March 03, 2017

By Andy Checo - Senior Director at Havas Formula

The Latino narrative will position the tone for the future.

We live in a time where our Latino values and contributions to society are questioned. Thankfully, I value the power of words based on the source and how credible, respected and most importantly mentally sane that source is. For more than 15 years, I have worked as a public relations professional who happens to be in an environment that helps brands tell their stories and connect to the Hispanic community. My work, as the work of most public relations professionals, is considered a ‘behind-the-scenes’ activity that can sometimes be chaotic, has no guarantee of successful outcomes and depends on having a receptive audience that captures the essence of the story we aim to tell and goes on to tell it their own way to your target audience.

There is a new landscape in our country, one that has recently been criticized for not having any or very little Latino representation in the current government administration. This is surprising to many, because there is a significant pool of qualified and talented Latino individuals who can fulfill any senior position in our government regardless of political party affiliation. I am not in politics and not overly knowledgeable in the public sector, but I know one thing, when you have no one to tell your story, no one to be an influence, you tell it yourself and you become the influencer. For most of my career I have created the story, influenced the stakeholders and most importantly, try to create an opportunity for those who like me, are or have been in need of one.

So the purpose of this piece is only one; to ask you to take it upon yourself to tell your story, which then becomes your narrative and in time our narrative. A story that can foster opportunities and shine a light upon positive contributions. It is time to start telling the story and stop being a behind-the-scene player or even worse, a passive participant. It is time to take the stage. I, with the help of other like-minded connections have facilitated funding for other Latino students to pursue an education in our industry, have spearheaded the importance of diversity within organizations and have helped those doing great work in our communities tell their story and celebrate their contributions.

There are a number of organizations out there that welcome storytellers too. The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Hispanic Public Relations Association, The Public Relations Society of America and the American Heart Association have been some of my chosen ones to donate my time and help them tell their stories. What are yours?

If you are in the media, you have a greater responsibility: to ensure you are telling our stories the way they should be told and supporting all of us storytellers in times when we cannot afford to let anyone else tell it for us. Our contributions are valuable; we are a significant part of the now and future of this nation. Our economic, cultural and intellectual impact is and will continue to be strong and must be acknowledged.

 

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