Page 1

San Juan, Puerto Rico, offers a paradise for business p. 12

July/Aug/Sept 2012 Vol. 5, No. 20


USHCC’s Javier Palomarez champions Hispanic business p. 94

POWER PLAYERS Off the field, game changers like Henry Cardenas of Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc. dominate the ultra-competitive sports industry p. 49 Plus the Philadelphia

Phillies, Orlando Magic, LA Dodgers, and more

July/Aug/Sept 2012



Yo ur bus i ne ss ca n kn ock it out of th e pa rk Swing for the fences with a powerful business tool. At the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we’re a reliable piece of hitting for over 3,000,000 Hispanic Business Enterprises, 200 Hispanic chambers and over 150 corporate partners. We’re a strong voice that connects business leaders and provides useful information to help your business succeed. You’re only one big hit away from prosperity. | 2

Hispanic Executive


t h e o n e -t wo punch for every business In this corner. . . the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The right combination can provide your business a knockout punch. The USHCC packs a wallop for over 3,000,000 Hispanic Business Enterprises, 200 Hispanic chambers and over 150 corporate partners. We’re a strong voice that connects business leaders and provides useful information to help your business succeed. Step into the ring with us and become a champion of prosperity. | July/Aug/Sept 2012



The NCLR ALMA Awards® Website: BIGGER. BETTER. MORE ALMA THAN EVER BEFORE. Check out our Facebook and recently launched Twitter feed, the new ALMA 411 blog, our brand-new ALMA fashion section, and countless chances to win exciting prizes! It’s never too early to start celebrating ALMA. Are you ready?

September 21, 8/7C on NBC. @ALMAawards


Hispanic Executive

Features Though he doesn’t play on the field, general counsel Santiago “Sam” Fernandez catches any legal curve ball thrown at his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. p. 54


Photo: Jon Soohoo/LA Dodgers

In the adrenaline-charged sports industry, stamina and a desire to win are essential attributes of any top player—on and off the field. Today, the business side of sports can be as competitive and tough a game to endure as any played in a court, field, or ring. Hispanic Executive chats with eight successful sports executives from the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Fox Deportes, Pac-12 Enterprises, Orlando Magic, Cardenas Marketing Network, and ESPN Deportes about what it takes to thrive in this ultra-competitive market.

hispanic executive


July/Aug/Sept 2012 Vol. 5, No. 20


USHCC’s Javier Palomarez champions Hispanic business P. 94

where business meets culture

POWER PLAYERS PLUS the Philadelphia Phillies, Orlando Magic, LA Dodgers, and more

July/Aug/Sept 2012

on t he o c ver

Off the field, game changers like Henry Cardenas of Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc. dominate the ultra-competitive sports industry P. 49

HE20 COVER_FINAL_kb.indd 1

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Shot by HE’s very own photo editor/staff photographer, Sheila Barabad, at his West Loop office in Chicago, soccer-enthusiast Henry Cardenas’s love for the game—and sports industry—was palpable. Featured for the second time in our publication, Cardenas is the founder of Cardenas Marketing Network, a multiculturalevent-marketing agency. While he has produced more than 100 international soccer games in the course of his 30-year career, few things compare to forging a partnership with the Argentine Football Association (featuring reigning FIFA Player of the Year and FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi) through its sports division, CMN Sports. Cardenas sat down with HE to discuss his winning career on p. 68. Photo: Sheila Barabad

4/18/12 1:11 PM


In this issue 11

Negocios Getting down to business



San Juan, Puerto Rico p. 12


Next Generation

Claudia Esthela Granda p. 17



Ricardo Rivera p. 20



Robert Marin p. 36


Stepping Stones

Lupe Fernandez p. 47


Cultura Beyond the 9 to 5


Arts & Entertainment

Irma Martinez p. 80


Community Impact

Javier Palomarez p. 94


World View

Vinicius da Costa p. 110


Voces Conversations with movers & shakers


Vantage Point

Gersson Rosas p. 121



Cesar Baltran p. 126



Marta Carreira-Slabe p. 144



Yolanda Nader p. 170



David Santos p. 178


Hispanic Executive


Who’s Who Name dropping with Hispanic Executive people & companies


a b c

AC&M Group 34 Allain, Oscar 39 Alvarez, Eugenio “Gene” Manuel 176 Alvarez, Ignacio 130 Amaro Jr. Rubén 50 Anzaldua, Ricardo 106 Aon Corporation 145 Argent Associates 24 Argentine Football Association 68 Avila, Juan 136 Baez, Ivan 16 Banda Group International, LLC 138 Banda Jr., Zeferino 138 Bella, Michelle 75 Beltran, Cesar 126 Best Buy 86 Calderon, Tania 41 Campbell Soup Company 153 Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc. 68 Cardenas, Henry 68 Cardenas, Jaime 33 Carreira-Slabe, Marta 145 Century Communications 75 Chivas USA 100 CoCal Landscape 27 Community Equity Associates 75 Cookman International 88 Cookman, Tomas 88 Cordero, Vincent 57 d e f

da Costa, Vinicius 110 DeGuardia, Joe 121 Dosal 170 Elavon 117 Emeterio, Juan San 16 Entrust One Facility Services, Inc. 47 ESPN 73 ESPN Deportes 73, 75 Estrada, Cindy 103 Estrada, Michael 165 Fernandez, Lupe 47 Fernandez, Santiago 54 FIFA 85 Fiore, Fernando 85 Fox Deportes 33, 61 g h i

Garcia, Lino Gartner, Inc. Google Granda, Claudia Esthela Hartley, Estela Havas Media Hotel Milano IBM Ideal Interiors Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Interbrand July/Aug/Sept 2012

73 176

s t u

k l

Jimenez, Clarisa 13 Jones Lang LaSalle 168 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 156 Kaisin, Alejandro 168 Latin American Corporate Counsel Association 10 Latin Business Association 10 Legaz, Mariano 148 Live Nation Entertainment 91 Lopez, Gustavo “Gus” 86 Los Angeles Dodgers 54 Lowe’s Companies, Inc. 111 m n o

Machete 86 Major League Baseball 50, 60,120 Manetta, Beatriz 24 Mann, Maria Alvarez 156 Marin, Robert 36 Marketing Information Systems 117 Marquez, Art 60 Marrero, Ariel 122 Martinez, Irma 80 Medrano, Jesus “Chuy” 27 Melendez, Lou 120 Mesa Electronics, Inc. 172 Mesa, Henry 172 Mesirow Financial 136 Mullanaphy, Neil 16 Murguía, Janet 98 Nacional Records 88 Nader, Yolanda 170 National Council of La Raza 10, 98 National Football League 60 Navarro, Carlos 116 Navarro, Vicente 140 NBA Houston Rockets 121 NFL Houston Texan 120 Northwestern Mutual Alliance Network 36 Octagon 39 Orlando Magic 65 p q r Pac-12 Enterprises 58 Palomarez, Javier 94 Perales, Harry 153 Pepsi 34 Philadelphia Phillies 50 PMA Consultants 29 Ponce de Leon, Gui 29 Popular, Inc. 130 Powerit Solutions 159 Puerto Rico Convention Bureau




Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association QinetiQ North America Reisner, Ralph Rivera, Ricardo Roca Tile Group Rodriguez, Carlos Rosas, Gersson Ruiz, David

18 122 16 117 21 10 178

13 163 107 21 114 159 121 44

Sánchez-Navarro, Antonio Cué 100 Santos, David 178 Simonitsch, Emily 91 Soto, Elisa 163 Sports Endeavors, Inc. 140 Stanley Black & Decker 34 Star Boxing, Inc. 121 Telemundo 75, 80, 85 The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. 107 Time Warner Cable Inc. 126 Torres, Jorge 113 Townsend & Bottum 29 Trendy Inc. 80 UAW 103 United States Hispanic Advocacy Associations 24 USHCC 10, 94 Universal Music Group 86 Universal Music Latin Entertainment Group 87 Univisión 85 Univisión Chicago TV 57 Univision Music Group 87 United Parcel Service, Inc. 44 v w x y z

Vasquez Estrada & Conway LLP 165 Vasquez, Michael 165 Vega, Roman 63 Velasco, Daniel 120 Vergara, Jorge 101 Verizon Services Operations 148 Walmart Puerto Rico 16 Wyndham Vacation Ownership 41 ADvertisers

ABM 167 AC&M Group 35 Accenture 128 Actiontec 150 Alorica 148 American Airlines Arena 72 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 164 Arámburu, Saldívar y Vázquez, S.C. 143 AT&T 23 Baker & McKenzie LLP 143 Banda Group International 72 Bank of America 67 Barry Callebaut 152 Bartech 147 Broad and Cassel 133 Cable Audit Associates, Inc. 56 Campbell Soup Company 154 Cardenas Marketing Network 70,71 CoCal Landscape 27 Covington & Burling LLP 55 Crockett Facilities Services 77 CSG International 128

Dana Holding Corporation 105 Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP 105 DBG Promotions 40 Discover 115 Dulcelandia 37 Enterprise Holdings, Inc. 152 Eurosport 34 Ferreiro and Company 154 González & Coiscou 146 Greenberg Traurig, LLP 57 HITEC 43 Hooah! 66 IncrediTek 150 International Automotive Components 102 Intershop 175 KGP Logistics 147 King Freeze 19 32 Latino Fashion Week 78 LG Electronics U.S.A. 174 Liberty Mutual 161 Los Angeles Dodgers 53 Lowe’s Companies, Inc. 109 LPS 158 Mayer Brown 134 McConnell Valdés LLC 129 Metalsa 102 MetLife Stadium 72 National Council of La Raza 4 National Council of La Raza 180 NBCUniversal 60 Northwestern Mutual Financial Network 38 Nothing Butt Cigarettes 171 Panasonic 125 PECO Energy Company 52 Pega 157 Phelps Dunbar LLP 46 Pietrantoni Mendez & Alvarez LLC 135 Playful Interactive 31 Pollock Paper 46 Roca Tile Group 112 Roosevelt University 135 Rubio Villegas & Associados 142 Samuel A. Ramirez & Company Inc. 72, 142 SBM Management Services LP 167 SHI 147 Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP 129 Softential 129 Sullivan & Cromwell LLP 132 151 Turkey Hill 53 Universal Music Latin Entertainment 87 University of Notre Dame 135 USHCC 2,3, 97 Vasquez Estrada & Conway LLP 167 Venda 177






Editor-in-Chief Christopher Howe

Director of Strategic Partnerships George Bozonelos

Director of Sales Titus Dawson

205 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 3200 Chicago, IL 60601

Managing Editor Kathy Kantorski Features Editor Darhiana Mateo Copy Editor Cyndi Loza Correspondents Thalia A-M Bruehl Cristina Adams Chris Allsop Ruth E. Dávila Tricia Despres Julie Edwards Javacia Harris Bowser Jennifer Hogeland Aaron Mays Mark Pechenik Seth Putnam Lynn Russo Whylly Julie Schaeffer Kaleena Thompson Tina Vasquez

Associate Director of Marketing Jeffrey Powell Editorial Research Managers Anthony D’Amico Editorial Research Coordinator Adam Castillo Editorial Researchers Vianni Busquets Pablo Soto

Publishing Guerrero Howe, LLC President Pedro Guerrero CEO & Publisher Christopher Howe


Assistant Director of Sales Krista Lane Williams Business Development Manager/Reprint Manager Stacy Kraft Sales Representatives James R. Ainscough Emily Boyd Maggie Coleman Logan Distefano Benjamin Fongers Matthew Hardy Michelle Harris Brendan Healy Jessica Holmes Gianna Isaia Justin Joseph Rebekah Mayer Agnes Pulawski Chelsie Rowe Bobby Stone Jennifer Ublasi Director of Account Management Cheyenne Eiswald Account Managers Lindsay Craig Amy Lara William Winter Ashley Zorrilla

Creative Director Karin Bolliger Senior Designer Jessica Henry

Administrative Photo Editors Sheila Barabad Samantha Simmons

Accounting Assistant Mokena Trigueros Human Resources Generalist Diana Schnekenburger Executive Assistants Ashley Bigg LeAnne Hawley Receptionist Samantha Childs


Hispanic Executive

Subscriptions For a free subscription, please visit Hispanic Executive® is a registered trademark of Guerrero Howe, LLC Reprints For reprint information, email reprints@guerrerohowe. com. Printed in South Korea. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of Guerrero Howe, LLC.

Editor’s Note GOOOOAL! One of my most vivid childhood memories is not an image but the sound of my father’s voice bellowing this word—his deep baritone lingering over the vowels— through our apartment on a sweltering Chicago summer day. Few things revved up my dad, typically a mellow guy, like a good game of fútbol.

{ Coming Next Issue }

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of today’s top entertainment execs, including the president of the Latin Grammys

PepsiCo’s senior director of cultural branding shows and tells

Ramon “Ray” Lugo of NASA makes history

Many Latinos share my dad’s infatuation for sports, whether that takes the form of soccer, baseball, boxing, basketball, or anything else. As a community, we’re loyal, fanatical, even emotional, when it comes to our teams. In honor of this passion, our special summer edition highlights Latino executives at the top of their game in the sports industry. Our cover story, “Keeping Score” (p. 49), gives you a personal peek at power players from the Philadelphia Phillies’ Rubén Amaro Jr., the only Latino currently serving as a general manager in Major League Baseball, to Santiago “Sam” Fernandez, general counsel of his “dream team,” the LA Dodgers, to Roman Vega, vice president of brand management for the Orlando Magic, and many more. Beyond our cover story, you will find other sports professionals scattered throughout the magazine (look out for the red “Sports Execs” stamp), including an Arts & Entertainment profile on three-time Emmy-Award-winner Fernando Fiore, anchor of República Deportiva (p. 84), and a look at Chivas USA’s philanthropic efforts spearheaded by co-owner Antonio Cué Sánchez-Navarro (p. 100) in our Community Impact department. Although not necessary sports-related, the rest of our Community Impact section also packs a powerful punch with articles on Javier Palomarez, president of the USHCC (p. 94), Janet Murguía, the first female president of the National Council of La Raza (p. 98), and Cindy Estrada, the first Hispanic vice president of the UAW (p. 103). From sport executives to activists and everything in between, this edition celebrates the Latino business community’s unbeatable spirit and ability to triumph over obstacles. In the words of Palomarez, “We want the US to recognize the value that Hispanic-owned businesses bring to this country … This is about business and economics. When corporations partner with us they’re not just ‘doing the right thing,’ they understand that Hispanics are generating billions of dollars and they’re the fastest-growing segment of the population.”


We know you’re in it to win it. And here at HE, we will proudly cheer you on to many more victories.

Hasta pronto,

Darhiana Mateo Features Editor

July/Aug/Sept 2012


calendar 2012

Must-attend events tailored to the Latino business community

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IHCC’s 2012 Make the Connection! Hispanic Business Expo Aug. 2, Chicago Hosted by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) in Chicago’s Navy Pier, the 2012 Make the Connection! Hispanic Business Expo aims to bridge and create ties among small businesses, corporations, and government agencies. Besides networking, participants will also have a chance to participate in educational workshops presented by the IHCC.

LBA Minority Women’s Business Conference Aug. 16, California The Latin Business Association’s (LBA) Minority Women’s Business Conference aims to give its female participants the opportunity to connect with other top female executives from various utility and telecommunication companies. The event will focus on how women can “not only can meet the buyers, but also successfully obtain a contract.” The venue for the event was not determined by press time.

USHCC’s National Convention & Business Expo Sept. 16-18, Los Angeles Joining together Hispanic entrepreneurs, policymakers, and corporate executives, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s (USHCC) convention is known as the largest gathering of Latino business leaders in the United States. The 33rd annual National Convention & Business Expo will be held in Los Angeles this year. “While we advocate for those who happen to be of Hispanic descent, we are an American association and these are American businesses,” says Javier Palomarez, the nonprofit’s president and CEO. “We want the US to recognize the value that Hispanic-owned businesses bring to this country.” 10

Hispanic Executive

Miami Regional Meeting 2012 of the LACCA Sept. 18, Miami Attracting more than 60 general counsel from the Florida area’s most important companies, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association (LACCA) is returning to Miami for its annual regional meeting. The meeting will continue to offer a high-level discussion on the key issues of running a legal department in today’s Latin America.

NCLR 2012 ALMA Awards Sept. 21, Los Angeles Showcasing a star-studded lineup of Latino entertainers, the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) 2012 Alma Awards will celebrate Latino film, TV, and music trailblazers. Though attending the event is by invitation only, millions can tune in to watch the English-language awards ceremony on NBC.

LBA Global Business Conference October, TBD In partnership with other organizations, the Latin Business Association (LBA) will present the LBA Global Business Conference, an event that offers unique opportunities for worldwide business development. The venue and date for the event were not determined by press time.


Negocios cityscope


San Juan, Puerto Rico: A paradise for business opportunities

next generation


Get to know up-andcomers Claudia Esthela Granda and Estela Hartley


20 Ricardo Rivera grows

Ideal Interiors into a premier general-construction firm 24 At the helm of one of

the fastest-growing, woman-led companies in the country, Beatriz “Betty” Manetta always thinks ahead


Getting down to business

stepping stones

33 Jaime Cardenas gives

44 David Ruiz climbs the

the play by play behind some of AC&M’s most memorable sports campaigns

ladder at United Parcel Service, Inc.

36 Robert Marin ad-

vocates for financial security within the Hispanic community

47 From part-time recep-

tionist to president, Lupe Fernandez finds herself at home at Entrust One Facility Services, Inc.

39 Octagon’s Oscar Al-

lain gives clients such as Allstate a competitive edge 41 Tania Calderon keeps

guests coming back to Wyndham Vacation Ownership

26 CoCal Landscape’s

CEO, Jesus “Chuy” Medrano, explains why starting his own landscaping business was the natural choice 29 Gui Ponce de Leon

simplifies project management

July/Aug/Sept 2012 1111

(this page) With approximately five million tourists visiting the island each year and spending nearly $2 billion, tourism is a critical component of the Puerto Rican economy. (opposite page) Clarisa Jimenez, president of the PRHTA, says that competition for tourism dollars is fierce as more companies recognize the potential positive impact it offers for their bottom line.


Hispanic Executive

CityScope Negocios

san juan, Puerto RICO

Isla del Encanto by Cristina Adams


July/Aug/Sept 2012

photo: Joe Colon

hen it comes to enchantment, Puerto Rico has a plentiful supply. White-sand beaches, rainforests, subterranean rivers, mountain ranges, and centuries-old colonial architecture are just some of the highlights that have long attracted visitors to its shores. But, as one of thousands of islands in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has a sea of competition for sun-seeking tourists and their dollars, euros, yen, or pesos. Nobody understands that better than Clarisa Jimenez. As president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA), she and her staff of eight work to ensure that the organization’s nearly 600 members have a collective and powerful voice in the legislature. In addition to its lobbying efforts, the PRHTA also offers networking and education opportunities to its members, and works with government tourism agencies to develop destination programs with wholesalers, travel websites, the groups and conventions markets, and more. Like many of its counterparts in the United States, the PRHTA represents the private sector, but works cooperatively with government entities to get the word out for the benefit of all in the industry. “Our job here is to protect, promote, inform, and educate our members,” says Jimenez, a tourism industry veteran. “The


Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism ASSOCIATION

Explore Puerto Rico The bountiful island of Puerto Rico is a multi-faceted destination brimming with culture, character, entertainment and outdoors options. From the most sophisticated of hotels and restaurants to the “bare basics” of nature—the only rainforest in North America and miles of beaches, for starters—you’ll find that world-class travel experiences are plenti-

Negocios CityScope competition for tourism dollars is very aggressive now because a lot of islands and companies have realized the potential positive impact on their bottom line.” A native of Ponce, Jimenez launched her career at the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the government agency in charge of everything tourism-related. That position took her to Los Angeles and then back to Puerto Rico, where she started her own company. She was an independent businesswoman for many

More than 160 of the Fortune 500 companies have set up shop here. The country’s probusiness climate—tax incentives, a skilled and largely bilingual workforce, political stability, world-class infrastructure—has been instrumental in attracting multinationals from around the United States and the world.

ful and unforgettable in Puerto Rico. Visit and plan your trip to Puerto Rico today!


Puerto Rico A Culinary Extravaganza

April 21st-22nd Escambron Beach, San Juan

years. Then, about seven years ago, one of the hoteliers told her that the San Juan-based PRHTA was looking for a new president and suggested she would be a good fit. “After all those years on my own, it looked like a good challenge,” Jimenez recalls. “I thought it would be a good opportunity and would give me a look at the other side of the industry.” No doubt it has given her an eyeful. Tourism is a critical component of the Puerto Rican economy; every year, five million tourists visit the island, which has a population of about four million, spending nearly $2 billion. That’s particularly true in the capital, San Juan, which is home to the second-largest cruise port in the Western Hemisphere. It’s also home to more than 11,000 small and independent businesses, many of which provide tourism-related services. The country’s biggest moneymaker, however, is manufacturing, which accounts for more than $44 billion annually. The economy depends on manufacturing to provide both revenue and employment. Indeed, many of the top global pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers, including Medtronic, Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline, have

facilities on the island. The industry accounts for nearly 70 percent of exports and 22 percent of manufacturing employment. Close behind are agriculture, tourism, electronics, and chemicals. Interestingly, more than 160 of the Fortune 500 companies have set up shop here. The country’s pro-business climate—tax incentives, a skilled and largely bilingual workforce, political stability, and world-class infrastructure —has been instrumental in attracting multinationals from around the United States and the world. An established business ecosystem, which includes everything from a full lineup of international banks, sophisticated logistics capabilities, key-technology suppliers, the US dollar as official currency, and no passport required for US citizens, has ensured their long-term presence. And that’s good for the Puerto Rican economy, which had a few bumpy years during the recent recession. But, things are looking rosier. According to PRHTA’s Jimenez, in the past few years, hoteliers were forced to choose between occupancy or average daily rate (ADR); most wound up sacrificing ADR to get more heads in beds. Now, however, the island has seen an increase in both occupancy and ADR. “We can see a slight improvement in the numbers and are hopeful that this trend continues. This and the fact that we have a great destination, will help us to continue growing in the coming years,” she says. “PRHTA will continue to work hard and do whatever needs to be done to assure our members and our industry’s success.” That bodes well for both employment and growth, to which tourism contributes substantially. As Jimenez points out, pharmaceuticals may be the biggest profit generator, but the tourism industry offers the largest opportunity for growth. That’s why the PRHTA is working to help craft legislation for the creation of a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), an entity that would be responsible for marketing Puerto Rico, but would remain independent of the government. It’s a matter of continuity, according to Jimenez. Whenever there’s a change in the governor’s mansion or at the state-run tourism agency, there’s a chance that a current advertising campaign or marketing push will be scrapped for a new one. “We want to separate the marketing from politics to ensure continuity,” Jimenez says. “The economy is moving forward, we have new opportunities, and we want to be able to take advantage of them.”

CityScope Negocios san juan, Puerto RICO

Facts & Figures Sources: CIA Word Factbook, Business Monitor International, US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 2010, Puerto Rican government website, Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico website, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, PRIDCO

Hispanics in San Juan


million Total population of the island

70% of rum sold in United States comes from Puerto Rico

US Census (2007)

Median age in Puerto Rico is 37 years old

Spanish and

English are the official languages


1.3 million strong workforce

94% Literacy rate

July/Aug/Sept 2012

small businesses in Puerto Rico


million the population of San Juan

2010 GDP: $96.3 billion

San Juan

161 of the Fortune 500 companies have a presence in Puerto Rico


Negocios CityScope san juan, Puerto RICO

Working in Paradise Q&A with San Juan’s business leaders

Ivan Baez Corporate Business Manager Walmart Puerto Rico, Inc.

Describe the local business climate in three words: Favorable. Enthusiastic. Vibrant. Why should companies consider setting up shop in the island? As the capital city of Puerto Rico, [San Juan] is an important center of economic activity for local and international companies. Considering its historical sites, the city also receives thousands of visitors from different parts of the world on a weekly basis. The government also provides a good economic environment to invest in the city. What are some of the biggest challenges impacting businesses in San Juan? High-energy costs. Not only in San Juan, but in the whole Island. From a global business perspective, what is San Juan’s competitive edge? Fast-track in the permitting process.

Neil Mullanaphy, CHME Senior Vice President, Sales Puerto Rico Convention Bureau

Describe the local business climate in three words: Sophisticated. Fast-paced. International. Why should companies consider setting up shop in the island? Puerto Rico offers numerous tax incentives, a sophisticated business infrastructure, and financing options. The island’s strategic location, comprehensive logistics capabilities, and highly skilled and educated bilingual workforce make it one of the most attractive locations to conduct business in the United States. What are some of the key challenges impacting the business community in San Juan? Getting the word out about the investment opportunities, incentives, and tax benefits of doing business [here], especially in terms of overcoming the image of merely a Caribbean getaway destination. We’re so much more.

“Most people visualize Puerto Rico as an island paradise to escape to, but we offer a paradise of business investment opportunities to boot.” Neil Mullanaphy, Senior Vice President, Sales Puerto Rico Convention Bureau


Hispanic Executive

Juan San Emeterio Owner, Hotel Milano

Describe the local business climate in three words: Great business potential What are some of the key challenges impacting the business community in the island? Similar to most of the world, the main obstacle facing businesses in Puerto Rico is securing financing. The conditions currently required to finance any business venture are highly difficult to fulfill, particularly for small businesses or new start-ups without a lot of capital. From a global business perspective, what is San Juan’s competitive edge? The Puerto Rican consumer is educated but emotional and is always willing to spend some money in products that are priced fairly and that stimulate their imagination and consumerism. In addition, the Latino climate with American influences and a solid educational system create a world-class workforce in terms of productivity potential and discipline.

Next Generation Negocios

“Having a food engineering background, complemented with an MBA, has given me the tools I need to make a difference.”

Career goal To become a leader in a service industry that provides exceptional value to customers.

Education Master of Business Administration Southern Methodist University, August 2010 Master of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (emphasis in Food Engineering) Texas A & M University, May 2005 Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering (emphasis in Food Engineering), Double major in Food Science and Technology Texas A&M University, May 2002

Creative Negotiator

Claudia Esthela Granda Claudia Esthela Granda, 32, is no stranger to making hard decisions. Born in Peru and raised in Ecuador, she moved to the United States at 17 to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. “Looking back, despite the sacrifice it meant moving far away from home, I am confident I made the right choice,” Granda says. Now as an analyst for American Airlines, she manages credit-card partnerships in several countries in Latin America where she has been involved in contract negotiations to renew partnerships and launch new credit cards. “It is an amazing feeling to know that what you are working on will result in a product that will provide such great value to your customers,” she says.

Why Hire Me I like to take on challenges and I am passionate [about] delivering results. I believe my educational and work backgrounds have provided me with the analytical, creative, and interpersonal skills I need to be successful at my job. July/Aug/Sept 2012

Work experience January 2011–current: Analyst, AAdvantage International Marketing American Airlines June 2005 to December 2010: Senior Food Technologist Pecan Deluxe Candy Company September 2002 to May 2005: Graduate/Teaching Assistant, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department Texas A & M University Summer 2001: Summer Intern Frito-Lay, Inc.

Role model Bennie Brigham My role model is the owner of the candy company I used to work for (Pecan Deluxe), Bennie Brigham. Bennie’s dad started the company and passed away when Bennie was in his early 20s. He worked very hard to build the company that Pecan Deluxe is today, with more than 250 employees in the US and the UK. Despite the fact that the company is growing at a very fast pace and that they work with big names in the industry, Bennie and his son Jay have done a great job in making all their employees feel like family. The Brigham family has taught me that the key to success is to remain humble.

Dream job My dream job is one where I am able to make an impact. I have been lucky to have two major jobs [with Pecan Deluxe and American Airlines] where I have been able to see the results of my efforts and hard work, so I would qualify them as “dream jobs.”

Define success Being successful to me means to work hard and enjoy the journey toward reaching results. Whereas it is launching a new credit card or creating a great-tasting candy, the whole process to get there are also part of what I call success.


Negocios Next Generation game changer

Career goal

Estela Hartley Predominantly raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Estela Hartley, 36, observed early on disparate communities coming together to develop a unique blend of Hispanic and American culture. As a student at The Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago, she combined her public health and design skills to revive VISioN, a student organization providing design students service learning opportunities with nonprofit organizations. Hartley took this development a step further by pursuing an MBA in design strategy at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she gained extensive practice using a multidisciplinary strategic framework to create new value for businesses and consumers.

To become a leading executive of a health care or socially responsible organization where I can use my strategic and leadership skills to create innovative and meaningful experiences driving business development and growth.

Education Master of Business Administration in Design Strategy California College of the Arts–San Francisco, May 2012 Interior Design The Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago, Concentration in Healthcare Design, 2006–2008 Bachelor of Community Health New Mexico State University, May 2001

Work experience June 2011–December 2011: Marketing Strategist SevenPonds 2006–2009: Resident Head The University of Chicago

“My career in public health extended into the creative realm when I took a sabbatical to study interior design at The Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago.”

2002–2004: Epidemiologist Lake County Health Department 2001–2002: Health Educator Lake County Health Department Summer 2000: Health and Fitness Specialist Intern Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc.

Role models My parents Without question, my parents are my role models. They both possess a positive outlook, exceptional work ethic, and a spirit of generosity and ingenuity. Every challenge presented to them is seen as an opportunity for personal growth. It is due to their extraordinary optimism and support that I have been the first within my extended family to earn a bachelor’s degree and now a master’s degree as well.

Why Hire Me I offer an equal distribution between leftbrained logic and right-brained creativity and I am able to lead and manage business innovation projects from concept to completion. As a disease intervention counselor and through my community development endeavors, ... I have developed excellent interpersonal and collaboration skills. 18

Hispanic Executive

Dream job The professional philosophy of public health, to improve quality of life, resonates strongly with me and drives the work that I seek. My dream job would provide the opportunity for me to use and develop my unique strategic skill set and personal strengths to substantially improve the lives of clients, consumers, and employees.

Define success For me, success is derived from learning and continuous improvement. My work and I are in a constant state of progress, and taking time to observe, reflect, evaluate, and develop is very important to me.



The Next Generation Provider

Proven Performance. And the experience to do the job at the right price. On time. Every time.

With our compliments to Ideal Interiors,Inc for their recognition in Hispanic Executive. HVAC Sales | Service | Installation | Engineering

| Energy Management


127 West 26th Street, Suite 801, New York, NY 10001 Telephone: 212.760.9300 • Facsimile: 212.760.1530 • July/Aug/Sept 2012


Negocios Entrepreneurs

BUILDING BRIDGES Successfully growing Ideal Interiors into a premier general-construction firm, Ricardo Rivera invites other Latinos to join his field. “When you get to work with other Latinos in this industry, there’s an unspoken connection the two of you have,” he says. “… I know we’re watching out for each other; we want to see each other succeed.”


