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Lucy Pinto, Grow With Google, Google Digital Coaches

Americas’ opportunity and disparity sparked the career of Google Digital Coaches Manager Lucy Pinto

Lucy Pinto is the Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which works to level the field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to resources needed to grow online. The program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses and has trained over 80,000 businesses on digital tools to help them succeed.

Lucy Pinto

Lucy Pinto, Manager of the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program. (Photo courtesy Lucy Pinto)

Throughout Lucy’s 9 years with Google and prior, she has strived to create inclusive outcomes for communities who lack access to opportunities. This passion has guided her journey personally and professionally, stemming from her identity as a Peruvian immigrant who came to the U.S. at eight years old. 

“Coming from a low-income immigrant family living in the south, I was exposed very early on to a duality that perplexed me: this is a country of opportunity and disparity at the same time,” said Lucy. “I knew that if I wanted to help my community, I had to unapologetically go after opportunities then disseminate what I learn to others in my community who might not have the same access.” 

With this mission in mind, Lucy worked hard to attend college. She received her B.B.A. in Management and International Business from The University of Georgia in 2012–becoming the first in her family to graduate college. 

Before graduating, Lucy began her career at Google as an intern in 2011. Lucy highlights the importance of mentorship and development programs, such as the Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s Career Prep program, which helped prepare her to navigate Corporate America. 

While Lucy’s first role at Google was not related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she made it a purpose to engage in this work outside of her core role at the time. She became active in various groups including Google’s Employee Resource Groups. From 2016-2018 Lucy served as the N.Y.C. Chapter Lead of HOLA –– the Hispanic Google Network — which is committed to representing the voice of the Latino community within and outside Google. 

Within a few years, Lucy attained a core role on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, enabling her to build a more equitable Google experience internally and externally. Now she works in Marketing where her work as Grow with Google’s Digital Coaches Manager focuses on amplifying Google’s best-in-class digital skills training to help Black and Latino business owners in the United States thrive. 

Additionally, Lucy has been the recipient of various awards for her work. In 2018, she was recognized as a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility and recipient of the 2019 Negocios Now N.Y.C. Latinos 40 Under 40 award. On April 12, 2019, she was awarded a proclamation by the Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaiming April 12 as “Lucy Pinto Day” for her participation in the 100 Hispanic Women of Westchester Leadership Forum as well as her professional and community work. 

Lucy Pinto

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 13: Lucy Pinto speaks onstage during the PowHERful Benefit Gala on June 13, 2018 at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for PowHERful Foundation)

One career highlight that stands out for Lucy was managing the participation of hundreds of employees in volunteer initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide across 15 countries —such as South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Nigeria— which reached 135K people. 

“The activation in South Africa stood out to me because I was able to attend it in person and witness first-hand the impact of our work. We partnered with a local organization called MOOV and had about 50+ employees from the Black Googler Network connect with 250+ job seekers and entrepreneurs from Soweto,” said Lucy. 

Soweto residents face many systemic barriers deeply rooted in the country’s history with apartheid, and they often look to entrepreneurship to make a living for themselves and their families. The activation focused on delivering digital skills training to help job seekers build resumes and help business owners reach customers online.

“To me personally, this activation had some of the most heartfelt stories and testimonials that I’ve come across in my career.” 

Navigating obstacles in the workplace 

 As a Latina in the workplace, Lucy approaches matters through a multicultural lens. For many Latinas, this lens can be advantageous because it can help a company identify inclusion gaps in marketing or hiring, and help build innovative solutions that authentically reach diverse audiences. 

“Being a Latina in the workplace can give you a cultural intelligence edge. You’ll likely have a unique perspective on how to make products and programs more inclusive thanks to your own diverse and innovative lived experiences,” she says. 

Throughout her years of experience working in leadership roles and aiding entrepreneurs on their journeys, Lucy has also learned many important lessons and strategies for tackling career obstacles and challenges. While career development training is essential, there is nothing like hands-on experience. 

Lucy recalls a time in her career when she faced a challenge with a co-worker. Lucy received some critical feedback that misrepresented who she was as a professional, and miscommunication about the issue led to hurt feelings. 

“This peer didn’t give me the feedback directly but rather shared such with their manager, leaving me feeling betrayed, perplexed, and concerned about my career trajectory. I spoke in detail with my work mentors, including my manager, about the issue. I felt vulnerable and wanted to get validation from people who worked close to me,” Lucy recounts. 

