After moving to the United States from Argentina at age 8, Daniel Gonzalez ’88 (EMBA) became enthralled with reading as a means to learn the English language. “I would spend my summers taking out as many books as I could from the Queens library,” he recalls.
Pursuing his love of the written word as a profession, Gonzalez landed a job as circulation business manager at Time Inc.’s Fortune magazine after graduating from Columbia College in 1974. “I dove headfirst into my career,” he says. “I handed my last paper in on a Friday and started work the following Monday.” At Time Inc., he held managerial positions at Fortune, Time Life Booksand Time Latin America.
After 10 years, however, he found himself at a crossroads. “I’d traveled cross-country and around the world, and began looking to expand my business knowledge,” he says. Gonzalez took a year off before joining Simon & Schuster’s Prentice Hall division as business manager of direct marketing. It was then that he decided to apply to Columbia Business School, and the company sponsored him for the Executive MBA program.
As his career progressed, Gonzalez recognized that there was potential in the publishing market for Spanish-language products. In 1989, he launched Daniel Gonzalez & Associates, a publishing consulting firm that specializes in editorial services and direct marketing of Spanish books and magazines to Spanish-speaking people living in the United States. “Many publishers believe that since most Spanish-language magazines are sold out of kiosks, subscriptions won’t sell well,” Gonzalez says. He proved this assumption wrong with the successful promotion and launch of Latina magazine in 1996.
One of the constant challenges Gonzalez faces in his business is trying to connect with all Spanish readers, because certain words can have different meanings in different countries. “I offer a very specialized service,” he says. “You can find anyone who speaks Spanish to do quick, word-by-word translations, but what I do—whether it’s translating, editing or advertising—is more of an art than a science.”
Gonzalez’s small but successful business has been maintained by word of mouth. He credits a large part of his entrepreneurial success to the School. “The professors helped me open my mind to all the possibilities in business,” he says. “Going to Columbia gave me the confidence and skills to become a consultant—and to finally strike out on my own.”