We started out the day with an inspirational breakfast with one of my favorite Latinas, Nely Galan, best known for producing the Fox hit reality series The Swan, who also received a Latinovator Award for her successful career as an entrepreneur. There were also many popular panels including one with Google's Mark Lopez and social media strategist Ted Rubin, who both set off of chatter on Twitter.
The venerable Latino musician, producer, and entrepreneur Emilio Estefan, drew rapt attention from a packed banquet hall as he received a Latinovator Award for his contributions to the music industry. The crowd listened to Estefan tell his personal story of escaping Cuba as a young man to later become a musician and how he achieved personal and professional success.
At the conference, brands such as Target fully embraced the opportunity to mingle and entertain hundreds of Latino bloggers, media, and professional communicators. The conference also saw a touch of humor when dancing erupted a-lá-flash-mob to the popular music of Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez. However, what stole the show, in my opinion, was the visit by penguins from Sea World Orlando. Sea World and its flightless friends were on-hand courtesy of the “Visit Orlando” campaign, one of the many corporate sponsors of Hispanicize 2012.
The best attended event of the day was easily the Diageo-sponsored after party held at the beautiful 11 11 Lincoln Road event space. Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer,” was on hand representing Fox Hispanic Media's NatGeo Mundo channel, as was the cast of Magic City, which had earlier in the evening hosted a screening at the South Beach Regal Theater. Partygoers swayed to live DJ music and sipped on Johnny Walker, Ketel One, and Zacapa cocktails until late into the night, all in the name of networking, of course.
Claudia Mejia-Haffner is managing director of JeffreyGroup's New York office and Hispanic practice leader.