Hispanic Executive

Entrepreneurs Negocios

Constructing a Dream Fifty-five percent of all new businesses fail within the first two years. Against the odds, in 1998 Ricardo Rivera was trying his hand at his own venture, Ideal Interiors. His priorities quickly changed, however, when Rivera found himself a widowed 36-year-old trying to raise his six-year-old daughter alone. “My wife had been sick with cancer, but she was always supportive of my vision,” Rivera recalls. “After she passed there were times I felt very overwhelmed, but I’d hear her in the back of my head saying, ‘Don’t give up on your dream, keep going.’” Now, after 14 years, Ideal Interiors has grown into one of New York City’s premier generalconstruction firms, working with high-profile clients such as Columbia University, Goldman Sachs, and ABC Broadcasting Company, among many others. as told to Tina Vasquez

When you’re first starting out you will constantly ask yourself one question: Will we survive the first year? I didn’t know

how to market our company and finding work was the big-

July/Aug/Sept 2012

gest challenge because in this industry, it’s completely dependent on previous clients and the reputation you’ve built. And when you’re first starting out, you don’t have either of those things. There was so much I didn’t know, but thankfully I had mentors I could turn to and these are people I still trust and turn to when I have major business decisions to make. I can’t stress how vital mentors are because they’re truthful with you; they don’t sugarcoat things. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you

need to realize that you’re in charge of your own destiny and you have to remember that whatever you do affects your company. If I slow down, the whole company slows down. Entrepreneurs have a special gene, they don’t take things day-by-day. They’re always looking forward trying to map out what’s next. There’s also this misconception that entrepreneurs don’t have bosses, but our clients are our boss. Every project has to be your best project. Your client’s happiness is your business.


Negocios Entrepreneurs

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Ricardo Rivera In the near future, the president and founder of Ideal Interiors says he wants to maintain its status as a small company, but have the feel of a big general contractor/construction manager. To achieve this goal, Rivera plans to: • Meet new clients through repeat referral and constant networking; raise the bar to ensure Ideal Interiors delivers the best product to clients while being consistent with core values as a company • Branch out of the Greater New York area and gain access to more opportunities that will enhance growth as a diverse outlet • Add more new construction projects to portfolio where the company works on a building from the ground up

I wasn’t always this driven. I started the company thinking, “Let’s try this and see if it works.” In the past, I’ve worked for small and large companies. With larger companies you never see the back vault, but if you work for a smaller operation you should consider yourself lucky because you learn more; you learn the inner workings of a company and you get a better feel for the industry. It was working at a smaller company that made me believe I could do this. I like that Ideal Interiors is on the smaller side. It means that I have access to my clients and they have direct access to me and for the time being, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just think of it this way: If I don’t have clients, I don’t have a job. You have to answer every call, give every job 100 percent, and always put your best foot forward.


Hispanic Executive

The construction industry is a great place for Latinos. It used to be considered “blue collar,” but it’s now seen as very respectable. The fact that so many of us are bilingual is an incredible resource. When you get to work with other Latinos in this industry, there’s an unspoken connection the two of you have. I’m from Ecuador and working with others who share my heritage gives me a good feeling because I know we’re watching out for each other; we want to see each other succeed. The best advice I can offer to a young Latino who wants to enter this industry— or any industry—is to pay attention to everything that’s going on. Listen to those who’ve been in the industry longer than you. I’ve come across a lot of young people who think they know everything and feel they’re entitled to certain things because

“Entrepreneurs have a special gene, they don’t take things day by day. They’re always looking forward trying to map out what’s next.” Ricardo Rivera

President & Founder

they’ve obtained a college degree. It’s a huge accomplishment to get your degree, but there are no entitlements and you can’t take anything for granted. Your “real” education begins when you’re in the workforce and working hard for everything you want. You’ve got to do your time like everyone else.

collaborate beyond collaborate barriers beyond barriers

When we work together we change the world. For many years, we’ve been a leader in supplier diversity, working with woman and minority-owned enterprises to create and implement visionary solutions. Our goals extend beyond just products and services. Ultimately, our aim is to improve how our customers live, work and play everyday. To find out more, visit When we work together we change the world. For many years, we’ve been a leader in supplier diversity, working with woman and minority-owned enterprises to create and implement visionary solutions. Our goals extend beyond just products Š 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other AT&T marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. and services. Ultimately, our aim is to improve how July/Aug/Sept 2012 our customers live, work and play everyday. To find

Negocios Entrepreneurs

Forward Thinker as told to Tricia Despres

My parents came here for a better life, refused to accept food stamps, welfare, or unemployment

and began working multiple jobs to send my sister, brother, and me to catholic schools. It’s my parents from whom I learned the value of a good education and a strong work ethic.


Hispanic Executive

As the head of one of the fastest-growing, woman-led companies in the country, Beatriz “Betty” Manetta is a bit of a trailblazer. The president and CEO of Argent Associates, which offers clients innovative supply-chain management, IT solutions, and high-quality products, has evolved her start-up into a true competitor boasting $113 million in annual revenue, a prestigious clientele including several Fortune 500 companies, and offices in Texas, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Manetta has also served as a member of a number of influential organizations, including the President Bush’s Export Council, the Minority Business RoundTable, Women Presidents’ Organization, and the United States Hispanic Advocacy Association. Not bad for a girl who moved with her family from Argentina to Elizabeth, New Jersey, at the age of six with little money and even less English.

My career has always been primarily in telecommunications. I started at AT&T as a secretary and I later moved up to be named director of AT&T’s customer business unit. Throughout my career, I always did other jobs on the side that were a bit more entrepreneurial in spirit. For example, I ran a concession stand at one of the local theatres at night to supplement my income. Ultimately, I knew I always wanted to do my own thing, and in 1998, I got that chance and hence, Argent Associates was created. I remember leaving AT&T (it was Lucent at that time) and went the very next day to

get Argent Associates certified as a woman- and Hispanicowned business. With my previous experience working within a supply-diversity group, I was confident that I knew enough about the industry and where the gaps were within the industry. And with my 20 years of experience, I knew I had something to offer. I have always found Latinos to be very entrepreneurial and I’m very proud to be a part of this evolution. I enjoy making things happen. I love innovating and driving our employees to excel in everything they do. I think what is important to remember is

that while we are not considered a “big” company, we always think like one. We have become the thought leaders in our industry and through our quality programs and processes; we excel at what we do, all the time. Our ISO and TL 9000 Certifications have given us credibility and have earned us the 2010 AT&T Supplier of the Year award. I have to warn you, entrepreneurism is not for the weak of heart. It is for those with visions of what can be; the wisdom to understand the ramifications of decisions; and the determination to make those visions a reality. There are countless obstacles

Entrepreneurs Negocios in life, but the largest is our own lack of will and drive to achieve our goals. On the road to self-accomplishment, the biggest obstacles are our fear of failure and, ironically, our fear of the next step after success. It is important to understand that failures and successes are nothing more than points in time; how we handle them, improve on them, and teach the people around us what we learned by them, is what defines who and what we are. I think a lot of the challenges that I have faced throughout my time as a female business owner has been [related to] the competition. As a newly formed company, I was very naïve to see how hungry people were for business, and I soon found out that they would do whatever it take to get business. I constantly am trying to figure out how to continue to drive business when there

are people out there trying to knock you down. I think at the end of the day people can see through that. We don’t burn bridges. We don’t do things unethically—there is enough business to go around. I’m not saying there aren’t external factors that will stand in our way. The “Good Old Boys Club” still exists, there are many who compromise values for money, and there are those who find it easier to steal ideas than come up with their own … but it’s the integrity you bring to your business that will drive you to success. We are always thinking forward. I think you need to be in an industry that you know enough about so you know what is just ahead. Right now everything is about mobility: How can we be smaller, faster, better, and still offer the quality behind everything we do? It’s an exciting time to do business.

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Beatriz “Betty” Manetta

“I have to warn you, entrepreneurism is not for the weak of heart. It is for those with visions of what can be; the wisdom to understand the ramifications of decisions; and the determination to make those visions a reality.”

For Manetta, there’s only one direction Argent Associates is headed: up. Here, the CEO and president maps out her company’s plans for the future: • Grow core supply-chain business internationally; specifically in Central and South America. “We are focused on customers with new products that have international potential. We expect to be in three other countries in five years,” Manetta says. • Redefine supply-chain services with embedded global-asset tracking and monitoring. The company strives to have capabilities in its service offerings that will differentiate it from competitors by year-end and will continue to add new capabilities over the next five years.

Beatriz “Betty” Manetta

President & CEO

July/Aug/Sept 2012

• Continue grow cycle of cell-based Distributed Antenna systems. “We’ve created an engineering and installation group that began serving customers in the northeast region in 2012,” she says. “We expect this to be a $10 million business in three years.”


Negocios Entrepreneurs

Starting his own business was a natural route for Jesus “Chuy” Medrano, CEO of CoCal Landscape. “I ran a large staff with a large portfolio of accounts and I loved being in charge and being held accountable, so if I’m going to do it for someone else, why not do it for me?” he says.


Hispanic Executive


Forging a New Path · L AND SCAPE M A INTENA NC E

Jesus “Chuy” Medrano grew up tending cornfields and apple orchards. As the son of farmers, each day was spent outside and it wasn’t until he was trying to find his footing in the world, first working in a factory and then working construction, that he realized his true calling was rooted in the thing he knew best—the great outdoors. Despite having no experience in the industry, Medrano decided to apply for a landscaping job. His reasoning: It was close enough to farming, so why not give it a shot? It’s a good thing he did because that first landscaping job sent Medrano on a path that would eventually lead him to forming CoCal Landscape, his family-run landscaping company that generated $11 million in 2011.

as told to Tina Vasquez


Servicing the Front Range of Colorado CoCal Cares 303.531.6930

J. (Chuy) Medrano

Photo: Tomas Serrano

President and Founding Member

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Negocios Entrepreneurs

“There is no other profession that allows you to beautify the world while helping the environment at the same time.” Jesus “Chuy” Medrano


I struggled with my decision to leave the company I was working for. I knew I’d be leaving

behind a steady salary to enter the unknown, but I wanted to move up in the company and I couldn’t do that without a college degree. Without that piece of paper, I’d always hit a wall. I decided to start my own company knowing that if CoCal didn’t succeed, I was young enough to find another job and take a different route. Thankfully, with hard work, the company was able to sustain itself. I was confident I could run my own business because I’d been successfully running someone else’s. I ran a large staff with a large portfolio of accounts and I loved being in charge and being held accountable, so if I’m going to do it for someone else, why not do it for me? Now, one of my greatest joys is training and preparing others for success. At one point CoCal had nearly 500 employees and to me, that meant we were giving 500 people the opportunity to provide for their families. We promote from within and being able to advance a crew member


Hispanic Executive

to different levels and assist them in being successful is very fulfilling. CoCal has always been somewhat of a trendsetter. When my partner and I started the company in 1993 we knew we wanted to change the regular business model, which had service contracts lasting from April to October. Our contracts featured five additional months of service for one base rate and

at the time that was unheard of, but now almost half of our accounts are 12-month contracts and all of the other landscaping companies in the area have followed suit. We’ve done many things over the past 19 years that have differentiated us in the eyes of our customers and our competitors always pick up on it. That’s to be expected and it just pushes us to offer better services. This is

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Jesus “Chuy” Medrano In the next 5 years, Medrano wants to build CoCal Landscape into a $15 million company by growing 7% each year. In order to achieve this goal—and become a greener company in the process—he plans to: • Go green this year. “We have converted our mowing fleet to John Deere propane-powered equipment,” Medrano explains. “By doing this we will have saved over 2 million pounds of CO2 output ... By the end of 2012, we will be a net zero company in our offsets and moving forward into 2013 we will actually be helping the environment,” he says. • Implement, for the first time in the last 10 years, a new marketing campaign. “Last year, we developed a new website and came up with marketing strategies showing how we can and are helping the environment though saving water and recycling green waste,” he says. • Create a paperless human resources and payroll department by utilizing handheld devices for timecards and direct deposit rather than paper checks.

a tough industry; anyone can mow a lawn, so you really have to provide the best customer service and learn to think outside of the box. There’s no denying that Hispanics dominate this industry. Despite our presence, I’d go to national industry meetings only to find that no training sessions were being offered in Spanish. When I was approached to join the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, it didn’t require any consideration and when I was nominated as president, I agreed to take on the role because I believe in what the organization’s mission. We’ve met with a lot of government agencies and shared our insights. There’s half a million Latinos in this industry and we carry a lot of votes, so I know they’re listening to us. My goal is to get every Latino in the landscaping industry to join the Alliance because I believe there is power in numbers and we can make a difference. With landscaping, when you do a job well you can actually see it. The tree you planted 25 years ago is not only still standing, but it’s grown and taken on a life of its own. There is no other profession that allows you to beautify the world while helping the environment at the same time and even after all of these years, I still love what I do.

Entrepreneurs Negocios

When Gui Ponce de Leon decided to start his own business in 1980, he came to accept his success or failure was tied to his bank account. “I realized that as a business owner, in order to succeed, you need that entrepreneurial spirit to endure the ups and downs,” he says.

as told to Jennifer Hogeland

I always knew I wanted to be a consultant, which meant I was comfortable working on my own, but I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. Soon I realized

Simplifying Project Management In 1966, Gui Ponce de Leon came to the United States from Lima, Peru, with the goal of working as a consultant. Four years later, he was introduced to project management, just at the cusp of its acceptance [as a profession in mainstream society]. While interning at Townsend & Bottum, Ponce de Leon decided to start his own consulting business, PMA Consultants, as a subsidiary under the large Michigan contractor. In 1980, he went out on his own, and has since grown his firm into a $40 million company.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

that as a business owner, in order to succeed, you need that entrepreneurial spirit to endure the ups and downs. I started PMA Consultants in 1971, while I was finishing up my PhD at the University of Michigan. In my formative years, I was under the Townsend & Bottum umbrella, so the ups and downs weren’t as big of a deal. I was just a rounding error in their annual billings. In 1980, I decided to go out on my own, and my success or failure was now tied to my bank account. I invariably crashed every four years—I had my first crash in 1984, and another in 1988. It was then that I realized I had to develop a sustainable model for the practice. I began reading books about strategic ways to structure a business and considered a way of thinking that would create a sustainable practice. After four years, I finally had my


Negocios Entrepreneurs

Five-Year Plan Looking ahead with Gui Ponce de Leon The future looks bright for Ponce de Leon’s PMA Consultants. As he continues to grow his company, he plans to: • Make his business venture an enterprise “where more revenue comes from our intellectual property (IP) than from our consultant services,” he says. “Right now, our IP revenues are miniscule, but we are just getting started.” • Train the next generation of COOs to be ready to step into those roles. • Though Ponce de Leon’s company is a primarily a USdomestic consulting practice, “we have a goal of building a global practice with sovereign entities,” he explains. “By using our new risk analyzer tool, NetRisk, globally, I see that being an established business line for us in the future.”

“eureka” moment. When I started the practice, I thought being cutting edge was the recipe for success. After a while, I felt “cutting edge” was not cutting it and that I better go more mainstream. I realized I’d have to outperform my competition, so I set out to do better than everyone else. When these two things combined weren’t creating a sustainable model, I discovered I wasn’t relating to my customers in ways that would build more career-term relationships, rather than one-night stands. I understood this long-term relationship philosophy had to be a distributed DNA. To be effective, I had to embed this value through the enterprise, which gave me the structure on how I organized the firm. Today, we have six different business units, and I respond to critical issues. But I’m blessed to be able to spend the majority of my day innovating. I believe project management is close to becoming a societal skill, as opposed to a professional skill. Life’s a project. You are what you do. Regret-


Hispanic Executive

tably up to this point, project-management tools and techniques have been too complex. If it is going to have any impact on the society at large, project management has to become a lot simpler. In 2004, I took the basic method of project management in a whole different direction, so professionals could be more effective with it, and laypeople could actually use these methods and tools to better perform in their daily lives. I’ve invented the graphical path method and developed software, NetPoint, to trade out the complexity and simplify how we do project management. In my most favorable dream, I see a youngster in a village in Africa pop open his iPad for a project he has to do. He boots up NetPoint to plan his project, never having been to college, yet the program is self-teachable, and he’ll be able to be more efficient and more effective in what he is doing. That is the game changer for me—taking project management into the layperson’s realm.

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Negocios Initiatives, a full-service and one of the leading US hispanic and Latin American digital strategy and advertising agency, with over 12 years of experience and 60+ team members and operations in six different countries: USA, Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela. Full-service hispanic digital strategy and advertising agency: • Digital Marketing Strategy • Digital Communications Planning • Creative & Web Development • SEM/SEO • Media Planning & Buying • Social Media • Mobile Marketing • Political Marketing

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Hispanic Executive

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Sports execs

Scoring Big Jaime Cardenas grew a class assignment into a full-fledged cultural-marketing agency working with top players such as American Airlines and Fox Deportes July/Aug/Sept 2012

Negocios Initiatives



aime Cardenas was a mechanical engineer in Mexico working at the Hanes division of Sara Lee when he relocated to the United States. While in North Carolina, he decided to broaden his skills and his future by attending the MBA program at Wake Forest University. It was there that he took an entrepreneurship course and was challenged with starting a real business. With no marketing experience at all, he and Alfredo Amparan Garza founded AC&M Group, a strategic marketing agency with a focus on soccer and other sports. For almost two years, Cardenas maintained his full-time job while doing marketing and advertising on the side, until 2005, when Cardenas resigned from Hanes and jumped into AC&M Group with both feet. Today, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based agency has 13 employees and boasts a client base including Pepsi, Stanley Black & Decker, American Airlines, and Fox Deportes. HE spoke with Cardenas to get the backstory on some of the most memorable programs AC&M has kicked off.

by Lynn Russo Whylly

Up Close & Personal Getting to know Jaime Cardenas

What do you like to do in your free time? Spend time with my kids. Go to their soccer games and practices. What’s your favorite place to vacation? I like to go to places I’ve never been, take my family there, and have time to relax Do you have a favorite book? Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw; I enjoyed that a lot. That was definitely one I was reading when I decided to come over to the agency full time. Also, Overachievement by John Eliot, PhD, was a good book that helped me in the transition. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A soccer player What’s the one thing about you that our readers would be surprised to know? That I’m a mechanical engineer by trade and I started this agency business with no marketing training or experience


Hispanic Executive

Soaring High with Major League Soccer

In 2011, American Airlines’ (AA) marked its fourth year as the official airline of Major League Soccer (MLS), as well as the sponsors of US soccer and several local teams in its key markets. The airline wanted to reach both the Hispanic community as well as the general market by utilizing the media assets they had at their disposal as a result of these sports partnerships. AC&M developed the overall soccer strategy for AA, then designed the creative, placed the media, and built an online landing page for multiple targets, including soccer families, Hispanic fans, European soccer fans, and general MLS fans. Included in the program was Eurosport, the largest soccer catalog in the United States. “Including a sports catalog as part of a media plan is something that other

agencies might not consider as media, but we took advantage of its extensive network,” Cardenas says. AC&M utilized Eurosport’s database, one million-plus socialmedia fan base, and catalog to market the AA brand, including web banners and co-branding at more than 500 soccer events Eurosport participated in. According to a study released by the Sports Business Journal, American Airlines became the numberone airline among MLS fans, and its efforts exceeded ROI projections for four consecutive years.

“We moved toward the area where we had the most knowledge and passion, and that was soccer. Also, Hispanics are very passionate about sports, so when we talked with clients about Hispanic marketing, there was always a sports element.” Jaime Cardenas

Founder & CEO

Growing Fox Deportes’ Social-Media Presence

For this Spanish-language channel owned by Fox Sports, AC&M created a social-media strategy to grow its Facebook and Twitter communities. The project also included social-media training for Fox Deportes’ on-air talent. For the first six months, AC&M wrote all the social content and trained its internal team. After the transition, the agency monitored and consulted, providing weekly reports and advice on how to improve results. “When we started the project, Fox Deportes’ Facebook page had 12,000 fans; today, it has more than 350,000, and we did it all with zero advertising dollars,” Cardenas says. They also doubled the channel’s Twitter followers and launched fanaticoscongarra. com, an online platform based on social-media insights built for passionate sports fans. Today, Fox Deportes has the largest community of any sports network targeting Hispanics in the United States. Boosting Numbers for Tienda Futbol Mundial

Spanish-language soccer etailer Tienda Futbol Mundial (TFM) wanted to increase web

July/Aug/Sept 2012

traffic and sales. The e-tailer already had a strong database of more than 1.5 million soccer fans (both English and Spanish speaking). AC&M realized TFM had a wide variety of products, “but people generally thought they only had jerseys,” Cardenas says. The agency conducted an in-language program tying e-mail messaging to team loyalty. Prior to key events, AC&M sent out e-mail blasts and ran banners and print ads in partner publications such as ESPN Deportes magazine featuring products of the teams involved in an impending soccer event. When a team won, e-mails would be tailored around gear branded for the winning team. Recently, AC&M began further segmenting e-mails based on team alliance, language preference, age, and gender. saw a direct correlation between sales and targeted e-mail creative.

Negocios Initiatives

Securing the Future

By advocating financial security within his own Hispanic community, Robert Marin has built a solid foundation of success for his Northwestern Mutual Financial Network office by Mark Pechenik


sk Robert Marin what he likes best about his position as field director and financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and he quickly answers: “To me, there is nothing more professionally satisfying than enabling my clients to realize financial security.” A graduate of the University of Illinois in Chicago with a degree in accounting, Marin gained vital experience through accounting and tax work for several Fortune 500 companies. Eleven years ago, he realized his dream of opening the doors to his own Northwestern Mutual office in Schaumburg, Illinois. “Northwestern Mutual enabled me to have my own business and help individuals and business make smart decisions with their money,” he says. HE recently asked Marin to divulge his proven business formula for success.

Building Referrals

“Favorable introductions are essential to starting and growing our type of business,” Marin says. “Nothing is as effective as a client who recommends you to a friend, family member, or colleague. Being a client of Northwestern Mutual as an accountant and remembering how I was introduced and how I introduced others, I’ve sought to build my business through favorable introductions and personal observation.” Of course, such growth is only possible if clients are satisfied with services rendered. And, according to Marin, superior customer service starts with simply listening. “Sitting down and learning who the client is—their personal, professional, and financial goals— establishes a solid working relationship,” Marin says.

As the Hispanic community continues to grow in size and wealth, the need for financial-planning professionals increases as well, says Robert Marin, who has dedicated his career to making a positive impact within his community. “As the earnings potential of Latino families trends upward, effective financial planning is vital to both maintaining and growing their wealth,” Marin says.


Hispanic Executive

photo: Miguel Zuno Jr.

The Big Three Questions

Once a client’s attitudes and goals toward financial security are determined, Marin and his associates encourage consideration of what he calls “the big three questions.” As he explains, “We ask them to consider what would happen to their family’s economic security if they were to die, become disabled, or if they were to live long enough so that they deplete their own life savings.” Marin then works with clients to determine how to meet such eventualities. “We begin by addressing objectives in the near, mid, and long term,” Marin says. “Where would the client

Up Close & Personal Getting to know Robert Marin

What is your favorite pastime? [I] love baseball, especially Chicago White Sox opening day with my son Leo. I also love to golf. Do you have a favorite place to vacation? Australia and New Zealand ... Went for a three-week honeymoon and would love to go back. Domestically, I enjoy skiing in Vail, Colorado. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A professional baseball player Any favorite books? The Runaway Jury; The Pursuit of Happyness

like to be financially within the next three and 10 years? When it comes to retirement, we create a plan where they are able to work because they want to, not because they have to in order to meet needs.” Solutions First, Products Second

Once a financial vision is established, Marin matches specific products with desired financial goals. “Whether it be something like a Roth IRA, mutual funds, annuities, or cashvalue life insurance, we apply effective tools that enable our clients to save and then grow their finances in the most tax-efficient manner possible,” Marin explains. Above all else, he emphasizes, “We never set out to simply sell a product or have it be transactional.” After a plan is in place, Marin’s office helps ensure continued progress through regular meetings with clients. Building Upon Success

Marin has long been an advocate for Northwestern Mutual career opportunities within his own Hispanic community. “There is a growing need for high-level financial-planning professionals like myself within this community,” he says. “As the earnings potential of Latino families trends upward, effective financial planning is vital to both maintaining and growing their wealth.”

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Marin currently employs seven associates, several of whom are also Latinos, who provide financial security to more than 500 clients per year. “This career provides unlimited income, independence, and, most importantly, the ability to impact our client’s financial future,” he says. Within three years, Marin would like to have more than 25 professionals in his organization, and continue making an impact on the financial security of the Latino community. A MESSAGE FROM Dulcelandia Candy Stores Dulcelandia Candy Stores are known for their trademark candyfilled walls, candy towers, and customized murals showcasing Mexico’s many traditions such as the breaking of piñatas and the creation of chocolate by ancient Mayans. Dulcelandia offers over 1,000 Mexican and American confectionery products and provides the largest selection of piñatas. Dulcelandia is the leading source for imported candy from Mexico, including sweet and spicy flavors. Dulcelandia is the largest retail and wholesale distributor of Mexican candy in the Midwest offering a variety of flavors such as guava, coconut, mango, and spicy “roasted chicken,” peachflavored lollipops, called “Pollito Asado.”

Negocios Initiatives

As a Northwestern Mutual Financial Representative you can make a difference in people’s lives and fulfill your potential. Opportunities await. Robert Marin Field Director (847) 969-2520

05-3040 Š 2012 Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities) and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, and member of FINRA and SIPC. Roberto Marin, Insurance Agent(s) of NM. Roberto Marin, Registered Representative(s) and Investment Adviser Representative(s) of NMIS.

Initiatives Negocios

On His Game Oscar Allain of Octagon keeps clients such as Allstate ahead of the competition with creative, multicultural sports marketing by Julie Schaeffer


Sports execs

here was a time when Puerto Rico-native Oscar Allain had his heart set on becoming a priest. His dream job changed, however, when he watched his first World Cup in 1986. “I envisioned myself working in the business of soccer, with different roles at different times—i.e. running soccer tournaments, designing Adidas uniforms, or running even FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] at one point,” Allain recalls. “Needless to say, my current job gives me more than I could have ever bargained for on this end.” Allain now works as account director for multicultural marketing at Octagon, a global thought leader in passion-based sports and entertainment marketing. “No other company does what we do in terms of consulting, event management, and extending sports-marketing events beyond stadium grounds,” he says. And the experience Allain’s team offers clients such as Allstate and Castrol is unprecedented. Here, Allain breaks down the company’s marketing efforts behind its successful Allstate campaign.

Business and pleasure have proven to be a great combination for Oscar Allain, who brings his love for sports to work with him as account director for multicultural marketing for Octagon.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Negocios Initiatives Up Close & Personal Getting to know Oscar Allain

How has your passion for soccer shaped you? My passion for soccer is a way of connecting with my heritage. Although I was born and raised in Puerto Rico (where soccer is just becoming popular), I am also of Peruvian descent as both of my parents are from Peru. I grew up with soccer as a way to communicate with my culture. Has it also helped you professionally? It’s led to a career. I obtained an MBA from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut with the goal of working my way into sports marketing. I made progress toward that goal in 2005, when Octagon hired me as a research manager, and again in 2007, when I assumed my current role as account director for multicultural marketing. What is your hidden talent? By memory, I can provide scores for any World Cup game since 1930. It’s a talent I’ve developed over the years from looking at World Cup scores for hours and drawing up probability formulas as a hobby. I even have some friends in the industry who like to quiz me every time they bump into me.

Cross-Audience Campaign

As an example of the type of work his team spearheads, Allain points to Allstate’s recent renewal of its Mexican National Team sponsorship, as well as its new sponsorship of the US national team and Major League Soccer. “As a team, we (Allstate, Octagon, and other agencies) had to figure out how we would approach the audiences of each of those three properties, since they’re not one and the same,” says Allain. “Would it be a campaign for all soccer fans or a purely Hispanic approach?” Protection seemed to be the message Allain wanted to get across. “We wanted to continue working under an umbrella that spoke of protection in an authentic way and a manner that resonated well with the consumer,” says Allain. “So it made sense to continue pushing the Protection is our Game or Protección es la Jugada campaign as it translated well with all three audiences.” Logging On

Allstate’s surround-sound advertising efforts, which include television, online and more, also help engage consumers that are passionate about the sport and the Mexican National Team.

A Small Vehicle Can Take Your Message to a World-Wide Audience...

Building on their relationship with team goalkeeper Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, Allstate developed commercials in 2010 showcasing its Protección es la Jugada [campaign] in unique ways. Additionally, through the creation of the website, Allstate engages consumers online with different activities related to the Mexican national soccer team. Visitors can peek into goalie Ochoa’s locker, select their favorite colors for a virtual soccer ball, design their own soccer balls, and create unique soccer chants. Last year, consumers were even able to interact with Luís Roberto Alves, known as “Zague,” (a retired forward for the Mexican National Team) via his blog and Twitter account. Community Events

Allain explains the on-site experience Octagon offers customers of clients such as Allstate is like no other. The Octagon team, for example, arrives several days before each soccer match to hold a community event where Allstate surprises a team in need with a clinic from a soccer legend and equipment donation. On the day of the game, Allain and his team continue in that vein, giving fans the chance to interact with a soccer legend.

“The Leader in Promotional Merchandise” Corporate Apparel and Promotional Products Contact:

Barry Henson (407) 629-6655


Hispanic Executive

Initiatives Negocios By pinpointing the specific needs of clients and tailoring services that deliver exactly what they want, Tania Calderon keeps guests coming back to Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

Marketing High-End Destinations Being creative and in tune with the needs of Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s members has helped Tania Calderon, director of product and marketing strategy, create unforgettable packages for guests by Tina Vasquez

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Negocios Initiatives


ell before joining Wyndham Vacation Ownership as director of product and marketing strategy, Tania Calderon was a creative writer who fancied herself quite talented—until a history professor told her she was a good researcher whose writing was shrouded in “purple prose,” meaning she was perhaps a little too creative. After an eye-opening internship at a nonprofit performing-arts organization, Calderon’s passion shifted and she developed a love of marketing, which allowed her to channel her creativity in a different way. In her position at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Calderon has found the perfect gig: a creative role that allows her to develop and market a product she can personally relate to. As a person who spent many a summer vacation driving to historical sites with her family, being able to work on successful initiatives and facilitate vacations for others makes her job all the sweeter.

After joining the Wyndham team and working on other owner initiatives, Calderon had the opportunity to develop an upper-tier ownership opportunity for Club Wyndham Plus members interested in staying in the most luxurious of rooms. Club Wyndham Presidential Reserve offers upscale and enhanced services, as well as exclusive access to luxurious suites at participating resorts. “By pinpointing the unique vacation attributes valued by upper-tier owners, we were able to tailor special touches and services that would specifically appeal to them,” Calderon says. The Avenue Collection

When Calderon was challenged to help owners who wanted to explore the fast pace and excitement of vacationing in a more urban environment, she turned to the city for inspiration. Operating under the belief that those looking to vacation in the city were seeking out different things, Calderon assisted in the creation of The Avenue Collection. “On the avenue,


Hispanic Executive

and in the heart of it all” was the clever tagline that accompanied the initiative and for those wanting to explore major cities and all of the museums, restaurants, and nightlife options they have to offer, it proved to be the perfect and sexy anecdote to the more relaxed vacation options that had been traditionally offered. The successful initiative was a result of properties that had been acquired in larger cities, like San Francisco and New Orleans. “We really responded to owner requests to stay within walking distance of all the city had to offer, so The Avenue Collection resorts were a wonderful and in-demand vacation option,” Calderon says. “I feel like we recognized a need and we really delivered.”

Where are your parents from and where did you grow up? My parents were born in Cuba and I grew up in Miami, which was an amazing experience. I had friends from all different backgrounds and cultures. I was able to go to quinceañeras, bar and bat mitzvahs, as well as sweet sixteens. What is something people would be surprised to know about you? My father is now retired, but when I was growing up he was a dentist and every school vacation I’d work in his office with my mom. I’d literally have my hand in people’s mouths. I actually considered being a dentist, but I didn’t have the passion for the profession that my dad did. What is your favorite vacation spot? The one I haven’t explored yet. It’s where I haven’t been that I want to go to first.

initiatives. “At each place I’ve gone, I’ve taken what I’ve learned and I’ve brought their best practices with me,” Calderon says. “I’ve been with Wyndham six years,

but I’m still amazed at their capacity to let me innovate. We’re constantly looking at our products and approaches and figuring out how to make them more relevant.”

Drawing From Past Experiences

Before joining Wyndham, Calderon had the opportunity to market companies in a variety of industries, from retail to nonprofit, and she brings that experience to each project, finding creative ways to get to the heart of each of Wyndham’s new

Tania Calderon was named a Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever by the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility in 2011.


Club Wyndham Presidential Reserve

Up Close & Personal Getting to know Tania Calderon


July/Aug/Sept 2012




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Enhancing our World Class Information Technology and Business Leadership


Negocios Stepping Stones

As a student attending the University of Illinois—Chicago, Ruiz was looking for some part-time work to help supplement the costs of his education. Besides pursuing his pre-law criminal justice degree, Ruiz did what so many other men his age do when looking for a good paying job—he went to apply for a job at UPS, and eventually was hired to work as a part-time loader. After graduation, he continued to work part time at UPS along with a handful of full-time jobs elsewhere, waiting eagerly for an opportunity to become a full-time driver for UPS. “I remember my dad saying ‘Let me get this straight—I sent you through college and now you want to be a truck driver?’” Ruiz recalls.

A Dream Delivered

Driven by a strong work ethic, David Ruiz has worked his way up from package handler to an abundance of national and global roles for UPS by Tricia Despres


Hispanic Executive




rowing up in the South Side of Chicago, David Ruiz was one of a number of inner-city boys and girls that, despite dreaming big, had odds stacked up against them. Ruiz learned the value of hard work from his father, a Mexican immigrant, who worked 70-hour weeks at a local juice factory to provide for his family. However, there were a number of people who recognized Ruiz’s chispa. One of those people was his eighth-grade teacher, who often sent Ruiz to Saturday detention for extended schoolwork and an occasional basketball game in the gym. Even as a young boy, Ruiz took to heart those lessons in hard work, discipline, and paying for the consequences of one’s actions. These lessons later helped guide Ruiz through a 33-year career climb within the same company—a rare feat in today’s corporate world. Starting out as a package handler and successfully moving up through a slew of national and global roles for United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), Ruiz says he is keenly aware of the importance of mentors throughout his life and now is focused on paying it forward for someone else.

Stepping Stones Negocios In addition to his duties, Ruiz (center right) is active in many professional associations and regularly attends industry events, such as the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida meeting at the Orlando MCO Airport, hosted by UPS.

With his wife and daughter by his side, Ruiz would spend 2005 getting acclimated to his new position in Europe, overseeing more than 28 countries for UPS. “Being there really allowed me to see diversity quite differently,” he says. “Whether we look at someone by their race or gender, it was different over there. It was as if they saw and truly understood the strength of diversity. It was an eye-opening experience, both personally and professionally.”

Promoted again to the division level of the company, Ruiz encountered a possible relocation for the first time in his career, eventually being transferred to South Florida to continue on his managerial path. “I remember telling my dad that I had been promoted,” Ruiz says. “He was a man who moved to a country where he didn’t know the language. Yet, he found a job and made a home for his family. Seeing my career begin to take off made him very pleased. He would always say, “This is a good thing … go for it.”



Ruiz got his first shot at a fulltime management position in 1985, working within UPS’ engineering department at 1400 S. Jefferson St. in Chicago. “I was still pretty young and hungry,” Ruiz explains. “I would show up at my office at 6 a.m. in the morning ready to work.” Four years later, he would be promoted to a manager position in the Chicagoland area.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Ruiz was named president of UPS—Mexico and says he enjoyed his time there helping others. “I loved being able to create opportunity for the people there,” he says. “It gave me, and my extended family, a real sense of pride.”


Today Today

Named president of the Florida District in 2010, Ruiz now oversees nearly 13,000 employees and over one million packages each and every day. His current role includes overseeing day-to-day operations, community activities, and working with major customers. Ruiz also keeps busy staying active in a number of organizations like the United Way, Hispanic Chamber, the Hispanic National Bar Association, Urban League, National Council of La Raza, and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. “I think growing up in a diverse community has helped me countless times throughout my career,” says Ruiz. “I have always strived to have a large impact on the community, and I think UPS as a company accomplishes this in a multitude of ways. Yet, the best title I will ever have is that of a parent. It’s always about creating a good foundation, and striving to do your best in each and every situation.”


Negocios Stepping Stones



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Stepping Stones Negocios

Finding “The One”

Starting out as a part-time receptionist, Lupe Fernandez worked her way up to president of Entrust One Facility Services, Inc. by Lynn Russo Whylly

When she first started working at Entrust One, the company outsourced most of its administrative, human resources, and payroll/accounting functions. Fernandez helped to put procedures in place to make things go smoother and faster, including paying payroll taxes, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. “We increased our cash flow to such a degree that, within the next several years, we experienced 15 to 25 percent growth each year.” She was also instrumental in increasing employee retention by working with the executive team to develop and launch various training programs and promoting staff members from within.


s the daughter of day laborers, Lupe Fernandez’s childhood was spent in many places before the family returned to El Paso, Texas, where Fernandez was born and where she graduated from high school in 1989. Her parents instilled in all eight of their children the importance of education, and after high school, Fernandez attended Richland Community College, where she got her associate’s degree in science. Soon after, she attended the National Education Center in Dallas and later the New Mexico State University at Las Cruces. “My parents had a limited education and they wanted us to have what they couldn’t,” Fernandez says. “They put a high premium on the value of education and, as a result, all eight of us went to college. Now, I’m a big advocate of education as well. My husband and I contribute to an annual college scholarship for Stars on the Rise for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and to the scholarship funds of various schools.”

July/Aug/Sept 2012




While in college, Fernandez started working part time at Entrust One Facility Services, Inc. in Dallas, which provides premium commercial-janitorial services focusing on green cleaning that extends beyond the traditional functions of an outsourced janitorial-service provider. The owner, Aaron Liverpool, who founded the company in 1983, was looking for a bilingual receptionist. “I wanted to do something glamorous in New York and was going to move out there and live in a high rise,” she recalls. “I thought I would take this job for the experience and keep looking. I never left.”


Negocios Stepping Stones

During her first six years at the company, Fernandez continued to work toward her bachelor’s degree in business administration while working full time.


The company had a client in Dallas that was moving to Oklahoma and Entrust One was asked to take on the janitorial responsibility for that office. This fueled the company’s launch into the Oklahoma market, where it now has more than 200 employees. A similar thing happened in Colorado in 2008, where a Dallas customer asked Entrust One to start handling the cleaning of its Denver office.


Next, Fernandez helped develop and implement a strategic plan, including targeting specific markets Entrust One wanted to go after, such as private schools and hospitals and medical facilities. “Being choosy helped our growth, and I played a part in developing what that would be,” she says.


Hispanic Executive


Entrust One has grown from 24 employees and one location to more than 500 employees and three locations since Fernandez started. Annual billings for the company also increased from $3 million in 1991 to close to $15 million in 2011. Despite the change and growth, Fernandez still looks forward to going to work. “Sometimes you find what you’re looking for before you even know what you are looking for,” she says. “Many people go though many jobs before they find ‘the one;’ I was lucky to find the one immediately. Or maybe the one found me.” In five years, Fernandez “would like to see myself running a national company that has 1,000 employees and $25 million in sales. We have a good group of people and everything we need to be successful. We just need to continue to grow.”


Giving back to the community is in Fernandez’s DNA. In her early 20s, she was a “big sister” with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She is a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is very active in her church. While on the Building Owners and Managers Association International’s (BOMA) membership committee, Fernandez and another cochair helped launch BOMA’s young professionals group, to help get younger professionals into the commercial real-estate industry and provide them with networking and educational opportunities.


keeping score In the adrenaline-charged sports industry, stamina and a desire to win are essential attributes of any top player—even if they’re not professional athletes. Today, the business side of sports can be as competitive and tough a game to endure as any played in a court, field, or ring. Hispanic Executive chats with eight successful sports executives about the unique dynamics, challenges, and rewards of working in this niche market.

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Philadelphia Phillies

Los Angeles Dodgers

Pac-12 Enterprises

Fox Deportes

Orlando Magic

Cardenas Marketing Network

ESPN Deportes

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Home Run Heritage Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rubén Amaro Jr. continues to hit it out of the park for the team as Major League Baseball’s only Latino general manager interview by Aaron Mays

efore his days in minor and major baseball leagues, Rubén Amaro Jr. was a high school soccer star. However, Amaro kicked aside those aspirations once he fell in love with baseball. It was a natural fit given the former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder is a third-generation baseball player—his grandfather played professionally in Cuba and Mexico and his father was once an infielder for the Phillies. Amaro Jr. continues his family’s baseball legacy off the field as the general manager (GM) for the Phillies—the only Latino currently serving as a Major League Baseball (MLB) GM and only the second Latino to serve in this role in MLB’s history. Here, Amaro Jr. discusses his climb from the clubhouse to the front office.


Why baseball? Believe it or not, I was born into it. My grandparents—both my grandfather, Santos, from Cuba, and my grandmother, Josefina, from Mexico—played baseball competitively. Santos was a hall of famer in Mexico and a great player from Cuba, but they met in a tournament. I think my grandmother was a catcher for a women’s baseball team. I guess in a lot of ways I wanted to follow my dad’s footsteps. First, I wanted to be a doctor, then a veterinarian, and then I wanted to be a lawyer. But once I started “batboying” and watching what life was like at the majorleague level for the Phillies, I think that was the impetus for me to put my eggs in that basket. And I was very lucky. I tried to believe


Hispanic Executive

that I could will it to happen. And in some ways, obviously, it worked, but I can’t say it enough that I’m really one of the lucky ones. During high school, you served as the Phillies’ batboy for three seasons. What are some of your most memorable moments from those days? I was not the official batboy when the Phillies won the World Series in 1980; I was actually just a helper. But, I just got a chance to be around. It was during a golden era for the Phillies. I mean most of the players who were successful in that era were players who came from the system: Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Bob Boone. By and large, a lot of these guys were Philadelphia

Phillies homegrown. Others were added— like Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, and Gary Matthews—to put the team altogether. That core group was the backbone of the organization, which was the goal when [former Phillies GM] Ed Wade took over in ’97 ... He hired me to get homegrown players to be their core players and build around them with the Jim Thomes of the world and the Kevin Millwoods at the time. Can you talk about your duties as GM? More than anything else, we’re the head of the baseball department. Typically, it’s the one that people see, talk, and opine about the most. But, what I’ve learned about this job is that not one person can do it. And you’re only as good as the people that work around you. There are four major facets of what we do: scouting, play development, your major-league club, and media. Scouting, both amateur and international scouting, and bringing talent into the system is probably the biggest and most important part of what an organization is all about. Player development is a major part of it, as well, and being able to assess those players and to advance them appropriately. You also have your major-league club and the performance you hope to achieve with their abilities and their contributions. The fourth is media. You must be cognizant of it and be able to get your message out. For me, I’ve been fortunate in that the people I’ve been able to hire in each one of those areas are very competent and very good. I think that’s the reason why we’ve had some success. The MLB has a significant number of players who are Latino. But the number of Latinos in the front office is slim. How do you

Philadelphia Phillies

Like father, Like Son (top) Rubén Amaro Sr. paved the way for his son as an infielder for the Phillies in the 1960s; (bottom) A third-generation baseball player, Rubén Amaro Jr. (shown here batting in 1993) started out as an outfielder for the team before moving to the front office.

Rubén amaro jr.

KEY stats:

7 number of seasons played 1998 year Amaro cofounded Richie

Photos: philadelphia phillies

Ashburn-Harry Kalas Foundation 16 number of home runs

attract more people, particularly players of color, to consider the business side of baseball? I think it has to work both ways. I think that not only does the industry have to push from the top down, but there has to be a push from the bottom up. I think there’s a timidity to take a job or to get involved in the front office. Typically, players who play will stay on the field. Not very often will they have the aspiration to want to work in the front office. I wish that some of the guys who would normally take the route to try to become a coach or a manager, that they would consider the route

July/Aug/Sept 2012

100 RBIs [Run Batted In] 0.235 batting average 2009 year inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

to become a scout and to move through the ranks that way. However, it just doesn’t happen all that often. The MLB celebrates Roberto Clemente Day. When you think of Clemente, what does he represent to you? I am actually sitting in my office looking at a stamp of Roberto Clemente from several years ago that I had framed. My brother is a little bit older so he remembers him as a player better than me, but I have a great deal of respect [for] what he brought to the game—the energy, the passion, his commu-


nity service. All those things that he brought to this game embodies why I’m proud to be Latino or Hispanic. In a lot of the ways that Jackie Robinson paved the way for AfricanAmericans in Major League Baseball, there are a lot of similarities between what Roberto Clemente meant to the Hispanic community. You have always given a lot of your time and support to your players. Outside of the clubhouse, how do you give back to others? My biggest thing is about the kids. I am a father of young kids myself. And there’s nothing more important to the welfare of our country and our world than the well-being of our kids. I truly believe we can change their lives. I’m on the board of the YMCA in Philadelphia. I’m also involved and was one of the cofounders of the Richie Ashburn-Harry Kalas Foundation. Most of the [organizations that I volunteer with] are geared toward families and kids. I have a big place in my heart to be able to impact children in a positive way. The Phillies lost against the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series. It was a major triumph for your team to make it there—and your first World Series as a general manager. What is the biggest lesson that you took away from that game? It was disappointing, but I remember sitting in the Yankees stadium and thinking to myself [that] this is pretty amazing that we got an opportunity to get back here. If we can continue to do this over a course of time, I hope we will break through and do it again. I guess the lesson learned is that winning is extremely hard. You have to have a lot of great karma and have the ball roll the right way for you; there’s a lot of luck involved. I’m hopeful that we can get back there again and to get another opportunity to wear a [World Series] ring. A MESSAGE FROM PECO

We put our energy into diversity. At PECO, we celebrate diversity by supporting and promoting the activities of our six employee network groups, whose members volunteer hundreds of hours to help create a community where every individual is valued and respected. PECO is proud to support Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Rubén Amaro, Jr., one of the Philadelphia region’s most noted and admired leaders. We applaud his commitment to diversity, and for his support and involvement in the community. Find out more at

© PECO Energy Company, 2012


Hispanic Executive

PECO and the Phillies have been longtime partners and share the vision of improving public access to community programs and providing better opportunities for our local youth. As one of the Greater Philadelphia region’s most-active corporate citizens, PECO provides about $5 million in grant support annually to numerous educational, environmental, arts and culture, and community-development organizations. Company employees volunteer thousands of hours of time and talent each year as board members and volunteers in their communities. A MESSAGE FROM Turkey Hill For over 81 years, Turkey Hill has been delivering quality products. From our humble beginning as a family dairy to our rapid growth and expansion, our priority has always been quality. Turkey Hill has been the official iced tea and ice cream of the Philadelphia Phillies since 2004.

Felicidades a

Rubén Amaro, Jr. de parte de tus amigos en Turkey Hill

“Fernandomania” remains one of the greatest moments both in Dodger history and in American baseball history. Celebrating the legacy of the Dodgers’ Hispanic players, past and present, and the team’s commitment to diversity – an LA tradition!

Stepping Up to the Plate Los Angeles Dodgers’ senior vice president and general counsel Santiago “Sam” Fernandez serves his favorite team by catching any legal curve balls

Los Angeles Dodgers

santiago “Sam” fernandez

KEY stats:

29 years with the Dodgers so far 1988 year Dodgers won the World

Series since Fernandez joined

6 positions held with the team


Hispanic Executive

1980 year graduated from University

of California, Hastings College of the Law

2 number of employers during legal career

“I’ve been a Dodgers fan since 1963, and I love sports; but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would have the privilege of being the general counsel for my favorite baseball team and to have the job for as long as I’ve had it.” Santiago “Sam” Fernandez Senior Vice President & General Counsel

PHOTOs: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers

interview by Ruth E. Dávila

antiago “Sam” Fernandez landed a dream job with the Los Angeles (LA) Dodgers just four years out of law school. While he never would have guessed that it would lead to a three-decade career with the Dodgers, today he is the senior vice president and general counsel for one of the nation’s most beloved baseball teams. As a testimony to his work, in 2009 the Association of Media and Entertainment Council named Fernandez Sports Counsel of the Year. Fernandez, who was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1960, praises the Dodgers for their many feats, including having helped launched baseball into a truly international sport. In addition to boasting a rich history in social change, the team has played exhibition games in other countries, including China. It also hosted the 1984 Olympic baseball games and the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Fernandez shares with us why he serves the game-changing sports team with such pride.


What makes the LA Dodgers special to you? It’s not just because of the six World Championships and all of the other successes that the team has had on the field for more than 120 years, but because of the impact that the Dodgers have had on society as a whole. By signing Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers broke baseball’s color barrier and, in so doing, made it possible for many other talented players of all races and nationalities to play Major League Baseball—players such as Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo, and Chan Ho Park, just to name a few. What the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson did together had a profound impact on this country and I believe helped pave the way for the civil rights movement. That, alone, makes the Dodgers special in my mind. Growing up, did you have any inkling that you would end up at one of the world’s most respected baseball organizations? I’ve been a Dodgers fan since 1963, and I love sports; but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would have the privilege of being the general counsel for my favorite baseball team and to have the job for as long as I’ve had it.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Do you have advice for others aspiring to enter this field? If you want to work for a team or a league, try to gain experience in the areas of employment law, intellectual property, sales and marketing, and interactive media. Those areas are critically important to the business now, and will become even more important in the future. Finally, if you know a second language, such as Spanish, that will also be very helpful, especially in baseball. What are your main spheres of work? I am responsible for all of the organization’s legal affairs. I also oversee the human-resources department. Over the years, I have negotiated and drafted contracts with broadcasters, sponsors, concessionaires, players, unions, and vendors. I’ve worked on numerous licensing agreements for the use of the club’s marks and other intellectual property, and on rental agreements for the use of the stadium for concerts and films. I am responsible for all litigation matters, and have actively participated in the resolution of many insurance defense cases and workers’ compensation claims.

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Auditing & Professional Consulting Services Auditing, Consulting and Financial Accounting of revenue streams related to license fees, royalty payments and retransmission consent fee. As general counsel for one of the greatest baseball teams in the country, Fernandez enjoys special perks, including being in the clubhouse when the team won the 1988 World Series. “Those are the moments that make the job special,” he says.

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Which achievements go down in your personal Hall of Fame? I’ve been directly involved in projects such as the acquisition and construction of the Dodgers’ training facility in the Dominican Republic and of the spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona. I’ve served on the board of directors of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. and on various other Major League Baseball committees. But, if I had to pick only one accomplishment of which I am the most proud, it would be the creation of the Dodgers’ legal department in 1983 and of the support that our department has been able to provide to all of the other departments in our organization throughout the years. Of all the benefits of being a sports lawyer, which one knocks it out of the park? Being in our clubhouse when we won the 1988 World Series is the type of experience that most other law yers will never have. Those are the moments that make the job special. The next best thing about being an in-house sports lawyer is the very broad range of projects on which you get to work. The chance to work in different areas of the law, and many times with out-

side counsel who specialize in those areas, is always interesting and rewarding.

• International Cable & Satellite

Off the field, what are your greatest passions? I love to read and to play my guitar. As [German philosopher Friedrich] Nietzche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” I would say the same is true about books. I read everything from the classics to thrillers to nonfiction, but I generally do not read sports books. I read plenty about sports while I’m at work.

• US Cable & Satellite Network

Do you have any particular philosophies or axioms you live by? Own your work. No matter what you’re doing, take full responsibility for it and do it to the best of your ability. If it’s something that you do repeatedly, don’t assume that what was good enough before will be good enough again. Always look for ways to improve your work product. Also, give every task the attention that it deserves. Even filling out a form can get you in trouble if you don’t bother to read it carefully. At press time, the winning bidders for the LA Dodgers were identified as Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson.

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Hispanic Executive

Celebrating Leadership in the Business of Sports Greenberg Traurig joins Hispanic Executive in recognizing Art Marquez for his leadership, vision and focus on excellence. Congratulations, Art. We are proud to call you a friend. ALBANY | AMSTERDAM | ATLANTA | AUSTIN | BOSTON | CHICAGO | DALLAS | DELAWARE | DENVER | FT LAUDERDALE | HOUSTON | LAS VEGAS | LONDON* LOS ANGELES | MEXICO CITY+ | MIAMI | NEW JERSEY | NEW YORK | ORANGE COUNTY | ORLANDO | PALM BEACH COUNTY | PHILADELPHIA | PHOENIX SACRAMENTO | SAN FRANCISCO | SHANGHAI | SILICON VALLEY | TALLAHASSEE | TAMPA | TEL AVIV^ | TYSONS CORNER | WASHINGTON, D.C. | WHITE PLAINS

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The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and our experience. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2012 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Contact: Cesar Alvarez in Miami at 305.579.0500 or Barbara Meili in New York at 212.801.9200. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. *Operates as Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP. +Operates as Greenberg Traurig, S.C. ^Operates as a branch of Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Florida, USA. 13967

Cable Network’s MVP With the NFL and MLB launches under his belt, Art Marquez takes on his third start-up venture with PAC-12 Enterprises

interview by Julie Edwards

he sixth child of nine siblings by Mexican immigrant parents, Art Marquez grew up in the small town of Commerce outside of Los Angeles never thinking he would be jet-setting with celebrities one day. “We didn’t have much, but my dad worked hard and my mom was a good household manager, so we never wanted for any necessities,” Marquez says. “But, the best gift I received from my parents was a desire to succeed.” And that desire has been more than realized. As the current senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for Pac-12 Enterprises, Marquez heads the affiliate sales and marketing team for his third major-cable network start-up, a position he has held since January 2012. Marquez dishes on what it takes to succeed in the super-competitive sportsindustry arena, the importance of knowing when to jump, and making multimillion-dollar deals.


Did you want to be involved in the sports field when you were young? Actually, no—I was more interested in politics. In high school, I was student body president, and the student liaison to the school board. I chose to major in political science in college, and spent several years working on campaigns for local Hispanic candidates. In 1984, I became the youngest


Hispanic Executive

city council member in the state of California when I was appointed to serve on the Commerce city council. Sounds like you had a successful career started. How did you make the jump to the sports industry? Having grown up outside Los Angeles, the lure of Hollywood was always present. I really wanted to work in the broadcasting field, but at the time, it was not an easy field to break into as a minority. My college adviser also told me I needed to learn the sales process with people, so I took a job working with the local Cook Ford dealership in sales and, from there, was hired by Cencom Cable. Later, I held positions with CNBC, Univision, NBC Cable, and, in 2003, accepted a position to help launch the NFL [National Football League] Network. So the NFL was your first star t-up venture? Yes, though, at the time, I knew very little about American football, but I knew everything about the cable industry so I was confident I could be successful in the role. I was with the NFL Network for five seasons, and then I was offered a job with the MLB Network, another start-up venture, where I worked until I came to the Pac-12. What attracted you to Pac-12? Well, I wasn’t really looking to leave MLB, but a headhunter contacted me about the position and, with two launches under my belt, it seemed like the time to move onto the next big launch. I liked the energy of

Pac-12 Enterprises the Pac-12 executive team and, of course, the NFL and MLB are league-based sports whereas Pac-12 is a conference and, I feel, the next generation of cable. We have some really unique plans, from regionalized, school-specific broadcasts to all-inclusive access to the network. How has the cable industry changed over the years? The industry has changed a lot. The number of multisystem operators, or MSOs, has shrunk over time through consolidations, which has made it more challenging. Affordable rates are a big issue right now, but I am always able to find a way to work out something that benefits the client and the network.


KEY stats:

3 networks he helped launch (NFL Net-

35 live Pac-12 football games on

work, MLB Network, Pac-12 Networks)

the Pac-12 Networks

6 child in a family of 9 850 live sporting events carried

4 initial cable partners for the Pac-12 Networks, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, and Bright House Networks


annually on the Pac-12 Networks

“I knew very little about American football, but I knew everything about the cable industry so I was confident I could be successful in the role.” Art Marquez Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales & Marketing

July/Aug/Sept 2012

What are your philosophies on partnering successfully with clients? My clients know I have credibility—I never lie to them. If I make a mistake, I live up to it and work through it, being honest and up-front. I also immerse myself in what I do. I study my company, my client’s company, and then I figure out how I can help them. Once I make the sale, I become their partner. Having just started your role with Pac-12, how are you building your team? By hiring people that are smarter than me. I can teach someone all they need to know about the cable-network business, but I want to surround myself with people knowledgeable in sports so I can, in turn, learn from them. What advice would you share with upand-coming professionals in this field? This field can be very glamorous, too— you’re invited to parties with celebrities and f lashy events—but I caution new hires not to become so enamored with the glitz that they lose their focus. Lastly, it’s important to enjoy what you do because if you don’t, it will come across to your clients. How has the field changed for minorities? I have definitely seen more doors open for people. I was very lucky, in my personal experience, to work with companies who looked beyond skin color to recruit great people. The challenge is that once the door is opened, you have to work hard, be a team


player, and your skin color will not matter because you are simply a part of the team. What specific advice do you have for young Latinos in the sports industry? First impressions are very important—you only have a few minutes to sell your product, so you have to always be at the top of your game. It’s not about knowing sports, it’s about proving your worth and demonstrating a dedication that shows you will do what it takes to get the job done. A MESSAGE FROM Cable Audit Associates, Inc Cable Audit Associates, Inc. is a fan of both the Pac-12 Network and of senior vice president of affiliate sales & marketing, Art Marquez. Cable Audit has had the privilege of working closely with Art while he was in his past roles with the MLB and the NFL. Art has demonstrated a consistent high level of professionalism at each juncture of his career. His resolute and passionate dedication to the tasks at hand will surely benefit the Pac-12 Network as it debuts to fans throughout the country. The Pac-12 is an exciting franchise and we know that it will experience great success as it begins to roll out later this summer. CAA shares in your enthusiasm during this very busy time for the Pac-12 Network and we look forward to providing a helping hand. We look forward to working with Art and all of the team at the Pac-12 Network. —Bruce Lazarus, CEO of Cable Audit Associates, Inc. A MESSAGE FROM Telemundo Media Telemundo Media, a division of NBCUniversal, leads the industry in the production and distribution of high-quality Spanish-language content across its multiplatform portfolio to US Hispanics and audiences around the world. Telemundo’s multiple platforms include the Telemundo Network, featuring original productions, news and first-class sports events, reaching US Hispanic viewers in 210 markets through its 14 owned stations and its broadcast and cable affiliates; mun2, the preeminent voice for bicultural Hispanics in the US reaching TV households nationwide on cable and satellite; Telemundo Digital Media, which distributes Telemundo’s original content across digital and emerging platforms including mobile devices, Telemundo. com and; an owned and operated full power station in Puerto Rico reaching 99% of TV households in that DMA; and Telemundo Internacional, the international distribution arm which has positioned Telemundo as the second-largest provider of Spanish-language content worldwide by syndicating content to more than 100 countries in over 35 languages.

Change Agent After becoming the youngest general manager in Chicago TV history, Vincent Cordero moves to Fox Deportes—and the game will never be the same interview by Chris Allsop

incent Cordero, executive vice president and general manager of the US Latino Sports Network, Fox Deportes, always wanted to make a difference in the Latino community. Growing up in the neighborhood of Inglewood in Los Angeles, Cordero was the first of his family to attend college—graduating magna cum laude from UCLA. He envisioned himself making a difference either in the political arena or as a public-service attorney, but while attending the University of Chicago Law School, a fortuitous meeting occurred. Interning for US congressman Xavier Becerra brought him into contact with another idol, Univision’s president at the time, Henry Cisneros. As Cordero describes, “I had an epiphany: Media is the most powerful platform to enact change.” He introduced himself to Cisneros, told him that he had never taken a business class, had no media background, but that he “really believed in Univision and the Hispanic marketplace and that I could make a difference.” Univision took him at his word, calling Cordero in 1999, and offering him a place in their executive training program right after graduation. Five years later, Cordero became vice president and general manager (GM) of the Univision Chicago TV duopoly—the youngest GM in Chicago TV history at 33. In 2010, he returned to his home state of California to take up his new role at Fox Deportes.


Do you enjoy being back home in Los Angeles? It’s great to be home. My family is in LA. My roots are in LA. What did you enjoy most about your time at Univision Chicago? We had a great team, and we grew the station to record ratings, profit, and service highs. We expanded the Univision brand in Chicago from the standpoint of being a Spanish-language station to being the number-one station in the market. We also won 37 Emmy nominations and one Associated Press award during my five years as GM. We grew the brand of the Latino community from niche market to the “new face of Chicago.” We served the community by partnering with city leaders. For example, we partnered with secretary of education Arne Duncan (when he was CEO of Chicago Public Schools) on a series of local education initiatives. It gave us the opportunity to be change agents from a business perspective and service perspective. It was a great time there. What prompted the move to Fox Deportes? News Corporation [which owns Fox Deportes] is a phenomenal organization with

Vincent Cordero is used to rubbing shoulders with powerful players in the media world, such as Roger Aisles, chairman and CEO of Fox News.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Fox Deportes phenomenal people, assets, and a true entrepreneurial spirit—a global company. I was looking for a platform that would allow me to build on the great things that I’d had an opportunity to learn from the people at Univision, to take it to the next level, and News Corporation seemed like the place to do that. It worked out well and, today, I oversee all content and marketing and production for the network, as well as being responsible for the network’s P&L [profit and loss]. Helping me with that is a great team of people who do a great job, day in and day out. Does this job require you to be a huge sports fan? Sports is the ultimate TV-viewing experience. It drives all TV viewing and leads all other genres of programming. I have four favorite sports: NFL, NBA, boxing, and UFC. I grew up playing football and basketball—the competition and teamwork are awesome. And, I have always loved combat. I grew up on boxing. It was the first time I experienced everyone sitting around, experiencing the excitement together. Once the UFC was launched, I became a huge fan fast. There is nothing more simple and direct than combat sports—it’s universal and timeless.

vincent cordero

KEY stats:

What’s giving Fox Deportes the edge over the competition? We are number one in ratings. We have the most live-event hours per year in all Spanish media. Not to mention, we have the biggest events in all of sports, and a mostly exclusive basis: the best of European soccer with UEFA [Union of European Football Associations] and EPL [English Premier League], the best of Latin America Soccer with Copa Lib [Santander Libertadores] and Copa Sud [Sudamerica], the best in combat with Golden Boy boxing and the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship], and the best in baseball with MLB regular season and post-season. We have the most live-sports news hours per year in all Spanish media with the launch of Central Fox—more than 1,200 hours per year. We have the most acclaimed and daring Soccer Talk team in all Spanish media with the launch of La Ultima Palabra (“The Last Word”).


Hispanic Executive

33 age Cordero became the youngest GM in Chicago TV history 1,200+ number of live-sports news hours per year (the most in all Spanish media)

The UFC Cain Velasquez fight was the highest-rated cable event in combat history (around 500,000 viewers). How did you achieve this? We elongated the story arc of the fight, building anticipation before the event with serials focusing on the stories happening behind the event. Leading up to the fight, we had a three-week content and promotional campaign. It worked phenomenally well. We are doing the same thing with UEFA and the Copa Lib.

2011 year named to Most Influential Minorities in Cable list by CableFAX: The Magazine 2 years with News Corporation so far (2010 to present)

What did it mean for you to win the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Next Generation Leader award in 2011? That was a real honor. NAMIC has always communicated that helping ever yone dream big dreams by better reflecting the demographics of the nation is good business. What we do in media matters—we help shape identity and aspiration, and encourage people to realize that the world is theirs if they choose to take it.

