: “Then I will use my ‘rock star’ kind of fame to make an impact on society.” Lydia continues to inspire many—especially me—through her example and how she chooses to challenge the crime of human trafficking.

AT: Do you have a favorite quote or words of wisdom to share with our readership?

KMY: It is difficult to pick just one, but I find a quote by Viktor E. Frankl thought-provoking, “Success, like happiness, is the unexpected side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.” When we have a cause or focus that is greater than ourselves, I believe that is when true change happens.

Interviewed by: ACAMS Today staff, ACAMS, Miami, FL, USA, editor@acams.org

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