We first met Mr. Carlos Fernando Villa Gomez at the end of June at the summer networking event put on by the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at Barroco in Lakewood and were very impressed with his accomplishments. He is a professor of marketing and as well as a consultant to various companies both in Colombia, his native land, and other Central American countries for over 40 years.
Even more impressive to us was his genteel personality and his willingness to talk about all facets of both his professional and personal life. So, we decided to approach him about an interview for iForeignBorn, and Mr. Villa Gomez very gladly agreed.
We drove to his home in Mansfield, Ohio and conducted the interview in his living room over coffee prepared by his charming wife of 41 years, Ana Maria.
We soon learned that not only was Mr. Villa Gomez a respected professor, having taught at 30 major universities in Latin America, and a valued consultant to perhaps 200+ businesses, but, between 1975, when he graduated from the school of management at Syracuse University, and 2016, when he came to the U.S. to live permanently, he wrote regular columns on marketing, the economy, and other matters pertaining to business for both “El Colombiano” and “La Republica,” two Colombian newspapers; managed companies which produced agricultural and construction equipment; and helped the world-renowned marketing consultant Mr. Jack Trout establish Trout and Partners,
which now has members throughout the world.
What’s more, as his resume reads, Mr. Villa Gomez “developed and launched integrated, multi-channel print, catalog, web and television activities related to Marketing for over 15 years. 697 television talk shows, 867 radio programs (marketing consultancy), 38 issues of a marketing magazine, +2000 articles for newspapers and company magazines….created web blog for ‘El Colombiano’ newspaper, the first blog about marketing in Colombia… wrote catalogs, course guides and training brochures that enhanced sales reps’ understanding of complex product features and helped them sell more effectively…author of two books, ‘El Mercadeo en la Practica 1 and 2′ published in 2005 and 2009.”
Actually he started writing for “El Colombiano” back in July of 1969 when he wrote an article about the history and circumstances leading to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon which led other articles and columns about educational topics and entertainment before he focused on business-related issues around 1990.
We particularly liked hearing about Mr. Villa Gomez’ service as Consul of Colombia in New York between 1983 and 1987, a time period when perhaps one million Colombians resided in that area. We looked up the official definition of a “consul” on “Wikipedia” and learned that a consul “is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul’s own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the two
This is what Mr. Villa Gomez did in addition to helping to raise local awareness about Columbia and its culture and, less happily, having to investigate matters involving the incarceration of Colombian citizens by local authorities.
No doubt about it, Mr. Villa Gomez loves his native land; even though it is now facing many problems relating to the trafficking of narcotics and political unrest, he believes that Colombia, along with Mexico and Brazil, will eventually be very prosperous.
He also loves the United States and believes that it is the only country in the world where a person can, due to our freedoms and opportunities, realize his/her full potential and succeed spiritually, economically, and intellectually. Along these lines, even though the Trump administration has sparked a lot of controversy, particularly on matters pertaining to immigration, Mr. Villa Gomez believes that “America will always be America” and therefore will always have the reputation of being very welcoming to others just as it has been to him and his family.
Mr. Villa Gomez credits a lot of the positive attitude that he has about the United States to an excellent first experience here when he spent six months between November, 1966 and April, 1967 living in the borough of Ambridge, PA, as a high school exchange student. Ambridge is located in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and was home to the steel industry. While he lived there, he resided at the home of a steelworker of Polish descent and his family who helped him to master the English language and to understand our culture. Even though his stay there was a relatively short one, Mr. Villa Gomez and his host family kind of adopted each other and they remained close throughout the years.
Accordingly, even though Mr. Villa Gomez had been back and forth a lot between the U.S. and Colombia a lot over the years, in 2015 he and Ana Maria decided that it was time to move to Mansfield to be near their daughter, who had married a U.S. citizen and settled here, and their granddaughter. They wanted to become permanent residents and the process took a year but, finally, the status was granted to them in November, 2016 and they moved to Mansfield in December. Of course, Mr. Villa Gomez and Mrs. Villa Gomez want
to ultimately become U.S. citizens. Ideally, Mr. Villa Gomez told us that he would love to be a U.S./Columbian dual citizen because, as we previously wrote, he still has strong emotional ties to the land of his birth.
In the meantime Mr. Villa Gomez, still as healthy and energetic as ever, would love to start working again and we are sure that it is only a matter of time until he finds a post that deserves him. His resume reads that he would like to “work in a position that will enable me to use my strong marketing background, interpersonal skills and consultancy abilities to guide and help companies achieve their marketing goals in the best possible way.” Moreover, he would like to “educate human beings so that we may be better off everyday.”