Calling the Shots Orlando Magic Roman Vega goes from playing basketball as a kid in Kansas to overseeing the branding game plan for the Orlando Magic interview by Seth Putnam

roman vega PHOTOs: Fernando Medina

KEY stats:

3 years with Orlando Magic 22 number of people Vega leads in

Orlando Magic’s marketing department

2010 year he guides marketing department to the Team Synergy Award

July/Aug/Sept 2012

84 months Vega persevered from the

time he applied to Nike until the time he was hired 8 years Vega spent at Nike, working on projects like the Air Jordan shoe line


hen Roman Vega was growing up in Newton, Kansas, he never imagined he would end up as the vice president of brand management for the Orlando Magic. But thanks to a healthy home environment and an active sports career, he learned how to push himself in the world of business. Now, he helms a 37-person crew and steers one of pro basketball’s hottest teams as they figure out how to present the game’s life lessons to the public. HE sat down with Vega to find out what makes him tick and to trace his journey from his small hometown in the Midwest to the hot seat in Orlando.


To set the stage, what does a typical day look like for you? I oversee three things: Brand management, which consists of interactive marketing, social media, and creative services. It’s like an in-house agency. The second is game and event presentation—the type of music, the dance team, the mascot, the flow, the types of marketing messages you hear. The third is broadcast production, [which consists] of all the video and digital content that’s created in the arena. I’m the “coach.” I have to figure out how to motivate my team, and not everyone is going to be motivated in the same way. That’s the beauty of diversity in the workplace. Being a good manager and a good leader is understanding how to motivate and inspire your employees to do their best work. What role did your heritage play growing up in the Midwest? My parents were second-generation Mexican (and Spanish), so Spanish wasn’t really spoken in our home. I remember going to my great-grandparents’ house, and all they knew was Spanish. I’d ask my parents why [they didn’t speak Spanish], and it was really driven by my grandmother. She was born in Kansas, but her parents were born in Mexico. When she was a young girl, all


Hispanic Executive

the kids made fun of her because she didn’t speak English. She made a vow when she was in sixth grade that her children were going to learn English. Back then it was a stigma. Now, speaking multiple languages is a positive. For me, there were never any issues with racism. I just heard stories from my dad. He grew up in the ’50s, and minorities could only go swimming on certain days in the summer, and then they would drain the municipal afterward. But I was fortunate not to experience anything like that. Did that affect the way they raised you? They instilled a lot of pride. They understood that one of the keys to overcoming discrimination is education. You make sure you set goals for yourself, and you persevere. Growing up in Kansas, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work for Coca Cola or Nike or even a professional basketball team. I think it’s because I had a strong home structure, and not everybody is able to have that, unfortunately. You played basketball in college. Where did your passion for the sport come from? My dad. He was a huge athlete. I started playing competitively when I was five. I’d be practicing out in the driveway, whether

it was winter or summer. But my mom was a hammer in terms of education. The beauty of sports is that there are a lot of life moments that can be taught—but you have to perform in the classroom in order to be able to perform on the court, and my goal was to play college basketball. I still love the game and play as much as I can. And you have an inside look at the professionalism of these basketball players. They play one night, shower, get in the bus, get on a plane, and play the next night. And they do that 82 times. A lot of it is finding the right approach, setting a goal, and pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do. It’s the mental aspect that makes them champions. You’ve also worked for Coca-Cola and Nike—both high-powered companies. What was it like teaming up with Michael Jordan to brand the Air Jordan basketball shoe? Working for Jordan was a great honor. There’s that intensity when he’s staring you down. I remember my first meeting with him, and walking away being hugely impressed with the way he would critique a design. He’s a very shrewd businessman, and he took a lot of pride in the products being developed, because it’s his name on them. There were 118 people working on

that project, and it just showed you what he stands for in terms of excellence. Imagine yourself back in high school, right around the time you were making your decision to play college basketball, and then your decision to pursue an MBA. What would you tell that kid? I speak to a lot of college students, and my biggest thing is daring to live your dreams. They’re not going to be given to you. You have to put the work in. Even if you’re a person of faith, you can’t just pray and pray and pray for it—it’s on you. Set a goal for yourself. You want to be a photographer, basketball player, web developer—whatever it is—you set yourself up for success by plotting a course and choosing avenues as they show up. For me, it was Nike. In 1994, I got a form letter saying they’d keep me in mind if a position opened, and of course never heard back from them. In 2001, I got a call. It took me seven years, and it was worth it. I believe that was the path my life was supposed to take. But again, I was putting in the work. You have the dream, and you have to prepare. Even though things may not work out the way you want and when you want, you have to persevere.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

(top) Describing his role as a “coach” of sorts for the marketing team, Roman Vega excels in motivating his team. (above) As vice president of brand management, Vega ensures the right message is communicated to Orlando Magic’s fans at all times.



Creativity is its own language. Are you speaking it? Hooah! is one of the largest Hispanic-owned agencies in Florida, and is powering the future of multicultural marketing. With a unique experience and background working with companies such as The Orlando Magic and the Department of Defense, Hooah’s creative innovations are changing the way businesses communicate their message to a global audience.

Scan this QR code to Connect or visit

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Hispanic Executive

Bank of America is proud to congratulate Henry Cardenas. Like individuals, businesses are members of the community too. The most extraordinary enterprises take this connection to heart, doing what they can to help their neighborhoods grow. Bank of America is pleased to partner with Cardenas Marketing Network for its active community involvement and appreciation of its important role in advancing the public good.

Visit us at

Š 2011 Bank of America Corporation SPN-101-AD | ARD1J1U2

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Global Player Soccer-enthusiast Henry Cardenas scores big as the head of the company that manages the exclusive commercial rights for the Argentine Football Association featuring Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi interview by Tina Vasquez

hen Henry Cardenas’s family emigrated from Colombia to the United States, he was just a 17-year-old kid who didn’t know a word of English. Decades later, he’s made a major splash in his adopted home of Chicago, leading one of the premiere multicultural-event-marketing companies in the country and forging a partnership with the Argentine Football Association—featuring reigning FIFA Player of the Year and FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi—that can only be described as unprecedented. In the course of his 30-year career, Cardenas has produced more than 100 international soccer games, showcasing some of the world’s most-renowned soccer teams. His company, Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc. (CMN), manages the exclusive commercial rights for the Argentine Football Association through its sports division, CMN Sports. Here, the sports aficionado discusses his love for the game—and the industry.


What is it about sports, and soccer in particular, that drew you in? I’ve always enjoyed kicking the ball around and being a part of a team. I am a very competitive person and I like to win. Soccer is universal; it’s a sport that demands great technical ability, athleticism, and sportsmanship. It’s the number-one sport outside the [United States]. When your national team plays, it’s a very special time because it gives people hope and a great deal of pride. My favorite team has to be the US National Team because I live here and I think it’s one of the rising national soccer teams, but I also like Argentina because of their rich soccer history—and of course because of Lionel Messi.


Hispanic Executive

This year you were inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. What does being an entrepreneur mean to you? Being an entrepreneur means investing in something you believe in and working toward your own goals. As an entrepreneur, the sky is the limit. I believe an entrepreneur must possess discipline, a strong vision, be motivated, and never stop working. You may not see the rewards early, but when they come, there is no better feeling. After spending 16 years at the helm of Cardenas/Fernandez & Associates (CFA), the largest Hispanic music-and-sportsproduction company in the United States,

why did you decide to set off on your own and create CMN? I wanted to launch a venture of my own and help make CMN one of the leading multicultural agencies in the United States. There are many agencies who claim to be experts in the Hispanic market, but they are not. There is an array of cultures within the Hispanic market and they all think differently. CMN understands those cultures because we work and live among them. How did the partnership with the Argentine Football Association come to be and what are your goals for the partnership? Having produced many soccer games in the past, including matches featuring Argentina

“There is an array of cultures within the Hispanic market and they all think differently. CMN understands those cultures because we work and live among them.”

Cardenas Marketing Network

Henry Cardenas President & CEO

henry cardenas

KEY stats:

78, 936 attendance at the Argentina 1,350 number of events produced by

PHOTO: Jorge Gera

vs. USA game at the Meadowlands on March 26, 2011 $44.9 million revenue generated by CMN in 2010

and Mexico, I became acquainted with the heads of federations. I expressed an interest in representing the team in the United States and fortunately, it became a reality. It took many years of hard work, but again, my persistence helped make it happen. I want to bring in more sponsors for them and I’d like to organize at least six matches for them and expand their brand, not only in the [United States] but in other parts of the world as well. Argentina is a very exclusive team with a roster full of top talent and fans of the game really want to see them play.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

CMN in 2011 43 new employees since company’s inception in 2003 7 million miles Henry Cardenas has accumulated on American Airlines

Despite the Latino population in the United States growing steadily each year, Americans seemingly have failed to embrace soccer the way they have other sports. Why do you think soccer has failed to really take off here? I would argue that the sport has made great strides and continues to rise over other sports, such as baseball and hockey, at least in popularity. The average attendance at MLS games continues to rise and because of young, talented players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Javier Hernandez—

who also have great marketing potential— the sport will continue to rise. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and AnheuserBusch would certainly agree. What would you tell a young Latino interested in entering this industry? I would tell them to follow their dreams and to think big, but also carefully. There is a lot of competition out there and it’s important that they have their bases covered. They need to have a solid marketing plan and a good team behind them. Also, I’ve always believed in education and have stressed the importance of it. I hope young Latinos realize that education is the gateway to success. A MESSAGE FROM MetLife Stadium MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and New York Football Giants, sets the standard for venue excellence with state-ofthe-art technology, comfort, and amenities. With a capacity of 82,500, MetLife Stadium is the largest stadium in the NFL, hosting 20 football games per season along with concerts, international soccer matches, and college sporting events.




Hispanic Executive

Bank of America is proud to Negocios congratulate Henry Cardenas. Like individuals, businesses are members of the community too. The most extraordinary enterprises take this connection to heart, doing what they can to help their neighborhoods grow. Bank of America is pleased to partner with Cardenas Marketing Network for its active community involvement and appreciation of its important role in advancing the public good.

Visit us at

Š 2011 Bank of America Corporat SPN-101-AD | ARD1J1

July/Aug/Sept 2012


AAA-730 Henry Cardenas AD_FINAL:Layout 1 1/25/12



on your continued success.


So when your future comes you’ll be ready

MetLife Stadium would like to congratulate Henry Cardenas and the entire Cardenas Marketing Network staff on their accomplishments. It was a pleasure working with you on the USA vs. Argentina international soccer match in 2011!


For booking, please contact Ron VanDeVeen at 201-559-1559.


Brand Builder General manager Lino Garcia delivers stellar programming to ESPN Deportes’ avid sports fans interview by Javacia Harris Bowser

t was September of 2002 when Lino Garcia first learned that ESPN was preparing to launch a Spanish-language sports network. He was determined to be a part of this new enterprise. “I relentlessly pursued the president of ESPN (at the time George Bodenheimer) until I got the job in June 2004,” recalls Garcia, who is now general manager of ESPN Deportes. “I think I worked harder to get this job than any other job I’ve ever had in my life.” Garcia helped build ESPN Deportes, which launched in January of 2004, from the ground up. Based in ESPN’s New York offices, Garcia is responsible for guiding the network’s day-to-day operations, including programming, sales, and marketing. Sports Illustrated named Garcia one of the 101 most influential minorities in sports in 2004. Prior to joining ESPN, Garcia accumulated 15 years of experience in the cable and satellite industry working for big-name companies such as Universal Television, Sony Entertainment Television, and HBO, focusing primarily on marketing to the Hispanic community.


July/Aug/Sept 2012

I would imagine that working in the sports industry is a lot different from your previous jobs in television. What are some of the unique dynamics of working in this market? Every television job is different and similar at the same time. There are a lot of common threads. I’ve been in situations in the past where I’ve been charged with bringing things from the ground up and developing them at other companies, including HBO, where we were launching a service that back then was called HBO en Español (now HBO Latino). I drew upon that in my job here at ESPN Deportes because I was brought in to launch the network. Before I came to ESPN Deportes, I was general manager of a network in Latin America called the Sony Channel. That was my first general-management experience and I drew on a lot of my previous experience there as well, mostly in marketing and brand building. My job as general manager, as it is now, was essentially to make the network more attractive to advertisers, to affiliates, and to viewers. That’s really my role to make this an attractive brand. So, I learned a lot of things then that I’m applying now. What do you do to make your channel stand out from the other Spanish-language sports networks? We try to do everything better. We try to make sure we’re more creative than the next guy. We look to acquire the right events, some of which everyone is going after, and some others that not everyone is lined up for, but yet we see the value of it and we are able to offer these to consum-


ESPN Deportes

lino garcia

KEY stats:

15 million number of Hispanic TV households ESPN Deportes reaches 45 radio affiliates of ESPN Deportes 22 years Lino Garcia has worked in the cable TV industry

4 Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) Awards Garcia has received 2011 year The Imagen Foundation recognizes Garcia as one of the Most Powerful and Influential Latinos in the Entertainment

“We try to make sure we’re more creative than the next guy … We try to be innovators.” Lino Garcia General Manager


Hispanic Executive

ers and viewers, giving them a satisfying viewing experience. On the production side, we also look to produce more interesting studio shows, created from scratch in some cases or in other cases mirroring ESPN shows that are already on the air. For example, we created Nacion ESPN modeled after ESPN’s Sports Emmy-Award winning, fan-interactive program SportsNation on ESPN2. But then we’ve also created shows from scratch like Futbol Picante, which is a debate show about Mexican soccer that no one was doing before and now, lately, all of our competitors have, in one form or another, a show focused on Mexican soccer. So, we try to be innovators. You said you have never worked as hard to get a job as you did to become general manager of ESPN Deportes. Why was this job so appealing to you? The ESPN brand is a very powerful brand and I think when you work with strong brands it makes the job more interesting, especially if you’re working on projects that take it to the next level—adding even more the brand. Also, the opportunity to serve the US Hispanic market, and in this case underserved US Hispanic sports fans, was also very attractive. What efforts have you made or do you plan to make to increase the minority presence in the business sports arena? We serve the Hispanic marketplace and in order to do that effectively it’s important to have people in our staff who come from the marketplace, who have a point of reference. So, I think employing Hispanics is one of the first things that we’ve done. Overall, as a company we have taken a position where we recognize that diversity is very important for the future success of the company, of ESPN. We actively look to recruit diverse candidates for all our jobs even outside of ESPN Deportes.

A League of Her Own Responsible for ESPN Deportes’ marketing campaigns, Michelle Bella connects millions to the Spanish sports network via multiple platforms interview by Javacia Harris Bowser

here was a time when Michelle Bella, vice president of consumer and ad sales marketing at ESPN Deportes, wanted to be a psychiatrist. But after landing a job with the cable television brokerage firm Communications Equity Associates, Bella knew the media business was where she belonged. She moved on to Century Communications where she worked in public affairs, community relations, and marketing, focusing on serving customers on a local level. Her experience and Spanish-language skills landed her a position at Univision to launch its networks on cable TV and helping cable operators attract Hispanic viewers. After a six-year stint at NBC Universal’s Telemundo, Bella joined ESPN three years ago. Working out of ESPN Deportes’ office in New York City, Bella is responsible for the creation and execution of marketing campaigns for all of ESPN Deportes’ platforms, including ESPN Deportes Television, and several brand extensions on the web, radio, magazine, and mobile devices.


What was your time at Telemundo like? From Univision, I got recruited to go to Telemundo in Florida. They were looking for someone to lead the consumer-marketing department. I ran consumer marketing for three years, yet I was antsy to get back to the Northeast again because I consider this home. There was an opportunity to come up to run ad sales marketing for Telemundo here in New York and so I moved. I feel like I’ve been on almost every side of the marketing desk in Spanish-language television—from affiliate marketing to consumer marketing and then to ad sales marketing at Telemundo, trying to attract agencies and media companies to invest in its networks and platforms. How did you land your job at ESPN? I met Lino Garcia (general manager of ESPN Deportes) 15 years ago when we were both babes in the cable industry. We ran into each other at a couple of conferences. I knew that he spoke Spanish and was doing Hispanic marketing, so I felt like we were on the same career path and I stayed in touch with him. He was looking for someone to come over to ESPN to lead consumer marketing and ad sales marketing here for ESPN Deportes. ESPN is such a great brand and it has such loyalty amongst its fans. I thought, “This is a great opportunity.” So, here I am. Was it a big change transitioning into the sports arena? Yes. What ESPN does so well is that it concentrates strictly on sports and sports fans. I think that singular focus is a huge advantage in a multichannel universe.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


ESPN Deportes

What is it about your personality that makes you good at your job? If there’s one hallmark of television, it’s that there’s always something to promote to the viewer and there’s always something to launch. I love having the challenge ahead of me of launching a new season in a new way or announcing that we have a new show, introducing new talent, starting up a new sports franchise. That keeps me going because it’s interesting. I’m never bored and there’s so much more to do on the social-media front, which we are doing. There are so many cool ways to engage with fans these days. There’s always something to do and I think that that really suits my nature.

What advice would you give to young women and young Hispanics who want to succeed in your industry? Raise your hand when opportunities come up—big or small. Many opportunities are disguised as challenges or problems that need attention. Colleagues and bosses will notice that you are willing to learn, to take on a new assignments, to get the work done—and it will pay off. Even though industry events and conferences take you away from your desk, make time to attend. Be selective with your picks. Once there, don’t be afraid to ask questions, introduce yourself to leaders, [and] learn. It opens up your perspective to the macro issues in your field and the opportunities for growth. Also, your mom is right: integrity, smarts, [and] honesty always win.


Hispanic Executive

michelle bella

Key stats:

20 years Michelle Bella has been in the business

300,000 the number of unique visitors draws each month

5 million people that follow ESPN Deportes on Twitter and Facebook 4 media companies Bella has worked for 3 years Bella has been with ESPN

“I love having the challenge ahead of me of launching a new season in a new way or announcing that we have a new show, introducing new talent, starting up a new sports franchise.” Michelle Bella Vice President of Consumer & Ad Sales Marketing

PHOTO: Lorenzo Bevilaqua

You’ve said that your gender has never been an issue at ESPN, but what efforts do you hope to make to help expand the presence of women in the sports business? Just last night I was talking with my daughter and I was telling her that I want to figure out a way to give back. She goes to an all-girls school and they have a really cool broadcasting program for these girls. And I thought I should be able to bring some people from ESPN. There’s got to be a way we can figure out how we can bring ESPN to young girls to show that there’s a path in sports for girls in television.


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July/Aug/Sept 2012


“By Latinos, For Everyone”

LATINO FASHION WEEK® |LFW| is the only full week and tour dedicated to Latino Fashion in the United States, showcasing top Latino designers from Central and South America, the Caribbean and the U.S. LFW is a multi-day branded entertainment environment providing opportunities for fashion designers and sponsors to come face-to-face with primary celebrities, musical talent, media and consumers. LFW is not just a fashion show. It is a movement. In its sixth year, LATINO FASHION WEEK® will make history by premiering the 2012 Tour with the theme “Images of Fashion.” The tour will include Miami, Dallas, LFW’s hometown of Chicago and will conclude in San Juan. Images of Fashion invites renowned photographers to participate and captivate the tour, both runway and social images that will exemplify the style of the city. LFW principals will identify some of the photographs taken during the tour, to be showcased at the grand finale exhibit Images of Fashion, during Latino Fashion Week in Chicago, at the Zhou B Art Center.

Co-Founders & Principals Arabel Alva Rosales Cesar Rolon Jr.

Join the Movement Miami, May 10-11 / Dallas, August 16 Chicago, October 2-6 / San Juan, November 15


Cultura arts & entertainment

80 Fashionista Irma Mar-

tinez of Trendy Inc. pioneers celebrity styling 84 Live with sports person-

ality Fernando Fiore of República Deportiva

community impact

94 USHCC’s president

Javier Palomarez tells us why investing in Hispanic-owned businesses is money well spent

of Universal Music Latin Entertainment connects brands with consumers 88 Visionary Tomas

Cookman expands the genre of Latin alternative music 90 Emily Simonitsch

brings top Latin musicians, from Maná to Gloria Estefan, to Los Angeles

world view

110 Vinicius da Costa of

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. on streamlining information for company employees 113 Roca Tile Group’s Jorge

98 Led by its first female 86 Gustavo “Gus” Lopez

Beyond the 9 to 5

president, Janet Murguía, the NCLR seeks to make the needs of millions of Hispanics heard 100 Chivas USA’s co-owner

Antonio Cué SánchezNavarro reveals why the soccer team’s number-one goal is not winning a World Cup

Torres on helping the multinational company gain its footing in the US market 116 Elavon’s chief market-

ing officer on why he’s never afraid to make moves

103 Cindy Estrada, vice

president of the UAW, empowers union workers to advocate for their rights 106 Connecticut-based

attorney Ricardo Anzaldua pushes for diversity in the legal profession

July/Aug/Sept July/Aug/Sept 2012 2012 7979

Cultura Arts & Entertainment

Image Maker

St yling a Niche

“I believe that when you get dressed on a daily basis, not because you have to but because you find pleasure in it, you … discover it’s a medium with the power of communication.” Irma Martinez

Founder & Director, Trendy Inc.


Hispanic Executive


natural-born fashionista, Irma Martinez fondly remembers playing with dolls as a child. She would design and make clothes for them, dress them, pick out the perfect accessories, even strut them down a makeshift runway—today, she considers them her first clients. Martinez’s dreams of becoming a stylist started years before anyone really knew what a stylist did and before the term “stylist” was even coined, but fashion called to her, and without knowing exactly what she would do, Martinez devoted herself to finding her niche in the fashion world. “I’ve always known that I wanted to dedicate myself to the fashion field and my goals were ambitious,” says Martinez, who left her home of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, at age 18 with a one-way ticket. “I believe that when you get dressed on a daily basis, not because you have to but because you find pleasure in it, you … discover it’s a medium with the power of

communication. Since a very young age I realized this and it was fundamental in discovering my vocation.” For more than 20 years, Martinez, now the founder and director of Trendy Inc., a Miami-based styling, service, and wardrobe-support company, has been using fashion as an outlet to express her passion, heritage, and artistic ideals. Her first job, styling celebrities and building the wardrobe department for Telemundo, satisfied Martinez’s desire to create art from fashion and also introduced her to some of the celebrities she would later call clients. “At Telemundo, I worked with some of the top names in the entertainment industry and the top-rated shows in Hispanic television, but although the image of a stylist as an artist was starting to form, it wasn’t really there yet,” she explains. Martinez began breaking off on her solo project and before long had built a résumé rich in diverse styles, from vintage to edgy. “My influences are broad, from Audrey

Photo: Santiago Betancur

by Thalia A-M Bruehl

Arts & Entertainment Cultura MODA MAVEN Before anyone really knew what a stylist was—let alone did—Irma Martinez devoted herself to finding her niche in the alluring fashion world. “My influences are broad, from Audrey Hepburn to Madonna,” says Irma Martinez, founder and director of Trendy Inc. “It’s made me flexible, and in my early work, certainly more employable.”

July/Aug/Sept 2012


PHOTO: (top left) OMAR CRUZ

BEST-DRESSED LIST Irma Martinez styles high-profile clients and celebrities including models (top left), Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria (opposite page), Cuban-American actor William Levy (top right), Colombian crossover superstar Shakira (bottom left), and Cuban-American television host, model, and entrepreneur Daisy Fuentes (bottom right).

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

“Once I had a good group of core clients, I began working with total looks for performers for their world tours, designing everything from the looks for their album covers to their videos.” Irma Martinez

Photo: Hector Torres, Courtesy People En Español

Founder & Director, Trendy Inc.

Hepburn to Madonna,” she describes. “It’s made me flexible and, in my early work, certainly more employable.” Thanks to multiple successful jobs, a knack for networking, and her supportive husband, Enrique López, who also serves as her business partner, Martinez quickly become a leader within the industry; clients like Gloria Estefan, Shakira, and Chayanne opened doors to larger and more extensive projects. “Once I had a good group of core clients, I began working with total looks for performers for their world tours, designing everything from the looks for their album covers to

July/Aug/Sept 2012

[the looks for their] videos. I also started developing images for Univision Network’s TV hosts,” Martinez says. Martinez started Trendy Inc. in 1996 when she felt the time had come to turn her services into a full-fledged business. “I decided to create a company that would offer these services on a broader scope. We were truly pioneers in our field and today can call ourselves number one,” she says. Trendy Inc. includes a showroom, design studio, and a team of five employees and four freelancers, all experienced professionals that manage some of the most demanding projects in

the Hispanic-entertainment market. From that energy Trendy Studio was born, a boutique-style facility in Wynwood, Miami, built with the idea of providing a high-quality space for photography and film productions. One of the studio’s most recent productions [at press time] was GQ Britain’s U2 cover shoot. “We realized the need in Miami to have a state-of-the art photography production studio where artists accustomed to international-style studios could work on their challenging productions.” Clients like Sofia Vergara, Ricky Martin, Paulina Rubio, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, Luis Fonsi, and Thalia have allowed Martinez to continue growing her brand and helped her gain a spot on People en Español magazine’s coveted Top 25 Most Powerful Hispanic Women list, alongside journalist María Elena Salinas and Sonia Sotomayor. “I’ve enjoyed working with artists that are just starting their careers, sharing their dreams, and then helping to make them a reality,” Martinez explains. “But the greatest highlight of my career was being asked to be a part of the Dream in Color campaign for Target.” Martinez’s work as a part of the campaign involved serving as a spokeswoman in a series of broadcast ads and online-video testimonials alongside Emilio Estefan, Iman, and John Legend. “It gave me the opportunity to celebrate Hispanic heritage, discuss my fashion dreams, and teach the general public how to dress. Everything I love!”


Cultura Arts & Entertainment

Sports & T V Personality

RepĂşblica de Fiore by Cristina Adams

SPORTS STAR A household name in Spanish television and current anchor of wildly popular sports show, RepĂşblica Deportiva, Emmy Award winner Fernado Fiore has endeared himself to Hispanic audiences with his trademark blend of charm and chispa.


Hispanic Executive

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

Sports execs


hen it comes to work experience, Fernando Fiore is nothing if not well-rounded. The Argentina native has been a chauffeur, a tour guide, a stage actor, and a manual laborer. At one point, he even painted New York City fire escapes for a living. Whatever his original ambitions may have been, though, it’s unlikely that he expected to become an Emmy-awardwinning sportscaster and one of the most recognized faces on Spanishlanguage television. But, that’s exactly what happened. Back in 1980, Fiore, then 19, left Buenos Aires, Argentina, to join his mother, who had moved to New Jersey. His parents had divorced, he had just completed his year of compulsory military service, and the military junta was in power. It seemed like the right time to leave the country. Fiore arrived in the United States, intending to study communications, but didn’t yet speak English. A program at Montclair State University allowed him to take a language course in English and his remaining major courses in Spanish. A year later, realizing that his command of English wasn’t fluent enough to work in a fast-paced media environment, Fiore enrolled in a program geared toward hospitality and tourism, eventually leading tours, first in Spanish, and later in English, to destinations throughout the United States. Following his stint as a tour guide, Fiore turned to acting, working with venerable stage and movie actress Miriam Colón at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre in New York. There was fun and glory, but little else. Then in 1988, a friend told him that Telemundo, the country’s secondbiggest Spanish-language television

July/Aug/Sept 2012

network, was looking for reporters. One phone call later, and Fiore was on a plane to Miami. The network wouldn’t cover his airfare, but if he could get himself there on his own dime, they’d see him, even if there weren’t any immediate opportunities. Determined to wedge a foot inside the door, Fiore showed up at their offices every day, waiting for an opportunity. His big break finally came one day when the network needed someone to cover a news piece, and he was there to do it. By January 1989, he was working on a news magazine show called Día a Día and covering the Super Bowl. “I made myself indispensable,” Fiore recalls. “I told them I liked everything and could do it all, and eventually they gave me a permanent position.” Six months later, Fiore returned to New York, this time as a news anchor for Univisión, the number-one Spanishlanguage broadcaster in the country. He stayed for a year, working on various news programs and covering his first FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] World Cup—he has anchored coverage of four World Cups since then. But when his contract expired, he moved back to Miami, working with Univisión’s local channel and doing sports coverage for the entire network. From there, he spent years hosting a variety of hugely successful programs, including Lente Loco, a Spanish version of Candid Camera, and Fuera de Serie, a travel program he co-hosted with Colombian actress Sofia Vergara [now a crossover star on Modern Family], and won three Emmy awards along the way. “I’m more of a general practitioner than a specialist,” he says. “I may not be the best surgeon, but I can cure your headache or your foot problems. In this day and age, you have to know about everything, so it’s good to be a generalist.” And then there’s Republica Deportiva, the two-hour weekly sports show that made him a household name. In fact,

“In my business, if the public doesn’t like what you do, you’re out.” Fernando Fiore

Sports Anchor, Univison’s República Deportiva

such is his popularity that, according to marketing company Latin World Entertainment, Fiore was proclaimed the “Favorite Soccer Personality” in a 2011 poll conducted among US Hispanics. But this adored anchor isn’t just another talking head. Fiore is quick to point out that sports journalism is increasingly becoming a 24/7 job in the vein of breaking-news coverage, and that the commercialization of sports is leading to greater opportunities for sponsors and networks alike. “Whether it’s baseball, soccer, boxing, or football, we’re saturated with sports information all the time,” he says. “Pay-per-views are growing, people are attending sporting events in greater numbers, and sponsors are happy because their products are viewed and consumed.” Eager to capitalize on that trend, Univisión is launching Univisión Deportes 24/7, a round-the-clock sports channel, this year. And Fiore will play an instrumental role in that launch, serving as the network’s best-face forward. That’s just how he likes it. “The banker knows he can work at the bank and keep making loans no matter what. People don’t have to like what he does,” Fiore says. “But in my business, if the public doesn’t like what you do, you’re out.”


Cultura Arts & Entertainment

Music Marketer

Connec ting Br ands with consumers by Jennifer Hogeland


Hispanic Executive

Soon after Universal invited Gustavo “Gus” Lopez to launch his own company under its umbrella, the Latin label, Machete, became a hit. “A lot of our growth was achieved by nurturing the artists we signed and by acquiring key organizations that brought us instant credibility and the clout necessary to maintain our presence,” he says (shown above with singer Dolores “Jenni” Rivera).

