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A healthy balance of family, business and firefighting with Veronique Bouree

a woman in a uniform

This Women’s History Month, we sat down with Veronique Bouree, Pinterest Sales Manager, to learn about her unique Pinterest journey. In this Life at Pinterest blog, Veronique shares why PinFlex, our work model, is so impactful to her personal life and what inspired her to take on a new life journey as a firefighter. 

Hi Veronique! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. Let’s start with a quick introduction!

Hi, my name is Veronique Bouree, and I lead the Dutch Sales team in the Netherlands for Pinterest EMEA. I live in Amsterdam, and I joined Pinterest halfway through 2022. 

At Pinterest, we have PinFlex, a unique work model that promotes flexibility. We hear you’re a big fan of PinFlex, and it’s one of the main reasons you chose to work here! Can you share more about this? 

Absolutely. In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say I wouldn’t have chosen, or been able to choose, to work for Pinterest had it not been for PinFlex as it allows me the flexibility to work from different locations. When I learned about PinFlex, it made me realize that flexibility was infused into the Pinterest culture. With PinFlex, I can work from home or another location and still have the opportunity to come to the office and collaborate with my team. For me, that was very important because I’m also a firefighter. I’m able to continue doing what I love and working for a company that I’m passionate about because of PinFlex. 

I could tell that Pinterest trusts employees to know what works best for them and that lies very close to my own personal values as well as what I believe allows teams to thrive. For us, it’s not about where you work, it’s about bringing your most inspired and authentic self to work each day. As a team, we don’t always have to be together in real life to feel connected to what we do or each other. Collaboration can happen across all mediums – virtual, in-person or a combination of the two. From what I can tell so far, Pinterest has a strong culture, and PinFlex is definitely at the heart of that. 

What inspired you to become a firefighter? 

If we go way back, probably getting the Lego firehouse from my parents on my seventh birthday! However, as life goes, when I was at that certain age where you come to a crossroads and need to make some choices, I ultimately chose a career in tech. Then, when the opportunity to become a firefighter circled back at a later stage in life and my kids were also a little more independent, I decided it was now or never. Also, the pandemic was life changing for me in two ways. One, experiencing how much I could get done and do in a day if I didn’t have to commute was a real confirmation of how I wanted to organize my life and work. Two, I’ve always been fascinated and excited about the work first responders do, which was even more evident during the pandemic. It’s obviously challenging, but there’s also great team spirit and amazing leadership that I continuously learn from. 

Listening to my heart was the first step in becoming a firefighter. It was about not caring what other people would think, and just doing it. In full transparency, not all reactions were as positive as you might think. When I stepped into this new journey as a firefighter at a later stage in life while already having a full time job and being a woman, I dealt with bias and societal expectations. At first, I expected some difficulty in being accepted within the firefighting group, but none of that occurred. From the start, the team gave me just as hard a time as anybody haha, so I suppose that was my own bias. 

What I think was the most surprising though were some people in my professional surroundings who didn’t think it fit the picture of a career woman. Thankfully, this skepticism was just a handful of people and only in the beginning, but it surprised me nonetheless. All in all, what I hope anybody takes from this is that if you want to step into something different and maybe a bit unusual, you should do it. What’s the saying again? “We weren’t all made unique so that we could all act alike.” Overall, the reactions have been very positive and most importantly…my kids love it. 

How do you balance being a mom, Pinterest Sales Manager and firefighter? 

I have a great support system from family, friends and now at Pinterest with my colleagues and my manager. My manager has especially been supportive and continues to encourage me to pursue my interests. My family and friends are fully onboard. There have been moments where it was hard, and then having my kids say “Come on mom, you can do it!” is all the fuel I needed. 

I think what helps me is having a clear sense of my priorities that helps me remain balanced in my energy. In practice that means family comes first, always. We have a set rhythm together, that everybody can rely on and feels comfortable with, and if there’s any type of emergency, they come first. 

Then, my career at Pinterest is at the forefront. My work definitely dominates most of my agenda throughout the week. I love the role I am in, and I have a great team so this doesn’t feel much like a logistical challenge. Of course, I don’t always enjoy everything about my work, but that’s where doing something totally different can sometimes form a welcome distraction and help shift your mind. 

Thirdly, I view firefighting as a very time-consuming, somewhat unusual hobby. When I think of it like that, it becomes easier to manage. Being on and off shift is something I try to navigate around my agenda. A lot of it is waiting for something to happen, and those are all hours you can easily spend catching up on work or getting something else done for yourself.

What are you currently Pinning? 

My favorite life project is definitely my house. I’m Pinning home decor, and right now I’m looking for a pool table that can also function as a dinner table. I think that would be a fun addition to our home. My whole family uses Pinterest in our personal lives. Last week, my daughter sat down next to me and asked if I could help her learn how to draw a rose, and we used Pinterest to take us through the steps. This week, my son used the platform to finally find some new sneakers he had been searching for. For me, I booked a motorcycle road trip that was inspired by a photo I saw. Pinterest is truly a tool that can bring you the inspiration to create the life you love. 


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