12 Moments that Defined Hispanicize 2017

12 Moments that Defined Hispanicize 2017

By Manny Ruiz

I’m fond of saying that nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  Days after it’s conclusion, that’s exactly how I feel about Hispanicize 2017, the most challenging but rewarding event in our history.

Happy Moment: My partners and brothers, from L to R, Ed Martin of Joule Entertainment and Ozzie Areu of Tyler Perry Studios. (Photo courtesy Blanca Stella Mejia)

This children’s dance troupe came out to celebrate the UNICEF’s alliance with Hispanicize. UNICEF is now the official charity of Hispanicize Media Group and the annual Hispanicize event.

Toyota’s #SomosImparables exhibit with customized licenses was a hit. (We opted for the Soñador license plate).

Here are 12 moments that best defined this year’s event for me with unique memories, highlights, and achievements that lifted our industry – and our community – higher than ever before:

Juanes’ #MisPlanesSonAmarte Opening Reception

If you heard the rumor, it’s true: I proudly wore a full spacesuit for Juanes to commemorate his visual album premiere of ‘Mis Planes Son Amarte’ at Hispanicize 2017.  

Cross “dress in a spacesuit for Juanes at his concert” off my Bucket List!

Juanes’ #MisPlanesSonAmarte performance at the Perez Art Museum was the opening reception of Hispanicize 2017 and was part of a major coup for us that was made possible through the Herculean efforts of SBS/LaMusica,  Hispanicize partner Katherine Johnson, Juanes’ team, Universal Music, Bacardi, Walmart, the City of Miami, real estate developer Jorge Pérez and The Related Group.  

Juanes’ international album debut was accompanied by a massive, multi-faceted social media campaign that Katherine and our DiMe Media digital influencer network designed and activated before, during and after Hispanicize with the hashtag #MisPlanesSonAmarte.  Together with SBS/LaMusica and our digital creators, we generated millions of impressions for ‘Mis Planes Son Amarte’, giving birth to what we anticipate will now become a major new Latin Music Industry artist album launch tradition.

Two side notes about the Juanes concert: 1. Even though he’s known as the cerebral type, Juanes is also a big time joker, as many of our VIP digital creators experienced when they met him, and 2. The funniest thing I heard anybody say at Hispanicize this year was when I walked by them incognito-style in my spacesuit and one person commented, “I think that’s Juanes but he’s gained a few pounds”.  

Now that Juanes is forever etched into the Mount Rushmore of what Hispanicize 2017 became, we know we’ve set the bar even higher for ourselves and we’re ready for the next music icon of 2018!  

The Hispanicize CMO Summit & #TotalMarketEvolved

The most impactful move of this year was creating the first annual Hispanicize CMO Summit in partnership with PR Week, presenting CMO Summit partner Toyota and our rock star CMO Summit chair and emcee Claudia Gonzalez Romo of UNICEF.  PR Week Editorial Director Steve Barrett was instrumental in founding this summit with us and for that we are extremely grateful.

Even though Hispanicize has hosted the Hispanic Marketing industry’s leading Spring showcase for several years, we created the one-day CMO Summit to multiply the number of brands who speak at the event and to reinforce the value of segmentation within the broader discussion of Total Market.Total Market plus Segmentation, what Hispanicize calls Total Market Evolved #TotalMarketEvolved, was a consistent theme of the inaugural CMO Summit that included: Hector Muñoz, CMO, Church’s Chicken; Niharika Shah, VP Head of Brand Marketing & Advertising, Prudential; Laura Hernandez-Romine, Director of Global Media, Branded Entertainment & Diversity Marketing, General Motors; Richard Montanez, Director of multicultural Sales and Marketing – North America, PepsiCo; Alfredo Rodriguez, Vice President of Marketing, DishLATINO; Nydia Sahagun, Senior Vice President, Segment Marketing, Wells Fargo; Yvette Peña, Vice President of Multicultural Leadership Hispanic/Latino Audience Strategy at AARP; and, Jonathan Guerin, Senior Public Relations Manager & Spokesman, United Airlines, among others.

