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