August 6, 2020

Today marks four years since I joined Google full-time otherwise known as my “Googleversary.”

I keep waiting for some sort of graduation announcement or ceremony that would indicate the end of an era and the start of a new chapter, but I suppose that’s not exactly the same, after college.

Today, I contemplated finally answering the million-dollar question I get too often “so, what do you do at Google?”

But instead, I’ve decided to take some time today to reflect and simply celebrate some of my favorite moments over the course of my very short career. But more importantly, this is a thank you letter to everyone who’s believed in me and championed me when I wasn’t in the room.

Today, I get to celebrate the fact that this goes way beyond Google.

Today, I’m grateful for my parents and their courage to sacrifice their family, friends, and the place they called home, to pursue the American dream in order for my brothers and I to succeed. Today, I thank my parents for living in the shadows for many years in this country with the hopes that one day, it could be home. I thank them for teaching me the importance of giving back and uplifting others in the process. I thank them for taking on jobs at fast-food restaurants, construction, swap meets, cleaning — sometimes managing multiple jobs at once — to provide for our family.

Hoy y siempre, les agradezco for instilling the values of hard work, dedication, and resilience.

My mom and grandma visiting the Googleplex for the first time

If you would have asked me in high school what I would be doing today, I could have never imagined myself working at one of the largest tech companies in the world — the concept seemed too foreign, at the time.

But here I am. And here we are.

I’m a firm believer that as Latinas and women of color, we must continue to share our stories so that others may feel heard and seen. This is only one, of many reminders, that we not only exist in this space, but that we are here to thrive.

So, cheers to us!

All thoughts here are my own and not representative of my employer.

Shamara Valdez

Studied @Georgetown. Latina. Currently @Google. Hija de Immigrantes.

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