View From the Plaza

Inter “View” from the Plaza: Monique Jacobson, Secretary of the NM Department of Tourism

Monique Jacobson, Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Tourism and Jenny Kimball, Chairman of the Board of La Fonda on the Plaza

Monique Jacobson was appointed by Governor Susanna Martinez to be the Secretary of Tourism for New Mexico in January 2011. Raised in Taos, Jacobson attended Sandia Prep and earned a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Prior to returning to New Mexico, she held several positions at PepsiCo including Director of Quaker Brand Identity and Senior Marketing Manager for Gatorade.

1. What did you miss most about New Mexico before you moved back?

My family, my Mom, Dad and six of my seven brothers and sisters are here. And of course the sky. The contrasting white clouds against a bright blue sky accentuated by the gorgeous mountains only to be topped in beauty by the sunsets.

2. What’s your first, most vivid memory of New Mexico?

I have so many vivid memories of running around the Taos Ski Valley as a child, hanging in the St. Bernard and causing trouble.

3. You worked on campaigns for Gatorade. Is the active, adventurous Gatorade drinker also New Mexico’s visitor?

They absolutely should be. Anyone with an adventurous spirit and thirst for authenticity should make New Mexico their next travel destination.

4. If you could accomplish just one big thing as Tourism Secretary… what would it be?

To have a noticeable impact on the economy in New Mexico. There will be jobs created and businesses will have success because of what we do.

5. What’s the funniest or strangest thing you’ve heard tourists visiting New Mexico say?

I haven’t heard anything funny from a tourist, they all are so happy to be here. The locals say some funny things. I had a lady grab me out of a crowd and say, “Hey tourism lady…you can bring them here but make sure they go home.”

6. If someone were visiting Santa Fe for the first time, what would be some of the not to miss places you would recommend?

There are too many to list! One of my favorite places in New Mexico that at times gets overlooked is Tent Rocks. I think everyone should experience that hike.

7. One thing you WOULDN’T change about New Mexico? One thing you WOULD change?

I wouldn’t change the incredible authenticity, it is so real and raw. I love the characters, the architecture, the landscape, the adventures! I would change the number of direct flights we have from around the country!

8. Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

My father who moved to the United States with nothing but a small suitcase and built a life for his family through hard work, dedication and incredible gut instinct and people skills. And my mother from whom I have gotten my strength of conviction, my can-do attitude and my drive to succeed.

9. When you aren’t taking care of Tourism duties, how do you like to spend your time?

Playing with my husband and two boys, Drew and Reid –  and sleeping!

10. What song gets stuck in your head most often?

“Coming Home” by Diddy

6 Responses to “Inter “View” from the Plaza: Monique Jacobson, Secretary of the NM Department of Tourism”

  1. Billie Blair

    Monique and Jenny are a pair to draw to. If anyone can build tourism in New Mexico, it’s these two gals. Remember, like La Fonda, we need to concentrate on top notch customer service. These visitors are our guests — and, yes, they do leave.

  2. Andy Ritch

    I hope Monique has a great experience in her new appointment. I enjoyed her comments on the blog.
    Incidentally, does New Mexico or Santa Fe have license plates in support of the arts?
    Maybe the city would like to sponsor a “front end” plate. Narrowing down what might be on it will be a challenge.
    Take care,

    • Jenny Kimball

      Andy, as usual, this is interesting timing. Monique and I were at a cultural tourism meeting just today and we learned that there have been front end license plates distributed by the State Tourism Department that read “Tour NM”. I do not know if these are still available or not but will check. I am not aware of Santa Fe having any plates but I will follow up and see if the state does. Thanks for your inquiry.

      • Andy Ritch

        The license tags may be a way to raise money for “something.” Have a contest for design with entry fee, then sell them after they are made with the winning design.
        I will be the first to purchase, La Fonda second, and then Monique. That’s three and we are a success.

  3. Melissa Wise

    I totally understand the funny comment by the woman who grabbed you and said to make sure you sent ’em home! Santa Fe and New Mexico are so wonderful to share, but I can see why they would like to keep it a secret. Shopping used to be my favorite thing, but thank goodness I have grown up and have found the real treasure to be in New Mexico’s natural beauty whether driving, walking or hiking!


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