SIOUX CITY | For two years, Maria Cristina "MC" Gonzalez Noguera helped former First Lady Michelle Obama craft messaging on the value of education beyond high school and ways to live healthier.

As communications director for former President Barack Obama's wife, Gonzalez Noguera said one of her primary duties was "ensuring that her message was a message that resonated.

She said that goal of communicating well was easy to achieve.

"(Michelle Obama) was just such an eloquent and authentic human being," Gonzalez Noguera said in an interview with the Journal this week. She said that made Americans more likely to hear out the first lady’s initiatives, which included "Let’s Move," "Joining Forces," "Reach Higher" and "Let Girls Learn."

"She is so powerful in all the best and right ways," Gonzalez Noguera said.

Gonzalez Noguera will be a guest speaker Thursday and Friday at Morningside College in Sioux City. She was drawn by the opportunity to speak at the college where her aunt, Lillian Lopez, works in administration as vice president for advising, after a career as a professor.

Gonzalez Noguera will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday in the UPS Auditorium in Lincoln Center, 3627 Peters Ave. The public is invited and there will be a meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby. On Friday, Gonzalez Noguera will speak to students in four courses, among other activities on campus.

The lecture will focus on Gonzalez Noguera’s experiences with The Estée Lauder Companies and Michelle Obama. Gonzalez Noguera served as special assistant to the president and communications director to the first lady from June 2013 to May 2015.

In 2016, Gonzalez Noguera returned to Estée Lauder as senior vice president, global public affairs. In this role, she directs engagement with governments in which the beauty products company operates or markets products.

She said there is overlap in her Estee Lauder and White House work, since both had a family feel where workers could advance the key principles, such as "transparency and honest negotiations and integrity" that made them successful entities.

"They are families in two different settings, and they are both unique and excellent in their settings," Gonzalez Noguera said.

Gonzalez Noguera said she could not have foreseen her moves in the corporate and political world when graduating from Tufts University in Massachusetts. That's why her lecture will remind students that doubt is common as people leave college, so they must always  proceed with "determination" and believe in their capabilities.

"I am the example that you can reinvent yourself in your career...You have to have an excellent work ethic, that is what propels you forward," Gonzalez Noguera said.

College students, early in their adult lives, should consider spending time working in the public sector or at a minimum work to positively advance the nation, she.

In the Journal interview, Gonzalez Noguera, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and lives in New York City with her husband and son, declined to answer questions about President Donald Trump or First Lady Melania Trump.


County and education reporter

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