Category: PR Professional of the Year Manny Ruiz
Co-Founder and Chairman of Hispanicize
Manny is chairman of Hispanicize and co-founder of the Latina Mom Bloggers network as well as Hispanicize 2012, the largest annual event gathering marketers, bloggers and social media influencers. A media trailblazer and award-winning PR professional who recently was awarded the 2011 Latinos in Science and Technology Visionary Award, Manny is also the co-founder of the Hispanic PR Blog, the leading marketing trade journal focused on Hispanic public relations and the "daddy-in-chief" of the bilingual parenting web site PapiBlogger.com.
Prior to launching these properties, Manny was President of Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire for PR Newswire. Prior to PR Newswire's acquisition of Hispanic PR Wire, Hispanic Digital Network and LatinClips in 2008, companies he founded, Ruiz was Chairman and CEO of HispaniMark, the parent company of these three businesses.
Prior to launching Hispanic PR Wire in 2000, Ruiz was a founder and media relations director of the National Hispanic Market Practice of Porter Novelli. While at Porter Novelli, Ruiz played a central role in the success of the Florida anti-teen smoking campaign "truth." Ruiz spearheaded Florida media relations for the "truth" campaign which for two consecutive years swept all of the PR industry's most coveted awards including the PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and the PR Week Health Campaign of the Year.
Before entering the PR profession, Ruiz was a police beat reporter for The Miami Herald. He was part of the editorial team that in 1992 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Community Service for their coverage of Hurricane Andrew.
Ruiz, a Miamian of Cuban American descent, has a bachelors of arts degree in history from Florida International University.
Category: Young Professional of the Year Denisse Montalvan
Assistant Account Executive
“Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you imagine it.” - George Lucas
A native Costa Rican, Denisse Montalvan knows the meaning achieving dreams through never losing hope, dedication and hard work. Although she lived in the States as a little girl her formative years were lived in Nicaragua. She came to the U.S at the age of 17 and quickly had to adjust to cultural differences.
Without ever losing hope, Denisse overcame many life challenges and proudly became first in her family to obtain a college education receiving a B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Advertising. While in college she was PRSSA president at Cal State Dominguez Hills and graduated among the top of her class.
She discovered early on the power of networking and built professional relationships that guided and inspired her through her own career.
In 2008 she was awarded the title HPRA Scholarship Award which opened many doors of opportunities. She had her first professional experience as an intern at RL Public Relations + Sportivo followed by an internship at Acento Advertising. Shortly after, she secured a highly competitive position as an intern at Ketchum where she worked as an intern for eight months and ultimately was hired as an Account Coordinator.
Today, Denisse is a double threat as an Assistant Account Executive working on both general market and Hispanic programs, rapidly becoming a media relations expert supporting her teams by creating emotional connections to brands through culturally impactful campaigns. She leverages her relationships with media, bloggers and influencers to create new opportunities for her clients. Through these efforts, her teams are developing award-winning, strategic communications programs and message platforms that bridge language and lifestyle nuances to speak to the unique needs and wants of today’s Latino consumer. Currently, she provides Hispanic expertise and counsel to clients including, Kikkoman, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, California Milk Advisory Board, Clorox, Best Buy/Geek Squad, IKEA, KinderCare, Mattel and Kellogg’s.
She loves volunteering as much as she loves her career. She currently serves on HPRA’s College Outreach Committee where she continues to connect and build relationships with different student organizations bringing professional development and scholarship opportunities to students across California as well as being a guest speaker at several student PR events and lectures. Another professional organization that benefits from her love of serving is the Los Angeles PRSA Chapter, where for the last three years, she has organized a student volunteer group to serve during PRism Awards, guiding and counseling them on the importance of early networking.
During her vacation time, she enjoys working for the nonprofit organization Enfoque a la Familia and travels to Nicaragua to visit her 37 sponsored children at Maranatha Orphanage where she takes slightly used clothes collected from coworkers and friends to donate, supports a yearly Christmas party and gets to play all day with the children.
Her favorite quote is, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison
Category: PR Professional of the Year Angela Sustaita Ruiz
President of Hispanic Media Trainers, LLC
Angela is co-publisher of The Hispanic PR Blog and president of Hispanic Media Trainers, LLC, the parent company of Hispanicize 2012, and PapiBlogger.com, the nation’s first bilingual website dedicated to showcasing creative parenting tricks for fathers and mothers of all cultures.
A longtime Hispanic public relations and marketing consultant, Angela has provided senior counsel to clients such as the American Heart Association's Go Red Por Tu Corazon, Unilever, Burger King, Washington Mutual, Shell, AstraZeneca, Schering-Plough, and the Texas Beef Council, among others wanting to reach diverse audiences.
Prior to consulting, Angela worked in Edelman Multicultural’s New York and Austin offices, where she continuously delivered success for clients such as Kraft Foods, Hershey’s, Unilever, Starbuck’s, the New York International Latino Film Festival, Pfizer, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, Schering-Plough, and McKesson. Angela played a leading role with award-winning Hispanic and general market PR campaigns including the 2004 Mercury Silver Award for Client Product Launch: Hershey’s Kisses filled with Caramel, and the 2003 Silver Anvil Award for Marketing Consumer Services – Healthcare: Together Rx.
Category: Journalist of the Year Hector Tobar
Writer LA Times
Héctor Tobar is a Los Angeles born author and journalist. He is the son of Guatemalan immigrants, and began his writing career as the editor of the bilingual community newspaper El Tecolote in San Francisco’s Mission District. Later, he joined the staff of Los Angeles Times, where he’s worked as a city reporter and national and foreign correspondent. He was a member of the Times reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. He is the author of three books, including the novel, The Barbarian Nurseries, published in September 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and to be translated into French, German and other languages. He is also the author of the novel The Tattooed Soldier, and the non-fiction Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-speaking United States. He’s also written for The Nation, The New Yorker, and for the anthologies L.A. Noir and My California. He’s studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and he earned a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine. As a foreign correspondent for The Times, he covered the Iraq War, the economic collapse in Argentina, a revolution in Bolivia, and historic elections in Brazil and Mexico. These days, he writes a weekly column for The Times.
Category: Corporation of the Year
The premier source for authentic Latino cuisine, Goya Foods is the largest, Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. Founded in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina, both from Spain, the Goya story is as much about the importance of family as it is about achieving the American dream.
Goya was started in a small storefront in Lower Manhattan, New York, catering to local Hispanic families by distributing Spanish foods such as olives, olive oil and sardines. Driven by the belief that there was a growing consumer market for high-quality, fresh-tasting, Latino foods, the Unanues infused their personal philosophy throughout the company. This commitment to excellence is the cornerstone of Goya’s popular credo, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good”. The result of this simple, yet deeply resonant pledge is the evolution of Goya Foods into a leader in the Latin American food industry, with operations spanning the globe.
From Goya’s modest origins, the company now boasts a full host of products ranging from condiments, pantry items, beverages and frozen foods representing all of Latin America. Goya has continuously increased offerings to what is today a milestone of over 1,600 products, and distributed brands, further solidifying its position as the definitive connection to Latin American cuisine. As the company continues extensive product diversification, it honors Goya’s founders by fulfilling their promise to make each meal a uniquely memorable experience for family and friends.
Throughout its history, Goya Foods’ dedicated employees have helped to build the company’s solid reputation as the leading authority on Hispanic food. Whether presenting consumers with the finest products from the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, the Goya brand has insured quality for multiple generations of satisfied consumers. In addition, Goya Foods has been a proud supporter of programs and activities that benefit families and children throughout the world. They have taken the lead in numerous disaster relief efforts, providing food donations in times of crisis and consistently working with local food banks to assist those less fortunate. Goya Foods actively engages with social, civic and nonprofit organizations on charitable endeavors that promote and sustain community wellness and the advancement of Hispanic culture.
Goya Foods remains firm in its goal of being the brand of choice for authentic Latino cuisine while retaining its family-oriented approach to its consumers, all of whom comprise La Gran Familia Goya.