Roomie Roundup: Hispanic Heritage Month with our Latinx Roomies

a photo of Justin Stevens

Justin Stevens

5 min read

Oct 11, 2022

Roomie Roundup: Hispanic Heritage Month with our Latinx Roomies

At SevenRooms, it’s important that everyone has a seat and voice at our table. This month, we’re honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by inviting three of our Latinx 7Roomies to the table to talk about their heritage and more.

We spoke to Flor De Jesus (Talent Acquisition Partner – Tech), Juan Lopez (Senior Software Engineer), and Maria Pelles (Senior Manager, Customer Success EMEA). 

What is your story?

Flor De Jesus: I am a first-generation Latina who was born and raised in New York City. My parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic in the early 1970s. I’ve worked in recruiting for more than 5 years. Part of why I got into recruiting is because I wanted to be part of creating more diverse and inclusive working environments.

JP Lopez: My full name is Juan Pablo Lopez Gutierrez, but everyone calls me JP. I was born and raised in Mexico. I come from a family of doctors, but I always loved technology. It was a childhood dream to come to the U.S. and work with technology. I studied hard and got an undergraduate and a master’s degree in Computer Science, making my dreams come true.

Maria Pelles: My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela in the 1960s with their young children, including my mother. I was born in New York City and I spent my formative years living in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I am one of 5 children and the only child to have grown up speaking Spanish from a young age which I am extremely grateful for now. Culturally, I identify as a New Yorker and a Venezuelan.

What does being a member of the Latinx community mean to you?

Flor: I am loud and proud about my Latinidad – whether it’s about family, diversity, or food! Something that’s always top of mind for me is understanding the sacrifices my parents made in order to come here and provide a better life for themselves and our family.

Maria: The Latinx community is vast and encompasses so many distinct cultures. It’s what I love most about being a part of this community. I love that I get to share in all the rich culture it has to offer. I can relate to the shared experience of many in this community either firsthand or through stories from friends and family.

How do you stay connected to your heritage/community?

JP: A big part of how I stay connected to my community is through food. My wife is Mexican and we prepare a lot of Mexican food at home. We share our food, recipes, and dishes with our friends and colleagues. At one of my previous employers, I would make salsas for my teammates and they loved them!

Maria: The first way I stay connected is through family traditions. On Christmas Eve, we have a late Venezuelan dinner around 10 PM, and we open presents just after midnight. As a kid, it was always exciting to be able to stay up late like the adults and share in that special quality time with the grown-ups once a year. Another way is through food. My favorite food in the world is my grandmother’s black beans. I just recently made them for the first time and I’m so excited to pass this down to the next generation. We also have hallacas (similar to a tamale and only served around Christmas), pan de jamon (ham bread), tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks), maduros (sweet plantains), arepas (a savory corn pocket that can be stuffed with just about anything), cachapas (sweet corn pancakes often stuffed with white cheese), and more! Lastly is through travel. I love visiting Latin and Spanish-speaking countries. It allows me to expand my perspective on what it means to be Latin by meeting amazing people and sharing our stories and vast culture.

How has your heritage shaped who you are today?

Flor: For me, growing up in a Dominican household meant being part of a big family. A fun, loving, loud, caring, sometimes extremely complicated, and never-boring family. My Dominican heritage taught me resilience and determination. I learned to always work hard to make your dreams come true, help others, and never judge anyone for being different. As a proud Dominican woman, I try to always reinforce my values.

JP: It all starts with my parents. Both of them were doctors and they worked really hard for many years. They provided me with the opportunity to follow my dreams and pursue computer science in school. They instilled that work ethic in me and taught me how to actively work toward my goals.

maria pelles_hispanic heritage month blog

What are you most looking forward to from the creation of 7R’s Latinx ERG?

Flor: With the 7R Latinx ERG I’m looking forward to creating a safe space for anyone who identifies as, or is an ally to, the Latinx community. There, we’ll have the space to collaborate together, express ourselves, celebrate who we are, and even chisme (gossip)! I want everyone who identifies within the Latinx community to know they are seen, heard, and, most importantly, supported by SevenRooms and this community we are building every day!

JP: I really look forward to meeting members of the Latinx community and allies at SevenRooms. I want to help others in their careers, especially if they’re engineers. Our SevenRooms ERG will do just that!

Maria: I’m looking forward to sharing our stories with each other and the company and learning from one another. I’m also looking forward to finding ways to highlight the beauty of our culture.

Interested in a career at SevenRooms? Learn more about our open roles.

**These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.**

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