“Team is paramount. Pick the right players. The top characteristics to look for are smart and hearts; the ability to learn fast, a willingness to work hard, integrity, grit, empathy, and a team-first attitude.” —Bill Campbell
Marilu was born and raised in Miami, where her family migrated from Cuba in the ’60s. Her passion and drive are rooted in the fact that she’s a Cuban-American. She graduated from the University of Florida (“GO GATORS!!!”) majoring in accounting. She mentioned one of the benefits of a big university, outside of football games, was access to out-of-the-ordinary classes aligned to passions or hobbies, like Coaching Baseball, which she found more challenging than her Tax Law class.
Although highly competent in accounting, Marilu always had a strong interest in marketing and was itching to exercise her creative side. But the pressures of being an immigrant and the second family member to graduate from a university in the states pressured her to travel a different path. Accountant, Lawyer, or Doctor: those were her options, according to her family. So, following suit, she stayed the course kicking off her career as a financial auditor at McGladrey and Pullen in New York City.
As an auditor she loved meeting her clients and the people she worked with but didn’t quite feel a connection to the actual work. She spent more time looking at the client’s pitch decks and branding materials than documenting the ins and outs of their revenue processes. As luck would have it her future husband and high school sweetheart, Jorge, received a job offer in San Francisco. Thinking this could be her fresh start she moved across the country to work at Gap Inc. on product teams, an opportunity she felt would fulfill the right balance between her finance background and what she was missing, marketing. Hence, she jumped on the opportunity and was there for eight years leading multiple one-of-a-kind projects and product launches, like Piperlime, 1969 Denim, and Gap Fit.
To solidify her passion for building brands she began working with an esteemed boutique events and marketing firm that exclusively worked with venture capital firms and was introduced to the Founders Circle team where she focused on building our leadership community program, The Circle to where it is today. Feeling a deep connection with the people and our firm’s product and practices, she made her complete transition from our marketing and operations consultant to Head of Brand and Growth and is now Partner + Chief Growth Officer of The Circle. She has proven time and time again to be one killer Marketeer and Product Strategist. We are so happy she’s found her second family here with us at Founders Circle and a place where she could excel at her OG passion of brand building, and we look forward to making magic together.
When Marilu is not doubling as a marketing maven/walking excel sheet, she is a loving wife to her husband Jorge and her two mini me’s, Jorge Jr. and Calia – who are exact carbon copies of both her and her husband. Marilu enjoys creating delicious meals for her family, getting to the beach as much as humanly possible, and perfecting DIY jobs around the house. To which her husband affectionately refers to her as Martica Stewart – the Spanish version of Martha Stewart.
by Mark Dempster