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.