Who I Am

Many, many years ago at a little high school in Costa Rica,  I was fortunate to have an English teacher who nurtured my love of reading and writing and –importantly — appreciated and encouraged my sense of humor. At that same school I came across a chemistry teacher who dressed like Madonna (think: socks with a  frilly fringe folded down worn with a skirt) who introduced me to the world of public relations. (A cheer-leading competition was involved.)

Years later as I contemplated my college major, my older sister suggested communications. My father wanted me to go into foreign service and my mother thought I should be a lawyer. My sister and two teachers won; I enrolled as a public relations major at the University of Miami, graduated in four years and have pretty much done PR and marketing ever since. (It’s OK, mom. I work with lawyers all the time.)

I love what I do. So why all the snark? Well, that’s simple. In my more than 20 years in marketing and PR, I’ve seen a lot – good and bad. Effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the people you’re trying to sell stuff to, plus creative skills with which only some of us are blessed. (OK, I’m oversimplifying.) But it’s not the brain surgery some try to make it out to be by creating the most amazing buzzwords (and titles like “guru”).  Knowing I’m not perfect, I try to tell it like I see it, while honoring my beloved English and Chemistry teachers by injecting snark into my commentary. I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

So what do I know, anyway? Here’s the “formal” biography:

I have worked for organizations big and small, and brands that are unknown, iconic and everything in between.  I’m experienced in grassroots marketing including social media and word-of-mouth marketing; brand positioning; marketing communications; corporate positioning; internal communications; issues and crisis management; and media relations.  I’m  a social media enthusiast  (not a “guru”!) , and I specialize in Mom, Youth and Hispanic marketing. I’ve also done my fair share of corporate, financial and crisis communications. (We don’t talk about the crisis stuff.)

Throughout my career: I’ve worked as an independent marketing consultant, as well as served in senior leadership roles at global public relations agencies Burson-Marsteller, Weber Shandwick and MS&L Worldwide, and Hispanic PR + Marketing firm RL Public Relations. (I started out working for legendary entertainment publicists Kelly Cutrone and Michael Levine.)  I’ve also directed the marketing and communications departments of retailers Gymboree Corp. and Hot Topic, Inc., and the development department of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica.

I’ve worked with a bunch of brands: Best Buy, Chevron, Coca-Cola, DataDirect Networks, Del Monte, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Got Milk?, Gymboree, Heineken, Hot Topic, Ketel One Vodka, Mattel,  Munchkin, Namco Bandai Games America, Nike,  Nestlé (Crunch, Butterfinger, GoodStart), Pinkberry,  The National Honey Board, The National Peanut Board, Topps, Torrid, and more. I’ve launched a couple brands, too: Janie & Jack and Blackheart lingerie.  I’ve also worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I love what they do for kids – and so should you.

What do I love most? Writing. Give me the most complex materials –  messaging and rude Q&A documents to tag lines, collateral and Web sites on any topic — and I’m happy.  I also love developing brand strategies, brand and corporate positioning statements and brainstorming brand-right marketing ideas. By most accounts, I’m good at this stuff, too. (Can’t thrill everyone, right?)

A native Spanish speaker, I spent 15 years of my early life in Central America and the Caribbean, and subsequently worked in PR in Miami, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  I earned B.S. degrees in communications and French from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

My hobbies include sports (Miami Heat and Hurricanes, SF 49ers and Giants), wine tasting, cooking, writing, reading, building LEGO starships, biking (casually) and simply being by the ocean. I live in Los Angeles with my son and (his?) kitten(s) and bearded dragon.

Photo by David Moyle

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