Nydia Sahagun, Senior Vice President, Segment Marketing, Wells Fargo

Alfredo Rodriguez, Vice President of Marketing, DishLATINO unpacks the story of the new Sigue Haciendola campaign.

Our summit keynotes were equally invaluable.  If NASA virtual reality pioneer Evelyn Miralles, Principal Engineer and lead VR innovator for NASA’s Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRLab) provided the memorable moment of levity with her compelling talk about the evolution of VR, Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, won the day with a keynote that fiercely defended the value of multicultural marketing segmentation and diversity.

Evelyn Miralles of NASA did a terrific job describing the history and the future of VR. Gotta love her sneakers!

Echoing what I’ve been saying about our need to unify Latinos, Edelman went as far as to say that in this time of uncertainty, our leaders must stand up as one or risk squandering all the potential our community should realize.  “Latinos have a PR problem but that can be solved if they learn to truly unite.  Latinos need a leader.”

Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman pledged to champion multicultural segmentation in the midst of Total Market confusion that is also attacking the values of diverse communities.   

The Richard Edelman Moment of Hispanicize 2017 was striking to me not just because of what he said but because of WHO Edelman is: the CEO of the world’s largest PR firm and one of the globe’s most influential marketing industry voices.  To have Edelman as a proud and loud champion of Latinos and multicultural marketing by itself made the entire CMO Summit worthwhile for me and is something many of us in the industry were talking about long after it concluded.  

Edelman CEO Richard Edelman and UNICEF’s Claudia Gonzalez Romo, who chaired the CMO Summit.

Bravo, Richard and major kudos to The Kimpton Epic Hotel, who did an awesome job hosting us and to PR Week Editorial Director Steve Barrett, who played an invaluable role in laying the foundation for the CMO Summit.  Judging by the unanimous feedback we’ve received about the CMO Summit, you can expect us to greatly expanded it for 2018!  

Toyota was the presenting sponsor of the first annual Hispanicize CMO Summit.

The 2017 Positive Impact Awards

Presented by our title sponsor Prudential, the fourth annual Positive Impact Awards were simply incredible.  You had to be there to know why this was easily the most special program in the ENTIRE HISTORY of Hispanicize – so far.  

I think a large part of why this night was so magical was because it featured the rare, perfect blend of incredible musical performers, speakers, award winners – even a Steve Harvey moment!

Pamela Silva Conde of Primer Impacto and Ana Wolfington of CarSaver served as co-chairs of the Positive Impact Awards.

Immigrants make America stronger, says Dr. Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Dade County Public Schools who brought the house down with his keynote speech.

CNN en español helped present Dante Alvarado-Leon, Founder, Mentor Room with the Positive Impact Person of the Year Award

The Prudential blue carpet gala kicked off with two powerful solo performances by singer/actress Micayla De Ette, who sang the title song of the first feature film of Hispanicize Pictures ‘Hold On’ ( more about that later) and ‎Siedah Garrett, the Grammy and Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter who created and sang Michael Jackson’s iconic hit “Man In the Mirror.”  

Singer/actress Micayla De Ette sings the title song of the first feature film of Hispanicize Pictures ‘Hold On’

Siedah Garrett, songwriter and co-singer with Michael Jackson of the epic song “Man In the Mirror” belted her famous song at the PIAs, courtesy of CarSaver.

That double shot of music talent was followed by the most rousing moment of the night: a 10-minute keynote speech by Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Dade County Public Schools, who received an award for special achievement and a standing ovation. Carvalho delivered the most impassioned talk you’ll EVER witness about why immigrants make America strong.  (See the YouTube video below).

The PIAs culminated with a sizzling concert performance by singer/actor Jen Carlos Canela, one of the top rising stars in the entertainment and music industries.  Mark my words, Canela is a star who will soon be a major superstar.  Best of all, he’s a cool and very humble kind of guy who has everything brands are going to love.  

