HISPANIC ADVERTISING INDUSTRY CHIEF PASSES THE GAVEL TO NEW LEADER TO CONTINUE TO PURSUE VISION
Miami Agency Executive José López-Varela to Lead AHAA
McLEAN, Va., April 21, 2008 — Jackie Bird, chairwoman of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) and president/CEO of Winglatino, stepped down from her association post in the annual transition of leadership to a new executive on Friday. José López-Varela, CEO of ADN Communications in Miami will spearhead the efforts of the Hispanic advertising industry during the coming year in his new role as AHAA chairman. Gisela Girard, president and COO of Creative Civilization – An Aguilar/Girard Agency in San Antonio assumes the position of chair-elect and will take office as chair next April. Jessica Pantanini, COO of Bromley Communications and former AHAA Treasurer has been named the new Vice Chair, appointed to observe and participate in executive committee activities and decisions in preparation for the role of Chair-Elect next year.
During the 12 months under Bird's charge, the association tipped the 100-member agency mark and revised the strategic initiatives outlined two years earlier by the Board of Directors. Some of AHAA's key accomplishments under Bird's direction include implementation of the first annual AHAA salary survey specific to Hispanic marketing agencies; creating a partnership with Simmons Research and conducting qualitative and quantitative research supporting the Latino Identity project; publishing, with AdAge, a magazine supplement on the Hispanic advertising industry and AHAA; meeting with legislators to gain support for unbundling government contracts; executed a partnership with Nielsen to analyze what advertisers are spending in the Hispanic market versus the general market and will be releasing the results in May; and, plans to re-design the AHAA Web site.
AHAA taps into the expertise of its members and gains fresh perspectives for the association through its committee structure – marketing communication; membership; research; public policy; creative; and touchpoint (media) – developed and implemented Board-approved plans with an overarching emphasis on reaching and influencing corporate America . “With the support of so many members and volunteers, AHAA achieved great things this year,” Bird says. “But there is so much more to accomplish in these very exciting and challenging times our industry is facing. We must remain robust and dynamic in our approach to reach and influence corporate executives.”
López-Varela and the newly elected officers, Girard, Pantanini, will form the executive committee joined by Carl Kravetz, chief strategic officer of cruz/kravetz:IDEAS and new AHAA Treasurer, and Patricia Gaitán, president of Chambers, Lopez and Gaitán and new AHAA Secretary. Bird will serve on the executive committee as Immediate Past Chair. They will continue to implement the strategic focus of the association based on the framework Bird and the Board created last year. Under the new leadership, the association will continue to make access to the C-suite the number one priority while adding more value to AHAA membership. López-Varela wants to ensure that a large majority of active and new advertisers use AHAA member agencies for their marketing communications programs and spend a fair share of their budgets targeting the Hispanic market.
“I want to take the same approach with AHAA this year as we have taken at this conference – continually rebooting and embracing new approaches,” says L?pez-Varela. “I promise you that we will consistently examine the execution of each element relative to our goals to ensure our thinking is always fresh, inspired and relevant. Our next priority is to increase the significance of AHAA to you, our members. We want to provide the best-in-class tools and information to enhance our competencies so that our agencies are consistently sought and consulted for our expertise and knowledge of the Hispanic market.”
Having moved through the ranks of AHAA leadership, L?pez-Varela understands the importance of maintaining stability and a single long-term focus for the organization while inviting new ideas and volunteers to the table. The AHAA Board established the Vice Chair position, which López-Varela held two years ago, to help facilitate this continuity of vision.
Joining the Board this year are Carlos Garcia, of Garcia 360°, Matias Perel, CEO of Latin3, Ingrid Otero-Smart, president of Anita Santiago Advertising, Inc., and Daniel Marrero, Founder of CreativeOndemanD (COD). Continuing to serve on the Board are: Joe Zubizarreta, executive vice president of Zubi Advertising, and Daisy Expósito, d.expósito & Partners. After serving two, three-year terms, Board members Manuel E. Machado, CEO/co-chairman of MGS Communications and Alex López Negrete, CEO of López Negrete Communications will turn over their duties as Board members to the newly elected officers.
“It has been an honor to serve our association and to learn from these exceptional professionals and wonderful friends,” Bird says. “The dedication and commitment of these individuals is remarkable and I have tremendous respect and admiration for each of them. I look forward to continuing to serve AHAA and appreciate the continued support of members.”
For a copy of López-Varela's transition speech or to learn more about Hispanic advertising trends, please contact Elinor Kinnier, 703-610-0204, firstname.lastname@example.org