40 Top Latinos in American Media

This has been a really great year for Latino talent in American media. But before we get into the details of a year in Latino media excellence, I want to first share how this list comes together every year.

Methodology 

Like most media events in digital times this list of top latino talent begins on Twitter. Friends, fans, family, and especially colleagues of excellent Latinos in media recommend them to @vato, me. I add all of the recommended Twitter handles to a private Twitter List that I build and monitor throughout the year in Tweetdeck.  I have created a Collection in Tweetdeck for storing specific top Latino tweets for embedding  throughout next year’s list, just as I have Alberto Ciurana’s mighty tweet below.

Beyond the usual awards, promotions, and standout work that shares quickly throughout Latinos Twitter, this year I specifically sought to elevate Latinos for two reasons: 

1.  Latino Excellence In World Cup Media

The World Cup was no doubt a huge career catalyst for a millennial generation of Latino media talent. Fox News Channel sent reporter Bryan Llenas to broadcast Team USA’s every move for America’s #1 cable news network in English.  America’s most-watched local news station in the country for the 2nd straight year is actually KMEX Univision 34 in Los Angeles.  Anchor Leon Krauze broadcasted in Spanish for Univision while writing English-language essays as a soccer correspondent for The New Republic.  From the moment they landed in Brazil, Fernando Vila‘s digital production team at Soccer Gods were flawless in their social media coverage of the games.  At Twitter, data scientist Nicolas Belmote visualized the World Cup’s tweets to create two breathtaking interactive products, The World Cup of Tweets and #WorldCup: Beyond the home team. These are just a few standout examples of Latinos who did really great work with World Cup media.  Do you know of others?  Tweet them @vato.

2.  Latinos With Non-Spanish Surnames

Several readers recommended top media talent with names like O’Keefe, McSwain, Ailsworth and Wilson. After clarifying that they are indeed Latino, I added them to my Twitter list where there names, tweets, and profiles appeared through the year. Having names like O’Keefe, McSwain, and Ailsworth appear in a Twitter list of Latino media talent was a frequent and important reminder that cookie cutter perceptions of American heritage always fail. Immigrants are the generation considered foreign.  Their children are usually bilingual ‘Latinos’.  As the English-language takes over the family tree, Latinos will become Latino Americans. Old country surnames don’t often last and in some cases don’t even make it ashore with the original immigrant. This year’s list makes conscious effort to elevate a surname-unspecific vision of Latino affairs.  Do you know of other talented Latinos in media who don’t have Spanish surnames?  Tweet them @vato.

Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Without further ado, below are the top Latinos in American media categorized by profession and listed alphabetically by first name.

Executives

  • Alberto Ciurana (Univision): In 2012, Alberto took over as Univision’s President of Programing and Content. Since then, the network has climbed up and conquered programming in primetime. Under his leadership, Univision stunned all but themselves this year by beating ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX among both Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34 during the July sweep for the second year in a row. Will the 2015 July sweep be an historic 3-peat for Univision? I wouldn’t bet against Alberto. I would and do, however, follow Alberto on Twitter where he posts highly-shareable tidbits of Spanish wit and wisdom to his nearly 2.1 million followers.

    Un león no se da la vuelta para mirar cuando un perro ladra.

    — Alberto Ciurana (@AlbertoCiurana) April 16, 2014

  • Hernan Lopez (FOX International Channels): As President and CEO of FOX International Channels (FIC), Hernan Lopez the division’s 100 employees operated a handful of channels and brought in about $100 million in annual revenue.  His division now employs 4,000 people in 64 offices worldwide.  The global television empire he operates includes over 350 television stations broadcasting in 48 languages everywhere on earth.  Last year subscriptions to FIC services in Latin America, US Hispanic, Europe, Asia/Pacific, and African markets reached 1.725 billion people.  Under Hernan’s leadership, FIC’s annual revenues have increased 30 fold, to nearly $3 billion.  Next year FOX International Channel is expected to surpass $1 billion in profit for parent company 21st Century Fox.  Sadly, Hernan is not yet on Twitter.  

Editors 

  • Alexis Madrigal (The Atlantic):  As deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, Alexis writes on a range of issues from the past and future.  His weekday newsletter, 5 Intriguing Things, provides tidbits of both to 10,000 subscribers.  This year Alexis tried to understand how in the near-future Google is trying to turn itself into a robots company that builds self-driving cars, and how California attempts to regulate them; how we scale up good iced coffee drinks; and how Bank of America should better-deal with Twitter bots.  Listen for Alexis reading his essays about technology on NPR’s Fresh Air.
  • Chris Peña (MSNBC):  The opportunities that Chris has created for Latino voices write for NBC’s digital platforms and appear on MSNBC’s cable news broadcasts are making a difference at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  Since launching NBC Latino in 2011 to his current role as Senior Executive Producer at MSNBC, Chris has worked at the editor, mentor, and now executive level with dozens of Latino media professionals at the most-storied news and entertainment establishment in American television.  While not every Latino affairs story or angle is right for NBC or MSNBC news programming, Latino issues are finally discussed on camera with a Latino at the table.  Chris has been the driving force behind this subtle but essential shift in 30 Rock culture.
  • Eva Rodriguez (POLITICO): An interesting move in Latino political media this year came last month when POLITICO Magazine hired Eva from the Washington Post.  A veteran Washington newswoman, Eva has worked for the DC bureaus of the Legal Times, BusinessWeek and New York Times. Look for Eva’s impact in the coming year as the new senior editor at the magazine attached to the powerhouse daily for Washington insiders. 
  • Fernando Vila (Fusion):  Last year I wrote that World Cup Brazil would be Fusion’s time to shine. At this year’s World Cup, Fusion did not disappoint.  In fact, they were digitally online.  As Vice President for Programming at the ABC/Univision co-owned television network run by millennial hipsters for millennial hipsters, Fernando lead a team of multimedia virtuosos to Brazil. There Soccer Gods broadcast the latest news and information about the tournament while Fusion’s digital and social media teams worked around the clock to develop and curate the finest World Cup content to be housed on the new microsite  at soccer.fusion.net. For next year, I’d be interested to see Fusion leverage Univision Deportes’ global reach to book A-List interviews for Soccer Gods.  Luis Suárez & Sofia Balbi on love and soccer could be done better by Fusion than it’s ever been done before in English.  
  • Francisco Cortes (FOX News Latino):  No credible list of top Latinos in media is complete without Francisco Cortes. His story is a national inspiration. From the Bronx, he served honorably in the U.S. Army. In the mid-90s, he took an entry-level job at a Manhattan startup called the FOX News Channel. He was hand-picked by Roger Ailes to be his first apprentice. In 2010 he launched FOX News Latino, which remains the pioneering network news vertical in English-language Latino affairs.  Francisco changed the face of American media forever by making it more fair, more balanced, and – yes – more brown. After being named last year as the first Latino to hold a Vice President position within the news division of Fox News Channel, Cortes has continued to develop Latino talent and elevate Latino voices as media mentor and cultural visionary. No one has done more to advance Latino affairs and Latino careers in English-language media than Francisco Cortes.  He was and remains the Godfather of Latino news. 
  • Jonnelle Marte (Washington Post): If you’re reading this list, chances are you are Latino. If you’ are Latino, chances are the recession probably decimated your household wealth.  Now you’ve gone from broke to broken, living month-to-month when you’re lucky but mostly week-to-week. So…what are you doing to plan for retirement? Don’t laugh. It’s a serious question that Jonnelle is asking via GetThere, a new personal finance vertical she just launched for the Washington Post online.  Previously a financial reporter for MarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal, Jonnelle knows a thing or two about how money works. With GetThere, she wants to hear from you about a range of personal finance issues. Most-recently she’s asked readers to submit questions and testimonials about planning for retirement. Future conversations will focus on personal finance issues closer to millennial hearts (and wallets), including managing student loan, juggling credit card payments, or effectively negotiating your next raise.  As you gear up to struggle through another fiscal year, know that Jonnelle and her diverse team of money experts are there to help you get there.
  • Marina Garcia-Vasquez (Wall Street Journal): As Editor of WSJ’s excellent Accelerator’s forum, Marina oversees and curates content from lively digital discussions between her team of two dozen startup mentors- entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists. After work, Marina puts on her Founder’s hat to build Mex And The City, an online community and creative agency in New York dedicated to promoting contemporary Mexican culture in a global way.  Recently Marina used Kickstarter to set a crowd-funding goal of $15,000 to finance a photography book exploring the diversity of contemporary Mexican culture.  Two-hundred-and-three backers later and Marina had surpassed her goal by a healthy margin to the tune of $16,165.  Now Mex And The City can design and print the Racial Profiling portrait series into The New Global Mexican book title.
  • Trish Wilson (Associated Press):  As international investigations editor for the AP’s Washington Bureau, this year has major journalism award written all over it for Trish.  In April, she lead a team of investigative reporters who broke the story of Cuban Twitter, a US-led initiative to undermine Cuba’s communist government.  Four months later, she and her team did it again by uncovering covert efforts to recruit Cuban youth to anti-government activism via USAID programs on the island.  What else do they have in store for this year?  One thing’s for sure: there’s still plenty of 2014 left for breaking major news stories.

