Inspiring Latina of the Week: Director of Business Development and Strategy Luisa Monge

Luisa Monge serves as the Director of Business Development and Strategy for the Interactive Entertainment Business (Media Entertainment Group) at Microsoft Corporation. Monge is responsible for advancing the company’s Xbox/Kinect platforms.

Born in Costa Rica, Luisa has worked in the entertainment, health and consulting industries for over fifteen years. Throughout her career, Monge has worked closely with clients such as: The Walt Disney Company, Viacom/Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In addition to her successful career, Luisa has earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Luisa is also a wife and a mother to two children. Because of her incredible success, hard work, and love for her family, Luisa Monge is this week’s inspiring Latina.

What inspired you to work in business?

Since a very young age, I was always intrigued by business people. My father heads up a coffee cooperative in Costa Rica and I remember visiting him at the office and being so impressed by the business people attending the board meetings. They were making decisions that would impact the export of coffee to other countries. Making impactful decisions was something that inspired me to forge a career in the business world.

What fulfills you the most about your job?

Getting things done. I am responsible for negotiating agreements and bringing entertainment partnerships to our Xbox LIVE platform. I am most fulfilled when I successfully execute agreements to bring new entertainment to our platform for our users to enjoy.

Do you find it a challenge being a Latina woman and working in a field that tends to be dominated by men?

I enjoy challenges and love the satisfaction of overcoming them. Throughout my career, I have learned that if you don’t let the gender differences or cultural differences stand in your way or deter you, you can make anything happen. I believe that in today’s global business world, being a Latina and bringing different viewpoints to the table is viewed as a benefit.

You seem to be a very busy woman! What does a typical day look like for you?

Yes, very busy! My travel schedule can sometimes jump into hyper drive. Today, I am heading to Los Angeles for some meetings and then I am off to Mexico City early tomorrow morning for the rest of the week. A typical day would start early with conference calls sometimes in the 6am or 7am time frame – which is usually necessary due to time zone differences with Europe and Latin America. Then, I have family time in the morning as I get my kids ready for school and cook breakfast with my husband. The rest of the day is usually booked with meetings and conference calls at the office. At the end of the day, I usually try to get to the gym for a quick 3-mile run and then home to help cook dinner and spend family time with my husband and kids. After dinner and homework, I usually spend some time catching up on emails I didn’t get to throughout the day. Finally, a good book and some much needed rest!

What advice do you have for other Latinas who want to get into the business field?

Obtain a solid education. Find a mentor in the business world – join business groups in school. Read the Wall Street Journal and the Economist and become knowledgeable about the business world. 

Besides earning a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Southern California, you also received an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Is education something that is important to you, and if so, why do you believe education is important especially for the Latino community?

I believe education is the most important thing for everyone and especially for the Latino community. I was influenced greatly by my grandmother who was a very wise Latina woman. She always said to me that possessions and money could be gained and lost easily, but that an education gained once could never be lost! I always remembered that as I pursued my educational goals. Education is empowerment. It empowers us to reach for higher goals and aim for greater successes than we would if we didn’t have it. It is the wing beneath our wings.

What gives you the most pride about being Latina?

I am proud of my heritage and my culture. I am proud to be an immigrant. I am grateful for all of the Latino men and women who have come before me and opened up the opportunities that I have had the privilege to enjoy.

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