Singer/actor Jen Carlos Canela closed out the Positive Impact Awards with the best after party in the history of the PIAs.

I have never been part of a program that brought so many people to laugh, cry, cheer, stand and dance as much as this year’s Positive Impact Awards.  This year’s event was also made special thanks to our presenting media partners CNN and CNN en español, our 2017 PIA co-chairs Pamela Silva Conde and Ana Wolfington and our PR team from Balsera Communications, who led by Sonia Diaz organized everything with impeccable execution.    

The 2nd Annual ¡DiMe! Summit

The 2nd annual ¡DiMe! Summit, the official kickoff event of our massive Latino digital creators track, moved to the Rubell Family Collection in Wynwood.  

Title sponsored by Prudential and themed #MyBOLDmoments, the DiMe Summit featured a fabulous Strut Your Best Financial Self fashion show co-hosted with Latina and curated by Latin fashion designers, a meet and greet lunch with Disney’s first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor, and even the official unveiling of LatinaMoms.com.

The DiMe Summit also featured more than 14 hands-on sessions and workshops that received rave reviews from attendees including, “Inside the Writers Room: Breaking the Story” with Silvia Olivas co-producer and story editor of Disney “Elena of Avalor”, and “Food Photography 101” led by Vianney Rodriguez of Sweet Life, and Alejandra Graf of Piloncillo y Vainilla among others.

The ¡DiMe! Summit 2017 was made possible through the support of Go RVing, Walt Disney World, Savings.com, Ford, Jack Daniel’s, KOA, 787 Coffee, Best Western, Lansinoh, Carnival Corporation, Visit Philly, Ole Henriksen, Evelyn Brooks Designs, GLAMSQUAD, and Rust Wynwood.

Special thanks to Suzanne Pallot and the Rubell Family Collection as well as to the dynamic duo from Latina Robyn Moreno and Ebby Antigua from Latina!  NYC based poet Sarah Serrano who narrated the fashion show with her beautiful voice.  And our fabulous Latino fashion designers, Carlos Marrero, Henry Picado, Esmeralda Rodriguez and Bianca Colletti who brought their creative talents to the inspire

The Debut of Hispanicize Pictures

For more than eight years I long dreamt of launching a film production platform for Hispanicize, and, less than three months before this year’s event, the moment finally arrived when my close friends Ed Martin of Joule Entertainment and Ozzie Areu, president of Tyler Perry Studios, urged me to watch an indie pic called “Hold On.”

HOLD ON_HD Trailer from Joule Entertainment on Vimeo.

Inspired by true events, ‘Hold On’ (#HoldOnFilm) tells the story of Sidney Rhodes (MICAYLA DE ETTE), a talented singer who must fight to keep her personal dreams and family life alive while working at a small Los Angeles church. 

The first ever production of Hispanicize Pictures is a beautiful little film with a big heart and one that also has a strong, character-driven story with integrity – and a nice soundtrack for good measure.  

One of the proudest moments of my career was going on the red carpet with my son Jonathan the night of our special advanced screening in South Beach’s The Colony Theater.  When the film ended, there was hardly a dry eye in the audience – including my son!  I thank my Lord Jesus that after years of waiting, this really did happen and that it’s a film that many of us can feel good about as a community and as filmmakers.  Calixto Chinchilla, our director of filmed entertainment, did a terrific job organizing this event.  

You’ll be hearing much more about ‘Hold On’ as the year continues but in the meantime here’s a national piece Rick Jervis of USA Today wrote about the and Hispanicize Pictures: http://usat.ly/2oa7667.

The 2017 Tecla Awards

Title sponsored by DishLATINO with the hashtag (#SigueHaciendola), the 2017 Tecla Awards relocated this year to the historic Olympia Theater in downtown Miami with a red carpet show that featured the nation’s top Latina and Latino content creators as well as performances by Periko & Jessi Leon and headliner Sebastian Yatra.

Neutrogena’s Glam Suite helped doll up the Tecla nominees and winners.

The night’s most poignant moment belonged to Laurita Tellado of The Laurita Spina Bifida Project who became the first recipient of the Jewel Star Award for social good.  The Jewel Star Award was named after our beloved friend and nationally known blogger Jewel Figueras of Jewel’s Fab Life, who succumbed to Ovarian cancer in January but worked tirelessly to bring awareness to it.

Special Moment: Laurita Tellado Calderon wins The Jewel Star Award

My partners Cristy Clavijo-Kish and Katherine Johnson-Gunn worked real hard to transition the Teclas to the Olympia Theater this year and I’m proud of the efforts they made to showcase our community of award-winning creators in the biggest way possible.  To our Tecla Award sponsors and partners, DishLATINO, Cine Latino, Neutrogena, Telemundo and Toyota, thanks for making this important stage possible for our community of creators.  You empowered them for being part of the Tecla Awards!

Check out this video with most of the 2017 Tecla Award winners:

Rev. Jesse Jackson & Latino Unity

Even though our event is fun and we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, Hispanicize continued to focus on the issue of Latino unity.  In a major coup for us, and as part of a major public affairs agenda co-created with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), this year we hosted the Rev. Jesse Jackson for a fireside chat with his close friend Claudia Gonzalez Romo.

The Rev. Jackson’s visit generated major national media coverage as he urged our community to unite (sound familiar?).  

In one NBC Latino interview, Jackson said “We are either bound by suffering and marginalization or bound by hope,” in response to how Latinos can overcome their national, ethnic and cultural differences.

Solving this Latino leadership deficit is a mission we will tenaciously stay on top of until we find and empower that unity leader we need.  

Rev. Jesse Jackson and Claudia Gonzalez Romo met with the board of the NAHJ, including president Brandon Benavides.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality Makes Make Splash – and History!

In a major coup, Hispanicize 2017 led the multicultural communications industry forward with a major town hall that featured some of the world’s leading authorities on virtual reality and augmented reality, including Evelyn Miralles, Principal Engineer and lead VR innovator for NASA’s Virtual Reality Laboratory (VRLab).

Yahoo presented the Virtual Reality Town Hall, which featured some of the most cutting-edge content of Hispanicize 2017 and even included NASA’s Evelyn Miralles.

Presented by Yahoo, the “Welcome to the Virtual Revolution! How Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Will Change Our World”  interactive town also featured Michael Ibrahim, Director of Innovation Products at Media Labs, NBCUniversal; Gemma Busoni, Head of Community of Discovr Labs ; and Cathy Hackl, Founder of Latinos in VR/AR and CCO of Future Lighthouse.

The town hall and Miralles VR-focused keynote at the CMO Summit were part of the first, history-making AR and VR experiences brands have ever done at a multicultural event like Hispanicize, including VR/AR activations by Telemundo, Jack Daniels, Wells Fargo and UNICEF.

NAHJ Spanish-language Journalist Showcase Matures

The 2017 edition of our NAHJ Spanish-Language journalists conference at Hispanicize was title sponsored by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and this year tackled strong public affairs, immigration, and technology training with more depth than ever before.

In addition to making our top three public affair townhalls possible and providing YouTube recording of numerous key sessions for journalists who could not attend Hispanicize, the Kellogg Foundation also hosted a special lunchtime screening of their ‘America Divided’ documentary.  The EPIX Original limited docu-series features narratives around inequality in education, housing, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system – all woven into an eight-story, five-part series. The show follows high-profile correspondents as they explore aspects of inequality related to their own biographies. Correspondents include: Common, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Zach Galifianakis, Norman Lear, Amy Poehler, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jesse Williams.

(Season One can be viewed on Amazon or Hulu but if you would like to request a large group screening of the series, go to http://www.AmericaDividedSeries.com).

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation brought the producers of ‘America Divided’ to Hispanicize.

The NAHJ also collaborated with us to co-produce the 2nd annual Student Journalist Project, sponsored by ESPN Deportes and CNN.  This recap by NAHJ student journalist project adviser David Plazas captures the full scope of how journalists and the next generation of Hispanic reporters worked together to produce a feast of multimedia content onsite at the event: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nahj-students-hispanicize-el-futuro-david-plazas.    

This is the powerhouse team that was part of the NAHJ Student Project reporting team that documented the event and its influencers daily.

NAHJ President Brandon Benavides shares a light-hearted moment.

This 5th annual Hispanic journalist showcase once again stood out because of the friendship and trust that has been building between our organizations for the past several years and for that I commend NAHJ Executive Director Alberto Mendoza and NAHJ President Brandon Benavides.  Finally, but not least, I can’t say enough about the NAHJ South Florida Chapter – and particularly Federica Narancio and Pilar Portela – who were “fantabulous” to work with.  Federica and Pilar laid down a tremendous foundation for the full NAHJ national convention that next year will take place in Miami.    

Growth and Evolution of HMG

This year’s event also timed perfectly with our own major news: Hispanicize Media Group acquiring a major stake in several leading Latina online and social media platforms and entering into a joint venture to own part of the Hispanic celebrity influencer network Exit 7.  (READ THE FULL STORY HERE).

As part of the transaction, LatinaMoms.com, and Popful.com joined the HMG portfolio of properties that includes Hispanic Kitchen, leading U.S. Hispanic digital food Media Company; DiMe Media, the multicultural digital creators network; and Hispanicize, the annual U.S. Hispanic social media, and entertainment event.

The LatinaMoms.com announcement is notable because of the powerhouse trio who we’ve joined forces with: María Celeste Arrarás: TV Personality, Emmy Winner Journalist, Best-Selling Author, Entrepreneur and Mother of three; Chiquinquirá Delgado: Model, TV Host, Business Woman and Mother of two; and, Ximena Duque: Model, Actress, Business Woman and Mother of one.

These acquisitions and partnership are an opportunity to increase HMG’s reach with multicultural millennial women and helps deliver more valuable consumer relationships to advertisers across key lifestyle categories including parenting, home, beauty, food, and entertainment.

These acquisitions and our partnership with Exit 7 uniquely positions us to serve at scale the full range of needs for any brands that want to engage with the U.S. Hispanic digital marketplace and reach the coveted three M’s: Millennials, Multicultural, and Moms.

Expansion of Artist on The Rise and the Hispanicize/La Musica Lounge

One of the highlights of this year’s music platform was the panels and the Artist on The Rise series, which continues to gain national recognition. This year’s Artist on The Rise, hosted by intergalactic music curator and VJ Media Mixology founder, Vanessa James— who has worked with Katherine in producing the music track of Hispanicize for the last six years— rose to another level.  In 2017 the stage didn’t only focus on shining the light on independent and up & coming artists, but it also highlighted artists who have already reached the top.

Influencers were treated to a special music symposium with Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and Latin music legend Jon Secada who gave emerging artists insight on the industry as well as secrets to sustainability. Jon also surprised the crowd with an acoustic performance with songs from his new album “To Beny More with Love”.  Legendary Puerto Rican singer Elvis Crespo who participated in the ‘Cross-pollination of Genres’ session alongside Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and Boy Wonder, shared the story of his own evolution in the music scene. He also took the opportunity to debut the new music video of his latest single, ‘Yo te guayo’, which turned the music lounge into a party as everyone stood to their feet and started dancing.

In addition to the panels, the performances continued to highlight indie artists who are soon to become household names: Mirella Cesa, Tomas the Latin Boy and Jesse Medeles, all gave stellar performances that had the crowd raving and tweeting away.

The music lounge became the place to network and enjoy Happy Hour drinks and appetizers every day at 4pm.  Our partners SBS/La Musica kept the lounge poppin’ by playing the best radio hits and creating live content for their La Musica App. Thanks to our partnership with SBS/La Musica, the music lounge this year evolved to a true lounge where people could enjoy panels, drinks, and discover new music.

The Class of 2017 Latinovators

Our 2017 Latinovator Award recipients featured Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez, who brought her smile to the event courtesy of Crest and their #SmileBeatsAnything campaign. Our second Latinovator Award went to NBC News and Telemundo Network news host Jose Diaz-Balart, who shared anecdotes as well as his wit and wisdom from a reporting career that stretches all the way back to the 80s.  

Latinovator selfie time with Jose Diaz-Balart


Immediate past president of the NAHJ Mekahlo Medina interviews Jose Diaz-Balart.

Year Two of Our Partnership with NBCUniversal/Telemundo Enterprises

The second year of our major alliance with NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Comcast, MSNBC and NBC News once again boosted national media and social media visibility for Hispanicize to new heights. Through this partnership we were able to highlight the stories, issues and influencers that Hispanicize showcased. Through our partnership, leading journalists, executives and personalities from the NBC Universal networks participated in important sessions and programs of the event, including the 3rd annual Tecla Awards, the Hispanic journalist showcase, a “Queen of the South Season 2” reception and a private screening of “El Capo.”  

Brands Brought Their Creative Best – And Added VR!

Our sponsors once again took creativity and engagement far – even incorporating virtual reality into the event for the first time!  

Presenting partner Prudential Financial put numerous cool ideas behind their passionate support for equipping and financially empowering our community.  This was evident with event-wide activations that spanned the DiMe Summit, the Positive Impact Awards, the Latinovator Award lunch, an NAHJ breakfast as well as the gorgeous digital lounge and #Pruparate Jeopardy game that they set up on the main exhibit floor.  

Dorinda Walker of Prudential served as this year’s corporate co-chair of Hispanicize 2017. Accompanying her on the couch is Gaby Natale of Super Latina TV.

Toyota refreshed their presence at Hispanicize with a multi-faceted approach that began with their title sponsorship of the first annual CMO Summit and continued with an inspirational, personalized license plate activation themed #SomosImparables that became part of their popular Vayamos Juntos campaign.  Journalist Neida Sandoval, Toyota’s celebrity ambassador, was also part of a ride and drive event in South Beach that Toyota used to entertain and dine digital creators with karaoke.   Toyota’s activation also featured a Toyota Camry in the welcome registration area of our gorgeous host hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis.

DishLATINO’s first time at Hispanicize hit the emotional mark with a t-shirt-related activation that accompanied their Tecla Awards title partnership and reinforced the empowering message of their #SigueHaciendola campaign.  As part of their exhibition, attendees would have their shirts printed with the name of their birth country or city and where they were “haciendola” (making it happen).  We’ve tried various t-shirt ideas before but this was far and away the catchiest one because it reinforced pride in our cultural roots and in our self-reliance to make things happen.   

Facebook and Instagram made one of the biggest sponsor splashes of 2017 with a festive space that featured cocktail hours, an Instagram Boomerang booth, Facebook Live and more.

Connor Hayes, Product Manager of Facebook Camera, delivered a keynote and then did a product demo, live on stage with Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez.

NASCAR came roaring back to Hispanicize with a vengeance.  
During #Hispz17, top influencers were whisked away to the Homestead-Miami Speedway where they competed to be the Next NASCAR Star Influencer. They experienced the thrill of racing at high speeds in a Ford Mustang Pace Car driven by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver Aric Almirola, sharing this experience with their followers (which combined, exceeded over 47 Million) using #LatinosEnNASCAR.

Wells Fargo, our event’s official bank partner, renewed their commitment by hosting their national El Perfect Pitch small business, Shark Tank-type competition. The competition culminated on the main stage of the event with a $5,000 grand prize going to Mundo Lanugo.  Mundo Lanugo is a socially responsible entertainment world that connects kids to Hispanic culture and promotes the use of Spanish language while building identity and self-esteem.

