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Staples’ Gonzalez Leads Team That Advises & Supports the Entire Enterprise
“Staples is a world-class provider of products and services that serve the needs of business customers and consumers,” says Cristina Gonzalez, vice president, associate general counsel for the Framingham, MA-based company. “We currently serve businesses of all sizes and consumers in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia.”
The executive, who works out the corporate office of Staples, careers.staples.com, leads a team of legal professionals providing advice to and supporting Staples’ corporate functions, including the finance, intellectual property, global technology, data protection and procurement departments.
“I’m responsible for all board and public company matters, corporate governance and securities compliance,” explains Gonzalez, who attended Florida International University in Miami and later obtained her MBA from George Washington University in Washington, DC and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in DC.
“I’m the first of my immediate family to attend college and the first of my extended family to become an attorney. My husband is an attorney and he encouraged me to attend law school; with his support I attended Georgetown Law during the evenings and worked as a contracting officer for the U.S. Department of the Navy during the day.”
In addition to her core legal responsibilities, Gonzalez was a founding co-chair of HOLA, Staples’ employee affinity group for Hispanics and Latinos, and served as a member of Staples’ global diversity council.
“Through HOLA and our legal department, I’ve participated in a number of community service projects, including helping stuff 20,000 backpacks for [non-profit organization] Cradles to Crayons [in Boston, MA], volunteering at the Worcester County (MA) Food Bank and speaking to local middle school students [about] the importance of staying in school and getting a good education,” she points out.
“I also serve as the [local] chapter advisory board member for the Association for Latino Professionals (ALPFA), and I’m very involved with the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA),” she notes.
She counsels today’s job seekers: “Don’t be afraid to try something different.” For example, if you’re given a special project at work with which you have no experience, then don’t be afraid of it. “Embrace it, ask questions, accomplish it to the best of your ability and learn from it. You never know if that new project will turn into something you absolutely love doing and [if] you might find success in something you never considered.”
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