DV FACES: Christina Gonzalez, Former Talent Architect Director
“I try to instill that process-driven mindset in each team.”
The worlds of chemical engineering and recruiting top-class tech talent might seem miles apart, but Christina Gonzalez bridges the gap. The DV Alum shares a sneak peek as a day in the life as a Talent Architect Director at BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV).
A self-described ‘third-generation engineer’, Christina grew up in Switzerland before moving across the Atlantic to attend UCLA in Los Angeles, where she majored in chemical engineering. Upon graduating, she worked for four years as a process engineer. After applying for a new role via a recruitment agency, Christina received a surprise phone call from the headhunter, who asked if she had ever considered being a recruiter. “I had no idea really what a recruiter did other than chatting with people on the phone, and sometimes not responding to emails. But I said “Sure, why not!’”
Seeking a change from the often-glacial pace of lab work, Christina was excited by the fast-moving and people-focused world of talent. She made the leap by initially joining a large agency in the engineering recruitment sector before 3 years later moving into the consultancy space. Christina’s entrepreneurial mindset led her to eventually forming her own company. “I really enjoyed being a sole trader, it gave me a holistic view of recruiting and I learned how to manage the business aspects of a small company,” said Christina.
After a stint in New York working remotely for Humana, Christina returned to Europe, taking up a new role with Amazon in Luxembourg in 2012. Here, she helped build and scale the company’s European retail operations. As a recruiter, she fulfilled all retail-focused roles and covered everything from finance, to legal, to HR — a diverse range of hires for a company experiencing rapid growth.
Christina credits her early experience with a recruitment agency for her ability to wear many hats and work across specialties. At Amazon, Christina eventually ran a team of over 130 recruiters before moving over to Wayfair, where she scaled up their European and Asian businesses.
More recently, Christina has brought her systematic approach to BCG Digital Ventures, where her current role as EU Talent Architecture Director sees her consulting on strategic people topics as well as leading the hiring of the best digital talent for DV’s ventures. Christina had always heard positive things about DV via word of mouth, particularly regarding its transparency and investment in employees, but she was still curious about what made DV different from other companies. Its open-mindedness to innovation was especially appealing, and Christina saw the freedom she would have in building out the organization and boosting its impact.
Ultimately, it was the people she met there who really convinced her that DV was the right place for her. “From the coordinator who scheduled my meetings, to the front desk, to the leaders who interviewed me, the interactions were honest and pleasant, and professional. It drew me in, I felt like this was somewhere I wanted to be.”
Even in her leisure pursuits, Christina is methodical in her process, bringing a deliberate approach to everything she sets her mind to. Outside of work, Christina is an avid reader — the engineer in her has made for a perennially curious mind. She finds non-fiction rewarding as a way to dig deeper into HR strategy and personal and social transformations, but she also enjoys classic literature. A recent project she’s undertaken is to pick a region and read the top three writers from each country. She recently ticked off Slovenia and Bulgaria, and has even made a start on the towering greats of Russia.
Moving from engineering to recruitment might not be a well-established career path, but for Christina it is a fundamental differentiator that has helped her career grow. “Even if I run an organisation where there are no engineers, I try to instill that process-driven mindset in each team — right now, I have my Talent Architect leads getting their Scrum Master certification, as we have incorporated Agile methodology into recruiting-as-as-service.”
But not every business is aware of the benefits of multidisciplinary thinking: She recalls companies that didn’t hire her specifically because she had an engineering rather than an HR degree. She welcomes DV’s more open approach, and applies it in her cohort’s own hiring practice. When she hires people, she considers people with a wide variety of backgrounds, enriching DV’s knowledge base and, as she puts it, “helps propel us forward”.
That diverse approach is helping Christina to adapt to the challenges that 2020 has brought. In particular, she endeavors to consider the needs of every single team member and what she can do for them. She underlines the need to “think of the individual, rather than trying to apply one solution to a problem”. Christina also firmly believes in leading by example, refusing to set expectations for others that she wouldn’t be able to live up to herself. — it all comes back to her natural ability to work with people, and apply that engineering, process-driven mindset to create long-lasting, curious, and committed teams.