Four Lessons from IE Mentor Recognized in Top 100 Women Leaders in Spain
EMBA alum Aline Gomez-Acebo shares takeaways from her career.
Gomez-Acebo, has transformed every job since she began her career. This has allowed her to find her way into different companies and responsibilities, as the first woman on the management committee.
A trendsetter, she represents the award’s values, namely driving positive impact by empowering employees in both the corporate and entrepreneurial world.
Just this month, Gomez-Acebo was appointed CEO of care-navigation platform Eniax, spearheading artificial intelligence for healthcare operations.
Before that, she was Chief Operating Officer at Spain’s largest healthcare group Asisa, where she led massive initiatives at the company in terms of vertical integration and digital transformation. She created several subsidiaries, pushed diversification into new markets and promoted many initiatives focused on sustainability and data management.
But beyond healthcare, Gomez-Acebo’s experience spans a handful of industries. After starting her career at Deloitte, she co-founded multiple startups in the technology, fashion and food sectors.
Even with her many professional responsibilities, she still finds time to mentor young professionals in multiple organizations. Particularly, Gomez-Acebo mentors high achievers. A proud member of Rolemodel Rebels – an all-women community that gathers more than 150 mentors from all types of industries– Gomez-Acebo also coaches through the IE Firsthand Network.
Take a look at four key takeaways from her journey she shared with the IE Business School community.
Connecting will get you the big piece of cake
“Business is about selling. Yet, managers have quantified business and now expect fast and clear results from employees. Today, the focus is on quick delivery and that’s a shame because selling is all about connection,”
According to Gomez-Acebo, people who only focus on delivery are less successful. They generally reach lower performance levels. The ones that connect get the big piece of the cake, but empathy is usually taken for granted, making it a rare quality.
Connecting was one of the biggest learnings from Gomez-Acebo’s experience of the Executive MBA at IE. She fostered curiosity from the omnipotent diversity and learnt the importance of listening and growing from all levels and all types of perspectives. Connecting became Gomez-Acebo’s vision of success.
“Amongst larger problems such as world poverty, inequality, global warming, it is important to center your shot and get one step closer to the larger concept,” said Gomez-Acebo.
She works towards constantly reaching out to generate positive impact. That is, by taking time to sit down, empathize, help and personally give back to coworkers.
“If you work together, you move forward. Connecting isn’t easy. It takes effort, it is something you learn and work on, just like a muscle. In the end, I am just acting towards the community while maintaining cash flow,” said Gomez-Acebo.
Difficult decisions make your life easier
Gomez-Acebo studied psychology at the UAM and said she applies these learnings every day.
“Once you verbalize an issue or a decision, things clear out, become tangible and the conscious and unconscious steps that follow that decision become easier. In that way, taking a decision eventually leads to an easier life.”
She finds it essential to follow a psychic consistency: do as you say. What is verbalized should be the same as what is done. When making a difficult decision, remember your purpose and admit it out loud. “It will allow you to jump into the course of action with honesty. No matter the repercussions -good or bad- that leap of faith will hold no regrets,” said Gomez-Acebo.
Trust the tick
After shifting from consulting, to building three startups joining the corporate healthcare industry, Gomez-Acebo knows how careers twist and turn.
She said that the backbone of her career path is trust: trust in herself.
“Trusting yourself is essentially finding what makes you tick. But, that is easier said than done. What I did and still do every day is to pursue self-awareness. Being reflective, for business as much as personal matters, will tell you what makes you tick.”
Gomez-Acebo said facing opportunities pushed her to pause and identify the difference between what people expected her to do and what she really wanted. She chose to emphasize staying true to herself– and said the decision that consequently followed was always the right one.
Keep learning – Innovate – Break the status-quo
To scale up and achieve higher performance, Gomez-Acebo decided to follow the executive master offered by IE Business School. For Gomez-Acebo this was a necessary transformation towards achieving an operational and financial mindset while refocusing and updating her knowledge.
“IE Business School teaches more than any other university that learning is a continuum.”
Knowledge must always be renewed and updated: “Doctors need to continuously retrain themselves and explore the most recent discoveries. Otherwise, they will fall off practice and even get their license removed. It makes sense and I don’t see why this couldn’t be applicable to any other area of work.” explains Gomez-Acebo. “If you look at human resources management, everything has radically changed in the past years. Innovation is a continuum that you can’t afford to disregard.”
Gomez-Acebo is a strong believer in lifelong learning. In addition to her IE Business School master degree, she holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, a Business Innovation training from Harvard Business School, a one-year training in Corporate Board Governance and the Santander scholarship for the LSE Leadership program in 2021.
She co-founded four Chile-based startups, including the still operational Famil-e. The companies ranged from tech industry to fashion and even food, teaching Gomez-Acebo the key ingredients of agility and resilience. More importantly, she said she realized how critical it was to work in a startup mindset.
“No matter how large the corporation, you have to put your sleeves up and embrace new challenges, much like in a startup.”
By fostering a data-driven and ecofriendly transformation as Director of Innovation, Gomez-Acebo helped Asisa’s vertical integration, with several spinoff companies created through diversification in new markets –five countries, three continents, four languages.
For her, the steps are clear: “Push things forward, connect to people and break the status-quo.”