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Transformative experiences

April 2017

As a University at Buffalo School of Management student, Juliana Gomez, MBA ’99, seized every opportunity to push herself and experience new things — and she still does today.

In her 10 years at Microsoft, Gomez has worked in multiple roles in five countries, gaining exposure to new cultures and different areas of the company along the way.

“My experience at UB and the School of Management was about much more than academics,” she says. “It was transformative. I was exposed to a challenging environment that helped me grow as an individual and a professional.”

Born in São Paolo, Brazil, Gomez always wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and attend an American university. She chose UB and arrived on campus knowing little English. By completing an ESL program and surrounding herself with native English speakers, Gomez gained fluency and graduated with her bachelor’s in economics in 1997.

She immediately enrolled in the School of Management’s full-time MBA program, working to gain the business and technical skills necessary to work in information technology at a major company. Reflecting on her experiences, Gomez singled out what many might consider an unhappy memory: when her cohort didn’t select her to join them in a competition.

“It wasn’t personal. I wasn’t cut out for that competition, so my team didn’t pick me,” she says. “Though disappointed at first, I learned to stand up and get my confidence back, and shortly after I led my team to a win during another presentation.”

After earning her MBA, Gomez spent the next seven years in various roles at General Electric Co., starting with then-CEO Jack Welch’s two-year Information Management Leadership Program, through which she grew as a leader and gained expertise in a range of IT functions from infrastructure to software development.

“The program mirrored what UB gave me,” she says. “I rotated through four departments under the IT umbrella, and in each, I’d learn something, try it, take risks and do it all over again. It was awesome.”

Gomez moved to Microsoft in 2006, working out of the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. After three years, she relocated to Ireland and later to Ukraine as the quality leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Next, as a learning and development business partner in Singapore, she focused on sales force transformation for the Asia Pacific region.

Today, she lives in Mexico City, where, as operations manager for Latin America, she oversees sales channels for Microsoft’s partners in the region. With her team, Gomez manages the order-to-cash process, supports their customers’ needs and advocates for Microsoft’s mission to empower organizations to achieve more.

“I most enjoy working with and learning from my team,” she says. “With the fast pace of innovation in the industry, digital technologies have the ability to change the world. It is amazing to be close to that transformation.”

Passionate about helping young girls experiment with technology and enter the industry, Gomez also speaks to middle and high school students about tech career paths through Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program.

Outside of work, Gomez and her husband, Ivan, enjoy exploring Mexico City and introducing their 3-year-old daughter, Sofia, to new flavors and cultural experiences.

Written by Matthew Biddle