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Top agencies on how they’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

September 22, 2023 | 14 min read

With Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, The Drum surveys top ad agencies on how they’re uplifting Latinx and Hispanic communities, supporting small businesses and celebrating the culture, food and art of the diaspora.

people wearing traditional mexican dresses

Agencies are gearing up for a month of special programming in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 / Credit: Adobe Stock

As the US observes Hispanic Heritage Month 2023, the spotlight turns to adland’s top agencies, where the likes of Stagwell, BBDO, TBWA\Chiat\Day, Leo Burnett and others are celebrating the talents of their own Latinx creatives and extending their support to larger communities.

BBDO

Jason Rosario, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, BBDO Worldwide

As we prepare to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month at BBDO, we take time to reflect on the past, present and future of the community and its contributions to culture by way of music, art and food. As an executive sponsor of AcentO – Omnicom’s first Employee Resource Group dedicated to Hispanic and Latine employees – I’m excited to share the organizing theme for the month: ‘Driving Prosperity, Power and Progress in America, recognizing the significant strides of the Hispanic and Latine communities in economic, political and social growth.

Another important highlight of this month is ElevandO, AcentO’s Mentoring Program created last year. ElevandO provides 1:1 support to help mid-level Hispanic and Latine talent cultivate leadership skills, strengthen self-advocacy and grow business acumen. To round out the month’s festivities, we are hosting a fireside chat with Stacie de Armas, senior vice-president of Diverse Insights at Neilsen who will share strategies for deeper and more authentic engagement with the Hispanic community. As with all of our cultural moments of celebrations, our goal is to find ways to acknowledge and celebrate the culture 24/7, 365.

TBWA\Chiat\Day

Gabriel Ornelas, senior strategist and Kevin Flores, associate creative director, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York

TBWA\Chiat\Day New York has an active employee resource group called Oaxe [oh.ah.ehkees.eh], a nod to the different demonyms Latin culture has seen over the years (Latino, Latina, Latinx, Latine). This year, we’re focused on empowerment and furthering the discussion on how to represent the collection of backgrounds, dialects and nationalities we represent.

In this spirit, we’re steering away from the stereotypical events like ‘tacos and tequila’ to events that express the diversity of Latin and Caribbean cultures. Instead, we’re putting on events like ‘Cafecito y Pan Dulce,’ a ‘Coquito Masterclass’ and an ‘Ode to Latine Cinema.’ And to cap off the month, we’re hosting a mercadito featuring a range of local Latin and Caribbean business owners for a discussion on identity, work and culture.

VMLY&R

Arlene Pitterson, vice-president, executive producer, VMLY&R Commerce and VMLY&R Nosotros ERG senior sponsor

Nosotros, the Hispanic, Latino and Latinx employee resource group at VMLY&R, invite our coworkers to a month focused on celebrating our community, cultivating partnerships and connecting with our colleagues, friends and community members. This is a time to recognize and honor the invaluable impact that Hispanics, Latinos and Latinx folks have had on our global society. Through the sharing of our stories and experiences, we aspire to empower each other to seguir adelante (move forward) and spark meaningful conversations within our beloved community, building on our collective ambition to succeed at VMLY&R.

The five programs we have this month focus on professional development, overcoming imposter syndrome, why Multicultural is mainstream, an internal get-together and LHM merch with proceeds donated to a Hispanic, Latino and Latinx organization are company-wide (North America) and always under our safe space positioning.

Stagwell

Stephanie Howley, chief people officer, Stagwell

For Hispanic Heritage Month this September and October, Stagwell’s Global People team is partnering with our experiential shop, Team Enterprises, on two events to engage our global network.

The first, in late September, invites employees worldwide to join chef, TV host, podcaster and Havana Club Ambassador Eddie Zamora for a live and virtual cooking demonstration inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month. Tailored for attendees of any cooking level, the demonstration builds on Team’s long-term partnership with the Havana Club.