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google, Google Digital Coaches

“To work effectively and influence peers, be it management or leadership, communication is key,” says Google Digital Coaches Program Manager, Lucy Pinto. (Photo courtesy Lucy Pinto)

After speaking to her manager, he highlighted something she had never considered before: communication style differences. 

This perspective shed new light on the situation and how the misunderstanding had arisen. Communication styles are often shaped by one’s upbringing, culture, and current circumstances. Lucy describes herself as an analytical thinker who loves to reflect on ideas out loud and work through pros and cons on the spot. 

“This is my default way of brainstorming, much like my family and I did at the dinner table. After speaking with my manager, I realized that the issue’s root was the extreme difference in communication styles. I wasn’t acting how my coworker perceived, nor was my perception of my co-worker accurate. It was just that my co-worker and I spoke in different communication languages.”

Lucy thought she was simply analyzing her co-worker’s proposal and pressure testing it with questions. Her co-worker interpreted this as Lucy shutting down her ideas and being territorial with their collaborative project. 

After taking a communication style assessment to understand better where she and her co-worker’s styles fell on the range, they discovered they indeed had very different styles. They were able to use this assessment as a framework to guide their conversation and work through their differences, build rapport, and ultimately work effectively together.

“What I learned from this challenge was something super valuable to my career: to work effectively and influence peers, be it management or leadership, communication is key,” said Lucy. 

“Understanding your own communication style and how to stretch it to get your desired outcome is crucial. It doesn’t mean that you have to change your default communication style, but you do have to strike a balance, especially when you’re attempting to influence decision-making.”

Lucy Pinto

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 13: Soledad O’Brien (L) and Lucy Pinto speak onstage during the PowHERful Benefit Gala on June 13, 2018 at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for PowHERful Foundation)

Another lesson Lucy has learned and imparts to other entrepreneurs and career-driven women is remembering that the journey is not always linear or upward. 

“Your career might be full of twists, turns, lateral moves, and balancing out personal with professional. Find beauty and learn from this ‘chaos’ as it will equip you to have the breadth needed to be an effective thought leader.” 

Finally, make time to periodically check in with yourself on what success looks like to you as you progress in your career. You may find that your definition of success has changed over time, and that’s okay!

“Does your definition of success mean making it to a C-suite position, or do you feel more fulfilled by a constant change in scope regardless of title? It’s important to keep YOU at the center of it,” Lucy advises. “Don’t measure your success by the definition of others but rather by your own terms.”

You might be interested: Latinas are underrepresented in law, says attorney Anna María Tejada

Diverse group of businesspeople conversing with woman standing at front

Dr Ada Gonzalez leadership communication starts with Transformative Conversations

Transformative Conversations, LLC

Dr. Ada Gonzalez. PhD, author, coach, founder and CEO Transformative Conversations, LLC

Even the most talented leaders need to develop sharp leadership communication skills that would allow them to reach their audiences with emotional and rational interaction addressing the topics they need to transmit. Being a sharp communicator is not the same as being a great talker or a great orator but better yet a great conversationalist and communicator.

Dr Ada Luz Gonzalez, PhD is the founder and CEO of Transformative Conversations LLC, a consulting business that coaches people to have better and more effective conversations. She facilitates leaders, businesses and organizations to change and develop leadership communication through effective dialogue. She is also the author of Transformative Conversations: The heart of the leadership journey.

How Transformative Conversations were shaped in childhood

Dr Gonzalez grew up in communist Cuba, where the flow of free conversations was not possible. She remembers a time before Communism took over where people were unafraid to speak their minds.

She fondly recalls spending many happy evenings, on the porch, listening in on her parents’ conversations with their neighbors about business, politics, religion, love and life in general.

Her fascination with conversations began at that time but all of these interactions changed when Communism asserted itself. There were no more conversations on the porch, distrust amongst people grew and free speech became nonexistent. She then valued conversations and the freedom to have them even more.

Yet she observes, that today in the “free” world, the scenario in many places is not very different from what it was back in Cuba.

“I have talked to families in which everyone (except maybe one person) sits in silence, with eyes downward, afraid to ‘tick off’ that one overbearing person. I have walked into workplaces where there is no buzz of conversations anymore. All you hear is the clicking of keyboards. I have been in meetings where there are only a series of monologues with nobody really listening or engaged, and nobody daring to speak their minds. I have seen leadership teams that are ineffective because they lack effective leadership communication”, she explains.

