Google VP Pedro Pina named world's top LGBT+ executive role model

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Pedro Pina, Google — OUTstanding's winner of the Top 100 LGBT+ Executive Role Models List. Photo: Google/Pedro Pina

Pedro Pina is the vice president of global client & agency solutions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at Google (GOOG). It’s a big job.

But Pina doesn’t just lead part of Google’s business across a third of the globe — he’s changing the lives for thousands of people both inside and outside the tech giant.

This is the reason why one of the world’s most prominent diversity and inclusion organisations, INvolve, has placed Pina at the top of its OUTstanding 100 LGBT+ Executive Role Models List in 2019, which is supported by Yahoo Finance.

Pina, who is the only openly LGBT+ VP at Google EMEA, told Yahoo Finance he is “honoured” and “deeply humbled” to top the list.

“This award is not just for me but for my team and the allies that I am just lucky to represent,” he said.

“The work we have been doing at Google is possible because of the committed Googlers who are passionate about making sure Google is the reflection of the rich & diverse tapestry of the people who use our products and services.”

The OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists are a powerful reflection of the incredible achievements of LGBT+ people in the business community. The lists are published annually and cover LGBT+ Executives, LGBT+ Future Leaders, Ally Executives, and Public Sector LGBT+ Executives.

Pina said awards like these are important because “they are catalysts for hope.”

“When I was a young boy, I wasn’t aware of any role models or heroes in this space. Or awards. Or visible LGBTQ+ executives, politicians or artists,” Pina said. “There were no role-models. I would look up and see nobody like me. There was no hope for a life where I could be my true self without sacrificing my happiness.

“These lists solve for that — they provide hope.”

‘Change starts and spreads at the individual level, one Googler at the time’

A "G" sign is on display during the press tour. Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Pina’s day job is a top leadership role in Google’s global client organisation, focused on its largest advertising partners. Throughout his time at the company, he has woven in diversity and inclusion practices that are changing the company from inside out.

His advocacy roles are too numerous to list but include:

  • Executive Sponsor for Google’s EMEA Diversity & Inclusion programmes (covering more than 10,000 Googlers in EMEA);

  • Head of the EMEA Gayglers, Google’s regional LGBTQ+ employee inclusion group;

  • Champion for Google EMEA to ensure that all Googlers (20,000+) take a quarterly goal to make Google a better, more-inclusive, place to work (#ItsUpToMe).

Pina has also:

  • Driven an EMEA Roadshow across 32 cities in 20 countries that instilled better diversity & inclusion behaviours within teams, especially around LGBTQ+. (The programme is now being extended to Asia-Pacific and the US.);

  • Led 20+ Google country leaders to send messages of support to their local teams on National Coming Out Day. In 2019, Google supported 24 cities across 20 countries — its strongest presence yet — with more than 30,000 Googlers marching and Google showing up to support them at Pride, Black Pride, and Trans Pride.

  • Led several of Google’s largest LGBTQ+ partnerships including with Stonewall UK, and headed a number of new initiatives launched with the organisation —including a bespoke programme for LGBTQ+ leaders at Google to learn how to be an authentic leader.

  • Supported and helped many organisations, such as Diageo (DGE.L) and Unilever (ULVR.L), by being a panelist and keynote speaker, helping to shape their employee conversations around LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion.

Much of Pina’s work involves large scale programmes or partnerships aimed at driving change. But his most poignant moments involve individual impact.

“What moves me is to get the odd email from a Googler, who decided to come out at work because of something we have done,” he said. “Or when someone decides to have kids or marry, because he/she was encouraged by one of our talks. Or when a heterosexual senior director decides to become an active and enthusiastic LGBTQ+ ally at its business unit as a result of the enthusiasm of a local LGBTQ+ chapter.

“Change starts and spreads at the individual level, one Googler at the time. And that’s what I am focused on.”

‘Consistency is my next milestone’

Participants hold up a Google banner during Berlin's annual Christopher Street Day (CSD) gay pride parade on July 22, 2017. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

Pina and Google have made great strides when it comes to diversity and inclusion for the LGBT+ space but there is always more to do.

“Consistency is my next milestone,” Pina said. “Some of our operations are great at supporting diversity and inclusion (D&I) and some are still nascent. While some are excellent, others are still learning.

“I want our baseline to be the same in every corner of EMEA. And that requires leadership, lots of heavy lifting and significant enthusiasm. And, air miles too.”

It’s incredibly important to Pina to lead by example. He hopes to always lead with authenticity and “work hard with my leaders to achieve gender parity across our most important metrics.”

He is also conscious that the push for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance has not always result in equal results for all involved.

“Whilst I agree that the overall progress has been tremendous, it is also true that the tide did not rise equally for all letters of the acronym,” said Pina.

“The G, and in some ways the L, in LGBTQ+ have been largely the winners. A lot more progress needs to be done with the other letters, especially with the Transexual community — a group that is incredibly vulnerable and subject to horrendous discrimination. This year, at Google’s PRIDE march in London we paid tribute to the Trans community, sending a clear signal of unwavering support.”

He adds: “Progress is great to see, but only makes me more determined to do more for all.”

Pina’s commitment to keep pushing and never rest on his laurels is part of what makes him INvolve’s top LGBTQ+ executive role model for 2019.

Yahoo Finance supports all of INvolve’s executive role model lists. Check out some of them here with accompanying winner profiles: