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Meet Mari Gomez—Public Servant at USDA & Leader in Her Community

Posted by Megan Guilfoyle, Public Affairs Specialist for the Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area in Research and Science
May 08, 2024
USDA Agricultural Research Service Chief of Staff Mari Gomez

When I sat down to speak with Mari Gomez, Chief of Staff at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), my first question was, “tell me about your career journey, including any roles you had before USDA.”

She replied, “there is no before USDA for me, my whole career was built right here at the Agricultural Research Service.”

Mari is a dedicated public servant who started her career at ARS as a student employee while studying accounting at Texas A&M University. Ever since, Mari has served in various roles and offices across ARS. She’s worked in accounting, human resources, budgeting, and administration. This diverse background and breadth of experience uniquely prepared her to serve as ARS Chief of Staff. In this role, Mari supports the more than 8,000 employee organization—from scientists and technicians to executives in the Administrator’s Office.

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Chief of Staff Mari Gomez with ARS colleagues at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD

“I often describe my job as a juggler. I keep all the balls in the air and everything moving. Being part of a team that supports scientists so they can do their best work fuels and inspires me. I truly feel like what I am doing every day is supporting the development of agricultural solutions that make a difference in people’s lives,” Mari said.

When I asked Mari what has kept her at ARS all these years, the answer was quite simple.

“It’s the people, the community, and the opportunities,” Mari said.

USDA Agricultural Research Service Chief of Staff Mari Gomez with her family

As I spoke with Mari more, it became clear that community and service are deeply rooted in every aspect of her life. Values that have been ingrained since the very beginning. Mari grew up in a small predominately Hispanic community in Texas. Her mother and grandmother served in leadership positions within their town and church.

“I grew up in an environment with strong female role models that stepped out of their comfort zones, regardless of the circumstances, to lead in positions that helped families, schools and entire communities. This is where I learned the values of service, hard work and determination,” Mari said.

Mari carries this legacy forward every day in her work at ARS and serving the American people. In her personal life, she continues to reflect these values, holding leadership roles within her church, and volunteering with her son’s 4-H chapter and at her kids’ school.

Public Service Recognition Week is the first full week of May. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the outstanding public servants who make our country and world a better place. Mari Gomez is one of nearly 8,500 employees from USDA’s Research, Education and Economics Mission Area who help fed, fuel and clothe the world through agricultural innovation.

Category/Topic: Research and Science