The second event, in early October, will take place at our global headquarters in New York City and welcomes our talent in the region to convene for a mixer and happy hour replete with custom drinks and cocktails and a live content opportunity to dive into the captivating stories and voices that have left an unforgettable mark on the Hispanic marketing community.

These events are part of Stagwell’s global diversity, equity and inclusion calendar of events, which sees corporate partner with dynamic agencies within the group on educational modules, thought leadership events and employee connection opportunities relating to affinity months.

David&Goliath

David Angelo, founder and creative chairman, David&Goliath

At David&Goliath, we value the diverse stories and experiences our team brings to the table. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we launched a special initiative to amplify the voices of our Hispanic and Latinx employees on our Instagram page all month. Through our ‘Heritage Lesson’ series, employees have a platform to share their unique experiences, invaluable lessons from their upbringing, cherished traditions, family phrases and personal stories that define their heritage. As I like to say, ‘never forget where you’re from’ – a reminder to always be proud of your heritage and reflect on how far you’ve come.

Alongside our social media initiative, our ‘LatinX at D&G’ Employee Resource Group, designed as an ecosystem for identity groups to connect and ideate, plays a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community and support within our agency. It’s about recognizing and celebrating our team’s experiences and contributions, not just this month but every day.

DDB

Ingrid Veloz, manager of HR operations, DDB North America

This year, we are embracing Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) with a vibrant celebration of culture, encompassing the rich tapestry of food, music and collaborative endeavors. We aim to showcase the invaluable contributions of various artists, presenting a thoughtfully curated list of recommended books that delve into the themes of heritage and identity within the Hispanic community.

In the spirit of collaboration, Adam&EveDDB NY is extending an open invitation to our community, encouraging employees to share their cherished quotes, beloved restaurant gems, treasured recipes and music selections that ignite their passion. These contributions will find a home on our reimagined inspiration wall in the creative department, where we invite everyone to add their own photos, quotes, and personal anecdotes and their significance. Rodgers Townsend will host an informative session about the evolution of Hispanic advertising over time with special guest Ernest Bromley. Ernest was the pioneer of Hispanic advertising in the US.

As the month draws to a close, we’re committed to giving back to our local community by supporting Hispanic-owned restaurants and embracing their flavors and traditions. Our hope is that this celebration will leave employees not only inspired and enlightened by HHM but with a curated list of new restaurants to explore and recipes to savor.

Leo Burnett

Melissa Healy, senior vice-president, creative director & employee belonging & participation lead, Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett is intensely committed to creating an agency that reflects our diverse community and is a model for the equitable world we aspire to live in. Moreover, we view employee diversity and inclusion as crucial to innovation and creativity so celebrating the contributions of those of Hispanic backgrounds, as well as others, is immensely important to us.

In celebration of HHM, Leo Burnett is commemorating the month by hosting programs focused on advancing and supporting our Hispanic and Latine community and talent. The month kicked off with a concert, which is a part of our Joy Series, featuring the band, Noia. Through the Joy Series, we celebrate the power of Hispanic artists which features local singers, musicians and songwriters of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American heritage. There is no better expression of joy than through music and music has been a vehicle for celebration, change and resistance. The month will conclude with the same sentiment and will feature the band Esso. The Joy Series also gives us an opportunity to give back to the community and to the arts by hiring these bands and artists.

In partnership with Publicis Groupe agencies, Leo Burnett celebrates collectively through a variety of events including trivia which allows us to learn more about Hispanic and Latino culture and history and speaking panels, which grant our employees the privilege of hearing from Hispanic and Latino/a leaders in the industry and their career experiences. Our Hispanic ERG, Casa, and BRG, Hola, also host their own individual events to encourage and honor their community, connectivity and culture in the workplace.

GALE

Jesse Perez, director of inclusion, people and experience, Gale

To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month and continue our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Gale is celebrating Latinx art, culture, food and small businesses. Our communal library will highlight Latinx authors for the month, and we encourage employees to read and exchange memoirs, history books and works of fiction that highlight various underrepresented groups worldwide.

