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Wonder Women 2020: Mónica Gil

Mónica Gil has several important jobs at NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Enterprises. Not only is she chief marketing officer. She also oversees corporate affairs, social responsibility programs and government relations for the Spanish-language programmer.

Mónica Gil

Mónica Gil

Besides that, she is a key adviser to chairman Cesar Conde and was part of the management team that led the network’s move in 2018 into the new Telemundo Center in Miami, Florida, the state-of-the-art production center and headquarters called the “30 Rock of the South.”

She led branding and launch efforts for Telemundo programming that have made the network No. 1 in weekday primetime among U.S. Spanish-language networks for three consecutive seasons — a point of pride for the former Nielsen executive who joined Telemundo in 2017.

Added to all of that, the Southern California native oversees human resources for the 1,500-employee organization. It’s in that role that she made what she considers one of her most important contributions to Telemundo: the Mujeres Imparables (Unstoppable Women) program now celebrating a one-year anniversary. The company-wide initiative is “dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in all aspects of life and championing their advancement at every level of business,” Telemundo noted.

Mentorship Moves

“When I stepped into the human resource role, I realized that a lot of women specifically were asking for ways to either [obtain] a mentorship from me or asking to set a conversation about my career, or they wanted to talk about how they can grow,” Gil said in a recent interview.

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“Many times they feel stuck in their job and they don’t know how to get out. So I like to tell them, ‘Let’s get you unstuck.’ And sometimes just because you're stuck now doesn't mean it's forever. Or sometimes maybe because you get told ‘no,’ it just means ‘not yet.’ ”

Conde pointed to Unstoppable Women as one of Gil’s signature accomplishments and said it epitomized her desire to empower the next generation of Latina women and to make Telemundo stronger.

She has “an incredible eye for talent,” Conde said. “She has mentored women and men throughout her career. And I think helping identify the high-potential next generation of talent and nurturing them has been one of the biggest unwritten or unspoken contributions that she has made.”

Conde said Gil brought a unique background of marketplace data and “where the future of the demographics of the industry was going,” so when Telemundo was looking to fill the newly created executive VP role three years ago, “in my mind there was no one who understood that dynamic better than Mónica.”

At Nielsen, Gil was senior VP and general manager of multicultural, growth and strategy, advising blue-chip clients (including packaged goods and media firms) and created, developed and authored such insight reports as Latina Power Shift, about the growing influence of Hispanic women in the U.S. marketplace.

“I'm very proud of the consumer reports that we did at Nielsen, because I think that those reports have truly helped shape and inform companies about markets that were sometimes an afterthought,” Gil said when asked to cite her top career accomplishments. (The others were Unstoppable Women and Telemundo’s successful, first-ever exclusive Spanish-language broadcast of the FIFA World Cup, in Russia in 2018.)

Susan Whiting, as vice chair of Nielsen until retiring from there in 2013, worked closely with Gil for nine years.

“When you meet Mónica, you are immediately impressed by her energy and her knowledge and her intelligence in approaching a situation,” Whiting said. “The more you get to know her, you learn about how she solves problems, how she connects people, how she works for improving an organization and its positioning. Also I think a big part of the work she’s done and her mission is to make sure that we see diversity and its opportunity in everything we do.

“She’s incredibly funny, she’s a great friend, she’s a very good mentor and she was really really good at her job at Nielsen,” Whiting said.

Gil was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She is the youngest of 12 children in the family, and speaks with pride about her 29 nieces and nephews. “We grew up with a father who was a gardener, a mom who was a homemaker, who wanted us to work hard or work diligently and sign our name proudly. So that's always been my motto in life.”

Political Roots

Before joining Nielsen, Gil was in politics. She was deputy press secretary for California House speaker Antonio Villaraigosa and helped him win election as mayor of Los Angeles in 2005. Earlier, she had worked in public affairs for Telemundo stations in L.A. Those jobs taught her a lot about media, she said. “Politics gave me the opportunity to see how to shape a narrative of a story and how to pick the right stories to tell.”

Having been in positions to observe and nurture growing respect for Hispanics as consumers and as individuals, she says they are in a good place now.

“I like to say there’s no better time to be Hispanic than now,” she said. “And the reason I believe that is, with 60 million Latinos in this country, Latinos are now in a position where it's not only about the population size, but any company that wants to grow I think really has to put Latinos at the forefront of the dialogue. … I think it’s an amazing moment to be Latino in this country now.”

Career Highlights: Transformed Telemundo’s marketing organization and helped lead the rise to becoming the No. 1 U.S. Spanish-language programmer (weekday prime) for three consecutive seasons.

Helped accelerate growth opportunities for Nielsen clients as senior VP and general manager of multicultural growth and strategy, authoring studies including Latina Power Shift.

Was a senior member of Antonio Villaraigosa’s successful election campaign for mayor of Los Angeles in 2005.

Quotable: “I love being a CMO. I love the power of our audience, the beauty, the diversity of our audience. That is truly reflective of the American dream.”

Kent Gibbons
Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.