Hispanic Public Relations Association congratulates Manny Santos of MultiVu Latino and Maria Machuca of the United Farm Workers for being the April 2012 Members of the Month!

Manny Santos, Director of MultiVu Latino - NY Chapter

What do you enjoy about PR in your line of work?
I truly enjoy contributing to the process of story-telling… Here at MultiVu – the PR broadcast and multimedia division of PRNewswire – we focus on assisting agencies, organizations, and corporations by providing the right media vehicles and platforms so our clients can tell their stories and reach their targeted audiences. I am heavily involved in overseeing the successful execution of these efforts, but there is an aspect of collaboration, idea sharing, and vision that I love most about my work.Being able to contribute and share my own personal experience, my bilingualism, my biculturalism, and of course the knowledge I have in this space so my clients can develop a better connection and engagement with their audience is something that gives me great satisfaction. Because in the end, and for me, it’s not only about the “technical” aspects of helping others tell their stories successfully, but about the human value and social contribution of these stories and the collaborative process to make them work. To be a part of that team effort has always been a great gift.

What is something not many people know about you?
I have done a lot of professional Voice Over work. Through the years, I have probably done more than 400 TV and radio commercials in English and Spanish here in the U.S. and overseas.

What is the best advice you have ever received in your professional career?
Persistence, Discipline, and Determination are three fundamental concepts to be successful at anything.

What advice can you provide to the incoming generations of Hispanic PR professionals?
Treat every person you come in contact with, both personally and professionally, not only in the way you would like to be treated, but also in the way you would be impressed to be treated.

Maria Machuca, Communications Director at United Farm Workers - L.A. Chapter

What do you enjoy about PR in your line of work?
Working for the United Farm Workers has been one of my most challenging yet rewarding professional experiences in my career. I enjoy every aspect of my job from helping prepare farm workers and UFW leadership for media interviews and developing strategic media campaigns to crafting messages to help us win legislation to protect farm workers and improve their working conditions. However, what I enjoy the most is getting to meet the farm workers. I like to learn about their dreams and goals. I admire their strength, courage and motivation. Whenever I feel frustrated, I think about those farm workers who depend on my work to have their voices heard. That’s what keeps me motivated.

What is something not many people know about you
Most people don’t know that I ended up in communications by accident and thanks to a $1,000 scholarship. I realized at a very young age that my natural talents were in math and science, but writing was not one of them. Growing up in Mexico, I wouldn’t do so great with my grammar tests in class but would win school-wide math competitions. When I came to the United States at the age of 15, I did incredibly well in math courses but found myself struggling to learn English. Then, one day my English teacher asked me to write something short for the school newspaper. I did, and before I knew it, a rumor spread that I wanted to be a journalist. A school counselor persuaded me to apply for a scholarship being offered by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. To my surprise, I was one of 560 scholarship recipients from a pool of more than 8,500 applicants from all over the country, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. I graduated with a B.A. in mass communications-print journalism degree four years later from California State University, Fresno.

What is the best advice you have ever received in your professional career?
When my counselor encouraged me to apply for the American Society of Newspaper Editors scholarship, he said, “Apply. The worst they can tell you is no.” Until this day, I use that reasoning when making professional and personal decisions. When I was first approached by the UFW, I was hesitant because I had no experience in PR. Then I told myself, “Take it. The worst they can do is fire you.”

What advice can you provide to the incoming generation of Hispanic PR professionals?
Always be willing to learn new skills and improve those you already have. Explore different careers and try different kinds of jobs, if possible. Whatever job you decide — big or small —  do it with a passion and don’t move to the next level until you have excelled in that one.

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