Hispanic Heritage Month Highlights: Meet Pinhas Kevin Cohen from Microsoft (Shared article from the Microsoft Blog)

Meet Pinhas Kevin Cohen

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft and co-creator of the “Charlas at the Commons” podcast

Even if only one person takes away something from our podcast, whether it’s to enjoy, learn, or connect with one of our guests, then it’s all worth it.

Pinhas Kevin Cohen

After the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted connections, Kevin and his two colleagues were determined to stay in touch with each other and their Hispanic and Latinx community. Now, their small idea has evolved into a new podcast series, inviting peers to share their own stories.

I lived in Caracas, Venezuela, for almost 17 years. My family, my friends, my whole life—pretty much everything I knew—were in Venezuela. I thought I had my life planned out, but after my family moved to the Miami, Florida, area, I had to start over. My family used to visit the United States for vacations, but this time I was moving there permanently and didn’t know what to expect.

Leaving my country was hard, but anywhere I went, I would always try find a Latinx and Hispanic community to be a part of. When I attended college and interned at Microsoft, I’ll admit that I felt alone because I was far from my family and friends. I found that I felt more comfortable when I talked to others from similar backgrounds or spoke Spanish with them so that they could get to know me better. I’m also Jewish, and it was important for me to find support and share learnings and traditions within the Jewish community.

Once I joined Microsoft full time, I reconnected with old friends and made new friends. My close friends and Microsoft colleagues, Maurizio and Andres, who are both Venezuelan, helped me feel closer to home. I met amazing people through the Hispanic and Latinx Employee Resource Group that supported me and made me feel a part of the community. I finally started to feel like I had a family here.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, it disrupted how I stayed connected with my friends and the broader Hispanic and Latinx community. Maurizio, Andres, and I didn’t want to lose touch with the employee community, so we had the idea to start having casual conversations with our peers over Microsoft Teams. When we realized how much we were learning from each of the conversations, we decided to take it a step further.

Our informal conversations sparked the idea for creating the “Charlas at the Commons” podcast series. Today, Maurizio, Andres, and I host the podcast and interview Microsoft employees from all over the globe to hear about their stories. From each conversation, I feel like I get to know and learn from the lived experiences of others and help my peers stay connected with each other, too.

Even if only one person takes away something from our podcast, whether it’s to enjoy, learn, or connect with one of our guests, then it’s all worth it. For us, it means doing what we love for our community and sharing knowledge with anyone who listens.

—Pinhas Kevin C.

By CJ Sanchez (He/Him)
CJ Sanchez (He/Him) Career Coach