Texas Gets Hispanicized and Lives to Tell About It
BY MANNY RUIZ & ANGELA SUSTAITA-RUIZ
This past week’s Hispanicize Texas event was this year’s grand company experiment for Hispanicize Media Group.
As we approached the regional event we were excited and nervous for various reasons. First, this was an inaugural event for us in the Lone Star State. Second, we were hosting it on a Saturday and in the middle of the hot Texas summer. Third, despite interest from several big Hollywood types, we couldn’t land rock star celebrities to speak or perform at the event.
At the end, none of this mattered.
When Hispanicize Texas opened its doors this past Saturday at its beautiful headquarters in Houston’s Silver Street Studios, 486 digital creators, artists, entrepreneurs, brands, agencies and journalists flocked to the event from EVERY corner of the Lone Star State and other parts of the country. (To give you a sense of the convergence, more than 40 Latina bloggers from Dallas ALONE showed up!).
Presented in partnership with our flagship champions at Prudential Financial, this year’s Hispanicize Texas featured dozens of speakers and four tracks: A Digital Creators Track, Entrepreneurs Track, Latinitas Gen Z Track and Office Hours/Mentoring Business Track.
Brands Brought Their A-Game
The premier brands of this year’s HTX, Prudential, United, Topgolf, and Walmart, made their own marks on the event.
Prudential Financial continued their mission to educate and empower multicultural communities about the importance of financial freedom, a topic that resonates with content creators, and entrepreneurs alike.
As part of their activation, Prudential put out all the stops at HTX with a Prudential lounge that included online entrepreneur interviews and a staging of their popular #Prupárate Jeopardy game on the exhibit floor. Prudential also presented the event’s official networking lunch and a concha break.
United Airlines celebrated more than 25 years of service to Latin America with a series of five cultural dances that took place between breaks throughout the day and featured dancers from Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina. All of the dance breaks were colorful and brought smiles to everybody’s faces.
Texas-based Topgolf made their national Hispanic market outreach debut with an onsite golf putting activation. The day before the event, Topgolf kicked off Hispanicize Texas with the First Annual Hispanicize Topgolf Tournament. Creators including The Positive Mom, Qué Means What, Mami Coach, Yo Mariana, Juan of Words and The Jose Resendez competed. Resendez took home first place but not before he and the influencer teams gave their legions of fans a real taste of this new activity that makes golfing for points on a digitally-connected link fun and family oriented for people of all ages. (The food was also awesome).
Our HTX 2017 sponsors also included food, fun and empowering activities from a host of brands and companies that included787Coffee.com, Kroger, Visit Houston, Nespresso, Best Western, Latina CEO, Agua, Webhead Group, Ink Link Marketing, and official social media agency partner Octopus Advertising Group.
Latinitas Gen Z Track
Hispanicize partnered with Latinitas to launch the inaugural Gen Z track that featured empowering sessions for girls and boys between the ages of 8-17. Sessions covered a variety of relevant topics and included: Using Social Media for Good / Video P.S.A.s, Virtual Reality / 360 Storytelling 101, Rainbow Foods: For a Smarter & Sharper You! and Listen to Your Personal Branding.
Another Hispanicize first was adding El Mercadito that provided Latino creative entrepreneurs from around the state with an opportunity to showcase and sell their unique handcrafts, artwork, books and more.
Henke & Pillot Closing Bash
The event closed at Houston’s Henke & Pillot, the dynamic downtown cocktail lounge that hosted attendees with complimentary drinks and appetizers. To punctuate the closing bash, El Paso’s Valerie Ponzio, a recent “four chair” contestant of The Voice, performed a moving country music set from her new music that seemed fitting for Texas and our Artist on the Rise music series.
A Texas-sized Gracias to an Amazing Team
The success of Hispanicize Texas was made possible by many people, organizations, and volunteers.
Our Houston team was led by Juan Alanis and Anjelica Cazares of Big Oak Media as well as Sandra Fernandez, who went above and beyond to make sure that the event would be empowering while tapping into the unique Texas culture.
Nationally renown Hispanic marketing industry leader Alex López Negrete, CEO and founder of Lopez Negrete Communications, and multi EMMY Award-winning journalist and media entrepreneur Gaby Natale, CEO of Super Latina TV, provided us with great leadership as co-chairs of this year’s Hispanicize Texas.
Partner organizations got their members out to HTX in full force. We’re forever grateful to them, which included Texas Latino Bloggers, FAB Latinos, Latina Media Ventures, Círculo de Mujeres DFW, Houston Latina Bloggers, Kaleidoscope Houston, Soy Texas and, Los Tweens & Teens.
The Hispanicize Texas team is also grateful to Ashley Segura, Laura Irene Sosa, Jeffrey Segura, Edgar Garza, Isabel Martinez, Angel Rosa, Dyla Gutierrez, Anlellic Lozada, Marilyn Valdez, Rikki Rincon, Enriqueta Lemoine and Jose Avalos.
The First Ones In and the Last Ones Out
No list of thanks ever does justice to the often invisible work that goes on behind the scenes. In this case, we’re talking about the team from Hispanicize Media Group and DiMe Media who worked tirelessly to produce this event: Katherine Johnson, Pam Arana, Cristy Clavijo-Kish, Sharlene Garcia, Lexi Terrero, Francis Herrera, and Candy Olivares.
So, what’s next for Hispanicize Texas? We’re still evaluating this year’s event but the odds are very good that we will return in 2018. In the meantime, we’re encouraging everybody to stay in touch with us through our Hispanicize Texas Facebook Group and DiMe Media. If you want to be a part of our next HTX rodeo, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.