On-Air Talent

  • Fernando Pizarro (Univision):  Nobody in Washington bridges the political and cultural divides of English and Spanish better than Fernando.  As the Washington Affiliates Correspondent for the Univision Television Group, Fernando is the trusted on-air and offline points-of-contact between the Beltway and both American continents.  He is reputation is that of a consummate team player and unassailably nice guy.  Hernan’s seamless bilingualism gives him twice the market potential as the rest of his Washington colleagues and they don’t seen to mind.
  • León Krauze (Univision): It’s barely autumn and for the 2nd year in a row León has already won multiple Emmy Awards, including for Best Daytime Newscast, an award that had eluded Univision LA for 14 years.  As a news anchor for KMEX Univision 34, the most-watched television station in the country for the 2nd year in a row, León interviewed Barak Obama at the White House and nabbed an exclusive with Enrique Peña Nieto on no less than the live capture of el Chapo Guzmán.  He covered the World Cup Brazil on live television and as special soccer correspondent for The New Republic.  Oh yeah, and he also launched Fusion, which we’ll get to later in this list. To wit — León had one helluva a 2014.  I can only imagine the towering heights León resolves to conquer in the New Year.
  • Lori Montenegro (Telemundo): This is how an entry-level Latino staffer working at an in-the-know congressional office on Capitol Hill recommended Lori to me with a straight face, and I quote: “If the word bawse translated cleanly into Spanish, Lori seria a la definición.”  As the National Correspondent in Telemundo’s Washington Bureau, Lori is the Spanish-language network’s eyes, ears, and sometimes voice in national political affairs.  In congressional offices on Capitol Hill, Lori is said to be universally beloved, especially by the overworked core of Latino junior staffers who she never fails to treat with respect and kindness (a rare quality in a broadcast newspeople covering Congress).  While Lori can certainly a tough boss, demanding excellence at every step along the way to news-making, everyone knows that her concern is that of a fair and principled veteran newswoman who after so many years on the job is pretty much always right.  
  • Luz Peña (MundoFOX): At 22 years old, Peña began broadcasting national news for MundoFOX. Before long, her passion for storytelling and fluidity on-camera made her a perfect fit for her own TV segment focused on informing the Latino community on technology and social media. Her success has not gone unnoticed. This year the L.A Press Club recognized her with a Best Use of Social Media in Journalism Award for her coverage of an 11-year-old Latino boy who was bullied on Facebook and Twitter. Look for Peña to continue to merge multimedia journalism and Latino affairs in English and Spanish as she continues build experience as one of FOX’s youngest broadcast news talents.  
  • Maria Hinojosa (LatinoUSA): When I was a kid growing up in Missouri, Hinojosa’s early LatinoUSA broadcasts were the earliest indication to me that there were places far beyond the Mississippi River Valley, where Latino immigrants worked hard and spoke Spanish, just like mine. That was back in the early 1990s. Since then came the sea change. Millions of Latino families arrived, settled in, and built lives in virtually every community in the US.  Pretty much nothing is as it was before latino affairs took off in America — nothing, that is, but the timeless authenticity of LatinoUSA’s broadcasts and universal adoration Latinos have for Maria Hinojosa. 

Producers

  • Azhar Alfadl-Miranda (Al Jazeera): Azhar Alfadl-Miranda (Al Jazeera): Beginning in 2011, Azhar learned the ins and outs of broadcast news production as a member of Al Jazeera’s Washington Bureau. There she helped plan coverage on topics as diverse as World Cup fashion, U.S. immigration policy, and elections in Peru. Outside of work, Azhar took on a new responsibility last month as co-president of NAHJ‘s DC Chapter alongside her colleague and bestie Melissa Macaya (see below).  Under Azhar and Melissa’s leadership, look for NAHJ’s DC to shift its chapter focus away from trainings and workshops on traditional and broadcast forms of journalism to focus instead on building members’ digital news capabilities.
  • Elena Chiriboga (POLITICO): The go-to publication for Washington insiders is POLITICO. Connoisseurs, think tanks, lobby shops, and public affairs professionals seeking a deeper dive into specific Washington affairs can pay for coverage via POLITICO PRO. As a Senior Web Producer for POLITICO PRO, Elena works for 13 verticals.  Her coverage areas include transportation, cybersecurity, health, and financial services, among several others. She also contributes daily rundowns of top policy stories for the service’s daily newsletters.
  • Liz Martinez (Huffington Post): Her Twitter bio lists her as Nobody.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  At 25 years old, she is already a seasoned digital broadcast producer of Gracie Award-winning work. Her daily grid is as a jack-of-all-production-trades in the international and social justice verticals at HuffPost Live, a first-of-its-kind daily online streaming network she helped launch in 2012.  A consummate innovator, Liz began her career in broadcasting the Arab Spring for Al Jazeera’s The Stream in Washington, D.C. Look to Liz for puns on Twitter.

Reporters & Bloggers

  • Arelis Hernández (Washington Post): This year Arelis bid a fond farewell to her crime beat at the Orlando Sentinel for a political beat at the Washington Post. Her new job is in her old neighborhood — Prince George’s County, Maryland — where she was born and raised. She’d barely unpacked when the same standout talent for shoe leather reporting that earned her high acclaim (and more than a few journalism awards) in Florida earned a story she wrote the coveted front page, above the fold of The Washington Post print edition. Incredibly, she is only 27 years old and rising quickly on the short list of the best breaking news reporters of her generation.
  • Bryan Llenas (FOX News): At 26 years old, Bryan has already covered Team USA’s run in World Cup Brazil and Pope Francis’ election in Vatican City. His career is barely started and he’s already thriving at the level of a veteran reporter for FOX News Channel and FOX News Latino. Only time and experience stands between Bryan and his career’s limitless future in broadcast journalism.
  • Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post):  One of the most-productive congressional reporters in Washington, this year Ed brought the day-to-day dysfunction of the 113th Congress to the Post’s devoted political readership.  He was on the scene in the Senate for Ted Cruz’s all-night talkathon and broke the facts of the infuriating government shutdown the followed.  This summer, Ed’s standout coverage of the politics and consequences of immigration partisanship in Washington earned him broader Latino affairs assignments — like interviewing the Presidents of Honduras and Guatemala, and traveling with Central America to cover Dr. Rand Paul’s pro-bono eye surgeries in Guatemala.  If you miss Ed’s breaking news stories in the Washington Post online and in print, you can still catch him on cable news shows where he is frequently invited to talk about the news he just broke.
  • Edgar Alvarez (Engadget): This is Edgar’s third year writing for Engadget, where he breaks a wide variety of breaking news from the world of technology. Edgar also goes in-depth on assignments at the intersections of sports with technology.  This year, he wrote excellent features on Microsoft’s partnerships with the NFL and other partnerships defining the future of online-based sports networks. He also covered the NBA Finals in San Antonio and the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where he wrote the inside story of House of Cards at Neflix.  For two to four high-quality technology stories of interest, subscribe to Edgar’s updates here.  
  • Erin Ailworth (Wall Street Journal):  She was a 7 year-old California kid when Erin decided to become a journalist. Thousands of deadlines, headlines, and byline’s later, Erin has achieved and surpassed her childhood ambition. She worked for seven years at the Boston Globe — six of them covering energy, clean tech, and utilities.  Last year, her paper capped off an amazing year by winning a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings. It was then that the WSJ came a-knockin’, offering Erin a much-deserved dream job on the oil and gas industry beat in Houston. As she settles into her new life in Texas, look for Erin to continue to break major news in her new role.
  • Griselda Flores (Variety Latino):  A formidable content machine, Griselda wrote her first story for Variety Latino in February. Since then she has written hundreds more, often posting multiple times per day from Los Angeles on the entertainment beat in Spanish. Recently, on a particularly memorable assignment, she even got to see Los Tigres del Norte – her all-time favorite band — honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  
  • Julio Varela (Latino Rebels): Since moving on from Al Jazeera America in the spring, Julio has gone back to his roots, taking on the day-to-day editorial tasks for Latino Rebels. The Rebeldes continue to bring their A-game to the mix, taking the lead on calling out problematic coverage when it comes to U.S. Latinos.  To this end they have launched a new online radio show where Julio has already scored big interviews with Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, Dolores Huerta, ABC News’ John Quiñones, and the Vice-Mayor of Murrieta, California. Over the summer, Varela was also featured on NPR’s ‘On The Media’ with the great Jorge Ramos.  It’s only a matter of time before Julio returns to another broadcast gig in an American newsroom. Meanwhile, it’s great to have him back as the ultimate digital watchdog in Latino affairs.  
  • Nathan Olivares-Giles (Wall Street Journal): This year, Nate helped launch WSJD, the Wall Street Journal’s new home for tech coverage. There he writes about apps and gadgets and appears on camera reviewing the latest cutting edge technology. Before joining the Journal last fall, Nate covered tech at Wired, The Verge and the Los Angeles Times. He also took on new responsibilities this year, representing the region that includes San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the heartland of American tech, on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
  • Suzanne Gamboa (NBC News):  Congressional gridlock, Republican obstruction, White House inaction, and unaccompanied children detained crossing the desolate desert alone made for a particularly year bleak headlines in immigration affairs. As senior writer for NBCNews.com, Suz leveraged her three decades of newsroom experience covering a multitude of beats in Texas and Washington, D.C., including congressional and Texas statehouse, politics, veterans, human services, law enforcement, and pretty much every Latino affairs angle imaginable to keep readers informed through another frustrating year in immigration reform politics.
  • Tanzina Vega (New York Times):  The old school Grey Lady of American journalism neither launches nor validates sea changes in the news-making professions on a whim.  It moves slowly, deliberately, asking hard questions, taking careful notes, defining achievable impacts, and writing detailed plans with key performance indicators to measure success and failure.  Then the Grey Lady elevates the talent who will lead the new thing and either deliver success to the newsroom or eat the failure alone.  For the New York Times’ new Race and Ethnicity beat, the Grey Lady has chosen Tanzina to lead the way. The consequences of success and the consequences of failure are steepest at the top. If a dedicated Race & Ethnicity beat succeeds at NYTimes, there will be an array imitators.  This would be a good thing.  We need more coverage of race in places like Ferguson before it erupts into #Ferguson.  On the other hand, failure it will gift a handy set of industry-wide excuses that naysayers can use to justify never launching a Race & Ethnicity beat again.  Tanzina’s new beat is without a doubt the most-significant development in diversity media this year.  Minorities everywhere will benefit by a thriving Race and Ethnicity beat at the New York Times. 

Photojournalists

  • Marie D. De Jesús (Houston Chronicle):  Marie began her career at a time when newsroom mastheads where hemorrhaging staff photojournalists.  Smartphone cameras had just begun to break news. She skyrocketed in a dying profession using a reliable combination of technical mastery and raw visual instincts. Marie’s portfolio is a feisty boricua exile’s quest for light on assignment in continental America. Marie has photographed cowboys and cockfights, firehouses and rodeo clowns, ballerinas and murderers, Barack Obama and Jay-Z, and all the same: professionally. Baby Boomers celebrate Leibowitz and Richard Drew. The generation after celebrates Dharpak and Martinez Monsevais.  These are irreplaceable photojournalists with irreplaceable bodies of work that define for eternity the eras they shoot. Millennials are lucky to have De Jesus to do the same. Check out her portfolio and see for yourself
  • Pablo Martinez Monsivais (Associated Press): He is the son of migrant workers from Mexico and a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist. This is Pablo’s 16th year on the White House beat for AP. In the last 12 months he’s traveled with POTUS and Pope Francis to Vatican City; and has accompanied senior administration officials on visits to Alaska, Singapore, Afghanistan, Brussels, Romania, and Paris. Recently Pablo photographed Attorney General Eric Holder on his high-profile trip to Ferguson, Missouri. But even the highest-profile photo-ops in the world couldn’t keep Pablo from documenting of his son Luca walking with his mother on his first day of school. That was the shoot that really made Pablo’s year.

Data Visualization

  • Nicolas Belmonte (Twitter): As the technical lead for data visualization at Twitter, Nicolas translates the tweeted universe into breathtaking digital packages. His @TwitterData projects for World Cup Brazil were un-real.  What’s just as impressive as the work itself is the deadline culture of art-making a realtime event with the right combination of its Twitter data.  Case in point: the steamgraph visualization of this year’s State of the Union Address, where the final implementation of the actual speech into the project seems to have been done in real-time.  Check out more of Nicolas’s innovative work visualizing Twitter data at interactive.twitter.com.

Software Engineering

  • Samantha Quiñones (POLITICO):  It was a thrill to discover Samantha Quiñones exists. I’ve met a handful of top-flight Latino software engineers, but never a Latina, top-flight or otherwise. Samantha leads a team of software engineers at POLITICO. She is regular speaker at web development conferences around the United States, including Distill and php[tek] and attended a White House Data Jam on STEM Workforce Diversity. I asked Samantha if she knows any other top Latino software engineers in American media. Sadly, she does not. 

