Motivating Future Latina Leaders with Latinx ERG

Life@BARK
4 min readMay 2, 2023

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I don’t know what’s more exciting: the BARK sign’s new makeover or the fact we had MORE kids in the office this past week! (ICYMI: the smashing success we know as Kids Day 2023).

Johanna Pritchard and Gaby Aguero of our Latinx ERG kick off Career Day with Lucy the dane.

Gaby Aguero, the leader of BARK’s Latinx Employee Resource Group, gives us the scoop on her successful Career Day with Proyecto Mariposas.

Tell us a little bit about Proyecto Mariposas.

The Proyecto Mariposas is a non-profit organization that provides an environment of learning, sharing and support to Latina Girls and their mothers. Their vision has been to develop brave girls and strong women. Through their programs they build self-esteem, encourage risk taking and create a community of love and learning. All the girls are 1st generation American between the ages of 2- 17 who live in Columbus, OH. BARK’s Latinx ERG has proudly worked with this organization for the past 4 years.

What inspired you to do this event in the way you did?

My main inspiration was my childhood! I thought about what I would have wanted when I was their age. I was only ever exposed to blue collar jobs up until college. I didn’t know what an office was like, what the path to an office job was. Finance, accounting, and HR were the only office jobs I knew about and I wanted to show the girls there are so many more functions they can be a part of in an office work environment.

That is amazing! What responses did you get from the girls who attended this event?

They loved it! We discussed college, finances, we talked about why we chose working for a dog company over other popular options such as entertainment. Business to these girls is a huge entity. We learn at a young age that business is unreachable to my culture. And we’re here to show the girls they can reach and achieve a job in business as a first generation American — they don’t have to wait for their own kids.

Bethany, Johanna and myself were able to tie in the values we had been raised with and connect it to how we are using it in our careers. We shared stories and connected over the hard work we put in as minorities. We also connected over something most can relate to: we’re all just here to do a job and succeed.

It sounds like there’s a theme here. Would you say it’s common for Latinx employees to have “jobs” rather than “careers?”

Absolutely, 100%. Latinx families give their children the foundation to succeed yet we are faced with more obstacles simply being a minority in business, not to mention cultural norms. In our culture, we’ll get a job and we’ll succeed — we live to work. However, it’s common to stay in our comfort zone… you’ll see a family member stay in the same job their whole life because it was a job and it paid. You’ll also sometimes see networking limited to within our own race which can limit career growth. My hope for this Career Day was to teach the girls how to pursue opportunities, how to do things like ask for a raise, how to find work they love and how to be authentically themselves in the workplace.

Gaby, Bethany, and Johanna open up the panel for “How to Succeed in Business as a Latinx Woman”

Wow! It sounds like you covered a lot of ground in just a couple of hours!! What endeavors are in the future for BARK and Proyecto Mariposas?

We hope to host more of these events, especially for girls in the stage of getting ready for college.

And there will be dogs, right?

Oh my gosh, dogs at these events change EVERYTHING! Simply having a dog there opens up the conversation immediately about the girls’ own dogs, their families, it made them feel more comfortable and that’s a superpower BARK has when we do community events. Regardless of the event’s purpose, having dogs builds that bridge. Being able to tell a group of kids I love what I do and I love coming into the office because I love dogs makes them take in the information so much more.

Probably a little biased, but there’s the proof dogs literally make EVERYTHING better.

Special shout out to our team members Bethany Suarez, Brandon Wyatt, Gaby Aguero, Hernán Giraldo, and Johanna Pritchard and our friends at Proyecto Mariposas for making this a day to remember!

Interested in learning more about Proyecto Mariposas? Visit their website HERE.

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