Finding Our Purpose Through Community

 |   Brittany Valdes, Southeast Community Engagement Manager, Microsoft Corporation

Brittany Valdes - HHM

“I’m not the right fit for this job,” I explained to the hiring manager. Although the Community Development Specialist position seemed like my ideal jobI panicked when I found out I was pregnantIf I wanted to raise a family, I thought I couldn’t be a working mom. It would be too hard.  

Right then and there, the hiring manager told me that I was the perfect person for the job and that if I accepted, I would not only have full benefits but also a community that would support me throughout my motherhood journey. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could do both. I could have children and work at a company like Microsoft. 

Based on my family background, I often feel like I must take on many different roles. And, I get this from both sides of the family! My family from my dad’s side is Cuban and my mom’s side is Puerto Rican 

Brittany Valdes

(Photo Credit: Yesi – http://yesi.fun)

I’ve always been very career driven. While pursuing bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in musical theater at Palm Beach Atlantic University, worked throughout college, running student activities and community engagement initiatives. After graduating, I moved to Chicago and worked in marketing and events at a publishing company and a tourism group. I also got an MBA in business administration from Florida International University.  

Employees from cultures centered on family may struggle with the same feelings I was havingWe may feel guilt for having to balance both our families and work: Do we spend enough time with our kids? Are we devoting enough energy to our clients?

But, guess what? The hiring manager was right. Now, six years after accepting the position, I have two boysand I am the Southeast Community Engagement Manager for Microsoft. My experience also inspired me to adopt a new mission: rewrite the narrative on working mothers.  

To help working moms step into their purpose, I launched the Mom Economy, non-for-profit organization that supports moms while they navigate through their careers before, during and after having children. We recently hosted the Mother Mercado, which provided moms with a bootcamp to learn how to scale their businesses and the opportunity to win a pop-up retail space in New York CityIn 2020, we’re hosting the Mother of All Job Fairsthe first-ever job fair where it’s a prerequisite to be a mother, connecting over 200 women with more than 60 businesses.

Brittany Valdes - Yesi

(Photo Credit: Yesi – http://yesi.fun)

Beyond supporting other moms, I’m also passionate about elevating my community. One of my favorite parts of my job has been the “Start Your Own Business” program at the Microsoft Store for middle school kids, in collaboration with the non-profit organization Produced with Purpose. The Microsoft Store hosts the six-week introduction camp, teaching kids about profit margins, marketing, operation costs, staffing and so on. Then, the kids are trained by Produced with Purpose, where they get to create their own product and even bring it to the market.  

As a member of the Latinx community, I believe we all should strive to empower others to find their purpose. We should focus on accomplishing our goals one step at a time and understand we can achieve greatness even in the in between moments. Cherishing the everyday non-instagrammable moments defines success in my eyes 

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