She then decided to lead a movement of people that connect and help each other be better leaders by having open dialogue in conversations. She conducts a Mastermind program centered around leadership communication to help people develop leadership skills for the new millennium.

Dr Ada Gonzalez during a presentation of Transformative Conversations leadership communication

Dr Ada Gonzalez during a presentation of Transformative Conversations

Solving difficulties along the way

She has faced many obstacles right from the time she first left Cuba. When she started her college in the USA, she not only had to conquer finances and relationships but also struggled to learn the language. Despite her obstacles, she succeeded in achieving a bachelor of music, with classical piano as her major. She then went on to finish a MA in Educational and Developmental Psychology.

After finishing her Masters, she lived in Costa Rica and started giving piano lessons. Although piano lessons were not too well-paid at the time, it gave her the freedom to be at home while making enough money to make ends meet.

At the same time, she started having conversations with couples, and leading couple’s retreats. Not knowing much about how to monetize those efforts, she did it mostly as a service to the community. It was during those years that she self-trained in marriage and family therapy by reading, going to workshops and conferences, and by practicing. After her consistent efforts, she became a licensed marriage and family therapist.

In 2004, at the age of 52, she completed a PhD in Organizational Behavior, with an emphasis on leadership development, dialogue, and change.

Though she prefers running her own business, she has faced certain challenges when it comes to reaching a wider audience. She became more involved in social media groups and by networking and making her voice heard, she has successfully reached out to a number of people and helped them develop leadership communication.

Her strengths as a Latina entrepreneur helped her succeed in her business

“My strengths are wisdom, perseverance, and optimism. I’m also good at connecting with others at an emotional level and in turn helping people connect with each other. As a Latina, I understand the power of family and supportive relationships. In most organizations, many of the problems that executives face are due to disconnection and silos. I help them discover how much more they can accomplish through collaboration and connection”, Dr. Ada discloses.

Diverse group of businesspeople conversing with woman standing at front

Leadership communication in the workplace

Latinas starting or conducting their own business

“Move forward! Learn from the past, but keep planning and acting toward your dreams,” she said.

Her father taught her early in life that she could always put her best effort forward. “If I don’t succeed, I can always ask for help, I can find a different way to do things, or a different path to walk on. But, ‘failure is not an option’; And nothing is a failure if you learn from it and try again. I’m still learning, and I’m still moving forward”, she concludes.

Transformative Conversations editorial reviews

From the Back Cover

“Ada’s book will transform our leadership style. It is the secret sauce that leaders have been waiting for to raise the bar for enterprise wide communication within their organization.  This is a powerful book filled with sage “dialogue” and pearls of wisdom. It is a must read for all leaders who aspire to be great communicators.”

~CB Bowman, President and CEO; MBA, CMC, MCEC  Association of Corporate Executive Coaches (ACEC)leadership communication

“The book Transformative Conversations is a superb resource to any leader, or coach, who is working to improve their leadership. This is far from the first book written that deals with the dynamics of dialogue and effective communication. What is special about this book is the way Ada weaves wisdom from many sources into a useful flow that informs the reader about not only why this is a valuable subject, it gives clear guidance on how to pull it off. Personally, the part on silence itself was worth the read. If you want wisdom combined with practical processes to use to create more fruitful dialogue, pick up a copy of this book.”

~Frank Wagner, PhD, The Marshall Goldsmith Group

Ada Gonzalez has hit on a topic that everyone in corporations are taking about today! How to balance the amount of listening and asserting occurring between people at work to ignite engagement and commitment to accomplish business priorities. For years, executives have been asking me for a good book on how to listen better and how to assert more skillfully. This book provides instructions on both. i highly recommend this a practical, yet well researched read that will help every leader focus on the kind of communication that matter and builds stronger, more influential relationships over time–virtually or face-to-face.”

~Barbara Singer Cheng. CEO Executive Core

“Transformative Conversations” speaks volumes to every leader I’ve ever been involved with. Dr. Ada Gonzalez provides practical tools and guidance to transform your communication by helping you create deeper understanding and meaning. As she so aptly states, “talk may be cheap, but genuine dialogue is priceless.”

~Patrick J. McKenna, co-author of international bestseller, First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals.