On October 30th, 2020, after months of economic, healthcare, and social hardships that exacerbated racial and ethnic disparities, Skills gathered to honor employers, community partners, and job seekers at the 6th Annual Employment Champions Breakfast. While the event took place mostly online, we were joined by a small socially distanced group for an in-person celebration. One of our guests was Jackie Pinedo, who talked about her career growth at Ulta Beauty, the 2020 Champion for the Unemployed.
Below is a transcript of her remarks.
Good morning, my name is Jackie Pinedo. I want to thank Skills for Chicagoland’s Future for inviting me and a special thanks to Ulta Beauty for supporting my career path that has led to this point.
My journey with Ulta Beauty began in the spring of 2018 when I was hired on as a Beauty Advisor, but my story of how I got here starts much further back.
I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago by my parents, along with my brother and two sisters. From an early age I learned firsthand the value of hard work and the power of a job. I am a first generation American, and my parents worked extremely hard to provide the opportunity for a great life for their children. Then, when I was 14, my father passed away, and everything was flipped upside down—we even found ourselves briefly homeless. But what got us through was my mother’s work ethic. She worked multiple jobs to help our family get back on its feet.
I worked throughout high school to help support my family, and after graduating I knew I needed to continue doing so as I attended Chicago State University. The problem was, I struggled finding a permanent job and didn’t know where to turn—that’s when I found Skills. I love makeup, and I love beauty supplies, so when I talked to Tom, the Skills recruiter, about the job opportunity they had at Ulta Beauty – it was definitely a perfect fit. Tom got to know me, and when he heard I was a people person who loves helping people—there you go! He knew I was fit for Ulta Beauty. I can proudly say I have been promoted multiple times and am now sales manager at the Hyde Park location – and that's a role I would have never imagined or dreamed about being in if it wasn’t for Skills.
Everything was rolling along nicely until I got a call from my mom in June. She was feeling sick. We convinced her to go to the hospital, and she was admitted immediately. She had COVID-19, and so did I, and so did my husband, and so did my siblings. Our symptoms were minor, but thanks to my mom's medical team, she is actually doing great. And she was actually struggling to breathe when she was in the hospital for a month. hanks to the great medical team that took care of her, she has recovered and is doing well. It was very scary seeing the person you look up to struggling for so long.
Mom, when you watch this, you are my inspiration. Eres mi inspiración.
As I plan my future, I know that my path will continue at Ulta Beauty. I want to bring the opportunity Skills provided me to others, and help them join the Ulta Beauty family – because the power of a job is just that, opportunity. I would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for Skills. My next goal is General Manager, and then hopefully even a role in corporate human resources.
On behalf of myself and my family, –– thank you Ulta Beauty, thank you Skills and thank you to everyone who has supported this work.