HPRB: What was your childhood ambition?
MIDY: In 1992 Hurricane Andrew hit Miami. I remember staying up into the wee hours of the morning, glued to our tiny black/white battery-operated television, watching local newscasters get tossed around by the wind. That’s when the bug to become a television reporter hit me. During undergrad, I focused on television reporting, but soon realized I was better suited to work behind the cameras than in front of them. Always a news junkie, I decided public relations would scratch the itch.
HPRB: Tell us about three people you admire and why?
MIDY: Many may not know that I named my agency after two of the people I admire the most.
- First, my grandmother. Manuela Sánchez (maiden name) is one of the most progressive members of my family. She stays current on politics and culture, and has influenced many areas of my personal and professional perspectives.
- My mother, of the maiden name Miriam Ricardo, is a true fighter. I grew up watching her spend countless hours behind a sewing machine at a factory in Miami. She taught me the value of having a solid work ethic, investing in my career and seeking perfection in all my pursuits.
- To these, add my father, Tomás Aponte. My father is one of the most humble people you’ll ever have a chance to meet. His soul is noble, kind and generous.
These three individuals crafted who I am today. To them I owe much. I carry their names with me each day – and in their honor – accomplish the things for which they didn’t have the opportunity.
HPRB: What is your favorite life or business quote?
MIDY: “There are things that are known. And things that are unknown. In between, there are doors.” William Blake
HPRB: Besides your firm, what are you really passionate about outside of work?
MIDY: I’m most passionate about connecting with people. Whether that is catching up with my 10-yr old niece over the phone, chatting with a close friend over a glass of wine, or volunteering at a park service event. What is most important to me is to stay connected to humanity. Living it, experiencing it, learning from it and enjoying it fully.
HPRB: Tell us about your educational background.
MIDY: I received a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications from Florida International University. For a brief time, I was a columnist in the school newspaper, The Beacon.
HPRB: What is one of the best lessons your parents taught you about life?
MIDY: “Dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres.” [“Tell me who you’re with and I will tell you who you are.”]
Also, my father always warned that nothing good happens on the street passed midnight. Hence, “Calabaza, calabaza, todo el mundo pa’ su casa!” [“Pumpkin, pumpkin, everyone go home!”]
HPRB: What is the most important business habit you have?
MIDY: Staying connected. I go through my rolodex at least once a quarter to ensure I’m connecting with people I’ve met along the way. Whether this is sending a short email just to say hello, or inviting contacts out for a business lunch or afternoon drinks, it’s important that you always remain visible, top of mind and accessible to people within your network.
HPRB: What is the best book you’ve recently read and why?
MIDY: I’m currently reading Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites as it shares invaluable insights on how your past, present and future is actively involved in preparing you to achieve success.
HPRB: How did you start your career in PR and where has that taken you?
MIDY: I started as an intern at The Nixon Group in Miami, FL in 1999. The firm specialized in social justice, public health and youth marketing. While there, I worked with more than a dozen state health departments to develop their anti-tobacco youth empowerment movements. This included working on the national truth® campaign developed by the American Legacy Foundation.
In 2004 I transferred to Washington, D.C. after The Nixon Group was acquired by GolinHarris. In 2007 I joined a litigation communications and issues management firm named The Walker Marchant Group. While there, I represented Fortune 500 companies and counseled them on their diversity/inclusion and strategic partnerships efforts.
With a solid background on social justice, and experience in crisis management and diversity/inclusion, I set out to establish The Sánchez Ricardo Agency in 2009.
HPRB: What advice would you have for young people exploring Hispanic or multicultural PR careers?
MIDY: Learn the inner workings of budgeting accounts and billing clients. Understand how to generate profit and revenue for the agency by managing your team efficiently. This will make you indispensable and marketable as you rise through the ranks.
HPRB: Tell us something about you that would surprise even many of your closest friends.
MIDY: I’m an introvert.
HPRB: What do you believe differentiates your agency and how big is your Hispanic-focused PR team?
- High-level strategic thinking;
- Focused and deliberate implementation of deliverables to meet client’s overall objectives; and
- Unique customer service to clients — grounded in respect, ethics and accountability.
HPRB: Describe the most effective Hispanic marketing campaign you’ve worked on and what made it special?
MIDY: Sánchez Ricardo conducted an extensive outreach effort to engage multicultural organizations – local, regional and national – in promoting the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) “Flu Ends With U” campaign through their digital media platforms. We engaged health organizations, community groups and minority trade associations across multiple groups — African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans — and worked with them on educating their network about the importance of flu vaccinations.
The campaign reinforced our core belief that digital media and public relations is deeply personal and requires extra communication when collaborating with outside organizations. We worked with each contact to equip them with the tools needed to communicate critical flu and flu vaccination messages to their digital networks.
HPRB: What is the biggest Hispanic marketing cliché that you would love to see go away?
MIDY: I think we’ve proven that the “general market” is largely composed of Hispanic (and other) audiences. We must evolve our thinking to a multicultural market mindset.
HPRB: What are your three favorite sources to find out what is going on in the US Hispanic world and what do you look for in these resources?
- Portada Online
- Pew Hispanic Research Center
- Hispanic PR Blog