PHOTO: Arnold Turner


orking in a Latino record store in late junior high and high school served as Gustavo “Gus” Lopez’s introduction to the music industry. His brother owned the small music shop in California and a curious Lopez began studying the workings of the business. “I had never been a musician, but I did spend time as a DJ to make money,” Lopez says. “The more time I spent working in retail, I began to understand how people liked and consumed music.” After graduating from California State University in 1995, Lopez landed a job at Universal Music Group as a sales representative. This position brought him to Puerto Rico, his home country. After a few years, he began searching for an opportunity to come back to the States. An account-executive position became available, so Lopez left 72 degrees and sunshine to move to chilly Minnesota, where he was greeted with a temperature of eight degrees. Lopez was still in sales, but his focus changed from promoting Latin music to developing a relationship with Best Buy. “Other opportunities eventually brought me back to LA,” he says. “I moved my way up the ranks from director to senior director to vice president of sales. As the company grew and continued to invest in Latino music, our team expanded, and so did my responsibilities.” In 2004, Lopez was at a crossroads in his career. After spending nearly 10 years doing sales, he resigned, thinking it was time to move on. Eager for him to stay, Universal invited Lopez to launch his own company under its umbrella—Machete. Machete became the fastest growing Latin label between 2005 and 2007. “When we jumped in the business, other music companies had been in the market for a long time,” Lopez says. “We were new,


“I believe if you are always challenging yourself, looking for what’s next and wondering ‘where can I go from here,’ opportunities will arise.” Gustavo “Gus” Lopez

Executive Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Business Development, & Digital , Universal Music Latin Entertainment



but we had a vision. A lot of our growth was achieved by nurturing the artists we signed and by acquiring key organizations that brought us instant credibility and the clout necessary to maintain our presence.” Universal Music Latin Entertainment saw dramatic growth with the purchase of Univision Music Group in 2008, and Lopez began overseeing half of its music market. In July 2011, he accepted his current position as executive vice president of brand entertainment partnerships and digital for Latino artists in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. This 39-year-old attributes his career success to his willingness to take risks and try new things. “I believe if you are always challenging yourself, looking for what’s next and wondering where can I go from here, opportunities will arise,” he says. Lopez explains that Universal has always been aggressive and ahead of the curve, seeking any chance to grow the business. They embraced social networking early on. “We are instrumental in getting artists involved in social networking and making sure they know the importance of talking directly with their fans,” Lopez says. Today, Lopez’s responsibility is to maintain that social-media push, as well as build relationships with the carriers that sell or stream music, such as iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube. “For us, every time we talk to various brands about how they want to connect with their current fan or consumer base, there are always certain hot buttons they want to focus on,” Lopez says. “Music fits in with a lot of brands—it appeals to youth and it touches the heart.” Lopez recently worked with Pepsi to enhance its brand affinity with the Latino market by utilizing up-and-coming music. “A lot of it is connecting the right music at the right time with what the brand is al-

ready doing,” he says. His task is to simplify the music-acquisition process to build the artist and satisfy the brand partners. When asked how being Hispanic has influenced his career, Lopez explains that it has given him the ability to approach the mix of artists he’s encountered over the years and understand their likes and dislikes. “There is no doubt it is good to be bilingual,” he says. “It also helps to be young, with fresh ideas, and to be in a growing market. I’ve been fortunate to be selling music at a time when Latino music was going through different boom levels, and that continues today.”

“For us, every time we talk to various brands about how they want to connect with their current fan or consumer base, there are always certain hot buttons they want to focus on. Music fits in with a lot of brands—it appeals to youth and it touches the heart.” Gustavo “Gus” Lopez

Executive Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Business Development, & Digital, Universal Music Latin Entertainment

Hans Schafer, Director, Brand Partnerships p 818 577-4651 e

Dania Echeverri, Senior Manager, Brand Partnerships p 818 577-4767 e


5820 Canoga Avenue, Suite 300 Woodland Hills, CA 91367 July/Aug/Sept 2012

Cultura Arts & Entertainment

genre cultivator

Marching To His Own Beat by Javacia Harris Bowser


f you want to get to know Tomas Cookman, start by perusing his iPod. On it, you will find artists ranging from the renowned rock band the Ramones to noted hip-hop acts such as the late Big Pun. Cookman traces his versatile taste in music to growing up in New York City, where he learned the beauty of variety and the magic of thinking outside the box. “New York—regardless of whether you are talking about music, food, fashion, art, or just people walking down the street—allows you to experience so many different variations of everything,” says Cookman, now founder of the Los Angeles-based entertainment company Cookman International and indie music label Nacional Records. “It is a true melting pot and that, for me, meant that it was OK to mix and match, take something you liked from column A and mix it with column B to create something new and exciting. That same philosophy I extend to business, life, and the decisions I make.” So far that philosophy has helped him make the right moves. After managing major Latin-music artists for some time, in 2005 Cookman founded Nacional Records, which has been named by Billboard as one of the top indie labels and boasts artists such as Manu Chao, Ana Tijoux, Nortec Collective, La Vida Bohéme, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Cookman’s eclectic music taste is one of the things that makes him so well suited to manage and promote artists who don’t fit the mold of traditional music


Hispanic Executive

genres, which is exactly what Latin alternative music is all about. Cookman wishes, however, that there were a better way to describe the music created by the artists in his company; the term “Latin alternative” doesn’t always capture the essence or range of this wide field. “It is not like saying jazz or hip hop or bachata in that you say a word or two, and automatically you know what is being discussed,” Cookman explains. “There is no one specific sound, genre, beat, or even theme in Latin alternative. You have rock bands next to hip-hop acts next to reggae bands next to modern pop artists. What they all have in common is that they are not afraid to step out of the box.” Cookman’s introduction to the music business came through playing in punkpop bands in the early 1980s. Being in New York took his music education to a higher level, he says. “I was fortunate enough to start off in the whole Lower Manhattan world of CBGBs, art lofts, punk rock, early hip-hop, DJ culture, and crazy clothes and hair styles,” Cookman says. “It was a magical moment of cultural change. It was also a big change for a kid who grew up in the projects of the Lower East Side [neighborhood] in a single-parent Puerto Rican household. It took a lot of courage to walk through my neighborhood the way I wanted to dress and be, but I knew that there was so much more waiting for me just beyond the handball courts and park benches that surrounded Smith Houses.” Nacional Records is just a segment

of all Cookman does for Latin music and Latin culture as a whole. His company Cookman International is a full-service entertainment company that promotes music not only through Nacional Records but also through artist management, music publishing, radio and television production, brand marketing, and special events such as the Latin Alternative Music Conference. Now in its 13th year, the conference features panels with industry insiders and showcases of top Latin artists ranging from Calle 13 and Pitbull to Julieta Venegas and Manu Chao. “At the LAMC, we have been able to draw over 1,000 attendees to the conference site and thousands upon thousands to the showcases that we hold across New York City,” Cookman says. “… There are not many outlets where you can have the president of Atlantic Records sit next to the head of a hip indie label in Colombia on one side and the head of Pandora on the other.” Despite his success, Cookman remains a hard worker, is a true family man that makes it a point to be home by dinnertime, and still loves listening to demos. Traveling allows Cookman to meet and collect demos from new artists, something he never gets tired of doing. “There is nothing more exciting than clicking play on a track that you do not know much about and being able to hear and see the potential of that artist,” Cookman says. “That feeling when the song is just so damn good that you get goose bumps is one that I hope never goes away.”

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

What: Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) 2012 Where: New York City When: July 11, 12, 13, and 14 Why You Should Be Excited: Even though the LAMC brings an impressive array of music industry insiders and some of the biggest names in Latin alternative music, festival founder Tomas Cookman says, “We never consider the LAMC a musical concert series. It is a celebration of all things cool and cutting-edge Latino. The focus is on music, but we are also incorporating new facets that include art, film, food, and fashion, thus making New York City the epicenter of all things cool, cutting edge and Latino for that one week in July each summer.”

“There is no one specific sound, genre, beat, or even theme in Latin alternative. You have rock bands next to hip-hop acts next to reggae bands next to modern pop artists. What they all have in common is that they are not afraid to step out of the box.” Tomas Cookman

Founder, Cookman International & Nacional Records

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Emily Simonitsch may be a bit of a homebody, but her life is anything but boring. Her tendency to stay near her hometown of Los Angeles has made her “hostess extraordinaire” for the city, booking top Latin musicians—from Maná to Marc Anthony to Luis Miguel for sold-out shows.


Hispanic Executive

Arts & Entertainment Cultura

talent booker

topping the charts by Ruth E. Dávila


mily Simonitsch is a proud Angeleno, a renowned entertainment executive with Live Nation Entertainment, and a bit of a homebody. Disinclined to jet set, Simonitsch prefers to spend her off time in the world’s entertainment capital, which just happens to be her hometown of Los Angeles. Her tendency to stay near home suits her profession as “hostess extraordinaire” for the city, booking Latin musicians—from Maná to Marc Anthony to Luis Miguel—to perform at Live Nation venues across the metropolis. As the music industry reinvents itself, with some facets struggling, Simonitsch makes a positive observation: Hispanic audiences continue to pack the house. “The Latin household will spend money on entertainment,” says Simonitsch, senior vice president of special markets for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company. “Are they affected by the economic situation? Absolutely. But they are still buying; Latin people love to see entertainers come from our countries.” Raised by her Mexican mother and Puerto Rican father, Simonitsch credits her mixed heritage for giving her a taste

July/Aug/Sept 2012

for distinct Latino cultures—the varied cuisine, music, and colloquial expressions from different regions. “It helped me recognize that there is an incredible amount of diversity within the Latino community and that, instead of simply lumping together the remarkable array of cultures and traditions within it, this variety should be celebrated,” she says. In an evolving business, musical events are still in their prime, Simonitsch says. “Everybody wants to see the artist in

person. I don’t think that will ever change. You always want to see the vision or style of a performer on stage,” she says. “Now is the best time to be involved in live entertainment.” Simonitsch—who ranks among the 25 most powerful Latinas by The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard (in the 2007 listing)—is refreshingly grounded. With a welcoming spirit, she goes out of her way to make visiting musicians feel at ease and in their element. “Whenever artists come

“Everybody wants to see the artist in person. I don’t think that will ever change. You always want to see the vision or style of a performer on stage. Now is the best time to be involved in live entertainment.” Emily Simonitsch

Senior Vice President, Special Markets, Live Nation Entertainment


Cultura Arts & Entertainment Always one to go the extra mile, Simonitsch makes it a point to help performing artists feel at home in Los Angeles. On occasion, she visits ethnic shops to buy delicacies from performers’ country of origin as welcome gifts. “For Juanes or Carlos Vives, I’ll go to a Colombian supermarket and get a favorite product they can recognize from home,” says Simonitsch (pictured on the left with Gloria Estefan and on the right with Vicente Fernández).

“The Latin household will spend money on entertainment. Are they affected by the economic situation? Absolutely. But they are still buying; Latin people love to see entertainers come from our countries.” Emily Simonitsch

Senior Vice President, Special Markets, Live Nation Entertainment

to town, I always [interact] with them and provide them with hospitality,” she says. “I make a special point to stay through the night at shows. At the end, I walk them out and thank them for working with us.” On many occasions, she visits ethnic shops to pick up delicacies from their country of origin as a welcome gift. “For Juanes or Carlos Vives, I’ll go to a Colombian supermarket and get a favorite product they can recognize from home,” she says. Although entertainment execs often earn a reputation for being cutthroat and power-hungry, Simonitsch climbed the ranks by being thoughtful and soft-spoken. She cites listening, collaboration, and respect as ingredients for a success in this field, which she fell into by chance.


Hispanic Executive

In 1979, Simonitsch was working as a paralegal when a friend told her that Universal Studios Hollywood was hiring paralegals for top dollar. As it turned out, she was hired ultimately for the theme park’s marketing department. While promoting various attractions, she got her first exposure to booking talent locally, including Latin artists, for the park’s theater. Looking back, she considers her biggest risk was leaving her comfortable position with Universal Studios Hollywood in 1989 to book talent and special events at the Universal Amphitheatre. “Stepping out of my comfort zone like that was definitely a little scary, but it opened my career and my life to a new path filled with possibilities.”

Her greatest fortune would come by way of her family—a devoted “fantastic” husband, Errol, and two sons, Evan and Errol. “Balancing the joys and responsibilities of family with a job that is definitely not nine-to-five has been a challenge, albeit definitely a rewarding one.” In her “work life,” Simonitsch has found her passion in “seeing performers come through our various venues, watching them cross-pollinate, first by coming up through the clubs, then playing theaters before graduating to arenas.” She feels a sense of personal and collective accomplishment when more and more doors open to Latin talent. Despite the “tremendous change and fluctuation” of her industry, she says that many of the same people have remained working in it throughout their lifetime. “Relationships are key,” she explains. “Contacts that started at labels have moved to management and agencies, or vice versa. It’s like working within a circle.” In today’s environment, Simonitsch admits musical acts face greater competition. Fans have more entertainment options, a wider variety of artists to enjoy, and a greater number of venues where those bands can perform. “While the increased competition presents a challenge, I think it also creates opportunities for fans and artists alike—and that is ultimately good for the business as a whole,” she says.


July/Aug/Sept 2012


Cultura Community Impact

USHCC champions the interests of its three million members Led by president and CEO Javier Palomarez, the national association proves every day why investing in Hispanic-owned businesses is not only the right thing to do, but the smart one by Tina Vasquez


avier Palomarez first heard of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) while working at Sprint. Even as a young executive, Palomarez was able to grasp the intrinsic value of a large corporation partnering with small, Hispanic-owned businesses making major contributions to the US economy. At the time, he was simply trying to convince Sprint to become a corporate sponsor, little did he know that he would eventually become the USHCC’s president and CEO in 2009—dramatically increasing the reach and impact of the association thanks to his keen business sense, innovative vision, and relentless drive. The USHCC takes a three-pronged approach to assisting the three million Hispanic-owned businesses whose interests it serves: by implementing national programs that assist the economic development of Hispanic firms, increasing business relationships between the corporate sector and Hispanic-owned businesses, and monitoring legislation and programs that affect the Hispanic business community.


Hispanic Executive

A Hands-On President

Not content with just sitting behind a desk, Palomarez tackles these formidable tasks by spending 95 percent of his time out of the office. His life is a series of plane rides and layovers, a seemingly never-ending stream of meetings with corporate sponsors, members of the association’s more than 200 chambers, small-business owners, and congressman. This is only part of the reason why the USHCC was able to increase its revenue by 100 percent and add more than 35 new corporate sponsors during one of the roughest economic climates in recent history. The other half of the equation is Palomarez’s 20 years of experience with some of the nation’s leading corporations, including ING Financial Services, Allstate Insurance Corporation, and Sprint. He is the association’s first president and CEO to have a corporate background, giving him unique insight into how companies like Google, Visa, and Microsoft (all new corporate partners) should be approached and made to understand the many ways in which partnering with Hispanic-owned businesses could be mutually beneficial. “The hardworking people we represent

“We’re not a civil rights organization; this is about business and economics. When corporations partner with us … they understand that Hispanics are generating billions of dollars and they’re the fastest-growing segment of the population.” Javier Palomarez


President & CEO

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Cultura Community Impact

United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Size of membership: Three million Hispanic-owned businesses Year founded: 1979 Programs offered: Annual national convention, annual legislative summit, chamber training seminars, Latino youth entrepreneurship, procurement council, Green Builds Business Initiative Future outlook: The number of Hispanicowned businesses is projected to grow to 4.3 million by the end of 2012 Interesting fact: The total revenue contributed to the US economy by Hispanic businesses ranges from $350 to $547 billion Website:

With a hands-on attitude and 20 years of experience with leading corporations, Javier Palomarez (pictured above with President Obama) has helped the association increase its revenue by more than 100 percent and add more than 35 new corporate sponsors during one of the roughest economic climates in history.

are as American as the day is long,” Palomarez says. “While we advocate for those who happen to be of Hispanic descent, we are an American association and these are American businesses. We want the US to recognize the value that Hispanic-owned businesses bring to this country. We’re not a civil rights organization; this is about business and economics. When corporations partner with us they’re not just ‘doing the right thing,’ they understand that Hispanics are generating billions of dollars and they’re the fastest-growing segment of the population. It just makes good business sense and we want the rest of the country to recognize that.” Innovative Initiatives

Two to three times a week, Palomarez’s office receives a call, e-mail, card, or gift from a small-business owner thanking the CEO for making them aware of a program or initiative that made their revenue skyrocket or their clientele double.


Hispanic Executive

These successes have been hard-earned, as it took Palomarez some time to find his footing—now that he has it, however, it seems as if there’s no stopping him. In the past two years, the association has put more than 300 leaders through its Chamber Training Institute, an all-expenses-paid three-day training session at Notre Dame that teaches participants how to be better business leaders. But it was Palomarez’s green initiative that really broke new ground and garnered national media buzz. The Green Builds Business Initiative is unlike anything the USHCC has ever done before. Not only does it educate Hispanic entrepreneurs on environmental sustainability, but it also teaches them how to reduce their business’ environmental footprint and operating costs and how to develop best practices for pricing, marketing, and branding green revenues, allowing them to become certified in the process.

Despite being launched just last year, the success stories are already piling up. Take for example the story of Salt Lake City’s JJH Auto Body. After becoming certified through USHCC’s Green Builds Business Initiative, the owner of the shop implemented the practices and policies he learned through the program, catching the attention of Avis Car Rental. The company was so impressed that they named JJH a preferred local business and soon after the Salt Lake City Police Department became a major client. “Can you imagine the power an initiative like this has in helping a Hispanic-business owner reinvent their business? Imagine the difference it made to JJH’s revenue when the police department and Avis became clients,” Palomarez says. “The issue was that many business owners weren’t aware of the rebates and discounts and tax credits associated with going green. This is a program that can affect real change and it’s a good indication of the direction we will continue to go in.”

1 of 3,000,000 inspiring hispanic business enterprise stories Cultura

Deborah L. Treviño – President – Treco Services, Inc.

armed with a mop and a bucket she took on the world. Starting a janitorial business can be a dirty job. However, Deborah

Today, Treco has over 300 employees and an

Treviño was determined to roll up her sleeves and do it no matter

annual revenue of more than $5 million. Not bad

how daunting. Balancing the books by

for a woman who started out with one vacuum

day and cleaning offices at night, Deborah

cleaner and a dream.

and her husband kept their overhead low,

The USHCC is a strong voice that connects busi-

and their spirits high. Over time, word of mouth helped them get

ness leaders and provides useful information to

one new contract after another. Eventually they were hiring more

help businesses succeed. The USHCC supports Treco and the nearly

and more employees. At that point they really started to clean up.

3,000,000 Hispanic Business Enterprises that make America great. | July/Aug/Sept 2012



Cultura Community Impact

National group taps community-based organizations to further its mission With its first female president, Janet Murguía, in charge, the National Council of La Raza seeks to make the voice and needs of millions of Hispanics heard by Jennifer Hogeland


rom humble beginnings, Janet Murguía could never have predicted she would someday be at the helm of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). She attributes her own experience of chasing the American dream to her desire to open that same door for millions of families. “My parents came to this country with very little in terms of education and certainly resources, and their belief in this country and the opportunity it would have for their family guided them,” Murguía says. “A lot of my career and motivation has been rooted in my upbringing and reflected in the values I developed growing up.” From an early age, Murguía grasped the value of education and ambitiously sought out opportunities. Right out of law school, Murguía worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative counsel to former Kansas congressman Jim Slattery and later became counsel for the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 1994, she began working at the White House under President Bill Clinton. Murguía started as special assistant before being promoted to deputy assistant to the president and later deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, earning her a desk in the West Wing of the White House. “Any time you have exposure to the West Wing, it is an eye-opening experience,” Murguía recalls.


Hispanic Executive

Committed to helping Latinos reach the American dream, Kansas-native Janet Murguía leads NCLR in its efforts to provide services for Hispanics to address their education, health, home-ownership, and workforce-development needs.

While in the White House, then-Vice President Al Gore asked Murguía to lead his presidential campaign. When the campaign ended, she decided to head back to her roots. Born and raised in Kansas, Murguía accepted a job at her alma mater, University of Kansas, as executive vice chancellor of external affairs. Considering her congressional, White House, and campaign experience in addition to the time spent in higher education, Murguía was well prepared when she was heavily recruited to assume the role of president and CEO at NCLR. She adds, “It was easy to make the choice to come to an organization like NCLR, which I believe is the most respected in the nation that serves the Latino community.” Upon accepting the position at NCLR in 2005, Murguía got to work strengthening the presence of Latinos across the country by further developing the organization’s partnerships with approximately 300 community-based affiliates. Murguía says, “These community-based organizations across the country allow NCLR to support the Latino communities through grants, capacity building, and technical assistance.” At the heart of her mission, Murguía leads NCLR in its efforts to provide services for Latinos to address their education, health, home-ownership, and workforcedevelopment needs. She pushes advocacy and policy work to allow the community to advance and succeed. “We are committed to creating opportunities and opening the door to the American dream,” Murguía says. “I believe we are able to accomplish this through the different programs and through the policy and advocacy work that we support.” Her work done through NCLR has earned Murguía numerous recognitions, including a feature in Newsweek magazine’s “Women and Leadership” and The Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington,” an honor she holds alongside women like Hillary Clinton. As NCLR’s spokesperson, Murguía’s also appeared on a handful of national news programs including ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC’s Today, and CNN’s Larry King Live. She

July/Aug/Sept 2012

National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Year Founded: 1968 Population served: NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia Network: Nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations Interesting fact: The term “La Raza” dates back to 20th century Latin American literature and in English can be translated as “the people.” Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos coined the term to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world’s races, cultures, and religions.

proudly shares the organization’s work with the country. “In this day and age, we have to be mindful and make sure we are getting our message out and telling our story because it important for us to continue that work and build on it,” she says. Murguía explains Latinos are a modest community and while they are proud they don’t like to keep the praise on themselves. “We have to start thinking of that differently. It isn’t that we are keeping praise as much as we are telling our story and the impact of our work so we can be in a position to make further progress,” adds Murguía. She feels NCLR has a solid reputation in terms of programming, policy, and advocacy work, but hopes to expand their civic engagement by strengthening the political voice of Latinos in the country. Murguía reveals every year 500,000 Hispanics turn 18. She says, “We need to engage Latinos in naturalization, voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization. My hope is to reach out to the community and make sure they are helping us weigh in, be heard, and get the outcomes we want in this country.”

Cultura Community Impact

Chivas USA’s number-one goal might surprise some As co-owner of the only Mexican-owned team in the US professional sports world, Antonio Cué Sánchez-Navarro thinks beyond winning a World Cup to giving back to the community and empowering youth by Lynn Russo Whylly

Considering Chivas USA’s community involvement, it’s no surprise Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (top right) is sporting the team’s jersey. Chivas players such as goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (opposite page) participate in activities such as the group’s Read and Score Program designed to create awareness and help teachers get their students and families excited about reading. “We bring the players to schools and sit and read a book together; we teach them that reading is fun,” says co-owner Antonio Cué Sánchez-Navarro (top left).


Hispanic Executive


Sports execs

Community Impact Cultura


ome day, a young adult will look back on his childhood and say they stayed on the straight and narrow path and worked hard because of the leadership skills they learned from the Chivas USA soccer team. And that day would mean more to Jorge Vergara and Antonio Cué Sánchez-Navarro, co-owners of the Los Angeles-based Major League Soccer (MLS) team, than winning a dozen World Cups. It’s not that they wouldn’t love a dozen World Cups. They want that, too. But, in their homeland of Mexico, sports are inexplicably tied to education and giving back to the community. Passion for one fuels passion for the other, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Now in its eighth season, Club Deportivo Chivas USA is the only Mexican-owned team in United States professional sports. The idea began when Cué decided he wanted to move to the United States and take on a new challenge. “Chivas, which Jorge owns, is the most recognized soccer brand both in Mexico and the US, and the natural country to expand to after Mexico was the US because of its proximity, he says. “So, we got together and decided the timing and opportunity were right for creating a soccer club and starting a new legacy in the US.” On August 2, 2004, Vergara and Cué announced they had been awarded MLS’ 11th franchise. Since then, the club has made great strides, including making

July/Aug/Sept 2012

the play-offs in four out of seven seasons. Today, Chivas USA has fans all over the country and it connects with them through Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. “We have more than 50,000 fans between Facebook and Twitter,” Cué says. “We are in communication with them almost daily, even off season.” But, the team is equally proud of its achievements outside the stadium. In addition to reaching up to 26,000 fans at the stadium 16 times a year, Chivas USA conducts 500 local events for children annually. Through its Kick-it at the Park program, “we bring our coaches to Los Angeles parks and about 1,000 kids each get a 45-minute clinic,” Cué says. “But, they’re not just learning about soccer. They’re learning how to communicate, work as a team, and integrate with the community.” Chivas USA is also involved in a reading program. “We bring the players to schools and sit and read a book together; we teach them that reading is fun.” And if that isn’t enough, Chivas USA operates Fundación Chivas de Corazon USA (Chivas Heart Foundation), which runs HEART Soccer Camps for special needs kids, donates to cancer eradication efforts and offers the Chivas Kids program, which allows close to 40,000 underprivileged children to attend Chivas USA home games every year. “I believe our foundation is one of the most passionate things we have,” Cué says. “We try to care more about the community than anything else. The foundation

has given us a tremendous opportunity to reach out to kids and give them a lifestyle they might not normally have.” Something else that sets Chivas USA apart from other teams is its commitment to nurturing youth through its Player Development Program. “This is a heritage we got from the Guadalajara team,” Cué says. “We believe it’s the most long-term, sustainable way of doing business. We have very aggressive soccer academies and youth programs that we subsidize as a team and invest in these players. That’s one reason we are excited to be in LA, because there is a huge pool of up-andcoming talent here.” With seven years under its belt, Cué says the key to success lies in patience. “People want results overnight, and they think you’re going to win right out of the gate. We’ve learned a lot over the last seven years, such as the importance of building a solid foundation, and we’re committed to the long term.” Over the next few years, Cué and Vergara are in discussions about building Chivas USA its own stadium (they currently play out of a rented stadium). “Launching a new home offers a great opportunity to bring new things to the fan base,” he says. “We always have to be thinking about the fans and how to improve their experience.” In the end, the team is about more than just winning games. “Sports provide a tremendous opportunity to keep kids away from drugs, out of trouble, and physically healthy,” Cué says. And that, he says, is Chivas USA’s single most important goal.

Chivas USA Community youth programs: Fundación Chivas de Corazon USA (Chivas Heart Foundation); HEART Soccer Camps for special needs kids; Read & Score Program; Youth Academy development program; Chivas at the Park Program; Chivas USA–GRIP Program Partnership Number of charity events held per year: Approximately 10 per year, but Chivas USA participates in over 500 community events a year Number of kids that participate in Chivas USA’s soccer clinics per year: 5,000-plus Website:



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Hispanic Executive

quality services and products.

Community Impact Cultura

Detroit-based group fights for the rights of union workers From an early age, Cindy Estrada has advocated for the rights of farmworkers. Now, as the first Hispanic vice president of UAW, she gets to continue her work, teaching union members how to organize and advocate for themselves. by Tina Vasquez


s farmworkers and factory workers, Cindy Estrada’s parents and grandparents worked harder than most people had to. They did their best to provide Estrada with opportunities they didn’t have when they were growing up, but their hard work came with the understanding that she would use her education to give back to her community. That’s exactly what she did. From an early age, Estrada had a knack for community organizing and an interest in social justice. After college, it only seemed natural when she began working on a campaign to help tomato pickers alongside Dolores Huerta, the legendary labor leader and civil rights activist. In 1995, Estrada began working for the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), one of the largest and most diverse unions in the nation. Fifteen years later, after many successful campaigns, she became vice president in 2010, making her the firstever Latino/a elected to serve as a UAW vice president. “I realized early on that being elected UAW’s first Latina vice president was a huge achievement—and a huge responsibility,” Estrada says. “There are few Latinos at leadership levels, and I was humbled and honored to receive the position, but it was only possible because of the work of the Latinos that came before

July/Aug/Sept 2012 103

Cultura Community Impact

me. I think it’s important for those of us who are older to aim high, to run for those high-ranking positions, because it shows young Latinos that it’s possible to succeed and prosper while giving back to their communities.” Estrada is the type of person who thinks about the big picture. The aim of her work is not just to improve the local communities in Detroit, where she’s based, but to make the world a better place. A major goal is combating the political rhetoric that implies that immigration is adversely affecting the United States. Politicians adamantly contend that the influx of Latinos poses a threat to American workers, but according to Estrada, that logic does nothing but pit worker against worker and fails to recognize the huge economic contributions that Latinos make to this country. “This is an economic issue,” she says. “We’re trying to figure out how to raise the standard of living for all workers. Companies are paying their workers such low wages that people end up having to take public assistance just to make ends meet. We need to get to a place where it becomes unacceptable for company executives to be making $20 million a year while they pay their workers $10 an hour. “There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but it becomes a real issue when you’re affecting the livelihood of thousands of families. One of my goals moving forward is to make it clear that if you’re doing business in the United States, you have to pay a livable wage. These bad business practices need to be exposed, and the UAW is working toward making that happen.” Studies have shown that the wages and benefits for Latinos are always higher when they’re unionized. It’s reasons like these that have always driven Estrada, who believes there’s nothing more powerful or empowering than teaching people how to find their voice and to advocate for themselves. Growing up, Estrada learned that when you organize,


Hispanic Executive

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Community served: The UAW is based in Detroit, but has members across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico Types of professionals served: From autoworkers to registered nurses and everything in between Ethnic makeup of community served: Southeastern Michigan is about 68% Caucasian, 22% African American, and 4% Latino. In southwest Detroit, the population is more than 57% Latino Size: The UAW has more than 390,000 active members and more than 600,000 retirees Interesting fact: Within Detroit’s city limits, Latinos are the only growing ethnic group, and the heart of southwest Detroit is home to one of only three areas in the city to experience population growth in the last decade

you learn how to be the most effective and to create the most change. As the country’s demographics shift, she says we need to figure out how to make our voices heard at every level, from local school boards to the federal government. “With organizing, you’re often working with people who are vulnerable, people who are undocumented, people who are being exploited—and your first instinct is to protect them and maybe even coddle them,” Estrada says. “But you have to understand that these are strong people. These are people who have risked their lives to come to this country and provide a better life for their families. As an organizer, it’s not your job to organize them. It’s your job to teach them how to get organized and advocate for themselves.” A MESSAGE FROM IAC Group As a long-standing, valued partner of the UAW at 10 IAC plants across the United Sates, we congratulate Cindy Estrada for her upstanding reputation and deserving recognition in Hispanic Executive. It’s the hard work and dedication of Cindy Estrada and the men and women of the UAW that will continue to position IAC Group for long-term success as a global tier-one automotive supplier.

“We need to get to a place where it becomes unacceptable for company executives to be making $20 million a year while they pay their workers $10 an hour.” Cindy Estrada

Vice President

Davis Polk is proud to work with leading Hispanic executives such as Ricardo A. Anzaldua-Montoya from The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. A Leading Global Law Firm and a Leader in Diversity


■ “Most Innovative Law Firm in the U.S.” Financial Times 2011 ■ “Top Firms for Diversity” The American Lawyer 2011 Diversity Scorecard

As a leading supplier of driveline, sealing, and thermal-management technologies to the world’s automotive industry, Dana Holding Corporation relies on great partners—such as the UAW—to continuously improve, grow, and succeed. Congratulations to Cindy Estrada for the recognition of her leadership. And thanks to both Cindy and the UAW for their vital role in our ongoing pursuit of excellence in a very competitive industry.

New York Menlo Park Washington DC São Paulo London

Paris Madrid Tokyo Beijing Hong Kong

© 2011 Davis Polk & Wardwell llp


As founder of the diversity committee at his firm, Ricardo Anzaldua pushes for true diversity in the legal field—not just “lip service.” “Most firms try not to embarrass themselves by not having their staff be devoid of minorities,” Anzaldua says. “But, it hasn’t done much to change how the legal profession looks.”


