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Create belonging: Meet Latin@’s Pegleess Barrios Sanchez

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Written by Latin@ Pinclusion Group

A note from Stacy Kelsey, Latin@ Global Lead: As we continue to celebrate Latiné Heritage Month, you’ll meet more members of our Latin@ Pinclusion Group and learn about their raizces, or “roots.” Meet Pegleess Barrios Sanchez, who manages our entire Pinclusion Group program! 

Welcome! Thanks for joining us. Let’s start with a quick introduction. 

Hi! My name is Pegleess Barrios Sánchez and I am a first generation Venezuelan. I’m based in Ottawa, Canada. I have been at Pinterest for two years and manage the Pinclusion Group (Employee Resource Group) program on the Inclusion & Diversity team! I have had a wild career journey, exploring everything from being a reporter, photographer, tech recruiter, lifeguard, facilitator, co-founder of Latinas in Tech Canada chapter and the Latinx ERG at a previous company. I joined Pinterest as a Talent Management Specialist, and recently moved into Diversity & Inclusion to manage the Pinclusion Group (PG) Program. Being the PG Program Manager has been the most fun role I’ve had yet, and I feel so grateful to be able to work every day with our amazing and inspiring PG leaders, who are key contributors to Pinterest’s culture and drive positive change in many creative and impactful ways. Pinclusion Groups are so important in helping people feel a sense of belonging and that they’re valued and heard. They have a huge impact on making Pinterest a great place to work. 

How did you get involved in Latin@? 

At my previous company, I felt like I knew everyone. I had been a facilitator and onboarded over one thousand employees, and I also founded the Latinx ERG. Everywhere I’d go, I always knew people! When I showed up at Pinterest, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know anyone and needed to make some friends! On my very first day at Pinterest, before I had even finished my onboarding, I posted in the Latin@ group channel saying “Hey! I just started today, I’m the only employee in Ottawa and I love Bad Bunny - anyone want to hang?” Immediately the community came through for me, and Latin@ became a really great way for me to meet people outside of my own team and build a new home for myself at Pinterest, especially being a completely remote employee. It’s been a couple years, and I’m still great friends with the people I connected with through Latin@ on that very first day. One of them was Erica Zamudio, Pinterest Administrative Business Partner, and we actually just went to New York City together to take a little working vacation and dog-sit for Jenna Landi, Pinterest Brand Research Director! I’ve also gotten involved as a volunteer, hosting a few episodes of my radio show, Radio Latinx, for Latin@ and have had the opportunity to attend some incredible events. 

One of my favorite things about Latin@ is how active and engaged the community is. The leads are absolutely brilliant and the community is right there with them, stepping up to volunteer and help out. It takes a village, but the Latin@ village is a strong one! This sense of community and camaraderie has bolstered my sense of connection and allowed me to make new and valuable friendships here at Pinterest. 

The Latin@ team has also been there for me in my own professional development, encouraging me to apply to my current position. I was nervous to make a big career move when I hadn’t been at the company for very long yet, and their support was so meaningful. So many people from this group have helped me feel confident to take steps forward in my career and mentored me through my latest internal interview process to accept the job I have now! And I’m the same for my Latin@ crew, always happy to review a resume or give advice on writing performance reviews. I love how we lift each other up.

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

Raízces translates to “Roots” in English. It makes me think of who and where I come from. Both of my parents are from Venezuela and I have always been so proud of my Venezuelan heritage, but for a long time growing up I felt nervous to claim it and my space in our community. I remember feeling not Venezuelan enough for Venezuelans, and not Canadian enough for Canadians. This feeling is actually so common in our diaspora that we even have a phrase for it: “ni de aquí, ni de allá” which means “not from here, not from there.” As I started to embrace my community through university and into my working life, I felt so welcomed and started to realize that this feeling is something a lot of us share! Our community has changed my life for the better in so many ways and I am always so inspired by the way we organize and work together as a diasporic collective of Latinés, beyond the boundaries of countries.

When I think of Raizces, I think of Venezuela, my grandparents’ homes there, the farm we used to have, and the music, food, and stories I grew up with. I honour my Raízces by continuing my family’s traditions: listening to Venezuelan music, sharing our stories, making our food and speaking our language. Raízces also makes me think of the struggles we carry from our ancestors and the challenges they faced leaving their roots behind. It reminds me of the importance of the work we are all doing to help break generational cycles and move towards our collective liberation.

Connecting more with my ancestors through my heritage, culture and community through Pinterest and outside of work has brought so much richness into my life. It has brought me so many amazing opportunities, and a deeper sense of identity and purpose. Embracing my heritage and my community has given me opportunities I never even dreamed of. I am eternally grateful and always looking for ways to share those with others. 

How are you celebrating Latiné Heritage Month? 

Latiné Heritage Month is the most wonderful time of the year! 🎶

I will be celebrating Latiné Heritage Month by:

  • Shopping from my favorite Latiné-owned businesses
  • Joining Latinas in Tech Canada’s events in my local community 
  • Donating to organizations to support Latiné migrants
  • Taking some merengue classes with my friends and family
  • And attending as many of Latin@’s events as I can possibly squeeze into my calendar! 

I also love to use Latiné Heritage Month as a time to shout out Latinés who inspire me, share Latiné-owned businesses with my network, send loving messages to all my closest Latina friends and eat at my favourite Latiné-owned restaurants.

What are you currently Pinning? 

I use Pinterest every day and have been using it since 2011!  I’m actually getting married right in the middle of Latiné Heritage Month, so I’m Pinning all kinds of wedding things. I wanted to incorporate some of my own heritage into our wedding, so I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from Chef Jerlynn Torres, who shares the dreamiest tablescapes and meals inspired by her Mexican heritage. She always features Mexican and Indigenous artisans, and I’ve been so inspired by the colours and textures. I’ve also been looking at papel picado as a decoration and exploring ways to honour my loved ones who passed and won’t be able to attend our wedding - I’ve been inspired by the many kinds of altar practices from Latiné cultures. I am so lucky to have both of my beautiful abuelas around and advising as well, and I am so excited to see how it will all turn out!

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