“What I’m most proud of with the Latin(x) Bees is the way in which our community has grown.”

Monica Bishop is a Senior Design Manager at Industrious and co-chair of Latin(x) Bees, an employee resource group designed to build and foster community among Industrious employees with Latino/a/x or Hispanic heritage. 

Joined by co-chair and Industrious Member Experience Manager Vivian Pereira, the pair work hard to ensure the ERG provides a safe space where members can connect to Latin culture and support one another online and off.

Recently, we sat down with co-chairs Monica and Vivian to learn more about the Latin(x) Bees ERG’s work over the past year, how they’ve impacted members, and what their plans are going into 2024.

Growing the Latin(x) Bees Community

Since the Latin(x) Bees group’s founding, members connect through regular meetings and connection points, celebratory events, and educational opportunities. There’s also the group’s Slack channel, a member-only space connecting the group digitally across all of our locations.

“People post and share things throughout the week, whether it’s music they’re listening to, food they’re enjoying or missing, or celebrating someone’s promotion within the company,” says Monica. “It’s grown into a place where people feel comfortable and safe sharing a piece of themselves that they might not share in other places.”

One of the most inspiring parts for co-chair Vivian is how ready and eager group members are to participate.

“I’m most proud of the hunger that we’ve seen people display for connection. Our activations are built off of a resonating ask from the group to be able to connect in a safe space with people who are going to understand,” Vivian says. “I’m also very proud that everybody’s willing to share where they’re at in their journey with their culture and their identity as Latin(x).” 

One of those safe spaces is the ERG’s monthly Cafecitos for members – virtual get-togethers where they can connect and have conversations around their Latin(x) experience in the United States.  

Another unique distinction for this group? Industrious Co-founder and CEO Jamie Hodari is a Latin(x) Bees member and serves as an executive sponsor. His engagement within the group has given Latin(x) employees a special connection with Jamie as part of a smaller community within the company culture. Jamie is actively involved in their conversations and events, including sharing his own experience with his Argentinian roots and hosting a dinner for ERG members to spend time together in person. 

“That was an awesome opportunity to give to people who don’t have a lot of interactions with our executive leaders. It was an opportunity to meet Jamie on a personal level and that was really meaningful for group members,” said Monica.

Welcoming the diversity within the community

Within the Latin(x) Bees ERG, more than 10 different countries are represented including Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. Additionally, every member’s experience with their Latin identity is unique: Some feel deeply immersed in their Latin culture having just recently moved to the US. Others are second or third-generation US Americans exploring their Latin roots through food, language, and stories passed down from their families. 

Monica explained, “It doesn’t matter what degree of immersion into the Latin experience you’ve had, the Latin(x) Bees community is very welcoming. I think that’s what makes it so inclusive: Everyone is coming from a different perspective. Whether it’s how immersed you are in Latin culture or just the Latin community that you’re exposed to is different than someone else’s. With that level of diversity, you can only be welcoming.” 

Leveraging the diversity of cultures and experiences within the ERG, the Latin(x) Bees are fostering inclusivity and an interest in learning about each other. The ERG has experimented with different event formats to showcase the many cultures represented in the group. 

Last year, their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration included Latin(x) Bees panelists who shared their personal experiences, videos describing their culinary traditions, as well as a cooking demo for Brazilian beiju

This year, the group celebrated with two new events. They opened their monthly Cafecito to all employees for a virtual game of Lotería, and Jamie organized an interview with legendary sportscaster Andrés Cantor that was open to all employees and members of Industrious. Jamie and Andrés discussed Latin representation in media and the Latin immigrant experience, reflecting on their own families’ experiences immigrating from Argentina to the US.

Becoming a bridge

“We’ve done a year’s worth of work building the Latin(x) Bees community and we’ve seen the enthusiasm within our group for the events we’re putting together,” said Monica. 

Using that runway, the co-chairs are thinking ahead to how the Latin(x) Bees can become a bridge to other communities. One thing working in their favor? The diversity within the group means many members also belong to other ERGs at Industrious, creating natural opportunities to highlight the intersectionality among their communities. 

Vivian looks forward to experimenting and collaborating with other groups. “I’m excited to see what influence we can bring to other ERGs and how we can collaborate,” she says. “The intersectionality of all of us working together is going to manifest into more DEI&B initiatives and more conversations coming to light.”

The group is also inspired by the idea of becoming a bridge between the company and the Latin(x) community. Their ideas include spotlights on Latin(x) companies that office with Industrious and local outreach to Latin(x) businesses. 

“How are we building that connection? How are we becoming a bridge for those small businesses that are ready to take the next step and have their first office? We’re a flex space that provides amazing opportunities for entrepreneurs. Why not highlight those that are among our community?” said Vivian.

As the Latin(x) Bees look ahead to next year, they’re also welcoming a new co-chair, Jaycara de Oliveira (Manager of New Ventures) who has played an engaged role in their activations to date (including that beiju cooking demo). Stepping into a formal leadership role with the group, Jacyara hopes to continue fostering connection between her colleagues: 

“Our ERG includes employees from nearly every department and level of seniority within the organization, making it an exceptionally valuable space to build not only relationships, but your career.”