A screenshot of a virtual panel discussion

Takeaways From Adweek’s Hispanic & Latin American Summit

By: Veronica Figueroa Fernandez, PRSA Orlando Diversity & Inclusion Chair

Last month Adweek brought together 12 marketing leaders from global brands together for the inaugural Hispanic & Latin American Summit, where they discussed the gap between Hispanic and Latino consumers and the small marketing budgets allotted to them, the lack of Hispanic leaders in marketing, failures to reach the community, and the vibrant diversity found within them. 

Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of We Are All Human, moderated the conversation. She stressed the importance of Hispanic professionals remaining connected to their own roots and living authentically, and referenced P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, who suppressed his Mexican heritage for fear of being labeled. With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, we wanted to share insights from these leaders on the importance of Hispanic and Latino representation in the workplace and branding.

Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder, We Are All Human

  • The time for Hispanics is now. Hispanics need to be unified, be a community, and help, support, hire and mentor each other.
  • There is a need for allyship to open doors and give the Hispanic community a platform. 
  • According to statistics shared by Claudia, Hispanics and Latin Americans make up 18 percent of the population but only make one percent of elected officials holding office, leaders in the C-suite, and entertainment. “We have to change that equation,” she said. 

Maria Winans, CMO, IBM Americas 

  • In recent months, Maria has learned that brands need to be more human, lead with empathy, and give permission to their teams to be creative in re-imagining the future.
  • She applauded IBM’s advocacy efforts in mentorship, sponsorships, and intern programs dedicated to talent in underrepresented communities. 

Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO and founder, Encantos 

  • The Hispanic community is over-mentored and under-invested.
  • “Let’s be crystal clear. We are invisible as a community, we are not acknowledged by brands. […] This is an epidemic across every industry. They love our dollars but they do not show up for us,” he said.
  • Steven mentioned that he’s taken part in similar conversations since the late 90s. “I am over incrementalism. We need to have control over our stories, companies, and leadership,” he shared. His frustrations were what led him to start his own company.
  • To Steven, unless there is a [Hispanic or Latin American] person in a position of power and influence, not in a D&I role, there will not be any change.

Yvette Peña, VP of Multicultural Leadership, AARP

  • Yvette believes that D&I should be everyone’s responsibility, not just the responsibility of the D&I department. 

Ivan Heredia, VP of Brand Engagement and Revenue, The Walt Disney Company

  • If you’re stuck between a place where the world is moving at a quick pace but your corporate environment isn’t, Ivan recommends that employees have ‘owner mentality’ to raise their hands, especially if they are the only Hispanic or Latin American in the room, and build a case study that’ll unlock opportunities to tell more stories, drive the bottom line, and build a path to representation. 

Rosi Ajjam, VP and GM at Estee Lauder’s Aramis and Designer Fragrance Lab Series

  • When Rosi moved to the United States four years ago, she did not know how to network. Through the help of her mentors, she was able to learn how to navigate cultural and business dynamics. 
  • She encourages Hispanic and Latin American leaders to share their stories and become mentors to younger colleagues. 

Andrea Perez, Global VP and GM, Nike’s Jordan Brand 

  • Andrea stressed the importance of mentoring BIPOC and doubling down on the injustices seen in the Black community in order to help address the injustices in the Latino community. 

Susan Betts, Director of Brand Strategy and Management, Google

  • When asked if they identified as Latina because she is Brazilian she said, “There is no one flavor of Latina. We are beautifully intersectional. I can be white, blue-eyed, speak English, and still be 100 percent Latina.”
  • Part of Susan’s agreement with Google is to focus on inclusive marketing, and she shared that three years ago Google began looking at their creative and extracting data. Through the audit, they found that they made progress in increasing the representation of BIPOC in their work. However, in 2019 they learned that only 6 percent of their ads portrayed Hispanic or Latin Americans. As a company, they now know that they need to do more to represent this community through positive portrayals that actively fight stereotypes. 

Fabiola Torres, CMO and Senior VP of Energy, PepsiCo

  • Fabiola mentioned that while brands want to appeal to new audiences and appear inclusive, they often hire “experts” in the Hispanic market that develop work rooted in stereotypes. She notes that their work does not represent the culture of today. 
  • It is important to re-learn and re-educate yourself and consult people outside of your comfort zone.
  • Fabiola shared that brands need to understand that there is a difference between marketing to a U.S. Hispanic market and marketing to an audience in Latin American countries. While there are commonalities, there are things that separate the audiences and brands should take the time to gather insights from focus groups. 

Xavier Gutierrez, President and CEO, Arizona Coyotes

  • Be authentic and admit when you need help in marketing to the Hispanic community. 
  • Be unapologetic about being Latino/Latina and open to the fact that it may cause discomfort. 
  • “We need to promote and support an ownership mentality in our community, business, capital, corporate development pathway, and truly support each other in those factors.” 

If you weren’t able to make the summit, you can catch the recordings here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *