Women in Quantum Series: Esperanza Cuenca Gomez, QSI


When it comes to learning quantum science and quantum computing, Processes and Change Management Director, Esperanza Cuenca Gomez, found herself in a peculiar, and at times even difficult, position. She had been learning quantum computing via online classes during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuenca Gomez began her studies in late 2019. “I started studying quantum computing and communications at QuTech – Delft University of Technology, through their online professional certificate. When I finished that, I attended the Qiskit Global Summer School in the summer of 2020 and that September, I enrolled in the quantum computing programs at MIT xPRO.” Cuenca Gomez believes that this “is a good story to tell future generations” because it illustrates the much-needed resilience of the time. With popular classes from IBM and others on quantum computing, Cuenca Gomez is just one of the thousands around the world who have found new passions in this field, as well as ways to make successful careers from their new knowledge.

Cuenca Gomez’s knowledge of quantum helped her to take a role within the Quantum Strategy Institute (QSI). “Brian Lenahan came up to me and told me about the QSI project,” she explained. “I was thrilled. Previously, when I was studying the quantum programs at MIT xPRO, I was thinking a lot about the intersection of quantum and strategy. At the end of each of those programs, MIT asked what do you want to do with the knowledge that you acquired? I always answered ‘I want to be a quantum strategist.’ Later, after Brian released his article about quantum strategists, he reached out to me and told me about QSI. I was so excited and happy to join.” Cuenca Gomez has had a passion for strategy since very early in her career. “I did a lot reading of the works by great names of strategy. Peter Drucker, Michael Porter, and Gary Hamel were my idols.” Cuenca Gomez studied strategy while getting her degree in industrial engineering. She found the implementations of strategy within engineering fascinating and was excited to learn more, eventually moving to quantum computing later in her career.

Within QSI, Cuenca Gomez finds like-minded individuals who are looking at how businesses can adopt this novel technology. “I’m head of Change Management, and change management applied to the specific case of quantum technologies,” Cuenca Gomez stated. “Change Management, from a tactical perspective, is largely concerned with implementing things, making things happen, and doing things differently. Change management is also about strategy, and asking strategical questions, such as, how can we harness the power of quantum technologies?” Cuenca Gomez thinks her passion for strategy can help QSI design opportunities for businesses to explore ways of adopting quantum technologies.

Cuenca Gomez has her own personal goals for her work within QSI. “I really hope that the discipline of change management and my work in this realm help the business community and the quantum industry to move forward. And this, in turn, will provide benefits for the whole society.” Cuenca Gomez hopes to help make a larger impact. “I see my goals as a way to contribute to society. And I like to think that I’m somehow contributing to that, as we say in Spanish, with my small grain of sand.” From learning quantum computing and communications in the middle of a pandemic to becoming part of QSI, Cuenca Gomez’s path is far from linear. Yet, she hopes her journey inspires others, as she continues working to make the quantum strategy more mainstream and to help more businesses see the benefits of quantum technology.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Science Communicator at JILA

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