You could call Monica Gomez a maestro. As the founder and director of The Concierge Club, a Toronto-based, full-service event production agency that has worked with high-profile clients from Cadillac Fairview to Guerlain cosmetics, Gomez knows what it takes to build an incredible experience. Here, she shares her advice on entrepreneurship, networking, and what it really means to be a #girlboss.
WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA GONZALES
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAURICIO CALERO
What’s the most challenging part of starting your own business?
When I was first starting out, I remember reading a quote that stuck with me forever: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
I was working from 6:00 am until midnight every single day because I was running the business on my own. I was the one doing all of the bookings, sales, accounting, and bookkeeping. Everything you can think of, I was doing it. And at the same time, any money that’s coming in, you’re investing right back into the company.
What advice would you give women about starting a business?
Be really optimistic and patient, because you’re not going to build an empire overnight. You just have to believe in it—in your business and in the process. It’s about never giving up just because doors are closing. I’ve had so many doors close on me, but another one always opens up. Optimism all the way.
How do you roll with all the uncertainty of the entrepreneurial lifestyle?
A lot of people end up giving up. They’ll go into their second or third year, and it’s not where they want to be, so they get nervous and quit. And then they go and get a nine-to-five job because it’s safe. You have to keep going. Even during your worst moments, when uncertainty gets to you, you have to keep moving forward.
How important is networking when you’re starting a business?
Business is about relationships, and developing those relationships. At the end of the day, people want to work with people that they like. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. We go out with our clients — we go out for dinner, drinks, and we’re constantly entertaining them. But the relationship is authentic. Once you’ve built that relationship with your clients, they won’t want to go anywhere else so long as you’re giving them the best possible service.
What are your tips on mentorship?
Early on in my career, I’d watch CEOs or those in management positions interacting with people “below” them in the corporate hierarchy, and I was appalled by the lack of disrespect upper management had for their employees. I don’t let staff call me “boss” because I don’t consider myself that. I’m a leader, so I need to lead by example. If I’m at the “top,” and I’m treating my employees negatively, those values trickle down.
Mentorship and leadership have one thing in common — respect. I’ve shown my employees that respect is one of the most important things, and a fundamental piece of our corporate culture.
How do you give back to the community?
We’ve recently partnered with SickKids. By December 2017, The Concierge Club has committed to raising $50,000 to assist with research and the ongoing development of SickKids campus. Given that I have two children, making sure that every child has access to top-notch healthcare is super important to me. It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart.