Magaly Gonzalez is a full-time rocket scientist with a side-hustle as a career and life coach. I sat down with her for a Q&A on overcoming challenges in her career, self-discovery, and her morning wellness routine.
The Making of a Rocket Scientist & Career Coach
Since childhood, Magaly knew she was going to be an engineer. She was good at math and sciences, and that was the path that made sense for her. So after high school, she moved from her home in Puerto Rico to Arizona to study aerospace engineering.
At her first job, Magaly was one of two women on her first engineering team of 14 and still developing fluency in English. Over time, she realized that to be successful, she had to learn to overcome fear, speak up, and showcase her work, especially given barriers presented by her gender and accent.
As she climbed higher on the corporate ladder, she saw fewer and fewer women and minorities, and for the past two years, she’s been the only woman on her team. And as opportunities open up on her team, she is having a difficult time finding qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Due to her gratitude for those who have helped her along the way and seeing the challenges with diversity imbalances at work, Magaly has become an advocate for women in STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math), not only encouraging children grades K-12 to study STEM but also encouraging women to stay in the field and continue to develop themselves professionally.
A Defining Moment
At a time when Magaly was working in a job that logically made sense and paid well, she felt unhappy, and decided to do something about it. She quit her job, moved cities, and took some time for self-discovery. She had been marching on this path her entire life towards engineering, and had never had time to reflect and explore before.
During this time, she went to a non-profit where she learned about leadership, finished her masters in aerospace, and got a coaching certification, when she came to a big realization:
“Being a rocket scientist is only one part of who I am. I am not defined by my job – I am so much more than that”
Here’s the morning routine that helps her start her day feeling strong and focused:
4:30 – 5:30am – Prayer, meditation, and journaling
5:30 – 6:30am – Get ready for exercise and do a workout
6:30 – 8am – Shower, take care of dog, eat breakfast, and get ready for work
“To me, prayer and meditation go hand-in-hand. Prayer is talking, and meditation is listening.”
Waking up early has given her time to connect with herself before going out into the world. Prayer, meditation, and journaling have allowed her to be less reactive to things during the day, and to add variety and fun, she mixes up her exercise routine with yoga, barre, and running.
She wants readers to know that she does her routine most days, but not every day. It’s important to her to be kind to herself, listen to her body, and to not be upset with herself for sleeping in occasionally.
I asked Magaly if she’d ever consider leaving aerospace and becoming a career and life coach full-time. For now, she’s happy doing both, and says that coaching has had a huge impact on the way she leads her team at work. She provides resources to help women overcome barriers and stay in the field, and for now, she’s going to stay in the field too, continuing to grow her career in aerospace while providing coaching services to help women reach their full potential. For more coaching and advice from Magaly, visit her blog here.