What is your favorite cultural tradition?
Dinner is always better when we eat together! Family dinners are a tradition in my household. Growing up, my great-aunt Emilia (“Mami Mila”) would cook the most heavenly dishes and no one was allowed to start dinner until everyone was present at the table. You usually don’t think of food when you think of mindfulness, but a shared meal is an extraordinary way to cultivate connection, allowing us to be present for ourselves and hold space for each other.
When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?
I was born in Ecuador. My parents were born in Ecuador. My grandparents were born in Ecuador. And that history goes back as far as we’ve been able to trace. When I was three years old my parents decided to move to the United States in pursuit of our American dream—it was surely the most difficult decision they ever had to make.
Tell us a bit about how you got to where you are today, and who helped you get there.
Knowing where I come from is a key part of knowing who I am and what I stand for. It helps me stay rooted and centered no matter the circumstance.
As a kid, many people disparaged my dreams of attending college. They would tell me,“Those things don’t happen to people like us,” but my parents encouraged me to persevere, work hard and retain hope. I was valedictorian of my high school class and attended Stanford University, where I graduated with both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
A couple of years later, I decided to pursue my dream of working at Google. My parents and husband continuously reminded me of the power and strength of conviction. Even the most audacious dreams can come true if you believe in yourself and work relentlessly toward your goal. That’s true at X too. What some deem impossible, we see as an opportunity to create impact. Not a bad fit for me at all.
What has been an important moment for you at X?
Important moments arise in everyday interactions; I am continuously humbled by the brilliance, kindness and generosity that surrounds me. And that’s more meaningful than one specific moment. “Meraki” is a Greek word for “doing something with soul, creativity, or love,” and that describes my colleagues, partners and friends at X. Every day is an opportunity to present a different perspective for our projects and products, to exemplify leadership, camaraderie and compassion.