Why Monica Gómez left her role as a CEO to work at Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Monica Gómez, who left a very comfortable job as CEO of one of the world’s leading media agencies to take a risk and pursue a dream of working at Google in a role that directly impacts the development of Colombia and the Central America Region.

How would you describe your role at Google? 

As a Head of Agencies, I work with outside partners and ad agencies in the region to develop business models based on the newest data and technology. I am also an activist in the search for female inclusion and empowerment in the digital industry.

Can you tell us a bit about your early studies and career? 

I grew up in a small city in Colombia, in a huge family. (I have 20 uncles!) In our country, education is a privilege, it is not a right, and that made my parents work hard to give me the opportunity to go to a university. I actually started my studies in optometry, but in the second semester I got pregnant and had to leave the university to take charge of a new life with my daughter. This both rescued me and gave me a new purpose.

I worked during the day, and at night I began my studies in marketing and advertising. My professional career started at the bottom, making phone calls, filling in database fields and doing basically what no one else wanted to do. My passion and determination were the keys to quickly scale up and become CEO of one of the world's leading media agencies.

In parallel, my daughter and I decided to start a new family — so today, my husband, my two daughters and I are indestructible.

What made you decide to apply to Google?

I attended a wedding and there, after dancing all night, a good friend who worked at Google told me about an opportunity that would open up soon at the company that she thought would be perfect for me.

My first reaction was an immediate, "No thanks. This position is not for me, it is for someone younger." It's amazing how your biases from the past come to your mind and sabotage you to the point of taking away great opportunities. At the time, in my 40s and in a comfortable place as an agency CEO, I was scared. I was happy at my job and competing with new talent in the industry to show that I was the best candidate terrified me. 

After three weeks of introspection I realized I wanted to participate in the process, and that I was ready to face my insecurities and go full energy for my dream: work at Google.

Monica smiling in front of a large Android statue.

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

My experience in the advertising ecosystem in Colombia was vital for my participation in the selection process. Knowing the advertising ecosystem and having worked in different roles in agencies and as a client made the difference.

What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day? 

I never thought that I would experience a disruption as big as COVID-19. Overnight the consumption habits of people around the world changed, and the reacting capacities of all of us in the industry were put to the test. The pandemic dramatically challenged our agility, commitment, consistency and leadership to make decisions in a context where there are no instruction manuals.

For that reason, it motivates me to encourage my partners to build strategies that accelerate the business of the brands they represent and contribute to the development of our country.

I also find happiness in helping my team achieve personal fulfillment. I’m a facilitator for I am Remarkable, where I help other women recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. It is a way to return what I have received from Google

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying?

You don't have to worry about explaining the reasons why you want to change jobs, or justifying your work decisions in the past.

“No salgas antes de entrar,” Do not leave before entering — great words from Adri Noreña.