Alumni Profile: Maribel Mendoza

Infinite Careers is a new collaboration between Career Services (CAPD) and the MIT Alumni Association to explore career paths and the non-linearity of career decision making. Read profiles of alumni with unique career paths, hear their stories and network at a series of talks.

Register to hear Maribel speak on campus on Tuesday, April 2nd at 6pm in 2-147.

Maribel Mendoza

headshot of Maribel Mendoza

Education

Course 10

Biography

Maribel is a proud Latina, wife, and mom to two energetic and fun-loving girls and a sweet pup named Cheerio. She loves to read (although she only has time for audiobooks lately) and enjoys trying out new recipes in her cooking adventures. She’s a nerd at heart and loves most things tech related and some great math humor. Maribel is also a founder and strategy leader with experience as an engineer, product manager, STEM advocate, entrepreneur, and consultant. She has experience working across the full product life-cycle from idea to launch as well as non-profit initiatives.

Maribel enjoys solving complex business problems, and creating meaningful communities. She brings her skills gained across a variety of industries. She has worked as an engineer supporting a semiconductor manufacturing facility and has also been a product manager and team leader at Texas Instruments Education Technology Division, St. Jude Medical, Gaggle, and Monster. In each of these roles, Maribel sought to understand the end-customer's experience to be a driver for change and focus.

Maribel is the founder of the community and job-platform site, Momolution. In this role she seeks to empower women to find opportunities that allow them to be flexible and fulfilled at work and build thriving businesses. Maribel is also Operating Partner at Msaada Partners Consulting, a social impact consulting firm located in Boston and focused on change through empowering entrepreneurs. As the Director of K-12 Outreach for the Latinas in STEM Foundation, Maribel focused on reaching underserved communities while engaging students and parents through innovative nationwide conferences and events. She has a keen awareness of the communities served and the fact that one solution often does not fit all. Maribel continues her work in STEM as the co-founder of Impact Education.

Maribel earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Maribel Mendoza

Interview

What motivates you to do the work that you do?

I love working on interesting problems, and even more so when a solution to that problem can help people in a tangible way. That is at the heart of what I do now as a founder of this community and business group for moms, and also as a consultant. I also experienced that in my product management and engineering roles. Looking back, the work that has interested me the most has that in common.

 

Making decisions, especially important-feeling career decisions, is really challenging. What strategies have you used to make career decisions?
I always take an analytical approach, coupled with my gut feeling. I look at each option and evaluate the pros and cons of each, but then I take a really close look at the specific pros and cons and decide how much each of those matter to me. Usually, after having done that, I get a pretty good gut feel for what the right choice is. I also really trust the people around me to help me think through that list and what really matters to me. My husband is great about asking the right questions to keep me honest with myself.

What professional development experiences or opportunities shaped your early career?
My internships really shaped and expanded my view of what I wanted to do in my career. I did not study chemical engineering initially to go into semiconductors. In fact, I had no desire or interest, but found that the work was really great and let me explore areas I had not thought of. I also appreciated that my internships taught me more about work I thought I might love and then found out that I wasn't as interested as I initially thought.
 

What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
The best piece of career advice was from my mom and it was to focus on what I wanted to do in the next year, not the next 5 years, or beyond. Our careers will take us many different ways and I wasted so much time thinking about the 5 and 10 year plans, when most things changed much faster than that.
 

What career advice to you have for current MIT students?
I would echo what my mom taught me and say to not stress about what you might be working on in 10 years as much. Of course it's great to have long term goals, but work backward from that and focus more on the near term and be willing to be flexible on the long term goals.
 

What do you wish you'd done differently or more of while you were at MIT?
I wish I had taken advantage of seeing and listening to the many amazing speakers that came to campus. I was always so busy that I didn't prioritize those incredible, uniquely MIT experiences. I also wished I had studied abroad.
 

What influenced your choice of graduate program/programs? How has it/have they shaped your career choices and professional ability?
I chose to pursue an MBA because I saw the need for business leaders that could also provide a technical background. I especially saw this as important at Texas Instruments, where I worked at the time I was a grad student. I have found that this blend of engineering and business has served me well and has really allowed me to bring strengths from each to my work.
 

What does "work-life balance" mean to you, and what do you do to maintain a work-life balance?
Work -life balance to me means a work-life integration. For me that means that I work and I'm home most of the time. I am my whole self everywhere I am, which means that my days are sprinkled with work and life, intermingled and blended to make it work. My kids know that when mom has headphones on and she's on a call, to not come in unless it's an emergency, but I also will make it to their school events and that time is blocked out on my calendar. Of course this also means I am up late working when they are asleep, but it's all part of the blend.
 

What do you like to do outside of work for fun/relaxation/inspiration?
I love to be outside (although in New England, it's really only in the summer) and relax in a nice hammock, or by a lake. I like to run and plan to do more of that in the spring.

 

Do you participate in any volunteer/community service activities? If so, how do you balance your professional and personal responsibilities?
I volunteer at several places and it's a challenge to balance it all. I have to constantly keep asking myself what is most important to me and how am I prioritizing that. If I want to take on a new volunteer project, I also try to be mindful of the limited hours in the day and will decide if it means I have to give up another project, or get even less sleep..