Salesforce’s 13 Equality Groups, or employee-led resource groups, provide employees of all backgrounds and experiences a chance to find community at work — where they won’t only be accepted, but celebrated. Today, more than half of our 70,000 employees are part of an Equality Group.
As part of a new series, we’re sharing an inside look at how our Equality Group leaders navigate their roles to serve our global employees. For Hispanic Heritage Month, we spoke with Latinoforce President Pierre Higueros on celebrating diverse Hispanic and Latinx backgrounds, how he balances his Latinoforce commitments with his day job, and his passion for growing representation in tech.
Q. Tell us about your background and how you ended up at Salesforce.
I was born and raised in Chicago, but my family is from Guatemala. Growing up in Chicago, I barely spoke Spanish and felt disconnected from my roots. My parents decided to move to Guatemala during my high school years, and it was a pivotal time. While there, I gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of my culture and my family’s background.
When I came back to the United States, I earned a college degree and started working in consulting. I worked with Siebel Systems, Oracle, Vendavo, and Model Metrics, which was eventually acquired by Salesforce.
Q. How did you get involved with Salesforce’s Equality Groups?
Latinoforce, one of Salesforce’s Equality Groups, is a community of Hispanic and Latinx employees and their allies at the company. It provides members with a network of support to help them develop their careers, strengthen their leadership skills, and thrive personally and professionally. And Latinoforce has a strong commitment to give back to the community through volunteering and networking activities.
When I started in our Chicago office, a few members of the local Latinoforce hub invited me to their Cinco de Mayo celebration. They celebrated by hosting a session on what the holiday means and its significance in Mexican culture. It was my first introduction to how our Equality Groups help build understanding and inclusion at a large company.
Q. How did that evolve into a role as President of Latinoforce?
I got more and more involved with Equality Groups as the years went on. I joined the Latinoforce Chicago leadership team, and after two years, became the growth chair for Latinoforce globally. Within a year, we nearly doubled the amount of local Latinoforce hubs and grew our U.S.-only presence to include Europe, Australia, and Latin America.
I ran for President of Latinoforce because I wanted to have a bigger impact and help expand the programs that are most meaningful to employees.
Q. What are your three biggest priorities in the President role?
First is reengaging our members. We hit a roadblock during the pandemic — people were overwhelmed, many without childcare were also juggling all-day meetings, and started to disengage with our group. I’m working with global leadership to not only provide quality events and programs for our members, but to make sure they have the support they need to participate. We know it’s important to serve customers and partners, but Latinoforce also helps increase feelings of belonging, which leads to better performance.
Next is celebrating the unique heritage among diverse Hispanic and Latinx backgrounds. There’s a misconception that the Hispanic and Latinx community is a monolith, but it’s not — it’s made up of many different, vibrant cultures — and it’s important to understand and celebrate all of the cultures that exist inside Salesforce.
There’s a misconception that the Hispanic and Latinx community is a monolith, but it’s not — it’s made up of many different, vibrant cultures — and it’s important to understand and celebrate all of the cultures that exist inside Salesforce.”PIERRE HIGUEROS, President of Latinoforce
And finally, increasing professional development opportunities. We have a goal to expand representation of underrepresented groups in the leadership ranks at Salesforce. To get there, we’re building programs that serve our members, like the Equality Mentorship Program run by the Office of Equality, and adding learning opportunities through organizations like Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, We Are All Human, HITEC, and Latinas in Tech.
Q. How do you balance the pressure of your day job with what’s required of your role as an Equality Group leader?
It’s a lot of work, but our leadership team is eager to support our employees. I have an amazing team around me and I lean on them because I can’t do it all myself. It’s a real partnership — if one of us can’t get to something, someone else steps up. We support each other.
Q. Can you share an example of how Latinoforce has helped make an impact on our business?
One example is with our Trailhead product. When Trailhead first launched, learners did all of their coursework in English. Latinoforce members gave feedback that it overcomplicated the process for people who don’t use English as their first language. As a result, we partnered with the Trailhead team to make it simpler to take courses and get certifications in Portuguese and Spanish.
Latinoforce brought an important perspective to those conversations to ultimately create a product that better serves our global customer base.
Latinoforce brought an important perspective to those conversations to ultimately create a product that better serves our global customer base.”
Q. How else do you hope to make a difference?
I’m passionate about building the next generation of Hispanics and Latinx leaders in tech. Here in Chicago, Latinoforce has sponsored a high school for the past five years. We support students through mock interviews, design-led thinking sessions, and talking to them about what it’s like to work at Salesforce. We also work with our supplier diversity team to use underrepresented vendors in our events and programming.
At the end of the day, I want to make sure the Hispanic and Latinx community is represented at Salesforce, in tech, and across society. This is what I love to do.
Icebreaker Questions:Q. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Every year for Christmas, my family travels to Guatemala and at midnight on December 25, we eat tamales and burn firecrackers.
Q. What is your favorite Guatemalan meal?
Hilachas, which is similar to ropa vieja. It’s shredded beef with marinated sauce and rice.
Q. Who is your favorite Latinx author?
Gabriel García Márquez and his book One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Q. Do you have a favorite moment working with Latinoforce?
Working in Argentina and supporting El Pescar, a nonprofit that gave underprivileged high school students the opportunity to get certified on Salesforce.
- To participate in Salesforce Hispanic Heritage Month events, check out HSI Day: Navigating Diversity with Hispanic Serving Institutions and Uniendo Fuerzas: Shaping the Future of AI
- Learn more about Salesforce’s commitment to Equality and Equality Groups