Andrea Mulligan

Occupation: Director, Professional Services, Gomez, Inc.

First Car: 1978 AMC Concord

Favorite Restaurant: Alcapulcos in Norwood, MA The Fish Tacos are great!

What is something most people don't know about you?

I was President of a company at the age of 7 years old: Poppy’s Popcorn Parlor. We sold individual bags of popcorn for 5 cents at recess at the North School in Abington, MA. We had a $300 loan from a neighborhood bank (for which I signed) to start the business, our teacher listed her house as collateral, and we raised $3000 for charity.

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

My best friend calls my husband and me the “adventure twins.” Last spring we spent two weeks traveling around India. We attended a friend’s wedding, took a train to the beach, visited the Taj Mahal, and drove out to the mountains. Life in India is very different than life in the US, and it was interesting to see how others live.

What's your best childhood memory?

Winning the State Champion Soccer Tournament in the 5th grade was pretty cool, but my best childhood memory really was driving into Boston with my uncle, three cousins, and my brother and sister the first Saturday of every December. My Uncle let us pick out our Christmas presents and then took us to The North End for pizza. All seven of us road in the cab of my uncle’s pickup truck.

If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

President Lincoln. I see him as a man of character; someone who lived by his principles in a very difficult time.

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

I am grateful to say that my life has not been full of hardship. Saying goodbye to my Grandmother when she passed away was probably the hardest thing I have had to do.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I like being outdoors with my husband: Gardening, kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, and riding around in our ‘79 VW bug with the top down. I can’t wait to con my sister and brother into letting us take their daughters with me.

What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

I am reading a couple of things right now: 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven Covey (my second time reading it - love it!) and Web Protocols and Practices by Balachander Krishnamurthy. My favorite book is probably Cane River by Lalita Tademy. There are few historical books written from the female perspective, let alone an African-American female.

Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

I’d love to visit Tuscany, but I also have a strong interest in visiting Gettysburg.

If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

There are so many worthy charities. The American Heart Association is near and dear to my heart. I have lost a number of family members to heart disease, and many more live with heart disease every day, including my Mom and my 5-year old niece. Still, charities that deal with poverty, homelessness, and education are the charities that help our society the most, in my opinion. I think Habitat for Humanity would be at the top of the list.

If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

I would be working in Sports or Music...I’d love to own a night club cool enough for Madonna to unexpectedly stop by and perform a few songs.

What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

I didn’t know about “professional services” when I started my career. However, I have always worked in a services company helping multiple customers address their needs. Whether it was in the publishing world, graphic design, or IT Software, companies are challenged with problems that only experts can help them address. Being a customer advocate, bringing my knowledge of “how others have done it,” and providing the highest quality services has always been a component of what I do and how I am successful. I try to instill these qualities in the members of my team as well.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

Stay focused on making your customer successful. As a consultant, “your” customer is the guy across the table from you. If you can help him look better in front of his boss, you will have an advocate you can count on. Oh, and have a thick skin.... customers can be challenging.