It’s common for industry creatives to have outside projects beyond their advertising, such as movies, books, or other forms of art.
It’s a lot less common for an agency chief financial officer to have creative side gigs.
Then again, Anna Gomez isn’t your typical CFO. Though she took on that role at No Fixed Address, which owns agencies such as Mischief and Courage, last year, she also published her eighth romance novel, “My Goodbye Girl,” in June, has a committed fan club, and is slated to have one of her books, “Moments Like This,” (co-authored with actor Kristoffer Polaha) adapted into a Hallmark movie.
Born in the Philippines, Gomez kept her writing career quiet during her first advertising job at Leo Burnett, which she joined in 2004. She ended up working at the Publicis Groupe agency for 17 years, eventually rising to the role of CFO.
“It was such a new culture to me because I worked in so many different big corporations that were very structured. And then I get into advertising where I’m like, people are always late for meetings or canceling or moving them,” said Gomez, who had earlier worked in accounting jobs at companies such as DHL and Kellogg. “But they became a family to me, and it was at Leo Burnett where I had the best mentors.”
Gomez, who said she never saw herself as a writer beforehand, self-published her first book, “The Light in the Wound,” in 2013 under a pen name—Christine Brae—that she assumed for five of her eight books. Each letter in the “Brae” last name represents the first name of her husband and three children. She has since written three books under her actual name. The book was inspired by a strained relationship she had with her mother for over 10 years. Her mom died shortly after the two had made plans to reconcile in person at Thanksgiving.