Hispanicize 2014 kicked off its annual gathering of Latino trendsetters and newsmakers with a full day of special programs focused on social media, journalism, advertising, PR, film, music, and innovation. The day with educational morning sessions focused on Latina blogger success stories, entrepreneur lessons from Silicon Valley, and the 2014 State of Hispanic Journalists report. Hispanicize attendees who work in social media were treated to a special presentation by two of the industry’s hottest speakers, Ted Rubin and Ramon de Leon, who shared the benefits social media can provide to companies.

After the Latinovator Lunch with Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, participants had many more afternoon sessions on topics including crowdfunding for Latino tech start-ups, Hispanic social TV, how to be your own PR person, and a music industry Q&A with Cuban-American Rudy Sarzo, former bassist with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. Of course there was also the large exhibit hall with demos, treats, and plenty of goodies, and a live music happy hour before evening events including an early screening of the film “Cesar Chavez.”

Hispanicize staff and student journalists attending the event share some highlights and snippets below from Day One.

Latinovator Lunch

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was honored at the Latinovator Lunch. Renowned for how she has used her blog and social media to offer a distinct voice in Cuba, Sánchez explained her struggles and upcoming projects.

An outspoken critic of the Cuban dictatorship, said she has always questioned official government statements and though the Cuban government’s strict control of public communications still have her living in fear, she is hopeful that things will change on the island and believes her work can lead to greater change. When asked how she sees the future, she sighed and said she was hopeful, as otherwise she would not remain there: “Sin no fuera esperanzada, no me quedaría en Cuba.” Sánchez received a Latinovator Award, which recognizes Latinos who have done something notable or remarkable.

Spotlight on Sessions

Learn from your panelists, learn from your peers, and build network: that’s what Hispanicize is all about. This goal was clear at the Crowdfunding Your Latino Tech Startup session, where some panelists and attendees — crowdfunding alliances and friends — reconnected. When asked about the success of crowdfunding, Jean Michel Morot-Gaudry, CEO and founder of Hollywoodland, found a real-life example in the crowd when he spotted in the audience the people he calls “all-stars” in crowfunding: he cited the team from the independent film “The Three Bilinguals” as an example of how to capture the attention of the market and realize crowdfunding success.

Sponsor Connections
Hispanicize sponsors again filled the large exhibit hall, connecting with attendees and showcasing their products and services. Many sponsors were returning, demonstrating their dedication to Hispanicize. Others were new or extending their support for the event. Webcitygirls// founders Lynn and Linda Ponder understand the power of Hispanicize: this is their third time here. As positive social media influencers, various celebrities, brands and causes hire them as social media brand ambassadors to represent them at events such as Hispanicize. With the amount of sponsors Hispanicize has, they said, they are able to connect with new brands they can work with and connect and reunite with fellow bloggers to share lessons learned throughout the year.

Visit Philadelphia is a new sponsor of Hispanicize 2014. They came to the Hispanicize event to promote the city of Philadelphia to the Hispanic community and inspire Latinos to know and visit Philadelphia’s historic sites, museums and even their famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

Visitors to the exhibit hall could meet with these and other sponsors, enjoy music and games, receive many product samples, get a beauty makeover, have a massage, and enjoy several treats. Viva Mejor Chef Ema Quevedo and Charlotte Lee of Unilever, for example, provided samples of one of their favorite drink recipes, The Sangria Tea Sparkler. Their Lipton ice tea booth was not just another drink sampler, as they provided tastings of unique concoctions. “All the smoothies we have out were made with the Lipton Ice tea mix,” said Quevedo. “If you visit vivemejor.com you can find all of our drink recipes” along with other food ideas. “You know how sometimes your grandma makes something good and you wonder how she made it? Well you can find similar recipes on the site,” said Lee.

Images:

Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding
Making connections at the crowdfunding session.
Photo: Katherine Cook

 

Exhibit 1
Exhibit 1
Visitors to the Walt Disney World booth in the exhibit hall enjoy fun times and treats.
Photo: Christian Cisneros

 

Exhibit 2
Exhibit 2
Ema Quevedo and Charlotte Lee provide invite guests to try specialty Lipton drinks.
Photo: Elaiza Armas

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 3
Webcitygirls founders Lynn and Linda Ponder celebrate three years at Hispanicize
Photo: Karen Garza

Bus

Bus
Hispanicize attendees enjoying a windy tour bus ride on the way to the Cesar Chavez movie screening
Photo: Elaiza Armas

Onsite reporting by Patricia Lee Hall with Karen Garza, Katherine Cook, Elaiza Armas, and Christian Cisneros.

See more photos from today in the official Hispanicize photo gallery!  http://bit.ly/1h0Z6xM