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Esmeralda Mingo

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This is an English translation of the original article in Spanish. Original article in Mujeremprendedora – Creo firmemente en el talento femenino, pero sobre todo creo en los grupos de trabajo multidisciplinares, April 30th 2021, article by María Cano Rico.

A person with an engaged leadership style, passionate "because she loves what she does" and who tries to involve people so that they feel part of the project. That is Esmeralda Mingo, CEO Comdata Spain and Latam, a leading global service provider in Customer Management with more than 50,000 employees worldwide, of which 20,000 are in Spain and Latam.

Esmeralda joined the company in May 2020, a "complicated and difficult" period, as she describes it, to start in a new company. "In my case, as I am a people person, it has been a challenge for me not to be able to see colleagues face to face. But to try to minimise the issue, I established a very intensive plan adapted to the healthcare scenario at any given moment," she says, explaining that the first thing she did was to hold video meetings with all the team, "so that we could get to know each other as closely as possible, explaining the strategic plan and transmitting confidence and belief in the company. In June, as the pandemic allowed, I held small meetings in the Madrid office with our teams there. And I took advantage of the months of July and August to visit the different sites we have throughout Spain to get to know these teams personally".

For Latam, "everything had to be online, so first I organised one-to-one meetings with each and every one of the managers, and then I held wider meetings with the teams".

“The end result of this approach was successful," she says, and it is allowing her to "lead, motivate, organise and encourage teamwork".

On the timing of her move to Comdata, Esmeralda affirms: "I couldn't be happier to have taken the decision that I took at a time that was perhaps not very favourable for change, but challenges stimulate me. After so many years working in a company, with so many people I value, it was not easy to take the step, but the connection I had from the first moment with the Executive Committee (ExCo) of Comdata and the continuous support I receive, make me passionate about my work here".

35 years in the business

Esmeralda studied Law and has a Master's Degree in Legal Practice from the Centro de Estudios Financieros-CEF, an MBA from the Universidad a Distancia de Madrid-UDIMA, and has also completed the Senior Management Programme for Leading Companies and Institutions-ADEL at San Telmo Business School, where she is currently a tutor and academic assistant for the program.

While studying for her degree, she started working at Sitel, a contact centre company where she stayed for 33 years, until she made the leap to Comdata. During this time, she also set up a business with a colleague, which she kept for five years, and combined it with her work in the company, where she started as an operator and was promoted to supervisor and then service manager after just one year. She rose through many positions (site manager, account manager, operations director for Andalusia) until, in 2010, she was appointed general manager for Spain. The following year, she was also given responsibility for Portugal and Italy.

In addition, the CEO Comdata Spain and LATAM is on the board of the Spanish Association of Customer Relationship Experts-AEERC and the board of the CEX Association, associations that - in Esmeralda's words - promote "the professionalization of an industry as important as ours, that of customer relations, which in the pandemic has become essential for enabling citizens to stay connected to companies, despite the limits on mobility".

To this end, together with colleagues from both boards of directors, Esmeralda works on initiatives that help to improve the customer experience in any industry, establishing collaboration agreements with educational institutions, promoting and rewarding best practices, both of companies and employees, and more. "I feel obliged, in the best sense of the word, to give back to the sector everything it has given me in these almost 35 years in the industry, by doing my bit and playing an active part in these associations," she acknowledges.

Feminine talent

On a personal level, Esmeralda completed a Master's degree in Women's Integration. "I firmly believe in female talent, but above all I believe in multidisciplinary work groups, regardless of gender, age or origin... I guarantee that there is nothing more enriching for the teams and that the results back it up!" emphasises Esmeralda, who speaks highly of the female presence in Comdata: "All the middle managers are women, except for one man, and the Management Committee that I chair is practically equal, as there are three women and four men, but it is led by a woman".

In addition, Esmeralda speaks about the Women@Comdata initiative, which aims to help realize opportunities for women across the organization, promote gender equality at all levels, and identify and remove any barriers that prevent Comdata employees from thriving at work. To this end, the first step has been to conduct a quantitative survey of gender diversity and inclusion across the group, collecting and aggregating data by geographic area, job titles and organizational levels. And now a qualitative survey is underway, involving a representative sample of approximately 10% of Comdata employees. "The intention is to build a 360-degree view of the culture across the group to focus on the next steps," she highlights.

Three fundamental pillars

Esmeralda was born in Madrid 54 years ago, is married and has a 23-year-old daughter. "She has just got an A+ in her final year project and is now an Industrial Engineer, we couldn't be prouder", she adds while smiling.

She also comments that she loves being with her friends and family. "I love those moments when you just relax and be yourself. I enjoy looking at the sea, because I identify with it: I have a lot of internal activity, but I try to transmit calm and not let all that mobility come out".

And to disconnect, she reveals that she has "a little doll's house, which I'm building myself, painting and making the furniture... and I've already got five floors! I'm also very good at sewing and I've sewn a lot of the clothes I've seen and I love to combine them with other clothes I buy in shops".
With regard to her next projects and objectives, Esmeralda is now focused on three fundamental pillars: the satisfaction of her clients, improving the understanding of their needs by providing them with technological and human support; the satisfaction of her employees, listening to them and putting new tools within their reach; and winning new clients, in order to continue to grow. "There is no doubt that we are facing a new way of doing and working. Our commitment to hybrid work is clear, as nine out of 10 people are satisfied with remote working, 90% of our employees like what they do and, moreover, 87% recommend us as a good place to work. We also have the support of our customers and the technology to back it up," she concludes.

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