FIU Business Now Magazine
Bringing a Brand to Life by Transforming the Way People Buy and Eat Protein

Bringing a Brand to Life by Transforming the Way People Buy and Eat Protein

By Lauren Comander

After a successful career that saw her rise to senior vice president and CFO at Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica, Olga Gonzalez (MBA ’10) decided she was ready to largely leave corporate life behind. She envisioned a semi-retirement where she could serve on boards and committees, while spending quality time with her family.

Wild Fork Foods took that idea off the table, convincing her to instead come aboard and transform their commodity – frozen meat and seafood – into a brand. “I couldn’t resist,” said Gonzalez, now Global COO. “Bringing this brand to life by transforming the way people buy and eat protein is something totally new for me, and it’s a challenge.”

One her long career has prepared her well for, she said.

At Banco Santander, Gonzalez learned about trust because customers need to trust their bank. At General Motors, she gained an appreciation for the importance of quality because people expect their cars to be perfect, while at American Express, where the brand, the card, is an intangible asset, she saw the value of customer centricity. Her decade at Walmart offered insight into adapting to a digital world, helpful as Wild Fork shifted its strategy from physical stores to digital commerce due to pandemic-associated realities. The FIU MBA program, meantime, honed her leadership skills, allowing Gonzalez to take the technical expertise she’d developed as an internal auditor and move into the broader roles of CFO at Walmart and Global COO at Wild Fork.

“Most people who enter this type of business do it at the earliest stage in their career; they’re trying to make it or break it,” she said. “I’m able to fold in all my experiences from my career, and that’s a blessing.”

Born in Cuba and largely raised in Puerto Rico, Gonzalez then let her career dictate her hometown. After seven years as an internal auditor in Puerto Rico at Banco Santander, she lived in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Michigan, Chile, Mexico, and Florida on behalf of General Motors, American Express and Walmart. “I have become a citizen of the world,” she said. “I was pursuing different challenges, and that’s where the companies offered me the opportunities. It was not by choice; it was by default.”

Gonzalez advises those just starting out to take similar chances. “Take opportunities where you don’t feel comfortable, because when you are faced with a challenge is when you grow,” she said. “You have to keep moving and raise the bar, take opportunities that nobody wants to take.”

She also tells up-and-comers to focus on demonstrating results, marketing themselves to show what they do and how they do it, and building a network. “Your real network is the people who think about you when they have an opportunity, not how many contacts you have on LinkedIn,” she said.