UNICEF, State Farm and the Calvert Foundation were also among the partners who created activations focused on social good.  State Farm’s idea involved getting attendees to do small knitting exercises that combined with the work of other people would help build large quality quilts that after Hispanicize were donated to homeless shelters.  It was a really clever way to get a lot of people to engage with the brand and do good.

Regions Bank championed the fifth annual Murals for Morale art project that was once again spearheaded by Susana Baker of The Art Experience.  This year’s murals were painted by artists Luis Valle, Alvin Hernandez, Eleazar Delgado, Giselle Barroso, Monique Lassooij and Katey Penner.  The murals were auctioned off at the event and the funds that were raised benefitted Northwestern Miami High School.

Carnival Corporation returned to Hispanicize with a program that included giving away a free 7-day Caribbean cruise for two, as well as hosting another one of their now classic interactive dinner for creators at Barton G.

Honorable mentions include Home Depot, Go Rving, AARP, Publicis Groupe, and Florida Dairy Farmers.

Kudos to State Farm for their quilting for good idea.

The Florida Dairy Farmers had a cool photo booth and gave out plenty of sweet tasting treats.

Princess House President and CEO Connie Tang hosted a creators breakfast and personally gave out plenty of stylish, quality cookware.

Amazon’s book publishing session was packed, a testament to the appetite Latinos have for self-publishing. 

Videos, Instagramming and Social Media

It would be a travesty to forget the incredible work that many put into producing the daily news video digests, live streaming content and SM stories onsite at Hispanicize. Adam Kaplan from ASK Media, Rebel 11 and Octopus Advertising Group both did some amazing work capturing many of the videos, photos and recaps that we shared daily.  Adrian Allen of Steady Image also deserves props for his video vignettes for the Positive Impact Awards.   

More Special Thanks

The incredible success of this year’s event would not have been remotely possible without a constellation of volunteers and our coordinator Ingrid Vega, so to all of you who worked the event, thank you so much.  In addition to our volunteers, the event came together thanks to our partners, staff, brand sponsors, agencies, friends, and vendors coming together to make Hispanicize 2017 one-of-a-kind.  

My biggest Thank You goes to my wife, Angela, the First Lady of Hispanicize and the co-founder of everything I do because she’s smart as a whip and has been working Hispanicize alongside me everyday since the beginning. This was the hardest Hispanicize event we’ve ever produced and I can’t tell you the amount of patience she and our family have had to have for us to do this.  

The day after Hispanicize, Regions Bank surprised Angela by delivering her one of their beautiful Life Green Cruisers.

Jay Cruz, my assistant, has also been an invaluable asset to me and to our entire team and we’re very grateful to have him with us.  And what can I say about the other core partners and staff of Hispanicize?  Lexi Terrero (who runs all event operations and financing) kept us together; Cristy Clavijo-Kish spearheaded the entire Tecla Awards; Katherine Johnson oversaw music and co-produced the Tecla Awards; and Angela and Piera Jolly, led the DiMe Summit; Sharlene Garcia, helped EVERYONE; Pam Arana once again worked her creative magic to develop beautiful marketing materials include the Hispanicize event program; Candy Olivares who has become an invaluable part of our team for her strong work ethic, ability to manage multiple client activations; Alex Rodriguez, played a major role this year copywriting and client activations; Los Pichy Boys and MexicanGueys, our special talent partners, once again worked all week to engage with creators and support the event. 

This year’s marketing industry coverage was the most complete we’ve ever had and a big part of that is thanks to PRODU.  The massive coverage they gave the event was truly appreciated.  We also wish to thank HispanicAd.com for their own coverage and promotion of the event.

