Meet a Googler: Lucy Pinto empowers communities with digital skills workshops
“This is my lunch for the day,” says Lucy Pinto, Business Inclusion Program Manager at Google, as she hungrily peels her banana and sits down for a brief chat to share her story. She’s sitting on a wide balcony at Google’s New York City office, with a sweeping view of Manhattan and the Empire State Building. In the 20 minutes she has between back to back meetings, Lucy paints a rich picture of how her early life as an immigrant to the U.S. from Peru has shaped her values and fuels her drive to empower underrepresented communities. As co-lead for HOLA NYC, an Employee Resource Group focused on empowering the Latino community, and the program manager for Accelerate with Google Events, a global program that to provides Googlers with resources to host free digital literacy workshops, she is committed personally and professionally to empowering communities with unequal access to technology develop their small businesses online.
“I immigrated to the US when I was 8 years old. I’m the youngest in my family, and my parents came when they were in their 40s. In Peru, we weren’t super wealthy, but we did ok. My mom was as secretary and my dad was a self-employed cab driver, but the future was looking bad economically so we left,” Lucy says. “My parents took better paying jobs in the U.S., but even though they were better paying jobs, they were very manual, harsh factory jobs,” she says.
The current political uncertainty over DACA(Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) hits close to home for Lucy, as she was undocumented for several years of her life before legalizing her immigration status by becoming a permanent resident while in high school in Athens, GA and later a naturalized citizen. “Growing up, I never knew if I’d be able to attain the things I was going for. I often wondered, will I even get to go to college? Nobody in my family went to college or even school in the US. I couldn’t turn to anybody in my family to guide me.”
Lucy was in the top 10 of her high school class while working a job to help earn money for her family. “I made it to college (The University of Georgia) and decided to major in business,” she says. She credits her Latina sorority and a program called Management Leadership for Tomorrow as two strong networks that supported her decision to pursue a career in diversity and inclusion, within Google’s People Operations (a.k.a. Human Resources) organization. “I felt, business is everywhere, and if I could elevate the voices that are underrepresented in business, I could really make an impact.”
“Many people want short term investments to bring quick gains,” Lucy says. “This work sometimes opposes that mindset because it requires a long term investment. Often, the work that is happening organically makes the business case. My job is to share that information, to elevate it, to create awareness.”
While this work has its challenges and requires patience, there are a number of factors that constantly inspire Lucy. She explains, “Purchasing power is changing. Minorities are driving business growth in the US, and we need to equip everyone, who may have been at a disadvantage, with the resources they need to grow their businesses and own their futures. It’s not a handout. Knowledge is power, and that’s what we are giving here.”
Lucy has been on Google’s Business Inclusion team for 2 years, but for her 5 years at Google has always volunteered and worked on projects that help other immigrants and people from a variety of backgrounds pursue their dreams, too. These include the Accelerate with Google events that she manages today, which expanded from a grassroots effort into an official, international program of skills-training workshops that Lucy has grown to reach tens of thousands of people around the world, including in Africa, Australia, Europe, and across North and South America.
Recently, Lucy forged an Accelerate with Google collaboration with Dreamers Ventures, a platform that focuses on empowering Latino entrepreneurs, to launch a Masterclass Tour on digital marketing. The course is designed to share educational resources and bring the Latino business ecosystem together, including entrepreneurs, investors, and a platform to sell products. “I was really interested in the idea of providing ready-to-sell product entrepreneurs the platform to actually sell,” says Lucy.
“Our work aligns because Google provides access to educational resources and informational content while Dreamers Ventures has the platform to bring the entire ecosystem of investors and entrepreneurs together,” explains Lucy. After a kickoff to the Dreamers Ventures Masterclass Tour in NYC on November 13, Lucy, in collaboration with Dreamers Ventures, aims to continue to “provide this same framework on future events. This type of matchmaking ultimately generates economic impact for business owners. The goal is to provide the same support at the local level throughout the U.S. and in countries such as Colombia and Mexico, just as we’ve been able to do here in New York!”
“Accelerate with Google events, including the Dreamers Ventures Masterclasses, are free and open to the public, designed to support communities who don’t have equal access to technology around the world,” says Lucy. “Being able to tie my passion of giving others the opportunity to succeed to my business acumen makes this work really fulfilling. My personal experiences shape my passions and the work that I do here.”
Learn more about Lucy’s Accelerate with Google Events program, and sign up for one near you, here.