Luciana Gomez, Founder and CEO
When Luciana Gomez decided to go from a career in agencies to working for herself, she didn’t think her new career life would lead to owning a coffeeshop, Cafe Victoria, too.
“Shortly after I opened my marketing consultancy, I was walking around my neighborhood of Victory Park in Dallas, and I realized there was no coffee shop in this area I loved so much and knew that if nobody would open it, I would,” explains Gomez. “My shop is small, cozy and quaint, which I think pairs well with my neighborhood. I have had it for over 4 years and it has been extremely rewarding. I love people enjoying their coffee with friends, or stopping by for a coffee break, just as I envisioned it.”
Gomez’s branding expertise and background in marketing helped facilitate both the opening of her coffeeshop and the continued growth of her marketing consulting company.
“The psychological principles of marketing are fascinating to me,” explains Gomez. “I also love creativity and I am very curious, so marketing has been a great journey for me as no day is the same and every client and every project present their own challenges to solve. Platforms are constantly changing, which requires me to be on my toes, learn, and recalculate.”
With clients like AT&T, Hershey’s and others under her belt, Gomez understands the draw of working in an industry that is ever growing. As COVID-19 continues to change the industry landscape, Gomez encourages those just getting their start in their career to question where they would fit in best.
“My advice for those starting their careers is that existing systems, models, processes, structures are all currently being reshuffled,” notes Gomez. “It is sometimes hard to get in a machine that works just fine the way it is. All the moving parts right now present a huge opportunity to get that first shot with simple but innovative ideas that can solve new problems that arise from this current crisis. There is no longer a ’we have always done it this way‘ answer. The new way of doing things is being built and this is where new thinking is required.”
Below Gomez shares more tips to keep in mind as creatives navigate COVID times.
Small business owners have an advantage bigger companies may not have
“The key for business to survive [during this time will] be to stay nimble and this is where small business actually have an advantage because we can move fast and make quick changes,” explains Gomez. “What makes us small also makes us grand. What seemingly makes us different can actually make us better.”
Give people a chance to network with you
As we focus on making connections in the midst of more remote work, it’s key to actively network while also making it easy for those in your own network to connect with you.
“There is no such thing as too many contacts in your network. You never know where life takes you and them. Online platforms provide a wider range of spaces where these connections can happen, so while in-person meetings are always great, people are more and more comfortable with meeting virtually, and younger generations excel at this, which is a huge advantage for those looking to kickstart their careers.”
Believe that your lived experience can be your competitive advantage
As an immigrant and a Latina, Gomez relates to the experience of feeling otherness in predominantly white spaces, but shares that there is power in owning both your lived experiences and identity.
“In my field, for a while I felt like a second-class professional when I sat in room of clients and partner advertising agencies I admired as a student and I honestly never thought I would be sitting next to,” shares Gomez. “This was because I came from Latin America and working in marketing in the US felt like major-league playing. It took me a while to realize that I had been chosen and brought to this country for a reason, and that I could do what another agency team member could do, plus I could also bring my expertise to the table, which they could not. They always showed respect for this but it was not until I saw this myself that I started to value my background with higher respect. We are no less because we have an added expertise..so, appreciate your background and highlight it. Do not try to blend in because this will make your uniqueness fade away, and it is exactly this uniqueness that makes you, you, and what will help you succeed.”
Build a team of good individuals
“I have learned with time to appreciate people more and identify what they bring to the table, and praise them for that,” shares Gomez. “And also know that for somebody to be really good at something, they have to not be good at other things. This helps when structuring teams and setting up people for success in the areas where they will be outstanding at, as opposed to trying to push a structure onto people. Always design your team around people’s strengths.”
Gomez encourages to keep team building in mind, especially as more companies navigate restructuring as a result of COVID-19.