Advocacy

  • Alida Garcia (FWD.us):  After working on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as National Latino Vote Deputy Director, Alida was hired to direct Coalitions & Policy at FWD.us, a pro-immigration reform 501c4 advocacy organization founded by Mark Zuckerberg alongside several other titans of American innovation and technology. There she advises the group on immigration policy, bridges the gap between tech and the undocumented communities, and oversees external relationships & programming with FWD’s diverse coalition of allied groups and advocates dedicated to passing meaningful comprehensive immigration reform. 
  • Daniel Garza (LIBRE Initiative):  Since launching the LIBRE Initiative in 2011, Daniel has appeared in English and Spanish on hundreds of TV, radio, and web broadcasts; panel discussions, town halls, roundtables, and public debates; pretty much anywhere it makes sense to promote economic liberty and Hispanic self-enfranchisement. A proud Latino conservative, dedicated family man, and devout Christian, Daniel’s American experience began picking crops with his parents, migrant workers from Mexico. His family’s home was the size of a toolshed with no running water. His bootstraps past informs LIBRE’s fully bilingual advocacy agenda of promoting economic freedom to U.S. Hispanics and compassionate immigration reform to more-general American audiences. To these ends, Daniel a tireless and fearless patriot crusading for Latinos to understand and earn the American Dream.
  • Erika Andiola (DRM Action Coalition): Erika is undocumented and unafraid.  But she wasn’t always unafraid. On a night in January 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrived at Erika’s house and detained her mother and brother with neither a warrant nor an explanation. Erika drove to a nearby detention center only to be told her mother was already on a bus to Mexico with the other deportees. Now Erika was undocumented and afraid and balling her eyes out on her webcam. The video went viral. Erika’s mother was saved. But not before Erika recorded a tearful call to action for undocumented immigrants everywhere: “Stop pretending like nothing is wrong. Stop pretending we’re living normal lives because we’re not. This could happen to any of us, anytime.” Watch more of Erika’s journey as super-advocate for immigrant justice here. Also, consider donating to DRM Action Coalition where Erika continues the fight to hold politicians accountable on immigration policy.  Finally, see more of Erika’s journey from undocumented youth to super-advocate for immigrant justice here.

Public Affairs & Marketing

  • Dan McSwain (GEER): If there is one thing Democrats do much, much better than Republicans, it’s harness the web for fundraising. It’s a science that Dan and his business partner pioneered in Chicago during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Since then Dan has built and rebuilt the FCC online, and delivered the branding and creative voice behind “Immigo,” an app released by NCLR to connect communities with vital information to navigate a broken immigration system. This year, Dan returned to his roots in online fundraising to the tune of $5.7 million in the June crowdfunding campaign to launch Lawrence Lessig’s MAYDAY.us — “a Super PAC to abolish Super PACs”. Having recently be named named President of GEER in Washington, expect Dan to continue to make no small plans.
  • Diego Pinzón (MLS Media): Soccer is booming as never before in the US and Diego is leading the bilingual charge. After joining the MLS Soccer as an associate editor in 2012, he quickly built the organization’s Spanish-language vertical into one of the internet’s top websites for North American soccer news. This year he launched a new podcast and saw it take off with Spanish-language audiences, all while writing in-depth stories and analysis on the players and games, building social media communities, and even filling in on-camera to broadcast in English and Spanish. In short, Diego’s been very busy this year. He will only get busier next season as the Major League Soccer communities he helps engage and inform online go on to forge the next great American pastime on game day.  
  • Guillermo Meneses (GMMB):  Originally from Chile, Gil cut his professional teeth in media startups at the dawn of the US cable news television industry.  Now Vice President at GMMB, a progressive, Georgetown-based public affairs powerhouse, Gil is passionate about issues that impact Latinos and all communities of color.  He leverages his strong connections and experience with news media influentials to keep important issues such as immigration reform policy, voting rights, civil rights, and education both in the public eye and high on the public’s list of priorities.
  • Maria Abad (Qorvis MSLGroup):  Maria is a consummate multilingual global public relations professional. At Qorvis MSLGROUP, she leads corporate and consumer clients, traditional and digital public relations and public affairs campaigns, in addition to integrated Hispanic media and communications across many time zones. All in English, Spanish, and German. Not coincidentally, these are the three languages of Maria On Point, her daily trilingual fashion and style blog, which has been featured on Univision and Telemundo.
  • Victor Arias (Edelman):  After several years of honing his marketing prowess with the government agency clients at the Hispanic Communications Network in Washington, D.C., Victor moved north at the beginning of this year to join Edelman’s Multicultural Marketing Team in Manhattan.  Barely a year into his new life in New York City, Victor already advises a robust portfolio of consumer-facing corporate clients that he advises on multicultural engagement. They include Barilla, Campbell’s, Huggies, Kellogg’s, and Time Warner Cable. In the brave new world of multicultural marketing, Don Victor is to modern diversity what Don Draper was to yesteryear.

Surely this list is not all-inclusive. Who is missing? Let me know in the comments or tweet them at @vato.