Hispanic Executive

Community Impact Cultura

Connecticut attorney advocates for diversity in legal community Through The Hartford Financial Services Group’s diversity committee, associate general counsel Ricardo Anzaldua promotes inclusion within its ranks and throughout the profession as a whole by Cristina Adams


n his professional role as associate general counsel and director of commercial and consumer markets law at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Ricardo Anzaldua advises the $22 billion insurance giant’s property-casualty and group-benefits businesses, deals with top corporate brass on a daily basis, and oversees a staff of 42 with an operating budget of $9 million. When he’s not working his day job, Anzaldua cochairs the legal department’s diversity committee, which he cofounded a few months after he began working there in 2007. His objective? To advance diversity in the legal profession. Although he was born in New Mexico, Anzaldua was raised in South Texas, where his father’s family has lived for generations. It was there that he learned

July/Aug/Sept 2012

what it meant to be a Mexican American and what kind of discrimination he could face, such as lower-paying jobs or the slow track in school. Not surprisingly, his experiences only served as motivation, and after a stint at the Air Force Academy, Anzaldua wound up at Brown University majoring in Latin American studies. From there it was PhD studies and a senior editor position at the Center for US Mexican Studies at the University of California-San Diego. That is, until a chance meeting with a Ralph Reisner, a visiting fellow who also happened to be a lawyer, changed everything. “In publishing, I thought I’d have a voice on questions of economic development and social progress in Latin America, but it wasn’t happening,” Anzaldua says. “Ralph suggested I become a lawyer and work on what was important to me 107

Cultura Community Impact

“We want to be sure that everyone—women, people of color, Latinos, Asians, everybody—is valued for their contributions.” Ricardo Anzaldua

Associate General Counsel & Director of Commercial and Consumer Markets Law

through the law.” That’s exactly what he did. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Anzaldua was offered a job at Cleary, Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, a white-shoe New York law firm. His first job: advising the Kuwaiti government, then in exile, on acquiring the goods and services needed to liberate the country from the invading Iraqi army. It was during his time at Cleary, Gottlieb that Anzaldua first became passionate about encouraging diversity in his profession. Indeed, his tenure as chairperson of that firm’s diversity committee led to his interest in establishing a similar group at The Hartford. “We want to be sure that everyone—women, people of color, Latinos, Asians, everybody—is valued for their contributions,” he says. In addition to striving for diversity in its own legal ranks, the committee is also involved in giving back to its hometown community of Hartford, Connecticut. Sponsoring dinners at homeless shelters and participating in the Junior Achievement program, in which company attorneys teach classes at inner-city high schools, are just two of its numerous activities. “There are many opportunities to promote diversity in our community, both internally and externally,”


Hispanic Executive

Hartford, Connecticut Population: 124,775 Ethnic makeup of community served: 18.5% Caucasian, 35.8% African-American, 41.5% Hispanic, 2.1% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 0.9% mixed race Size: 18 square miles Interesting fact: Hartford is home to the country’s oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum; the oldest newspaper still being published, the Hartford Courant; and the oldest public park, Bushnell Park

Anzaldua says. “The best way to function as a committee is to make sure we seek out those opportunities.” Participating in Call to Action is another of those opportunities. Begun in the late 1990s by the then-general counsel at Sara Lee Corp., Call to Action is an effort to direct outside counsel to corporations to pay attention to diversity in their ranks. It’s a great idea, according to Anzaldua, but one that has devolved largely into lip service. “Most firms try not to embarrass themselves by not having their staff be devoid of minorities,” he says. “But, it hasn’t done much to change how the legal profession looks.” Until now, that is. In an innovative twist, The Hartford has joined other corporate leaders on diversity issues by asking outside firms to have diverse lawyers work on its own projects and cases. That way, Anzaldua points out, he and other attorneys at the company can both teach and mentor the younger lawyers, while helping to advance their careers. “There are many more diverse associates than partners,” he says. “So we’re kind of shepherding careers along a bit and helping develop talent in law firms, with a view toward one day having them become partners.”


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July/Aug/Sept 2012 109

Cultura “I sacrificed a lot and had to make big trade-offs in order to move here, but the scale of business in the [United States] and how much I could learn from it, along with the security and the education I was able to provide to my children, has made it worth it.� Vinicius da Costa Director of IT Portal, Collaboration, & Content-Management Solutions


Hispanic Executive

World View Cultura

Vinicius da Costa on streamlining information for company employees and adjusting to a new pace

by Tina Vasquez


rowing up in São Paulo, Brazil, under a dictatorship, Vinicius da Costa felt from an early age that his opportunities would be limited. He wanted to enter an industry that ensured job stability, and because he had a knack for mathematics and problem solving, da Costa majored in informationtechnology science, a choice that would eventually take him from Brazil all the way to North Carolina. As director of IT portal, collaboration, and contentmanagement solutions for Lowe’s Companies, Inc., da Costa brings 20 years of experience and international business know-how to a role, it seems, he was born to take on.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

“Coming to the United States was challenging,” da Costa says. “I was first scheduled to come when September 11th happened, but I didn’t let it deter me. It was my plan in life to work in the United States. The first six months in the country were easier than I thought, but that’s only because you have so much to do and so much to learn. My wife and I eventually became used to the pace of things here, but I would say it took me five years to really decide that this is where we would stay. I sacrificed a lot and had to make big trade-offs in order to move here. But the scale of business in the [United States] and how much I could learn from it, along with the security and the education I was able

to provide to my children, has made it worth it.” Even though da Costa still finds himself longing for Brazil, there are constant reminders that he made the right decision by staying. Members of his 31-person team often tell him he’s the best manager they’ve ever had. The IT director credits his leadership skills to a former manager he had when he was first starting out in Brazil as a programmer. Simple advice turned into a life lesson he’s carried with him and passed on to others: even if mistakes aren’t visible to your client, you still have to do your job like someone is watching. In fact, da Costa believes that he’s


Cultura World View

still learning, even after two decades of hard work and experience. He worked in the consumer industry for 20 years and has only been at Lowe’s, in the retail side of the industry, for seven months. Before da Costa had very little contact with consumers; now, he feels a sense of urgency because he understands that the solutions he develops directly affect the company and, by extension, its customers. Part of da Costa’s goal is to make information more streamlined for company employees in the hopes of making them more productive and efficient in their everyday activities. This is where the director’s umbrella initiative comes in. The new internal social-business network, unified-employee portal, and content-management solutions will transform the knowledge sharing and social interactions of 150,000 users at both Lowe’s stores and the corporate headquarters through the use of wikis and microblogging. In simpler terms, the initiative will operate similar to Facebook, enabling employees to share knowledge across industries. “This will give employees more knowledge, quicker access to knowledge, and better-developed knowledge,” da Costa says. “A corporation this large is very complex. There are thousands of people who know a lot, so the question became how can we connect all of the employees so that they can get the information they need when they need it. This will make everyone more productive.” Despite his success, da Costa is still working to combat some deep-seated cultural differences. “As Latinos we’re taught to be very humble about our capabilities and our accomplishments, but in the United States I’m learning that you have to be more assertive,” he says. “If you’re coming here from another country, don’t be afraid of standing out because your education or life experiences are different from your coworkers. Make use of what makes you different.”

Take Note

Vinicius da Costa’s tips for succeeding in the global marketplace

Keep an open mind. When doing business abroad, you have to be open to differences. It’s easy to be resistant to behaviors you’re not accustomed to, but change sometimes has to come from within. Embrace the differences you encounter and see them as opportunities to grow. Prepare yourself. Do your homework ahead of time. Before going abroad, take the time to understand the characteristics of a culture. Learn a few words of the language to break the ice. Absorb as much as you can. When you have a chance to go somewhere different, you’re being presented with an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. If you sacrifice things and change your life to live and work abroad, what you can learn and the ways you can grow make it all worth it.

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Hispanic Executive

World View Cultura

Jorge Torres on helping a multinational company gain its footing in the US market while adapting to a new pace of life by Tina Vasquez

Daily communication with the world headquarters in Barcelona, Spain, has been key to Jorge Torres’s success as North American managing director/CEO of Roca Tile Group. Staying in sync with the main office has allowed him to tap into a support system and maintain a clear sense of direction, says Torres.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Cultura World View Take Note

Jorge Torres’s tips for succeeding in the global marketplace

Take all the support you can from the worldwide head office. I communicate with the Roca office in Barcelona on a daily basis. Keep training, if possibly, locally. I got my MBA in the United States at the Kellogg School of Management. Always seek to understand and to be understood. I see myself as a bridge between my bosses in Europe and our team in the United States and I link communication in both directions.

Though Roca Tile Group is a leading global bathroom and ceramic tile brand—with showrooms in Miami (above), Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Virginia—Jorge Torres has helped give the Spanish company a muchneeded push into the US market.


hen Jorge Torres moved to the United States in 2002, his wife was pregnant and his only point of reference for the country was from a summerlong stint as an exchange student in the ’80s. Needless to say, it was a difficult transition to make, but after spending six years as the Roca Tile Group’s export area manager in Barcelona, Spain, Torres felt prepared for something new. He was ready for a change. So, when the leading global bathroom and ceramic tile brand offered him a position in California managing a tile distribution network of 17 stores, it was too good to pass up—and later proved to be an important stepping stone. In 2011, Torres was named the Roca Tile Group’s North American managing director/CEO. To put it mildly, the Roca Tile Group is well established. The family-owned company appealed to Torres because it offered a long-term vision and a clear definition of values nearly 100 years in the making. Roca offers high-quality ceramic and porcelain tile under four brand names (Roca, Laufen, United States Ceramic Tile, and Incepa) and though it has showrooms all over the country, including Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, California, and Virginia, the company needed a serious


Hispanic Executive

push in the US market. This is where Torres stepped in. The concept of doing business internationally wasn’t new to the Roca Tile Group. The Spanish company has a business network spanning 80 countries and the brand had experienced major success all over Europe. Torres also had experience doing business in Dubai and the Middle East. However, coming to the States required that the CEO stretch and adjust in new and unfamiliar ways because not only was Torres just getting established in the States, but so was Roca. “I was motivated by the challenge to grow and support the Roca Group in the US market, which at the time was a new venture for our company,” Torres says. “It required adapting to new customs while keeping the values of the corporation and transmitting the company philosophy without losing touch with international needs.” Never one to rest on his laurels, Torres believes that the business strategies that have brought him the most success in his new role are his relentless search for improvements to products and processes and his refusal to take anything for granted. This means that just because Roca Tile Group has managed to become a leader in other parts of the world, it

doesn’t guarantee that long-term success in the United States will come just as easily. “It’s important to understand the ultimate goals, focus on those goals, and communicate them well,” Torres says. “A big part is commitment to the company and capacity of communication. I am fortunate to have Roca’s support from our head office to help me navigate the way. I would not be able to succeed without that support.” Torres is big on communication, believing that being a good communicator is a key attribute to being a successful CEO, especially one running an international business. Constantly conveying core missions and communicating the direction of the company to your team, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders is a task Torres takes very seriously. Which explains why Torres communicates with the Roca office in Barcelona on a daily basis. “Being able to connect one-on-one to the main office in Barcelona is one of the major advantages of being part of a multinational group,” Torres says. “Connecting to the main office makes me feel like I’m maintaining my support system and keeping it in place. It also keeps the direction clear. From product and financial issues to HR issues, it’s [important]to stay in sync.”


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Cultura World View

Carlos Navarro on never being afraid to make moves by Jennifer Hogeland

“Everything I had learned over the last 16 years said ‘I know how to do this job,’—it was just a different industry and different environment.” Carlos Navarro Chief Marketing Officer


Hispanic Executive

World View Cultura


requent reminders of the opportunities available in the United States contributed to Carlos Navarro’s eagerness to embrace risks and make moves— both literally and figuratively—throughout his career. “When you are a first-generation immigrant, you are told from an early age what great opportunities this country provides,” says Navarro. “That drives you and motivates you to be successful, not necessarily monetarily but to find your passion and follow it.” Navarro explains he sought out adjacencies (adjacent industries and adjacent opportunities ) to advance his career, a philosophy that would eventually lead him to an international role as chief marketing officer of Elavon, which provides integrated payment processing to one million merchants. “Once you get over the old way of thinking that you have to dedicate your life to one company, you realize you have control over your career, and you can start looking at the possibilities,” he says. Some of Navarro’s moves were very intentional, such as he wanted to get involved with a particular technology, but other positions were found through old-fashioned networking. A Georgia Tech Industrial Engineer by trade, Navarro has nonetheless spent more than 18 years in sales and marketing. He began at IBM and worked his way up the organization before jumping into the world of customer relationship management (CRM). “In the early ’90s, the computer-software industry was really taking off. I went to work for Marketing Information Systems in Chicago, one of those companies that initially entered the market with CRM solutions.” There he developed his software and sales background before taking a position with a competitor, Brock Control Systems in Atlanta. “These were two companies that came before the industry leaders that emerged over the last decade, like Oracle and Siebel,” Navarro says. Leaving IBM was one of the riskier moves Navarro made in his career. He left the nearly 300,000-person company to join a team of 60. “It was blind faith,”

July/Aug/Sept 2012

he says. “Once you get over the shock of understanding what being an entrepreneur means, which is doing everything yourself, you suddenly realize there aren’t 300,000 people behind you, and you have to deliver. Leaving the comfort of a long-term company was a risk, and, in retrospect, I should have been more intimidated than I was.” In 1998 Navarro was asked by a former colleague to help build Inforte, a CRM and business-intelligence consultant company. Over the next six years, he led the CRM practice, growing it to a $70 million company, and then took it public.

Take Note

Carlos Navarro’s tips for succeeding in the global marketplace

Know the culture. Spend the time, energy, and money to understand the culture that surrounds you. Think locally. If it makes sense for your business, search for local partners who offer local business and cultural knowledge that could circumvent years of drudgery. Have fun and enjoy it! You’ve been given the opportunity to learn from new people—we learn ways of doing business in Mexico, Brazil, Europe, and Asia. One country doesn’t have the patent on best practices.

After that, he stayed in the consulting sector and became a vice president at eLoyalty before joining Elavon. “Elavon was another big career move for me. I had been in technology hardware and software and consulting but had to make an adjacent move to a credit-card processing company within a bank,” says Navarro. “Everything I had learned over the last 16 years said, ‘I know how to do this job’—it was just a different industry and different environment.” Navarro credits his wife for her willingness to relocate, but also explains each move—whether physically moving cities or just moving from one company

to another—was always done because the new challenge was greater than the one before. Now, as chief marketing officer of Elavon, Navarro oversees a team of roughly 50 people around the world. Breaking out from the traditional marketing model, Navarro has his hand in the customary public relations and collateral creation, but his forward-thinking department is also an enabler of sales and revenue. They are responsible for strategic marketing, customer-experience management, business intelligence, product marketing, and professional services, all of which help provide Elavon with the marketing insight to enable strategic decisions and revenue growth. Surrounded by traditional and new-age competition, Elavon must grow through innovation. “We continue to invest in product management, enabling industry-leading products to come to market, and empowering our sales force and our customers to utilize them,” adds Navarro. He explains one of its recently released products was the first EMVcapable mobile solution for the European market. Navarro says, “This solution is a great example of how we compete in today’s market. We have to marry innovation with our investments in technology to drive scale and flexibility and deliver solutions that make sense for our customers and partners.” As for the future, Navarro explains he has a long runway of opportunities in front of him at Elavon. With new and unfinished business, he is eager to produce results for customers and partners, the company as a whole, and the shareholders of US Bank. A MESSAGE FROM Discover Financial Services Discover Financial Services is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in US financial services. Since its inception in 1986, Discover has become a leading card issuer and owns one of the largest payment networks in the world. Discover works with Elavon on a global basis to secure acceptance of Discover cards with merchants. The companies work closely together to identify client needs and provide customized solutions, including marketing materials, signage and supplies.



Strategies for business leaders, now on page and screen 3 :1 3

Profi le J U LY/AUG/SEP T 2012




J U LY/A U G / S E P T 2 0 1 2

Bennigan’s Makes a Comeback P. 86

General Motors’ Marketing Guru P. 169



Women Executives in Baseball P. 179

After a 20-year uphill climb to Motorola Solutions’ general counsel seat, Lewis Steverson shows no signs of slowing down P.114


WE GET PERSONAL with general counsel from: General Electric, 3M, Ford Motor Co., Emerson Electric, & more P.112

PRO13_cover_FINAL.indd 1

4/13/12 4:57 PM


Hispanic Executive


Voces vantage point

120 Sports execs discuss

how they stay ahead of the competition


122 Ariel Marrero, CIO of

Havas Media, keeps an open mind

Conversations with movers & shakers


144 Cuba-native Marta Car-

reira-Slabe makes legal strides as chief counsel of Aon Latin America 148 Going long distance with

Mariano Legaz of Verizon Communications 153 Investing in minority

126 Time Warner Cable’s

Cesar Beltran reshapes his IT department to leverage business intel 130 Popular, Inc.’s general

counsel helps the largest Hispanic-run financial organization in the US enter new markets

product suppliers with Harry Perales of Campbell Soup Company 156 Maria Alvarez Mann of

JPMorgan Chase & Co. excels in the high-stakes real-estate environment

Financial discusses a turning point in his career 138 Zeferino Banda Jr.

puts safety first via his international safetyconsulting firm, Banda Group International

Michael Vasquez defend plaintiffs at their most vulnerable 168 Alejandro Kaisin is

in his element as VP of strategic sourcing for Jones Lang LaSalle’s lifesciences group 170 Dosal Tobacco’s CEO and

CFO, Yolanda Nader, doesn’t back down from a fight 172 Henry Mesa provides

high-tech installations for clients such as the Chicago White Sox


159 As regional director of 136 Juan Avila of Mesirow

165 Michael Estrada and

sales for Powerit Solutions, Carlos Rodriguez specializes in “building bridges” 162 Elisa Soto, HR director

at QinetiQ North America, never turns down a challenge

176 Gartner’s research

guru, Eugenio “Gene” Manuel Alvarez, pushes the envelope


178 David Santos of Inter-

brand on mining for talent worldwide

140 Sports Endeavors’ direc-

tor of Hispanic marketing, Vicente Navarro, surpasses all goals

July/Aug/Sept 2012 119 119

Voces Vantage Point

How do you stay ahead in the sports industry Daniel Velasco Marketing Manager NFL Houston Texans

You must know your demographic. In sports, and particularly football, our target

demo[graphic] is acculturated males 18 to 35, but with a focus on youth as well. This is the reason Super Bowl XLV in Dallas in 2011 was the most-watched and most-viewed program among Hispanics in US history, surpassing even that of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer final. The old saying of “everyone loves a winner” is especially true in sports. You can’t control the outcome on the field, so this is where the component of the experience is crucial. Making any interaction with your team or product a memorable experience is the fundamental key to success. Ultimately, the memories are the only nonmaterial component fans can take from the game, event, or product. You also need platforms (TV, radio, Internet, print, etc.) in the given language you’re targeting, but they have to be genuine and not simply translated since not everything transfers well.

Finally, the youth demo is of paramount importance because the

ever-growing Hispanic culture is becoming younger and younger. Nearly half of the population is under the age of 18 according to the latest census. Therefore, you must focus on youth since they are more apt to be swayed and are becoming more acculturated to understand the sport. After all, as we become more Americano, so does the fútbol.”


Hispanic Executive

Lou Melendez Senior Advisor, International Operations Department Major League Baseball

the Latino player and the Latino consumer will play major roles in the growth of the game going forward. As MLB looks to the future,

It is incumbent upon us to continue to monitor both the procurement and development of the Latino players. Equally as important, MLB must continue its commitment to celebrating the game on the global stage. The passion of Latino fans has been an engine behind the game’s proliferation in recent years, and enhancing that special connection in the years ahead is critical.

Vantage Point Voces

of the competition and beyond? Gersson Rosas

Joe DeGuardia

Vice President, Player Personnel NBA Houston Rockets

President & CEO Star Boxing, Inc.

Regardless of the industry, whether basketball or banking, the objective is the same: be a leader in your field. An effective method that leads to success in most fields is to genuinely recognize who you are, as an individual and as an organiza-

It is vital to recognize your strengths and weaknesses with


the purpose of “playing” to your strengths and “working” to improve your weaknesses. The purpose of this approach is to create a powerful competitive advantage by maximizing your talent, abilities, and resources, while addressing your weaknesses in a consistent and effective manner. This efficient approach allows organizations the ability to stay well ahead of their competition by recognizing industry opportunities as well as obstacles to success in an ever-changing environment. Staying ahead of the curve at all levels is a major challenge and should be approached with an open mind. All processes should be questioned in order to confirm that you are utilizing the most effective and productive methods in your industry.

Succeeding in the business of boxing is a real fight. In an industry that is fueled by a limited number of “elite talent” and even fewer available TV dates, the competition is fierce. One of the many ways that Star Boxing has been able to thrive in this tough environment is by [remaining] true to the principles we believe in.

all companies, regardless of their business, are only as good as the product they present to the public. Star Boxing has concentrated In addition,

on the old-school principles: Give fans what they want while developing a product or brand in the name of our company and our fighters.

Fighting complacency and questioning the norm is an attitude

that will lead to innovations and a stronger competitive advantage. The key ingredient to this philosophy is finding talented individuals who share the organization’s vision, are passionate about their work, and committed to excellence at every opportunity.

July/Aug/Sept 2012


Voces Insights


Hispanic Executive


TECHNICALLY SPEAKING Ariel Marrero of Havas Media always keeps an open mind when it comes to the fast-paced IT industry. “Regardless of my company or role, my goal has always been to manage change. That’s the way I’ve achieved the most both professionally and personally,” he says.

Insights Voces

“This industry is in constant pursuit of smarter decision making. It’s all about the data: Having it available in a fast, flexible manner is key.”

When Ariel Marrero came to the United States from Havana, he was just eight years old, and his struggle to integrate would ultimately create skills that led to his success. “Immigrating at an early age forced me to enter an unfamiliar educational system, learn a new language, and understand a new culture, and that eventually prepared me for challenges ahead,” says Marrero, who is now North American chief information officer for Havas Media, the global media network for Havas, a $2 billion media conglomerate. “Early on I learned to step away from the traditional way of doing things and be entrepreneurial, which is essential in a job that focuses on innovation.”

as told to Julie Schaeffer

July/Aug/Sept 2012

I focus on business processes. That involves setting up organizational models to make sure internal and external clients are getting consistent delivery of services around what we call our three pillars—flexible solutions with simplicity, security, and continuity. We want to make sure we’re delivering technology that is helping to grow the business and [can be] adopted as business tools. One of the projects of which I’m proudest of is our business intelligence project. This agency struggles, as many

firms do, to manage information in a way that allows users to make immediate decisions that will move the business forward. We’ve consolidated and simplified that information, then served it up in a way that’s sexy and easy to understand. It’s a data, analytics, and decision-making platform that can be used internally and externally, providing employees and clients with information about everything from spending to profits to performance. Essentially, we’ve come up with a new way of looking at data and bringing data out of the dark to improve business insights in real time. My early career in the financial industry helped define my interests in engineering and economics. In 1994, after

graduating from DeVry University with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications


Voces Insights

You have to step up, move away from traditional ways of doing things, and be entrepreneurial, even if it involves taking a significant amount of risk and leaving your comfort zone. Ariel Marrero Chief Information Officer

management, I was fortunate to get an opportunity at Bear Stearns. I began mainly in IT consulting, which has opened many doors. The financial world is fast-paced, and then as now it was always important to find ways to [create] value by finding smarter ways to work. I stayed in that financial industry world until 2001, spending time at Swiss Bank and Citigroup as well as Bear Stearns. In 2001, I got the opportunity to work in the media entertainment world. I

moved to Sony, heading the projectmanagement division, which involved directing technology projects globally to make sure all business-technology offerings provided immediate value. After five years, I was elevated to a global shared services role, which was my introduction to the duties of a chief technology officer. I stayed there until 2008, when I accepted my current position at Havas. My experience across different industries helped me obtain my current position. This industry is in constant

pursuit of smarter decision making. It’s all about the data: Having it available in a fast, flexible manner is key. I feel I have a lot of experience with that. Backed by a team that is focused on creating efficiencies and innovation. I saw this assignment as an opportunity to work for a smaller company in terms of revenue but a bigger company in terms of ambition. Smaller companies tend to move at a much faster pace than traditional Fortune 500 companies, and I am having the time of my life at my current position at Havas Media. Regardless of my company or role, my goal has been to create a smarter way

to manage change. That’s the way I’ve

achieved the most both professionally and personally. You have to step up, move away from traditional ways of doing things, and be entrepreneurial, even if it involves taking a significant amount of risk and leaving your comfort zone. My greatest challenge has been tight budgets. There [is] a higher expectation

of IT commodity services, but whereas budgets were equally higher in the past, now you’re expected to deliver with a third less budget. That’s led a lot of us in the industry to do some soul searching because we want to deliver secure technologies but also ensure that we continue to innovate. I tell young people to adhere to their beliefs. There are tremendous expecta-

tions in this industry to achieve more at a faster pace. But we need to ensure that we’re not overpromising and under delivering. Be open to new opportunities, get out of your comfort zone, but be sure you leverage the resources around you. There’s a team behind me and we’re only as strong as our weakest link. My greatest mentors have been my parents. I’ve had tremendous support

professionally, but before that opportunity arose, I had parental support. My mom is a school teacher, and my dad, who started as a mechanic, now owns a business. In my family there was always the expectation that you’d have drive and better yourself. And I don’t take anything for granted: I’ve stayed humble and always given back to community, whether through church programs, education, or sports.

Insights Voces

Panasonic would like to recognize Cesar Beltran for his excellent work with Time Warner Cable and his continued drive for success within the ďƒželd of Information Technology.

Š2012 Panasonic Corporation of North America. All rights reserved. Cesar_ENT_FY11-1

Voces Insights

“The latest trend across multiple industries is the repositioning of IT to support business growth with actionable intelligence.”

as told to Ruth E. Dávila


Hispanic Executive

Photo: Shahar Azran Photography

As vice president of information technology for the East Region at Time Warner Cable Inc., Cesar Beltran has worked behind the scenes to help usher in nearly every major innovation in the cable industry. He’s left his handprint on various products from inward-facing products, like call-center solutions, to wildly popular consumer products like on-demand TV. Here, Beltran chats with Hispanic Executive about how he’s reshaping his IT department to leverage business intel like never before.

Insights Voces

TRAINING THE YOUNGER GENERATION Cesar Beltran, vice president of information technology for Time Warner Cable, East Region, and members of his department work with local students at the Technology Center at Sunnyside Community Services in Queens, NY. The center is powered by Time Warner Cable.

Growing up in a small mountain town called Líbano, in the central region of Colombia, the closest I came to technology was playing with remote-controlled race cars. I used to take them apart

to understand how they worked. I still recall that sense of fascination; it was the same way I felt the first time I sat down at a computer terminal as a young man in New York City. My father owned a bodega and two coffee farms, and did well enough financially to fund my dreams of moving to New York, where my uncle lived. When I got to the United States, I spoke virtually no English, so I enrolled in an immersion program. After about two years, in 1980, I landed a job doing data entry for stock-market information. That data terminal was my first real discovery of technology. I was com-

pelled to learn how it worked. I borrowed books from the head of mainframe operations and read everything I could on the topic. Within two years, I was promoted to supervisor. I would go to college in the day and then work the night shift. (I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management and information systems at New York University.) When the company started to shrink, I searched for a new position and landed

July/Aug/Sept 2012

at BQ Cable. BQ grew and changed with the industry, and so did I. Ultimately after five mergers and acquisitions, I arrived at my current role as vice president of IT, East Region, for Time Warner Cable (TWC) in early

2011. At TWC, we’re all about connecting people and businesses with information, entertainment, and each other. I lead an IT department of about 300 people that has become, over time, more agile, proactive, and business oriented. Fortunately I’ve been involved in nearly every product TWC offers—from high-definition television, to enhanced TV features, to high-speed data, and digital-phone services. Among the many

achievements made by my team over the past three decades, we’ve strategized and implemented the first graphical user interface for a client server used by our call centers, which today is a standard in many industries. Technology has become the support engine that helps the company push new products out. During the evolution from

analog to digital cable, I’ve been fortunate to work on teams that have built the infrastructure that today we’re using for

video on demand. About 10 years ago, customers had about three channels of pay-per-view. Today you can turn on your TV, and there are hundreds of movies available, whenever you want them. You don’t have to call in and order; you simply press a button and get it now. It’s easy for the customer, but there are very complex technologies behind that which we are very proud of. Looking toward the future, one of our primary areas of information technology growth is in business intelligence. I serve

as the industry liaison to MIT; that’s how I stay attuned with the latest technology. The latest trend across multiple industries is the repositioning of IT to support business growth with actionable intelligence. In the past, people have viewed IT in the context of a system and solution, but not in the context of what IT can do to help a business be more successful. We are in the process of creating a new business intelligence group of programmers, analysts, and a senior leader,

which will be dedicated to understanding the needs of the business leaders in the region, including sales and marketing. The sales team needs to know about the customer base, but we have millions of


records in databases with a vast amount of information. The key to our success is in the mining of data and intelligence to make astute business decisions. I have enjoyed my journey in cable, and being Hispanic has helped me work harder to get where I am today. It wasn’t

2.5" trim All rights Accenture reserved. All rights reserved. ©2011 Accenture ©2011

Voces Insights

accelerate business. anywhere.

until after I moved to the States that I realized that I was part of a minority group in this country. It’s important to me that others see what Latinos and other minorities can accomplish if given equal opportunities in education and advancement.

A MESSAGE FROM Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. To learn more, visit

leadership in the cable industry and Accenture commends Cesar Beltran his contributions to technology of Time Warner Cable for his inspiring innovation and the local community. leadership in the cable industry and his contributions to technology innovation and the local community.

For over 25 years, CSG International supports companies around the world to compete more effectively, improve business operations and 10" trim

A MESSAGE FROM CSG Systems International CSG Systems International, Inc. is a worldleading business support solutions and services company serving the majority of the top 100 global communications service providers, including leaders in fixed, mobile and nextgeneration networks such as AT&T, Comcast, DISH Network, France Telecom, MasterCard, Orange, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Time Warner Cable, Vodafone, Vivo, and Verizon.

Here’s to high performance Here’s to high at its best. performance Accenture commends Cesar Beltran at its best. of Time Warner Cable for his inspiring

A Proven Partner

10" trim

A MESSAGE FROM Panasonic Solutions for Business Through its broad range of integrated technology solutions, Panasonic empowers professionals to do their best work. Customers in government, health care, production, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises depend on integrated solutions from Panasonic to reach their full potential, achieve competitive advantage, and improve outcomes. Panasonic solutions address unified business communications, mobile computing, security and surveillance systems, retail information systems, office productivity solutions, high-definition visual conferencing, projectors, professional displays and HD and 3D video production. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic engineers reliable long-lasting solutions as a partner for continuous improvement.

deliver a more impactful customer experience. By continuing to evolve our portfolio of marketleading solutions to meet everchanging market demands, we continue to be the leader in business support solutions and services.

CSG International congratulates Time Warner Cable’s Cesar Beltran for being recognized as a Hispanic Executive. His dedication within the business community is unmatched. CSG International serves the majority of the world’s top 100 communications service providers. 128

Hispanic Executive

Document: 0502_Hispanic Exec Time Warner Cable Date: 12/09/11

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Ignacio Alvarez for being recognized by Hispanic Executive

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Voces Insights

“The things you learn are often by accident. It depends on what is hot in the economy at the time.� 130

Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces as told to Jennifer Hogeland

Ignacio Alvarez moved to Puerto Rico for love and stayed for opportunity. Born in Cuba in 1958, he moved to Florida at the age of three. While attending Georgetown University he met his wife, who was of Puerto Rican decent. After relocating to Puerto Rico, he found himself one of six founding members of the law firm Pietrantoni Mendez & Alvarez LLP. In 2010, Alvarez’s wife, general counsel for Popular, Inc. and Banco Popular, passed away from cancer. A few months later, Popular, Inc.’s CEO approached Alvarez to join the company as its general counsel, charged with helping the largest Hispanic-run financial organization in the United States enter new markets and introduce novel products.

I come from a long family of lawyers.

My grandfather was a lawyer, my father was a lawyer, and my mother studied law in Cuba in the 1940s. I studied liberal arts at Georgetown University, and like many liberal arts majors, when I graduated it was either the real world or law school. I went on to Harvard Law School, and worked for a Miami law firm before moving to Puerto Rico in 1985. I spent seven years at McConnell Valdes, the largest firm on the island, gaining valuable experience with corporate securities work. I was lucky to have a fairly unique exposure to diverse corporate practices. By

luck or chance, when in Miami I’d been involved in a lot of corporate securities work. When I came to Puerto Rico, there was an increased demand for that type of work, I was a natural fit and [I] got a lot of exposure. There was also a need for bank regulatory work, so I stepped up. I tell a lot of young lawyers the things you learn are often by accident. It depends on what is hot in the economy at the time. When I came to Puerto Rico, 936 funds were very active and a lot of money was flowing around. As a young lawyer with specialized skills that weren’t prevalent in Puerto Rico, I gained valuable experience. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. In 1992, I founded a law firm with six other attorneys. We specialized in

corporate and commercial law matters. When I left there, we had over 60 attorneys. It was very hard to leave; we were like a band of brothers because of all we went through, particularly the growing pains of building a business together. I

July/Aug/Sept 2012

believe I would have only have left the law firm for a few things—Popular was still recovering from the financial crisis and I felt it would be a challenge to form part of the team to help guide it through the storm to a safe harbor, and take it to the next level. One of the benefits of working for the bank is that I have more control over my time. In the firm, I was always dealing with a crisis. Clients dictated my schedule. At Popular, Inc., I have more flexibility as well as the opportunity to be involved in the strategic decisions of the organization. As the general counsel, I handle the legal and corporate matters at Popular, Inc. I’m responsible for the two legal

divisions, [United States] and Puerto Rico. I also oversee strategic planning for the corporation and loss share office that administrates assets purchased in FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] assisted transactions, and our internal audit divisions. As general counsel, a large part of my job is supporting the CEO. A lot of my day depends on what he needs me to do. We are a very unique institution.

Popular, Inc. is the largest Hispanic-run financial organization in the United States. Our challenge is to maintain our roots, but open ourselves up to other communities. In the next three-to-five years, I’d like to see the organization grow and enter other markets and create new products. We

are already a relatively large institution. With $35 billion in assets, we are the 36th largest bank in the [United States].

We have a huge presence in Puerto Rico, so we have to be creative to identify new products and services and explore growth possibilities in other areas. As general counsel and head of strategic planning, I deal with the regulatory implications of going into different markets, coordinate market and efficiency studies regarding the operations, and as part of the senior management team, I try help develop our strategic plan and position. A MESSAGE FROM Mayer & Brown Banking and Finance is one of Mayer Brown’s founding practices and it continues to represent one of the firm’s signature strengths. With more than 200 finance lawyers in the Americas, Asia and Europe, Mayer Brown has one of the largest finance practices in the world—and with that size comes the knowledge, experience and resources to tackle transactions of any scale in almost any jurisdiction. We are proud of our relationship with Banco Popular and congratulate Ignacio Alvarez for this well-deserved recognition. A MESSAGE FROM McConnell Valdes With offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. McConnell Valdés is a fullservice law firm with practice areas covering virtually every aspect of business law. Trust and respect have been the foundation of our long-standing relationship with clients like our colleague and friend Ignacio Alvarez. We have known and worked with Ignacio for almost 30 years, and are proud to have the opportunity to work with him in his role as Chief Legal Counsel of Popular, Inc. We congratulate him on his being recognized by Hispanic Executive and wish him mucho éxito, ¡siempre!


Voces Insights

Congratulations to Ignacio Alvarez, a true leader General Counsel of Popular, Inc., Ignacio Alvarez is both a pre-eminent lawyer and a committed member of his community. We are pleased to support our friend and colleague, and join Hispanic Executive in recognizing his contributions. NEW YORK • WASHINGTON, D.C. • LOS ANGELES • PALO ALTO LONDON • PARIS • FRANKFURT TOKYO • HONG KONG • BEIJING • MELBOURNE • SYDNEY


July/Aug/Sept 2012



Applause to Banco Popular Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, is pleased to congratulate our client Ignacio Alvarez on his recognition by Hispanic Executive magazine. We are proud of our ongoing relationship with Banco Popular. We value our relationships with some of the world’s most-honored companies.

Americas | Asia | Europe |

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the “Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. “Mayer Brown” and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

Insights Voces Pietrantoni Mendez & Alvarez llc congratulates

Ignacio Alvarez and Popular, Inc. for being recognized by Hispanic Executive.

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Voces Insights

“I made decisions based on my value system because I saw that the system I was working within was flawed.” Growing up, Juan Avila was more of a creative type, but from a very early age his engineer father stressed the importance of mathematics. So much, in fact, that Avila’s father would have him complete homemade math worksheets, hoping to sharpen his skills before he even began attending school. Now named one of Chicago magazine’s Five Star Wealth Managers, Avila is reaping the benefit of his hard work and emphasis on education as a senior vice president (SVP) of Mesirow Financial. As chairman of the board for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE), Avila also places a great amount of emphasis on giving back to the Latino community. Here, the SVP discusses a turning point in his career and the importance of establishing your values and sticking by them.

as told to Tina Vasquez


Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces

While attending Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, I did a project on one of the largest financial-services firms and it was eyeopening. It was clear they developed

amazing salespeople, but it’s not really in the best interest of the client to be the best at selling and not be good at investing. I later joined this firm and worked hard to differentiate myself. I wanted to be a proactive leader to my clients and protect their assets in what would become a turbulent market. The firm’s economist warned that a housing bubble was on the horizon, but no one listened. I did listen to this warning and was able to be ahead of the curve in September of 2008 when the financial markets collapsed. I made decisions based on

my value system because I saw that the system I was working within was flawed. When the firm I was at was acquired by another firm it felt like a slap in the face, but it was also a very formative time and I decided to do what was right based on my values. I wanted to find the right partner for my clients, a place that was consistent with my beliefs—and that’s how I ended up at Mesirow Financial. When I came to Mesirow Financial, I knew that their motto was “independent minds, innovative solutions.” They

welcomed my ability to think outside of the box and question the status quo. When Latinos enter corporate America, we have a tendency to hope our hard work gets noticed; we hope to be given opportunities; we hope to be promoted. There’s a lot of hope, but hope shouldn’t be an investment strategy or a career plan. We can’t continue to let our careers happen to us. A great deal of my success is a result of breaking norms—both professionally and in the Latino culture—but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Last year at an HACE [Hispanic

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Alliance for Career Enhancement] board meeting, I told the board we needed to continue to focus on our work and let the organization speak for itself. Another board member called me out on it, saying that we need to make our success known and not wait for people to notice us. Even after 20 years in the industry, I caught myself falling back into the same cultural norms. I realized how deeply ingrained these things are and it was humbling. I’m now more in tune with this issue and make a conscious effort not to revert back to old habits.

When Latinos enter corporate America, we have a tendency to hope our hard work gets noticed; we hope to be given opportunities; we hope to be promoted. There’s a lot of hope, but hope shouldn’t be an investment strategy or a career plan. Juan Avila Senior Vice President

If you’re going to enter this industry, there are three critically important things you need to know. The first is

learning to network. As Latinos we’re taught to be humble, but this is the time to be aggressive. Oftentimes in this industry it’s two-thirds who you know and one-third what you know. Developing a career map is also key. Again, you can’t let your career happen to you; you have to develop a five-year plan and map out the direction you want your career to take or else you’ll find yourself stuck in the same cubicle for years. Lastly, focus on requesting professional development. Many just take the positions they’re given, but you need to request opportunities to grow. Find a company that will invest in you and encourage your continued growth. A MESSAGE FROM Heller College of Business Heller College of Business prepares professionals to excel in a global marketplace. Visiting faculty and partnerships with schools abroad enable a relevant, global-aware learning experience at Roosevelt University, the fourth most diverse institution in the Midwest (U.S. News and World Report, 2011). Heller College students also develop sophisticated executive skills through national case competitions and local leadership programs.


Voces Insights

“You have to wrestle with doing the right thing —and we had to dig deep to figure out how to survive without laying anyone off.” What Zeferino Banda Jr. started in 2003 as a one-man safety-consulting business has defied his own expectations. Now boasting 50 employees, Banda Group International, LLC is a safety advisor for companies responsible for highrisk procedures all over the world. And it’s all based on one central idea: With enough planning, care, and foresight, accidents are entirely avoidable. as told to Seth Putnam

I got into this business as an accident (no pun intended). When I got out of the

Air Force, I stuck with aviation mechanics. I was working for the Department of Energy, and there was an incident with an aircraft that fell off its jacks. So, I responded to their advertisement for a ground-safety employee. Over the years, I got my master’s degree in health and safety, worked for a large semiconductor manufacturer, and finally decided I wanted to open my own consulting firm. Injuries are avoidable. If people look at the way they conduct themselves at work and even at home—if you think before you act—you can prevent anything. If you can work 10 minutes safely, you can work for a day. It’s about reducing risk. There’s no such thing as zero risk, but you can do a lot to mitigate it as much as possible. The recession is still on everyone’s minds. It was hard, and it’s a sobering charge to be responsible for the livelihood of others. You have to wrestle with

doing the right thing—and we had to dig deep to figure out how to survive without laying anyone off. We were forced to be more efficient—to the point where we were only 10 percent down coming out of 2009. Our processes have evolved as a result, and throughout 2010 and 2011, we’ve been growing. I was born in South Texas, as one of six kids, but we eventually moved to Cali-


Hispanic Executive

Insights Voces

fornia and later New Mexico. It’s a bluecollar, athletics-oriented family: We’d be outside playing ball in the street. The American Southwest runs in our veins. My first [international] project as Banda Group’s president was an 18-month stint in Ireland. Over the years, I’ve been to Germany, Israel—all over. Traveling gets you outside where you live and gives you perspective on the lives of others. We love this country, and I’ve tried to instill in my children that our way isn’t the only way. I’m reminded of a trip we took through some of the poorest parts of Cairo, Egypt, to visit the pyramids. It was eye opening for me and very good for the kids to see how fortunate we are. We’re sitting at 50 employees right now, but our goal is to expand to 150,

and we’ve got a good strategy for that. We have good relationships with our customers, and we’re trying to grow our revenue. We’re certified for federal government contracts, so we’re expanding in that area, too. But, we’re also looking outside the [United States]. Right now, we’re looking at jobs in Peru, Australia, and possibly South Africa.

Photo: Heidi Mixon, Capture the Moment Photography

The kind of people I’m looking for are experienced and degreed in health and safety. They need to be knowledge-

HUMBLE ROOTS Born in South Texas to a blue-collar family, Zeferino Banda Jr., president of Banda Group International, says it’s a “sobering charge to be in charge of the livelihood of others.”

able, and they need to be able to provide sound judgment for the kind of fast-track jobs we take. They need to not only have a command over the ins and outs of the regulations, but they need to know how to apply them, too. The difficulty with regulations is that they vary from place to place. They’re

not cut and dried. What they put on paper could have varying interpretations. Clients come to us because they need people who can wade through that maze based on years of experience. Being counted as one of the top 500 Hispanic businesses is a great honor for us. We’re proud to employ minori-

ties. Qualifications obviously come first: Being bilingual, for instance, can be very handy internationally. I also want to underline our commitment to veterans as well. I served in the Air Force, and veterans are very important to us.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

We were forced to be more efficient—to the point where we were only 10 percent down coming out of 2009. Our processes have evolved as a result, and throughout 2010 and 2011, we’ve been growing. Zeferino Banda Jr. President


Voces Insights Sports execs

“The future for us in this country is to open the borders and be more international in what we do and how we do things.” What I enjoy most about my role is building and maintaining meaningful relationships with people. It’s something

as told to Chris Allsop


Hispanic Executive

I enjoy and it comes naturally to me. I am also passionate about soccer as it is one of those unique sports that transcends class and culture. I’m an unconventional guy. I want to

be the one thinking outside of the box, otherwise, we’re just one more company on the list. I enjoy creative thinking, and it’s important when you’re dealing with soccer. People think that you’re just targeting the “soccer fan,” but what I’ve found over the years is that there are a lot of silos within the “soccer fan.” If you’re a fan of one club, you don’t care about other clubs. But you might also be a fan of a particular league. So there are a lot of synergies between the silos. For example, about 90 percent of Mexicans are now wearing [Manchester United soccer] shirts because there is a Mexican “Chicharito” [Javier Hernandez] playing in England who they worship. Soccer is one of the most widely played sports in the world. In the United States,

over the past 10 to 15 years, participation in soccer has increased tremendously … Outside of a World Cup year—which is like Christmas every day for our sales department—we are seeing growth in several locations: youth, women (more women are playing in the United States than in any other place in the world), and Hispanic growth (this is 20 percent of our business now, up from nothing four years ago).


Vicente Navarro knows a thing or two about goals—on and off the field. Originally from Alicante, Spain, Vicente Navarro is director of Hispanic marketing for Sports Endeavors, Inc., which includes the website, and is also known for its Eurosport soccer catalog. He attended high school in Ireland, university in Boston, and eventually settled down in Miami where he met and married his American wife. Previously employed as director of sales for with sporting-goods manufacturer Kelme, Navarro now oversees all aspects of business development in Sports Endeavors’ US Hispanic market. He has been recognized by the company for four consecutive years for surpassing goals, and has been instrumental in establishing strategic relationships with broadcasting networks and top professional teams. Navarro is passionate about soccer, and while he loves his adopted country, he says, “I get back to Spain any chance I get. I do miss my vino and jamón serrano ibérico.”

Insights Voces Leveraging his international experience and tapping into the worldwide craze for soccer are among Vicente Navarro’s top priorities for the e-commerce business, Sports Endeavors, which caters to fútbol aficionados.

Depending on the location, people do business differently. The key to success

is adapting your style to suit your audience. In the United States, for example, businesspeople are all about the transaction, about getting the business done. In Europe and Spain, you often don’t close deals in a conference room, you close business in a restaurant over lunch, or in a bar. Business is often completed in the most unusual places that you can imagine. There’s something you have to love about that. I love my job. In the future, however, I

would like to move to more of a global role, to leverage my international experience more. The future for us in this country is to open the borders and be more international in what we do and how we do things. We’re the leaders when it comes to soccer transactions, we’re the numberone e-commerce store in the world, and one of my goals is [to figure out] how we make what we do more global. How can we open countries up to our offering of 45,000 SKUs carried? How can we make those products available if you’re in Brazil or Chile without having to pay a huge amount for shipping and duties?

I’m an unconventional guy. I want to be the one thinking outside of the box, otherwise, we’re just one more company on the list. Vicente Navarro Director, Hispanic Marketing

July/Aug/Sept 2012

I’m proud to be part of a company that makes giving back a priority. We started

our Passback Program in 1989 as a way to donate used but still playable gear to less fortunate soccer players here at home and around the world. America Scores is another way in which we give back: we empower students in urban communities using soccer, creative expression, and service learning to inspire healthy lifestyles and engage students.



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“Each day, I actively partner with local firms to understand the complexities of various legal systems and issues in Latin America, and translate not only the language but the legal jargon in a way that Aon’s management can understand.”


Hispanic Executive

Insiders Voces

Making Legal Strides in Latin America with Marta Carreira-Slabe of Aon Corporation Cuba-native Marta Carreira-Slabe started her career as a news anchor and reporter in Central Illinois. Being a news reporter helped her think on her feet and react quickly under challenging scenarios. It was the perfect training ground for a career in law. Now, as chief counsel for insurance-brokerage firm Aon Latin America, she combines the communication skills and empathy of a journalist with the legal analysis and training of a lawyer. interview by Kaleena Thompson

What obstacles did you face to get to this point?

I am generally a glass-is-half-full type of person so I prefer to look at obstacles as challenges. Being a woman and a secondcareer lawyer is sometimes challenging because you are competing with much younger colleagues that have different priorities, and for which there are more mentors and traditional role models. As a woman, I also find it more difficult to separate my career from my family life. This means we are good at multitasking, but it also makes us more vulnerable in the business world and at home. There are different styles of communicating between men and women and we are still outnumbered in the corporate world, although that’s changing. As general counsel, what are your responsibilities?

I am responsible for general legal and compliance matters across our three business units, retail brokerage, reinsurance brokerage, and human-resources consulting. My job also includes managing relationships with our outside firms in the region, whether it involves a regulatory issue, litigation, or a transaction. Each day, I actively partner with local firms to understand the complexities of various legal systems and issues in Latin

July/Aug/Sept 2012

America, and translate not only the language but the legal jargon in a way that Aon’s management can understand. It’s a never-ending challenge, but it’s also a constant learning opportunity. What is your favorite part of the job?

Reconnecting to my lost heritage through the many relationships that I have forged at work and personally in the region. As a female who oversees a team of lawyers in a male-dominated region, what are important leadership qualities to have?

I think that women in Latin America who are professional, confident, and good at their jobs can leverage all of these attributes and become very successful in their roles. In many ways, being one of few women in the region is empowering. But, you have to be prepared and have a thick skin. Whether you are male or female, you also have to be willing to devote sufficient time to relationship building so you can establish trust. You also have to pick your battles. You have to know when you can compromise and when you need to stand firm. I am still working on teaching the American concept of “knowing when to pick and choose your battles” to our colleagues in [Latin America].

Executive Timeline The career of Marta Carreira-Slabe

1986-2000 Serves as a news anchor at WCIA-TV 2003 Graduates from University of Illinois College of Law 2002-2006 Works as an associate at Sidley Austin, LLP 2006 Is appointed chief counsel at Aon Latin America


How has your heritage and upbringing influenced your life and work in Latin America?






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My immigrant parents were the best role models anyone could hope for. They left Cuba in the late ’60s with four young children and one suitcase per capita; that’s it, nothing more. We lived in Madrid for two years before immigrating to the [United States] in the early ’70s. I remember early images of my parents struggling to learn English, but they reinvented themselves and prevailed. My father has a PhD in civil engineering and continues to teach at the age of 78. My mother, who had been a university professor in Havana, earned a masters degree in teaching and taught bilingual kids in elementary school. My parents led by example and taught me the value of education at any age. That’s why I went to law school and pursued a second career as a mom of three young children. I figured if my father and mother could do it under much more difficult circumstances, there’s no reason I shouldn’t. I also think that being not only bilingual but bicultural is a huge asset. As a Cuban American, I understand both cultures, and have benefitted from the best of both worlds. This has worked well professionally and personally. A MESSAGE FROM Baker & McKenzie Baker & McKenzie salutes Marta CarreiraSlabe for the many achievements in her distinguished career. Marta truly personifies Aon’s commitment to ‘hire the best, build the best and be the best.” Like Aon, Baker & McKenzie is committed to an inclusive workplace that affords our lawyers around the globe an opportunity to contribute. “We recognize that the diversity of our global organization helps us to develop the best possible solutions for our clients,” said Raymundo Enriquez, Chair of Baker & McKenzie’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and member of the firm’s Executive Committee. “Multiple perspectives and the diversity of thought within our organization have been a part of the firm’s DNA since its inception.” Baker & McKenzie offers clients and talent both the uncompromising commitment to excellence expected of a top firm and a distinctive way of thinking, working and behaving — as a passionately global and genuinely collaborative firm.

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The ability to learn and adapt quickly. If I look at what I’m doing today, and what I was doing 10 years ago, there’s probably only about 10 percent overlap. If I look at what I’m going to be doing five years from now, half of what I’m doing then will be different. As you get used to change, you become energized by the process. It’s an opportunity to do new things and to grow. Can you describe your average week?

A big aspect are the formal touch points with the team, as is managing the relationship with our suppliers (although I am rarely involved in the negotiations). I handle the communications side, understanding the strategic opportunities that we might have working with our key suppliers and internal stakeholders.

Among other duties, I also get out and about. I’ll go to the garages to talk to the mechanics, or visit the store room/supply room. In an average week, I’ll usually have some [interaction] with the various organizations I’m involved in, and I’ll support our employee groups. Is this an exciting industry to work in?

It’s fascinating. The industry and the company both. Verizon is very dynamic. Inside, people are running left and right, there is so much going on. It’s an environment that I prefer: one that is constantly looking to improve. When you look at the landscape, there aren’t many companies that have thrived and evolved in the way Verizon has over the last 20 years. What differentiates us is that drive to look at things in a new way. I feel pretty good about coming to work every morning.

Insiders Voces

Executive Timeline The career of Mariano Legaz

1995 Joins Verizon International Operations in Argentina, a wireless start-up “As you get used to change, you become energized by the process; it’s an opportunity to do new things and to grow.”

2000 Moves to the United States to become manager operations for Verizon International 2002 Is responsible for heading up the wireless planning and engineering team as the newly appointed director of network planning for Verizon 2005 Is appointed executive director for planning and engineering, where Legaz is handed oversight and leadership of Verizon’s capital planning, engineering, and operational performance 2006 Becomes director of capital planning and analysis, managing an annual program of $17 billion in capital investment 2009 Earns promotion to position of vice president of strategic sourcing 2011 Takes on current role as vice president of supply-chain services

July/Aug/Sept 2012


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Could the company have taken a different approach to being global? Maybe.

But, the reality is that I can’t point at that many companies who have done it as well as we did. But (and this isn’t corporate hot air) you cannot point to a moment in history, either with a project or initiative, with customers or employees, when the company has acted without complete integrity. It’s something we take for granted, but it’s fantastic to know that you can always count on that. Best piece of advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?

I would say, “Don’t.” … Only joking. My advice is made up of a few things. First, try to look for opportunities that offer as much learning potential as possible, especially early in your career. Don’t just focus on the title or the money; that early experience can pay off later on. Secondly, focus on what you want to be really good at. If you’re good at something, exploit that strength as an advantage—it’ll give you a chance to shine. The other part of the advice is to stay humble. As you start moving up, don’t lose perspective that for everything you know, there’s about 10 times more that you don’t know. Finally, the thing that wraps around all of this is not to lose sight of what really drives you, what’s your motivation. I’ve never known anyone who puts in a 10 to 12 hour day for a scorecard. You need to find out what drives you. What’s your ulterior motivation? It doesn’t matter how big that paycheck is—it’ll never be enough. A MESSAGE FROM Alorica Alorica, a leading provider of customer management outsourcing solutions, has enjoyed a long history of working with Verizon Communications Inc. Our 30-year heritage and awardwinning Business Processing Outsourcing ser-

July/Aug/Sept 2012

vices span both the B2C and B2B sectors across all industries for Fortune 1000 companies. Alorica proudly congratulates Mariano Legaz on his success and commitment to supplier diversity. A MESSAGE FROM Bartech As a minority-owned business, Bartech, a leader in global contingent workforce management solutions, has experienced Verizon’s commitment to supplier diversity firsthand. As their Managed Service Provider, we have helped them achieve a remarkable 65% diversity program spend. We are thrilled to enter our fifth year supporting Verizon with contingent workforce services. A MESSAGE FROM LLC provides technology and supply-chain solutions to customers and suppliers around the world. Telcobuy understands that today’s advanced technologies, when properly planned, procured, and deployed are business solutions that reduce costs, increase profitability, and ultimately improve a company’s ability to effectively serve their customers. A MESSAGE FROM SHI Thanks to support from Mariano Legaz, Verizon and others dedicated to diversity business development, SHI has become the largest Minority/Woman Owned Business Enterprise in the US. As a proud supplier of customized IT solutions to Verizon since 1997, we look forward to continuing our partnership in 2012 and beyond. A MESSAGE FROM IncrediTek IncrediTek, a disabled veteran owned business, proudly partners with service providers nationwide. Whether it’s adding a reliable partner to your VAR team or teaming with a service and support company that gives your network the expertise, workmanship, and dedication it deserves, IncrediTek is there. We maintain a reliable, highly trained, and disciplined force of engineers so your ROI is fast.

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Investing in minority product suppliers with Harry Perales of Campbell Soup Company “Blessed” is the word that Harry Perales uses to describe his life. After all, rising from his inner-city roots to become a senior manager of procurement and supplier diversity at consumerproducts giant Campbell Soup Company seems a bit miraculous. But despite a fulfilling career with the renowned soup company, Perales hasn’t forgotten his roots. In fact, he has made it his life mission to broaden opportunities and access for minority product suppliers. HE spoke with Perales about achieving corporate success and honoring his Puerto Rican heritage. interview by Mark Pechenik

What led to your position with the Campbell Soup Company?

I came from a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Paterson, New Jersey. I went to Temple University in Philadelphia, but left after my junior year for a full-time job. This led to a position with corporate travel provider Travelco where I was outsourced to Campbell Soup as their travel manager. Subsequently, I joined Campbell in 2001. Eventually, I completed my bachelor’s degree in marketing from Temple in 2006. How did your current role with Campbell come about and what does it entail?

According to census studies, minority groups will collectively become the majority of the US population by 2050. In response, Campbell has worked to formalize its supply-chain approach to these demographic groups since 2006. I volunteered for a committee exploring ways to reach out and grow spending with minority and women suppliers. These companies provide Campbell with everything from sausages for our soups to indirect services like office supplies and laptop computers. We began by sending out 25,000 letters to our supply base asking if they were certified female or minority-owned businesses. We discovered that we were spending about $85 million with these suppliers. Our primary goal is to increase spending with these minority-owned

July/Aug/Sept 2012

businesses. We now have strategic plans in place outlining our projected growth toward our targets. How are these goals achieved?

We look for diverse suppliers for everything in global procurement. We seek out prospects through sourcing tools like SupplierGateway, which contains listings of minority-owned suppliers. We are active members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. We emphasize to our nondiverse suppliers that we put great value on their outreach to minority vendors. For example, we’ve had a positive response from our chocolate supplier, Barry Callebaut of Chicago, which started its own supplier-diversity program. In addition, we’ve enabled Campbell to have a strong presence within minorityfocused trade groups. For instance, we provided scholarships, which enabled several minority company owners to benefit from business seminars. We also hosted a Women Business Enterprise Council event allowing member companies to network with other major corporations like DuPont and Johnson & Johnson. How have your efforts benefited Campbell Soup?

Because many minority-owned businesses are smaller and leaner, they are often more innovative and results oriented. Consequently, Campbell has benefited

from the price competitiveness and quality of these owners. Campbell has also increased its business with diversity-focused suppliers to $145 million in 2008—a $60 million increase from 2005. And, despite the weak economy, our goal is to reach $135 million in 2012. You’ve demonstrated commitment to diversity in other ways. Tell me about Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas.

As a first generation Latino-American, I look to strengthen Hispanic cultural connections. So when I was asked to serve as board treasurer of Raíces Culturales Lationamericanas, which promotes Hispanic arts and culture, I accepted. Through this organization, I’ve reconnected with my ethnic roots and explored Hispanic cultural diversity, from learning about Mexican writers to Colombian dance. By remaining true to my heritage, I’ve provided Campbell with an authentic perspective into Hispanic culture and how we can use that to better connect to our customers. Looking ahead, what would you like to accomplish?

Professionally, I want to enhance Campbell’s ability to navigate through the diverse Hispanic marketplace. Personally, I’d like more minorities to have the chance at success that I have had. There is nothing like the feeling of a Hispanic entrepreneur expressing appreciation for being connect-



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Voces “Professionally, I want to enhance Campbell’s ability to navigate through the diverse Hispanic marketplace. Personally, I’d like more minorities to have the same chance at success that I have had.”

Executive Timeline The career of Harry Perales

1983 Begins career as a field engineer with Zachry Construction Company in San Antonio 1976 Serves as MIS manager for IU International 1980 Works as corporate air manager for Thomson Travel


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July/Aug/Sept 2012

1984 Works as group air manager for Travelco 1986 Is outsourced as travel manager for Campbell Soup under Travelco, Rosenbluth International, and finally American Express 2001 Joins Campbell Soup as senior manager of procurement and supplier diversity


Voces Insiders

Excelling in a high-pressure field with Maria Alvarez Mann of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Because of the current real-estate environment, where there are so many opportunities to help our borrowers in distress, the mortgage bank is under a microscope.”

How did you get into the technology field?

It’s not easy to be a mortgage lender in 2012. In the wake of the financial crisis, government oversight of the industry has increased, and every mistake is scrutinized. That’s why Maria Alvarez Mann, chief technology officer for the mortgage bank at JPMorgan Chase & Co., describes her job as “high-pressure.” But, Mann is clearly up to the task: In addition to working 80 to 100 hours a week overseeing 600 people, she’s managed to raise a family with enough time to spare for the occasional triathlon. Here, she shares how she makes time to do it all. interview by Julie Schaeffer


Hispanic Executive

I attended West Virginia University planning to become a dentist, but I changed my mind after the second year of chemistry and biology. I spent a lot of time in the career center taking aptitude tests to determine my strengths, which kept coming up math and science, but I was more interested in marketing. At some point the guy who ran the career center recommended, what at the time was a new curriculum, computer science. I went into it begrudgingly, but it ended up working out. How did your career progress out of college?

I graduated in 1984 and worked as a programmer, first for DuPont, then General Electric. In 1986, I relocated with my husband and had to find a new job. I was enjoying my career in technology, but I still really had this urge to get into sales and marketing. So, I went into computer consulting. It was a good choice because I could talk the talk with technical managers. Was there a major turning point in your career?

When I was consulting, I took one of my

clients, a woman from Philadelphia, to dinner and mentioned how I’d just had a child and wasn’t sure how or what I was going to do next to balance career and family. Somehow, over dinner, we decided to start a consulting firm together. We literally wrote a business plan on the back of a napkin. How did you end up back in the corporate world?

We ran our consulting firm for 10 years, at which time our interests diverged: She wanted to do more work in the public sector, I wanted to do more work in the private sector. I sold her my ownership in an amicable separation, and I went to work for a client, Campbell Soup Company. When that company spun off Vlasic Foods, I led all of its software development. We got to do everything from scratch—decide what the systems would look like, how we’d move data. It was so exciting. How did you get from there to JPMorgan Chase & Co.?

Vlasic Foods began struggling, so l left to work for a small credit-card company, First USA, which Bank One eventually purchased. Bank One eventually merged with Chase, which became JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Executive Timeline The career of Maria Alvarez Mann

1984 Graduates from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science 1986 Quits working as a programmer to go into consulting sales 1999 Accepts position at First USA, which later becomes Chase Credit Card 2008 Works as chief technology officer within JPMorgan’s asset management, retirement services

Describe what your current role entails.

Within JPMorgan’s mortgage bank, there are four business lines: originations, servicing, defaults, and capital markets (selling loans). I work in the default space, managing all of the applications that run the business. What are the key challenges you face?

It’s a high-pressure environment. Because of the current real-estate environment, where there are so many opportunities to help our borrowers in distress, the mortgage bank is under a microscope. What do you like most about your job?

I’ve never been an early adopter of technology, but I like how technology solves problems businesspeople are facing.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

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Have you always worked in the same role?

No, I’ve been able to work for three lines of business within JPMorgan. Prior to my current role, which I took in the summer of 2011, I ran all of the technology for the asset management and retirement business. I was happy there, but because of the national mortgage crisis we’re experiencing, I was asked to come over and help lead the default space in the summer of 2011.

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Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

Carlos Rodriguez of Powerit Solutions says his strongest asset is cultivating relationships. “In fact, when people ask my kids what I do, they always say, ‘he builds bridges,’” says the father of three.

