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May Face 2 Face Recap with Alejandro Ruelas

May’s Face 2 Face speaker series, sponsored by the Austin Business Journal and Whole Foods, hosted Alejandro Ruelas, the co-founder of LatinWorks. LatinWorks is a cultural branding agency headquartered in Austin.

“My advice to corporations when entering the multicultural space is to not just check off the ‘appeal to minority ethnic groups’ box. Companies need to really focus on the way their minority clients live and work, and cater to the like mindsets of different cultures.”

— Alejandro Ruelas

LatinWorks began in St. Louis, but later moved to Austin. Ruelas said some of the reasons for the move to Austin included the diversity of the city’s people, affordability, growing size of the city and the large pool of minority graduates from the University of Texas advertising program.

LatinWorks is the most awarded multicultural agency in the advertising industry. The agency has won nine Cannes Lions, was recognized as Multicultural Agency of the year (twice by Adweek and three times by Ad Age), among many other national and international awards. LatinWorks was named by Ad Age as one of the top ten advertising agencies in the country on two separate occasions in 2010 and 2014. LatinWorks clients include Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, Lowe’s, Domino’s Pizza and Target, among others.

Ruelas said his biggest mistake when starting LatinWorks was that he took on too much work himself and did not delegate enough.

“One of my biggest mistakes when building my company was to not trust the talented staff that surrounded me. I stuck my nose into areas of the business that I didn’t need to, and it took me a long time to realize that I needed to trust my employees.”

He also gave advice on marketing to minorities.

“My advice to corporations when entering the multicultural space is to not just check off the ‘appeal to minority ethnic groups’ box. Companies need to really focus on the way their minority clients live and work, and cater to the like mindsets of different cultures.”

When asked about if and how he promotes philanthropy within his company, Ruelas said, “When it comes to our philosophy on corporate philanthropy, we really don’t have one. We just make sure to hire passionate people and give them the space to get involved in nonprofits, whether that is serving on boards or volunteering in other ways. We make sure that the people we hire are philanthropic and that creates the culture.”

Thank you once again to the Austin Business Journal and Whole Foods for choosing United Way for Greater Austin to be the Face 2 Face Community Partner for 2015!

The Face 2 Face speaker for June is Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s. Join us on June 2 at Whole Foods to hear Terry speak and meet with some of our staff members to learn more about our mission. Learn more and register here; tickets are $30 and usually sell out.

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