Through our social channels, we are championing the Latinx community and highlighting their incredible stories, focusing on what Hispanic heritage means to them.

In addition, we’ll also be supporting locally owned Hispanic businesses throughout the month with our meal catering for team meals. We will end the month by bringing our people together for a mixer of cocktails and mocktails to celebrate our Latinx people’s unique and vibrant culture.

R/GA

Anthony Venegas, associate producer, and Johanna Sajuk, integration experience manager and members of the Somos community, R/GA

Hispanic Heritage Month is always a time to remember where we come from, what our roots are, and what our values and opportunities are. Last year, Somos launched our four guiding principles: intersectionality, perseverance, celebration and synergy.

This year, we want to celebrate all and acknowledge the diversity we have within our community by not only recognizing and celebrating Latine communities living in the US but all the work our Latine employees do across the Americas. The events and initiatives of this year include festive playlists curated for and by R/GA employees, a special keynote speaker, fireside chat with Hispanic/Latine leaders of R/GA to share how culture and tradition have influenced their career paths, and happy hours for our Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and New York offices.

Dr Anita Jack-Davies, global head of diversity, equity and inclusion, R/GA

At R/GA, we felt it was important this year to be inclusive in terms of language. Because the term Hispanic excludes Portuguese-speaking talent from places such as Brazil, we’ve opted to use both terms to be sure that all talent sees themselves reflected in this year’s activities.

The Community

Lee Maicon, ‪executive vice-president and chief strategy officer, The Community

For us, as it is for many others, Hispanic Heritage Month is every month of the year. Because as we think of it, it’s not just about where we’ve been, but because of where we’re going. And that’s not just the case for our multicultural agency but also for our multicultural world.

It’s a moment to look back, to recharge, but more importantly to see where we want to go. We’re seeing the new mainstream, one that’s diverse and inherently multicultural, led by the Hispanic population. And as the creative agency for the new mainstream, we know the importance of celebrating and honoring the accomplishments of the Hispanic community. Now is when we take stock to sort out where we see the next month and the month after that.

With that moment of reflection in mind, we do still like to have some fun and celebrate a culture that is so connected to so many of our people. This year, we’re celebrating by sharing our family legacies. And by legacies, we mean recipes. We’re compiling a community recipe book with everything from Venezuelan Corn Cakes to Mexican Matzah Ball Soup. And Paletas. This year, with food as the central point, it could be something that we come together around. Of course, we’re doing other things, too, like panels and different types of events. But with food, we can share and enjoy those legacies in the year to come. Plus, it’s delicious.

Dentsu

Christena Pyle, chief equity officer, dentsu Americas

Representing nearly 20% of the U.S. population and $2.5 trillion in buying power, the Hispanic/Latine community impact is undeniable. At dentsu, we recognize and celebrate the contributions of this vibrant community year-round and especially during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Our SOMOS BRG, dentsu’s Hispanic/Latine identity group, educates and creates cultural awareness of the Hispanic/Latine community through dialogue, programs, and events. They're driving our Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations by partnering with Seramount, our DEI partner, to host an inspiring conversation featuring guest speakers who actively work towards supporting the Hispanic/Latine community. Our guest speakers will share their experiences, insights, and practical tools to further advance positive change within this community.

Also, what better way to immerse ourselves in the rich Hispanic/Latine culture than through its music. We’re excited to collaborate with Sirius XM to bring an electrifying conversation titled “El Pulso: Latin Music Trends.” Latin music experts, aficionados, and enthusiasts will gather to dive into the world of Latin music today. They’ll explore its evolving sound, the powerful influence of emerging artists, and the incredible impact Latin music has on shaping Hispanic-focused advertising campaigns.

Additional reporting comes from The Drum’s senior reporter, Kendra Clark.

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