MAS Global Consulting won WEConnect International’s 2022 Rise to the Challenge Information Technology Award sponsored by Cisco.
The product of a low-income household in Medellin, Colombia, Monica Hernandez’s life changed when she earned a full scholarship to become a software engineer at one of the best private schools in the country. As the first in her family to graduate from college, as well as a woman pursuing a career in technology, Monica is used to carving her own path. She continued her trajectory by moving to Dallas for an internship, then starting her career in IT in the U.S.
As the CEO of MAS Global Consulting, an agile software development and digital services company based in Tampa, Monica is one of the top 100 Hispanics in Tech with a business that has scaled close to $20 million in revenue, putting her in the top 3% of women-owned and Latino-owned businesses in the US with global operations, according to research conducted by Stanford University and American Express. MAS Global provides end-to-end software engineering services for clients looking to modernize their legacy applications, strengthen their digital capabilities and use Data Analytics for faster smarter decision making or to monetize their data. Monica’s team provides flexible onshore and nearshore options for real time collaboration within aligned time zones by sourcing talent from Colombia, Argentina and Mexico in addition to the U.S. The company provides access to thousands of contract developers across Latin America and hundreds of full-time employees.
Monica refers to her experience as a software engineer at Oracle Consulting where she managed large, global projects as the genesis for her idea to found MAS Global. She noticed that projects often failed because of a combination of time zone and communication issues, so she set out to address these setbacks by focusing on top talent in the U.S. and Latin America using Agile practices.
“I started my own company so that I could control who we hired and where we sourced the tech talent in order to deliver the best quality services to our clients,” explains Monica on founding MAS Global in 2013. “I also wanted to help Colombia, my country, by showcasing the incredible, diverse, amazing talent in Latin America and providing good, high-quality tech jobs to women and underrepresented talent in Colombia.”
Her approach is yielding significant results: MAS Global was named to the 2022 Inc5000 list— for the fifth year in a row—as one of the fastest growing private companies and counts four of the top 50 Fortune 50 companies as clients, among numerous others Fortune 500s across all industries.
Monica recognizes that she has had a lot of help along the way: her mother who made sure she went to college and was her first entrepreneur role model; her husband who quit his job so she could start her company and has been instrumental to international operations; her kids who inspire her every day and provide great support; countless mentors, sponsors and advisors along the way; and WEConnect International whose international scope helped her expand operations into other countries.
Monica joined the WEConnect International network as a certified women-owned business in 2019 because she wanted to be part of a global network of other women-owned businesses. Since then, she has participated in professional development trainings for digital marketing and defining processes to scale. The most helpful part of the partnership, Monica notes, is the invaluable access to large corporations.
“As a minority owned business in the U.S., we meet a lot of large companies,” Monica explains. “But when those same companies see that we’re part of the WEConnect International community, they realize that we may be able to work with them beyond the U.S.” Relationships with both Johnson & Johnson and Deloitte are a direct result of being part of the WEConnect International network.
With the impressive work that Monica and her team deliver, it would be understandable if she were too busy to do anything else. But she makes sure to always give back—in fact it’s a core mission of MAS Global and a strategy for attracting and retaining top talent. “When I go back to Medellin and see women who are moving forward, I see myself in them and get very emotional,” Monica reflects. “I recognize how far I have come and know that I have the responsibility to drive other women forward.”
To do so, Monica created the MAS Future Foundation to help provide women/girls and minorities with the same opportunity she had. The foundation prioritizes sustainability and community impact, offering scholarships and holding bootcamps to train and re-skill talent. In addition, Monica also hires women: 30% of her full-time employees are women. She would like to raise this figure to 50%, but recognizes the ongoing challenge to find women in tech. As such, Monica partners with organizations like Women Who Code, Girls Who Code and Latinas in Tech to seek out potential employees in places where other companies are not looking in the hopes of driving systematic change.
Monica exudes powerful positive energy yet is quick to point out that her path has been very difficult at times. But confidence is her superpower. “I am a Latina with an accent—English is my second language—sharing my ambitious goals by pitching the largest companies in the world with a solution that taps Latinas in STEM across Latin America,” she says thoughtfully. “Many times, I have been told to not think so big, to go pitch smaller companies, but I don’t listen to them. Our growing list of globally recognized clients and the incredible team we have across five countries give me the confidence to keep going for MAS Global, and I take it one step at a time.”