Carlos Rodriguez grew up in an area nicknamed “Escape If You Can.” He’s come a long way as regional director of sales for green-technology company Powerit Solutions, where he specializes in building relationships and growing revenue. by Julie Edwards

July/Aug/Sept 2012 159

Voces Innovators


he son of a blue-collar immigrant, Carlos Rodriguez, regional director of sales for Powerit Solutions, grew up in east San Jose in an area once known as “Sal Si Puedes” (Spanish for “Escape If You Can”), but was buoyed by a loving, nurturing environment that set the foundation for his future. “I tell people I was educated in the school of hard knocks,” Rodriguez says. “It would have been easy for me to give up, but I decided I was not going to become a statistic.” A first-time dad at 19, Rodriguez decided to “dig deep” and do the right thing which meant raising three children while working 60-plus hours a week and going to college part-time; however, his “gamechanging” experience almost passed Rodriguez by. “I was called for an interview, but almost declined since I thought [the job] was a long shot at best, but my wife convinced me I had nothing to lose,” he recalls. His long-shot turned into a sure thing when Rodriguez was hired as a project manager for a widely respected electrical engineering and construction firm. “I was recruited by Bill Breyton, who became a mentor to me, and the position set me on a course I don’t know I would have otherwise pursued,” Rodriguez says. The one thing Breyton made Rodriguez promise was to complete his college degree. When Rodriguez graduated nine years later from the University of San Francisco, he sent Breyton a note of thanks for taking a chance on him. “He was the key that unlocked the door to my professional success,” Rodriguez says. Over the next decade, Rodriguez gained technology and project-management experience while building relationships that led him to his current role with Powerit Solutions. “Powerit wanted someone to help them grow and I was willing to take on the challenge,” Rodriguez says. “I love the company’s entrepreneurial spirit and felt I could make an impact for a smaller firm while building

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Carlos Rodriguez

Success Rising above expectations Innovation Continually examining and recreating oneself Integrity Honor, accountability Latino Soul, culture, passion

on my accomplishments. It was a win-win decision for me.” Built on leading green technology, Powerit Solutions plugs more than 2,500 industrial clients around the globe into the “smart grid,” helping them take advantage of its benefits—saving money and reducing energy consumption without negatively impacting production or compromising quality. The company’s main offering, an innovative-energymanagement system known as Spara, is an integrated hardware/software product that acts automatically to increase energy efficiency, cut peak-rate usage, and respond to utility demand, all while creating a more sustainable operating environment without having to invest millions of dollars. “It’s exciting to be a part of this wave of information technology that will ultimately enhance and optimize the way energy is consumed,” Rodriguez says. “It’s also exciting to be part of an organiza-

“I tell people I was educated in the school of hard knocks. It would have been easy for me to give up, but I decided I was not going to become a statistic.” Carlos Rodriguez

Regional Director of Sales


Hispanic Executive

tion that offers clients tangible results and helps them meet their business objectives in a volatile economy.” On a regular day at the office, Rodriguez spends most of his time on the phone with internal and external clients, leading and managing the revenue growth for Powerit’s Western region. “I feel I’ve made a great impact cultivating relationships with alliance and channel partners that will effectively allow our company to make great strides as we continue to expand and evolve,” he says. “I feel relationship building is my strongest asset. In fact, when people ask my kids what I do, they always say, ‘he builds bridges.’” In the coming year, Rodriquez looks forward to working internationally with clients utilizing Powerit’s energy-management software in Canada, Mexico, and Peru. He also plans to continue building “meaningful relationships” with those who share his passion and enthusiasm to succeed, personally and professionally. “People back themselves into a corner by allowing others to tell them who they are. You have to create your own opportunities, blaze your own trail,” Rodriguez says. “A culmination of my life experiences, from my mother battling breast cancer to my father attaining his citizenship, taught me to always fight for what you believe in. And when people don’t treat you fairly, fight harder to earn what you deserve.”


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Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

QinetiQ North America needed to staff 550 professionals in 30 days. Lucky for the company, HR director Elisa Soto never turns down a challenge—even if it takes 126-hour workweeks. by Ruth E. Dávila

“If the opportunity is there, give it to me; I will study it, develop a strategy, and carry out the plan until it’s completed.” Elisa Soto

Human Resources Director

July/Aug/Sept 2012


n mid-November 2010, QinetiQ North America, a leading research and engineering firm for defense and aerospace clients, was selected to manage its most significant NASA contract to date, the Engineering Services Contract (ESC). To staff the project, Elisa Soto, QinetiQ North America’s corporate human resources director, oversaw the selection and hiring of 550 professionals in a matter of 30 days. It was a massive undertaking, but Soto was accustomed to challenges. At a young age, she learned English and Spanish fluently, surviving various cross-cultural migrations between Puerto Rico (where she was born) and Indiana. Grasping the importance of a good education, she maintained a high grade point average all the while. “I was determined to never be held back,” Soto recalls. “I developed a tenacious yet resilient approach to reaching my goals. I learned to, and continue to, adapt quickly to changing environments.” In fact, Soto’s resilience landed her

a personnel-manager job when, as a young mother, she and her family moved to the metro Washington DC area. Ever since, HR has remained her life’s path. At QinetiQ North America, agility has been Soto’s secret weapon, particularly with the new ESC. The process of hiring personnel for contracts is known as “transition,” since many employees are transferred from related contracts. It requires the seamless rollover of benefits, office policies, and a myriad of other HRrelated programs into a new contracting firm. “The ESC was an enormous task—a logistical challenge—but our team of dedicated professionals was successful,” says Soto, who is based in Fairfax, Virginia, supporting QinetiQ North America’s Aerospace Operations and Support Business Unit. On Jan. 2, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Soto launched the efforts of a seven-person HR team who met daily to develop the transition strategy and implementation plan.“Unfortunately, during 2011, many companies in the area

Voces Innovators Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Elisa Soto

Success Sadly, we often consider material wealth as the most accurate indicator of a successful person. It is important to realize that your definition of success is not so much something that we do—it’s something we become. Innovation When I think of innovation I think of QinetiQ North America. We strive to be an employer of choice by creating and maintaining an entrepreneurial environment. Integrity Integrity is like a steel girder. If it bends even once, it’s useless. It’s doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. It’s the respect you earn from others throughout a lifetime. Latina A sense of pride in my heritage and culture. Deep roots/family is key for the Latin community—hardworking individuals who often offer 150% of themselves to serve others.

were experiencing difficulty because of the space shuttle program coming to an end. Thousands of aerospace workers were facing a potential lay-off situation and expressed interest in pursuing employment opportunities with QinetiQ North America,” Soto says. Her HR team received an estimated 5,000 résumés for the ESC contract. They typically worked from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., including Saturdays and Sundays, conducting many interviews during evening and weekend hours. They organized three separate open houses, attended by more than 1,500 candidates. “Even though we were working endless hours, we never

lost sight of the ‘human element’—understanding the disruption a new contract can cause to employees’ lives and their families,” Soto says. “It was a period of uncertainly for many; they didn’t know what tomorrow was going to offer them. Everyone was hoping to secure employment.” By March 1, the contract’s start date, Soto’s group had coordinated background checks, drug exams, employment offers, new hire orientations, and badges for all the new personnel, as well as benefits packages. It was, admittedly, the most stressful and, at the same time, the most exciting and rewarding experience of her career, and it paid off. “Because of Elisa’s exceptional efforts, and the talented workforce we hired, QinetiQ North America is supporting our NASA customer with outstanding service,” says Joseph Broadwater, executive vice president of QinetiQ North America’s Aerospace Operations and Support Business Unit. Soto joined Analex Corporation in 2003 as HR director, retaining that title when the firm was acquired by QinetiQ North America in 2007. “As director of human resources, Elisa travels thousands of miles annually engaging with employees supporting QinetiQ’s customer base contracts for NASA, the US Air Force, and other QinetiQ customers. Her support enables QinetiQ North America managers and employees to be more productive,” says Kate Lyle, QinetiQ North America’s senior vice president of human resources. Complex operational projects are one of Soto’s specialties. For instance, when QinetiQ North America acquired several companies, she led the integration of 14 different 401K plans and health plans under a single vendor. Today, more than anything, Soto strives to be an example for her three children—now 24, 17, and 13—as well as provide support to her husband who is currently serving overseas in Afghanistan. “I convey to my children, that there is no challenge they should say no to,” she says. “If the opportunity is there, give it to me; I will study it, develop a strategy, and carry out the plan until it’s completed.”

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Hispanic Executive

Innovators Voces

A chance meeting turned two strangers into fast friends and business partners. Now as principals of their own law firm, Michael Estrada and Michael Vasquez work together to tackle the “daunting and awesome” task of defending plaintiffs at their most vulnerable.

by Tricia Despres



Over lunch-hour chats at their former employer, Michael Estrada says he developed a close bond with fellow lawyer Michael Vasquez, “which went on to build a sense of trust both in the person and their judgment, that we built on to establish our own practice,” Estrada says.

July/Aug/Sept 2012

t was the late ’80s when two men found themselves walking through the doors of 101 California Street Tower and into the offices of Long & Levit LLP, a San Francisco legal institution founded in 1927. One was Michael Estrada, a man who had traded his dreams of becoming a professor for dreams of working on the civil side of law. The other man was Michael Vasquez, who had joined the firm in 1987. While they both were close in age and grew up in the same area of Los Angeles, they had not met until that day at Long & Levit. They had no way of knowing at the time that this chance meeting would ultimately change the trajectory of their personal and professional lives.“From day one and the very first lunch we had together, we identified with one another,” says Vasquez, who with Estrada now works as partner of the Vasquez Estrada & Conway LLP law firm. “Besides having a tremendous amount in common with one another, we were basically two of only three Mexican Americans in a large, majority-owned law firm. “Long & Levit was one those firms where you felt like you had to make your own way, and that’s what [the partners] expected,” Estrada adds. “Looking back on it, we would turn to one another to not only get through a rough spot, but also generally advance in the firm. Mike and I were always touching base regarding the best ways to handle certain situations, which went on to build a sense 165

Voces Innovators Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Michael Vasquez

Success Goal Innovation Necessary, survival Integrity Important Latino Growing

“It’s an awesome burden, and there are many nights I go home and wonder if we can do this. If we can’t do it, the client is going to go bankrupt,” says Vasquez of their demanding, highstakes cases.

of trust both in the person and their judgment, that we built on to establish our own practice.” Vasquez Estrada & Conway was formed in 2001. Recognized as one of the top 500 Hispanic businesses in the United States, Estrada, Vasquez, and Patricia Conway—the firm’s third partner—have over 65 combined years of legal experience and have taken over 45 jury trials to verdict. The firm boasts 24 attorneys split between a San Francisco Bay Area office in San Rafael, California, and a Los Angeles County office in Glendale, California. “We are currently doing a lot of product-liability defense cases, especially in the asbestos realm,” Estrada says. “It is very challenging and demanding practice. The plaintiffs are ill, often dying. They are typically granted preference in terms of


Hispanic Executive

trial setting, meaning 12–18 months of litigation are squeezed into 3–4 months. We routinely encounter multimillion-dollar demands with these cases. The environment demands good management, good judgment, and a lot of multitasking from our entire litigation team. Again, it’s very demanding, but also very rewarding when we are able to get the best result possible for our clients.” “We have been working with some of these clients for over 15 years, and they have decided the future and liability of their company is going to live or die based on our litigation,” Vasquez adds. “It’s an awesome burden, and there are many nights I go home and wonder if we can do this. If we can’t do it, the client is going to go bankrupt. So yes, it is an awesome and sometimes daunting task.”

Both Estrada and Vasquez come from a Mexican background, and say they have always felt a certain amount of responsibility to be a vital part of the law community. “When I was just starting my career, I did indeed feel that this was the best way that I could serve my community,” says Vasquez, who has also spent much of his career defending dentists, doctors, lawyers, and real-estate agents in professionalnegligence suits. “It was a chance to show people that even though you come from a different background or your skin is a different color, you still have the same lawyering skills and you can still do the job.” “When you are one of the few representing your ethnic group, people will consider you as a representative of that group,” Estrada says. “You always have to be cognizant of that.”

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Voces Innovators

Tenacious Alejandro Kaisin doesn’t shy away from challenges. This attribute has served him well working for $2.9 billion firm Jones Lang LaSalle. by Lynn Russo Whylly


A perfect storm of Alejandro Kaisin’s three areas of expertise—supply-chain management, facilities management, and a 20-year career in the life-sciences industry—collided in his current role for Jones Lang LaSalle.


Hispanic Executive

or Alejandro Kaisin, overcoming obstacles is second nature. “I was born and raised in a middle-class family with seven siblings. My parents worked hard to give all of us access to the best schools and universities, and my father died when I was 17 and, because of that, I think I have always been a fighter,” he says. “I look for challenges and I don’t shy away from them.” As a result of his tenacity, “I was able to overcome my challenges and grow and develop as a professional, always looking at ways to bring value to the table.” Argentina-native Kaisin brings his chispa to Jones Lang LaSalle—which specializes in providing real-estate services and facilities management—as vice president of strategic sourcing in the company’s life-sciences group. Coming to work for the $2.9 billion firm created a perfect storm of Kaisin’s three areas of expertise: supply-chain management, facilities management, and a 20-year career in the life-sciences industry. Kaisin studied engineering and received an MBA in Argentina, working his way up the supply-chain ladder in the life-sciences industry before his employer, Pharmacia (a company formed through the merger of Monsanto and Pharmacia & Upjohn), offered him a job in the

Innovators Voces

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Alejandro Kaisin

Success Fifty percent is hard work. The other 50 percent is how you present it in the context of your vision.

“Each of our life-sciences clients has specific supplier-diversity goals and I’m working with the client-sourcing teams to ensure that we meet or exceed them.” Alejandro Kaisin

Vice President of Strategic Sourcing, Life Sciences

Innovation Reinventing yourself every day. Nurturing yourself with new ideas and seeing things differently. The creativity of bringing those ideas to bear and applying them in dayto-day work—that creates innovation. Integrity It’s paramount, everything in a person. Leading by principles. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t be able to tell your children one day. Latino Social, energetic, passionate, informal

July/Aug/Sept 2012

United States running its supply-chain processes in Chicago 11 years ago. When Pfizer acquired Pharmacia, the Chicago office was closed and Kaisin moved into facilities management for Pfizer, where he remained before accepting the position at Jones Lang LaSalle in 2011. At Jones Lang LaSalle, Kaisin is responsible for supply chain and sourcing of third-party services within facilities management for the life-sciences vertical— with clients in bio-pharma, biotechnology, scientific research, and agriculture. “I lead a team of supply-chain experts who develop and implement strategies to optimize a range of offerings delivered by third-party contractors, including janitorial, food services, facilities maintenance, and lab-support services,” he says. One of Jones Lang LaSalle’s biggest assets is the knowledge that the company has gleaned from all of its accounts. With this information, Kaisin’s team generates volume discounts, better pricing, and a better quality of service from third-party suppliers. “Clients are always asking us to demonstrate that we are exhausting all the leverage points we have to get the best value for them, and that we are delivering industry best practices and the best expertise in the field, and this insight from more than 100

corporate accounts in the Americas helps us do that,” he says. In addition, Kaisin is involved in the company’s supplier-diversity program. “Each of our life-science clients has specific supplier-diversity goals and I’m working with the client-sourcing teams to ensure that we meet or exceed them,” he says. “Every time we competitively bid a service category, we make sure we have a diverse slate of supplier candidates, including women-owned, minority-owned, or other recognized diversity suppliers, and we track diversity metrics quarterly and annually.” In 2010, Kaisin was recognized as a National Hispanic Corporate Achiever of the Year in the United States. While at Pfizer, he chaired the membership committee of the Latino employee resource group, which grew to 400 members, and now, at Jones Lang LaSalle, he is engaged in discussions with the firm’s senior leadership about how to increase the firm’s focus on diversity and inclusion within the Hispanic community. Kaisin is also a member of the Institute for Supply Chain Management, and is looking forward to getting more involved with the chapter in his home state of Connecticut and to participate in the Hispanic Supply Management Summit this year. 169

Voces Innovators

Dosal Tobacco fights a hefty fee in an industry going up in smoke.

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Yolanda Nader

Success Achieving the goals set for oneself in all aspects—personal, professional, family, etc. Innovation Problem solver Integrity

Cuban-native Yolanda Nader, CEO and CFO of Dosal, leads the fight to ward off competitors seeking to shut the company down.

Honesty and ethical standards Latino A rich, proud people from many countries that share a common language and many traditions while simultaneously being very diverse

by Ruth E. Dávila


olanda Nader’s family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1962, when she was three years old, in pursuit of freedom. In her youth, she aspired to be a lawyer. Although she opted for an MBA, her executive career has kept her close to the courthouse. Today, one of her biggest challenges is protecting her Miami-based company from competitors seeking to shut it down. It’s hard to promote fair play in a demonized industry. “Obviously, cigarettes are hated by everyone,” says Nader, CEO and chief financial officer (CFO) of Dosal Tobacco Corp. But smoking is a personal decision, she argues, and requires personal—not governmental—accountability. Her father lit up Dosal’s Cubanblend cigarettes for years, and although he suffered from emphysema, she doesn’t blame the manufacturer. “No one forces a cigarette on you any more than a Big Mac ... Smoking, alcohol, fast food—as long as it’s legal, I believe in freedom of choice.” While Nader doesn’t expect love for her business, she demands fairness when it comes to the law and taxes. A certified public accountant, with a 10-year tenure at the IRS, Nader was later plucked from an accounting firm, KPMG, LLP, in 2002 to run Dosal. She soon realized the familyowned business was trapped in a post-


Hispanic Executive

litigation pressure cooker. As a focused, goal-driven executive—who has worked full-time since she was 15—Nader didn’t wince when things began to boil over. Since 2004, she has led Dosal in fending off a tax targeting certain tobacco manufacturers. The battle traces back to 1996, when the state of Florida sued the nation’s four largest cigarette manufacturers and Dosal Tobacco Corp. Initially, Dosal was among the companies accused of bad practices (such as lying about the dangers of cigarettes, advertising to minors, creating “false science,” etc.), but it was dismissed from the lawsuit after an investigation revealed it did not participate in the acts. The other firms settled in 1997, agreeing to pay Florida roughly $440 million annually, according to Nader. Since then, “big tobacco” firms have

campaigned in Florida (and three other states that settled outside a large national agreement) to impose a fee on local manufacturers that did not participate in state settlements, she says. They have fought doggedly to enforce a special tax on these nonparticipating firms equivalent to the larger companies’ settlement payments. (Minnesota and Mississippi have enacted the tax while Texas and Florida have held out.) In states where the tax has been levied, companies like Dosal have been put out of business. In Florida, Nader’s company is the “poster child” of the issue, which is known as the “Dosal tax.” Dosal is a virtually unadvertised “under-the-counter” label for smokers who ask the clerk for the lowest-priced pack. The proposed $5-per-carton tax would raise its retail price by $7 or $8,

“No one forces a cigarette on you any more than a Big Mac ... Smoking, alcohol, fast food—as long as it’s legal, I believe in freedom of choice.” Yolanda Nader

Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer


Proud to partner with

for over 13 years. We wish you continued success! while exempting big manufacturers from any new tax. For a low-cost leader, this hike would mean bankruptcy. “Sometimes we don’t raise the price for two or three years at a time, in spite of increases in raw materials and other operational costs,” Nader says. “To raise 25 cents a carton is a momentous occasion—and that’s 2.5 cents a pack. Now they’re trying to hit us with 50 cents a pack.” Each year, when the Dosal tax is proposed, Nader and her lobbyists tell legislators: “This is only about market share. They want to put us out of business.” Dosal is up against heavyweights such as Phillip Morris USA (maker of the topselling Marlboro brand), with 50 percent national market share, and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, which sells Camel and lessexpensive brands that compete with Dosal, such as Pall Mall. “The smoker is going to smoke,” Nader says, “if they don’t have our product, they’ll buy another.” Florida lawmakers are lured by the prospect of earning $100 million in new revenue from the proposed Dosal tax. But if the company shuts its doors—and Nader argues that it would, if unable to

July/Aug/Sept 2012

compete on price—the state would get nothing. In fact, it would lose money by pink-slipping 300 employees employed by Dosal and its distributors. Nader explains those jobs would go to states where Big Tobacco operates. Moreover, the state would have to shoulder health-care costs for the laid-off workers, many of whom do not speak English and would be hard-pressed to find jobs in a depressed economy. (Dosal pays workers double Florida’s minimum-wage rate, covers 100 percent of the health-insurance premium for all employees, and has a fully funded 401k pension and profitsharing plan.) Nader’s determination has held big manufacturers at bay. Her business strategy and accounting skills have helped grow the company’s market share despite a tough market and growing pressure from activists to eliminate her industry altogether. She has no intention of backing down. “I truly believe in the principles of this country,” she says. “We have a constitution and laws to protect us against monopolies. That’s what motivates me to continue to fight.”

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Nothing Butt Cigarettes 10601 State Street Tamarac, FL 33321 Office: 954.725.8200 Fax: 954.968.5239

Voces Innovators

At age 21, Henry Mesa worked in electronics by day and taught it by night. He heads his own company now, providing high-tech installations for high-profile clients such as the Chicago White Sox.

“Learning new technology feeds my appetite,” says Henry Mesa, CEO of Mesa Electronics, Inc. “It’s rewarding to take a new product, buy it, use it, and test it out for myself.”


Hispanic Executive

PHOTO: erin mesa

by Kaleena Thompson

Innovators Voces


or Henry Mesa, all it took was a high school elective for him to jump-start his career path in electronics technology. “I was taking a course in electronics because of my curiosity [about] how it worked,” Mesa recalls, now CEO of Mesa Electronics, Inc. (ME). “I ran into a fantastic teacher who inspired me to learn more.” After finishing at Devry University Chicago, Mesa spent his early career finding his footing in the electronics field. Working at an unfulfilling job, “I switched over to a privately owned and family-owned company. My mentor there recommended I become a teacher,” he says. He followed his mentor’s advice, and took a teaching position at the local college. At age 21, he worked in electronics by day, and taught it by night. Once the company moved to a different part of the country, Mesa saw an opportunity for him to form his own company. “Coming from a family of strong character and entrepreneurial spirit, I saw how they were able to fulfill their dreams,” he says. “Being a business owner seemed like a secure position for me.” He took the leap and formed the Illinois-based Mesa Electronics. A consumer electronic and consumer provider for commercial projects, ME provides installations for health-care, sporting, food- services, and lodging facilities. High-profile clients, such as the Chicago White Sox, have reached out to ME to install new state-of-the-art televisions throughout the ballpark. “They requested special solutions for the TVs that required a high-tech installation, such as synchronizing all TVs throughout the ballpark to be powered on and off through one breaker while also making them tamper-proof from the patrons,” he explains. “We came up with a solution to script software to develop an IC chip for this need.” In order to achieve success for projects, ME is often integral in the design phase. The team will work with the manufacturer and give them a direct input and come up with a new solution. Such dedication and precision is mirrored in its most demanding sector:

July/Aug/Sept 2012

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Henry Mesa

Success Success to me is being happily married to my beautiful wife, Lori, and having raised my three wonderful children, Erin, Lauren, and Jordan. Success is born not only from monetary figures, but a sense of duty and accomplishment.

Innovation Innovation is the cornerstone for entrepreneurship. It reflects the ability to be flexible and adapt to challenging situations, methods, and market demands. It also lies in Mesa Electronics’ motto.

Integrity Integrity speaks to the quality and level of commitment of a person and/or organization. Integrity is vital for a successful life and business, but a rewarding one as well.

Latino Being Latino is part of who I am and helped me to construct my work ethic and values

health-care facilities. Its work in health care has positioned the company as one of the largest LG health-care electronics provider in the greater Chicago area. “We commit ourselves to quality over quantity, and coupled with our attitude, it has propelled us to such a status,” he says. Mesa also gives high praise to his talented group of technicians. The core of the group has been with him since ME’s humble beginnings in the 1980s. “Along with Bill Quigley, Tim Klinehan, and Casey Quigley, this team shines because of their education, personalities, and etiquette,” he boasts. What this CEO loves most is not only his talented staff, but also working with people—his clients—and the ongoing education that is designed for this field. “Learning new technology feeds my appetite,” he says. And, of course, gaining first access to the latest technological electronic devices is a plus, he adds. “I just put in the latest 3-D TV in my house,” Mesa tells. “It’s rewarding to take a new product, buy it, use it, and test it out for myself.” With a field that is constantly innovating, Mesa hopes that ME will continue to grow and expand, not only in technology, but also in business. “We’re looking to put sales reps in California, New York, and Florida,” he says. “Beyond expansion, our long-term goals is to get light manufacturing of TVs here in the [United States].” For ME, that forwardthinking goal may not be too far off.

“Coming from a family of strong character and entrepreneurial spirit, I saw how they were able to fulfill their dreams. Being a business owner seemed like a secure position for me.” Henry Mesa

CEO 173

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From Calgary to Cairo and from Sydney to Salt Lake City, Caterpillar’s global reach is unmatched in the industry. Our global presence, product breadth and financial strength enable us to win in today’s competitive marketplaces. Serving customers in more than 180 countries around the globe, our manufacturing, marketing, logistics, service, R&D and related facilities along with our dealer locations total more than 500 worldwide. This ensures that wherever our customers are, we are too. It’s just one more way that Caterpillar is making sustainable progress possible.

To learn more about LG’s healthcare solutions visit, call us at 1-877-793-6484, or email us at

© 2012 LG Electronics U.S.A. All rights reserved. “Life’s Good” is a registered trademark of LG Corp. Screen image is simulated.

© 2011 Caterpillar All Rights Reserved CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos, “Caterpillar Yellow,” as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.

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Voces Innovators

Eugenio “Gene” Manuel Alvarez thrives in the fast-paced world of IT. The New York native spends his time “creating ripples” as the resident research guru at Gartner, Inc. by Cristina Adams


For Alvarez, being able to push the envelope is part of what makes his job as vice president of CRM and ecommerce research so exciting: “There are projects I’ve been involved in that started out on the back of a napkin, and I see them on the field and say, ‘Wow, I worked on that.’”


Hispanic Executive

hen Eugenio “Gene” Manuel Alvarez was growing up in the South Bronx in New York City, his father would talk about the importance of education, how with an education anybody could go places. To underscore the lesson, the elder Alvarez would drive by the cracker factory where, as a young immigrant from Puerto Rico, he held a day job while attending night classes at The City College of New York and point it out to his son. “I was always instilled with the idea of the American Dream, that if you put in the effort, you would get the rewards,” says Alvarez, whose father went on to become a self-made businessman and New York state politician. “Most parents say they want their kids to grow up and be successful, be president or something like that. My father really meant it.” Even though Alvarez hasn’t campaigned for commander in chief yet, he has enjoyed a stellar career in the ever-shifting world of information technology. As vice president of customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce research for Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner, Inc., he works directly with clients to develop strategies, evaluates products, and leads his teams in cutting-edge e-commerce research. For the past two years, Alvarez has also chaired the firm’s Customer 360 Summit, the country’s premier CRM conference. “Where do we, as customers, begin our search for information about products

Thinking Out Loud Trading words with Eugenio “Gene” Manuel Alvarez

all inclusive solutions

Success The ability to achieve a desired result in the face of adversity and naysayers Innovation Creating a new solution that solves a want, need, problem, or improves on an existing product or solution Integrity The ability to close your eyes at night and know that you’ve done the right thing Latino Being proud of who you are and your Latin heritage, and the willingness to help others achieve greater heights by being a role model

and services? Online, of course,” he says. “This is where e-commerce has become a key part of CRM because consumers will most likely start their relationship with your company online, via a website. It’s where they will come before they even identify themselves as your customers.” Hearing Alvarez talk about his passion for technology, one would think he’d been born with a mouse in his hand. However, he went to college planning to study accounting, and thought he would minor in computer science. Instead, he discovered the wonders of technology and changed his major. His first job out of school was at AT&T Communications— working first in programming and then in database administration. A few years later, he took a position with the New York State Power Authority to help decentralize its IT organization and design systems for various power generation plants, including nuclear, fossil fuel, and hydro-electric facilities around the state.

It was during his stint with the Power Authority that Alvarez went to graduate school, further augmenting his knowledge of computers and business management. After a year at KPMG Peat Marwick, he was recruited by retailer Nine West Group. For five years, he worked on data administration, building large-scale data warehouses that captured and stored customer information. He became an expert on supplychain issues and management reporting, and he spoke at conferences around the country. At one of those conferences, he caught the ear and eye of META Group, a hightech consulting and research company and accepted an offer to join their retail practice. In 2005, META Group was acquired by competitor Gartner, Inc., and Alvarez made a seamless transition to the CRM team. It has been 13 years since he first joined META Group, and he still finds the work ultimately satisfying. “I work with brilliant people every day, facing business challenges and solving them,” he says. “There are projects I’ve been involved in that started out on the back of a napkin, and I see them in the field and say, ‘Wow, I worked on that.’ It’s exciting.” In 2010 and 2011, he was ranked by the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in Information Technology, a designation he says offers young Hispanics different role models. Groups like HITEC, he says, can help them see the opportunity for advancement and innovation. “Like a pebble in a pond, new technology creates ripples in what you’re already using,” he says. “Look at the iPhone and the tablet. In the world of IT, there’s tremendous opportunity. Who knows what we haven’t thought of yet?”

cloud-based (SaaS) commerce solutions web, mobile & social commerce suite international commerce expertise multi-language capabilities end-to-end fulfillment capability transparent pricing

CONTACT: Jeffrey Max, July/Aug/Sept 2012 177

MentoRing David Santos on …

Mining for Talent Worldwide As global chief talent officer of Interbrand, David Santos is responsible for one of the international marketing and advertising firm’s most important assets: its people. Of Portuguese descent, Santos’s day-to-day duties include interacting with leaders of the organization from all over the world, traveling frequently, navigating local laws, and understanding all the intricate nuances of employment in other countries. His main focus is to identify top talent within the network and the industry, and ensure that the company—which currently boasts 34 offices in more than 20 countries—has broad opportunities for training and development, strong succession planning, and a deep-set belief in teamwork around the globe. Santos first got interested in HR while working part-time in a hotel as a Boston University student, and later received a master’s degree in psychology, arming him with a unique perspective.

Who is your greatest mentor and why? I find mentoring along the way from people at all stages of their careers with skills and experiences that I want to learn more about. Mentoring can come from anyone at anytime if you’re open to it.

Describe your role in five words or less:

It’s about the people

How many offices does Interbrand currently have & in how many countries?

34 offices, in 24 countries, and 1,300 employees

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I love visiting Buddhist temples wherever I travel


Hispanic Executive

What key characteristics do you look for when hiring new talent? Intelligence and curiosity What’s it like to work on such an international scale?

Traveling globally you see that each culture is still very important and unique, yet as people, we have so much in common

Greatest accomplishment:

21-year relationship with my partner

The best advice you ever received: Maintain balance and boundaries between your professional and personal lives

What is your favorite thing about being of Portuguese descent? I visited Portugal once and I felt great pride coming from such a beautiful, peaceful place

Now business meets culture in more ways than one hispanic executive April/May/June 2012 Vol. 5, No. 19



Global players reveal why being bicultural pays off

where business meets culture

Corporate Counsel Meet the secret weapons behind some of today’s most powerful companies.


April/May/June 2012 -Vol. 5, N0. 19

SETTER Traveling the world is all in a day’s work for Whirlpool’s top Latino executive, Alejandro Quiroz p.148







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Hispanic Executive #20  

July/Aug/Sep 2012. Uniting Powerful Leaders.

Hispanic Executive #20  

July/Aug/Sep 2012. Uniting Powerful Leaders.