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Create belonging: Meet Latin@’s Madelyn Reyes

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Written by Latin@ Pinclusion Group

Meet Madelyn Reyes, one of the original founders of our Latiné Pinclusion Group at Pinterest! 

Welcome Madelyn! Thanks for joining us. Let’s start with an introduction.

Hi, I’m Madelyn Reyes and I’m a Senior Software Engineer at Pinterest working on our Inclusive Product team across Android and API. I work on features that help make Pinterest a more inclusive product for all. We work on features that enable our users to have a much more personalized search experience on Pinterest where they can find inspiration for their unique selves quickly and easily! 

How did you get involved in Latin@? 

When I first joined Pinterest, I was seeking a community. I had just moved to San Francisco and didn’t know anyone. I was feeling really homesick and alone. Luckily, there were a handful of other Latines like me that were also seeking a community within the company, and we decided to join together to create an employee resource group. Our goal was to make sure all Latines who joined Pinterest felt welcomed, like they belonged here and had a community to lean on. Starting this group was one of the best decisions I made at the company. Through our initiatives,  we’ve been able to help uplift our community within Pinterest and outside of Pinterest as well as in the US and around the world.

Here’s some of what we’ve done across the years.

  • We’ve given our members direct access to our executive team by hosting intimate Q&A “cafecito” chats.
  • The group has hosted intentional career development workshops in the areas our community told us they needed the most help in.
  • Members have volunteered countless hours to teach Latines within our local communities about tech careers, including doing office tours and on-site panels.
  • Latin@ has highlighted our community’s achievements, stories and creators on the Pinterest platform.
  • On the social side, we’ve fostered community through social events like Salsa classes at our HQ and happy hours to help our members build crucial relationships across the company.

I’ve met some of my best friends within the company and outside of Pinterest through events we hosted or projects/initiatives we took on. I’m so grateful we were able to expand Latin@ and watch it become what it is today -  an incredible group led by passionate people who influence product direction, inclusive efforts, hiring initiatives, community impact, career development, and so much more! 

What does this year’s theme (Raizces) mean to you? 

It means always remembering where you come from - the incredible strength and courage of your parents and ancestors which led you to where you are today and opened the door to so many of the opportunities in your hands. It’s also remembering to be the person who opens doors and provides opportunities for others as so many have done for you.

When I think of Raizces, I think of the small, poor village where my mother grew up in the Dominican Republic. I think of her childhood, walking miles to school every day after spending the morning picking coffee beans to help her mother bring in money to feed all of her children. I think of her strength and bravery to choose to leave her home country, family and everything she had ever known behind, for her dream of building a better life for her future family. I think of her sacrifices while raising three children as a single mother in a country where she barely spoke the primary language. I think of her selflessness, of never buying anything for herself, but giving us the world as best as she could. I think of how she left her dreams behind but was overjoyed at experiencing the world through her children and relishing in the lives she helped them cultivate. I think of honoring her, her strength, love and courage and the long path she had to travel for me to end up where I am today and to be able to head where I am going. 

How are you celebrating Latiné Heritage Month? 

I have a toddler now, so I’m infusing more Latiné cuisine and flavors into his menu this month. Some ideas I found on Pinterest are:

Latin food is so flavorful. Now that he’s older, I am excited to start spicing things up and introducing him to new flavors that I enjoyed growing up. 

What are you currently Pinning? 

Style/Fashion related content 

  • I’m working on elevating my style now that we’re going out a lot more. We have so many birthday parties, family outings and general socializing that I want to look presentable for, and Pinterest has so many incredible fashion Pins.

Ideas for my toddler’s second birthday

  • My kid is absolutely obsessed with soccer and baseball and asked me for a baseball themed birthday party, so I’m seeking ideas and inspiration for his upcoming party.

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