Lesley Alegría on connecting people, storytelling, and her Prince Royce hype song
September marks the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month. We’re honoring our teammates with a series of interviews to highlight their experiences.
History has shown us that design, products, and employment have not been equally accessible to people of all backgrounds. Abstract is committed to challenging the past by bringing in people with a diversity of lived experiences that help us build a stronger product and more open and connected world.
As we drift into fall, we are celebrating Latinx Heritage Month at Abstract. This is our second post in a series dedicated to our esteemed Latinx colleagues — our first featured Jose Garcia-Balius. In this interview, Lesley Alegría shares her passion for connecting people to opportunities and her inquisitive nature.
What personal passions bring you to Abstract?
Seeing how our team’s values of inclusion, collaboration, and growth directly impact our product is inspiring. I love playing an active part in how we build our company and I’m passionate about connecting people to the opportunities we’re able to offer. We are a team of passionate and creative humans.
I was also drawn to the very core of our product — which is centered on connecting people and making it easier to collaborate. Abstract enables people to do work they love, together. All of our customers have the opportunity to make an impact in their part of the world, using the tool we’ve built.
What are you most proud of in your life or career?
As a kid, you would often hear me saying “pero por que” or “but why?” Seriously. You can hear me saying this in the background of some of our VHS home videos!
My curiosity to learn has led me to meaningful milestones throughout my life. In my career, I actively look for ways to level-up and ask questions to better understand the root of a given problem. In life, the milestone that stands out most is my college diploma — I graduated from Cornell University as a first-generation college graduate.
What's your favorite hype song and why?
"Stand By Me" — the Prince Royce version. Growing up, soul and R&B were staples at home. I love "Stand By Me," the original by Ben E. King. I even learned how to play it on the piano! When I heard this version by Prince Royce, I was super excited to hear a version that mixed English and Spanish with a catchy bachata beat. It’s now a song my fiancé and I dance to together! It brings lots of great memories, so it’s part of my hype song list.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Practice self-care. It’s important to stop and think about our physical and mental health. The earlier we take charge of our health, the stronger we will be in the long term.
Where do you find inspiration or hope during difficult moments?
My family and the stories passed down through generations. I come from a culture and family of storytellers. Dinner time has and continues to be storytelling time. Hearing stories of my great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and everything in between helps me gain a better understanding of the strength and hustle that lives within me. I also like adding my stories to the mix and seeing all the threads come together.
You get to have dinner with one person — famous or not. Who do you choose and what would you ask them?
I would have dinner with David Talbot. He wrote Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love.
As a born and raised San Franciscan, I love learning about the city’s history and understanding why things are the way they are. Reading Season of the Witch — in a week, I might add — gave me a deeper understanding of my hometown. I had a ton of questions after reading it and I’d want to ask David to share more details.