Other Important Contributors

Below is an incomplete list of friends and colleagues (I’m bound to forget someone!) who contributed to making Hispanicize 2017 possible: Sean Wolfington, Nic Perkin, Jose Suquet, Joey Suquet, TJ Henry and our entire family group of investors; celebrity stylist and jewelry designer Charlie Lapson (who, for the third year in a row, personally gave me an expert fashion make-over and who this year served as the official creative stylist of the event), our event co-chairs Dorinda Walker and Alex Sensation; Manny Machado and Luis Gonzales; Gloria Garces; Jorge Plasencia; Hugo Balta, Alberto Mendoza, Mike Valdes-Fauli, Lauren Cortiñas, Jose Villa, Natalie Boden; Audrey Ponzio, Jesse Martinez, the entire DaVelle PR team, Brannon Osuba; Marc Collins; Donna and the entire IMN team; Tradeshow Logic and MeetingPlay teams; the amazing team from Original Impressions; Suzanne Pallot of Source Miami; Juan Roselione-Valadez and the Rubell Family Collection; Gloria Ordaz; Susana Baker; George “Urban Jibaro” Torres; Jose Resendez; Amanda Taylor; Lourdes Mateo de Acosta; Maria Collazo; Kety Esquivel; Rey Delgado; the Edelman team; Monica Granados; Amelia Folkes of State Farm; Becky Boricua; Anllelic Lozada; Robyn Moreno and Ebby Antigua of Latina; Veronica Villafañe, HPRA Miami; Manny Hernandez of SocialMiami.com; Evelio Medina and the Downtown Miami & Brickell Chamber of Commerce; and Miami’s best masseuse Maribel Yartu.

Keep an eye out for the MexicanGueys of Hispanicize Media Group.

Last but not least, we want to thank the entire squad of social media correspondents who throughout the week – and even leading up to it – went above and beyond the call of “duty.”  Gustavo Gutierrez, Carmen Melgoza, Winston & Rosanna Javier, Vianney Rodriguez, Jay Mendoza; Juan Alanis; Anjelica Cazares; Monique Frausto; Erika Vargas; Alicia Saavedra; Divani Vasil; and of course Lizza Monet Morales; Jorge Narvaez

Not even counting our advisory board or sponsors’ own team members, it took more than 110 people to produce this year’s Hispanicize event.   

Kudos to Our 2017 Sponsors

In addition the sponsors we’ve already mentioned, 2017 sponsors also included: CarSaver, Dove, Walmart, NASCAR, Best Western, JCPenney, KOA, Google, Nespresso, Go RVing, Israel Board of Tourism, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Comcast, MSNBC, NBC News, AARP, Cooper Tires, Publicis Groupe, C-Com Group, The City of Miami, Kelley Blue Book, Princess House, Home Depot, Pan American Life Insurance Group, Pinta, Florida Dairy Farmers, OleHenriksen, Lansinoh, GLAMSQUAD, República, Synergy Workspaces, FundLatinos.com, APC Collective, Boden, WOW Factor Marketing, Savings.com, Visit Philly, Sensis, Vioss, ThinkNow Research, 787Coffee.com, Rebel Eleven, Octopus Advertising Group, saludmóvil, Dvdendo, Golazo, and Lingua Franca Translations.

Additional media partners included: Hispanicize Wire, LatinaMoms.com, Popful, Hispanic Kitchen, Latina, 2BTube, Puerto Rico BloggerCon, Hispanic PR Blog, the Hispanic Public Relations Association, Miami Herald Media, Media Moves, iBlog Magazine, Escuchamos FM, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR).

What’s Next for This Year and Leading Into 2018

The biggest compliment anyone can pay us is telling us we topped last year.  If we go by the evaluations and calls we’ve received thus far, we already completely blew 2016 away but the story continues.  

In late July we’ll be hosting a one-day Hispanicize Texas focused on digital creators, journalist and community leaders, and on Oct. 3 and 4 we will be doing a national, Hispanic Heritage Month Hispanicize L.A. event that will focus on the three pillars of digital content creation, tech innovation and the entertainment industry.

Hispanicize 2018 returns in mid April of next year with a program that will include several major tweaks and not a few surprises so feel free to reach out to me anytime with your ideas.  I can’t divulge what we’re thinking about for 2018 but with God’s favor, I feel confident we will, once again, make the next Hispanicize Spring season event, the new standard for excellence!

Me and my three little gals: Naomi, Briani and Elena.

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