Meet Berenice Méndez: “Our differences add to the richness of our heritage”
This year, our employee resource group Latinx@ changed “Hispanic Heritage Month” to “Latinx Heritage Month” to recognize the intersectional experience of being Latinx. So, for Latinx Heritage Month this year, we chose the theme “Mejor Juntos/ Better Together” to celebrate and uplift all Latinx communities: Black, Indigenous, Undocumented, Immigrant, LGBTQ+, Women, and more. We encourage you to acknowledge the salient contributions and beauty that Latinx and Immigrant communities bring to this country. Our intersectional identities are what make us better together. During the month, we’ll be asking members of Latinx@ what the theme means to them.
Q: What is your name, what office do you work out of, and how long have you been at Dropbox ?
A: My name is Berenice Méndez, and I work in the San Francisco office. I have been at Dropbox since January of 2019 when HelloSign joined the team. (I’ve been at HelloSign since January of 2015.)
Q: What is your current role at Dropbox?
A: I’m a communications designer at HelloSign. I design all kinds of web and print graphics that help tell the story of what HelloSign is and how it can help people sign and send all types of valuable documents without having to print and scan them.
Q: In your time at Dropbox, what’s something you’ve accomplished that you’re proud?
A: I’m currently working on the redesign of the HelloSign homepage. It is the first step in refreshing the way we tell the story of our product and makes it easier for people to see which one of our plans is best for the needs of their team.
Q: What does this year’s theme, “Mejor Juntos/ Better Together,” mean to you?
A: The Latinx community and representation at Dropbox have provided validation that I belong here, with all my history and unique experiences, without a need to adapt how I speak or feel to fit a majority. It’s also provided me a resource to turn to when I need to listen to other peers’ experiences.
Many countries make up our Latin community, and our different traits and traditions can put us at risk of division if we allow ourselves to draw influence from the divisive rhetoric we see on the news. The strength of Latinxs lies in recognizing that our differences add to the richness of our heritage, but should not take away from the values like resilience, resourcefulness, and the warmth and openness that turns friends into family. These are the shared qualities our community exudes, and we should feel committed to making bridges where others seek to build walls.
Q: Are there any Latinx leaders or role models that you admire?
A: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has impressed me with her ability to translate her frustration with injustice into a drive to unite people and change policy. We also share the same birthday (even the year). So, when I have a rough day, I remember that she’s out there handling a tremendous amount of responsibility.
Q: What topic or topics do you feel are top of mind for you and the Latinx community, and why?
A: My hometown has been the epicenter of so many harsh moments for our community. I grew up in the border city of Juárez, Mexico, which experienced a decade of violence by the drug cartels. Having escaped that and made San Francisco my home gives me tremendous empathy for all the families trying to escape the violence in their countries. The ICE detention centers established in the neighbor city of El Paso, Texas, where I spent my college years, have brought the spotlight onto the inhumane treatment of these people, people that look like me, speak my language, and also have dreams and aspirations.
The shooting in El Paso, Texas, is the latest event that puts this grim reality in front of me, that some people are using gun violence to promote fear and exclude entire groups of people based on country of origin and race.
Q: What are you most excited for this year’s Latinx Heritage Month at Dropbox?
A: I look forward to meeting more Latinxs and friends of the community! I’m also excited to speak Spanish and help anyone practice it.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: I’m in the middle of a personal project where I travel to five of my best friends’ hometown across America. It’s a little bit about the nostalgia of what a hometown represents and a bit of me discovering my American experience. I’m documenting the project in hometowndiaries.com.