- Perla Campos leads marketing for Google Doodles, which changes Google’s logo for special occasions.
- Campos is also a proud Latina who describes her job as “making people feel seen and heard.”
- For Hispanic Heritage Month, Campos shared her background and her inclusive mission.
During the early years of Perla Campos’ life, her mother, a Mexican immigrant and single parent, shuffled from job to job. When she wasn’t working as a custodian in the town’s elementary school, she was cleaning houses on the weekends. Campos would help her mom vacuum floors and wipe down countertops until they sparkled.
Having grown up in rural Granbury, Texas, Campos never imagined she’d work at one of the most important companies of the 21st century: Google. She thought working in corporate America would be perceived as selling out, as betraying her culture for a job. Whether it’s over leaving their families to attend college or choosing careers that fulfill them but rattle tradition, the guilt surrounding career choices that many children of immigrants encounter is a well-documented phenomenon.
“So much blood, sweat, and tears went into me having the opportunities that I have,” Campos said. “My ancestors, my community, my mom — I cannot let that be in vain. So for me it was, whatever I do, I need to help my people. I need to help my community and communities that have similar plights.”
And as the head of global marketing for Google Doodles since 2016, Campos has done right by that commitment. Google Doodles is responsible for altering the site’s homepage banner to celebrate people, places, and milestones that shaped global culture. Campos makes a point to highlight people of color, women, those with disabilities, and others who have been written out of history textbooks. In that way, she is staying true to herself and her background. This Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, her job has been even more gratifying.
“My job is to make people feel seen, feel heard, and feel valued,” she said. “It can be really powerful for someone to see the homepage of Google, which for many people is the front door of the internet, and see a part of their culture being celebrated.”
To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month this year, Google commissioned Latina guest artist Loris Lora to create a Google Doodle of influential Panamanian American nurse Ildaura Murillo-Rohde. For each doodle, Campos and her team work with relevant employee resource groups (such as the Latino ERG group) to discuss ideas with an eye toward inclusion. They also commission artists from marginalized communities and partner with dozens of cultural experts to ensure accuracy.
“It’s about including people from different backgrounds at every level, focusing on intersectionality, having conversations with people from the respective communities,” she said. “It’s about being authentic.”
Google has a recent track record of investing in communities of color. This month, the company invested $1 million to the nonprofit Hispanic Federation, which funds workforce development and digital training programs for the community, building on its 2019 investments. Google also partnered with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to provide $2 million to over 35 Hispanic-serving educational institutions.
In 2012, Campos began her career at Google with an internship. The opportunity, a career game changer for most, threw Campos into an existential crisis. She had previously worked in the nonprofit world as an intern documenting the experiences of Mexican youth, and she assisted Stanford University’s center on race and ethnicity in research. Campos’ career revolved around social justice, and she wondered whether all of that work, as well as her immigrant roots, would be wasted in the corporate world. But then she had a life-changing moment.
She was in a meeting with executives talking about strategies to help small and medium businesses grow. Campos felt there was a lack of diversity in their approach and decided to speak up. To her surprise, the executives welcomed her advice.
Over the next eight years, Campos climbed the corporate ladder to the executive position she now holds. Along the way, she’s helped marginalized communities feel seen and heard through the doodles and stories she’s helped produce. She also feels confident that she’s staying true to her Mexican and immigrant roots, as well as to her calling to help her people.
“There’s so much intersectionality in the histories and the struggles and the beauty of all of these communities worldwide,” she said. “So to work in a role where I’m actively thinking about that, because I have lived that, is really powerful.”