In its nine-year history, the annual Hispanicize event has cemented itself as our community’s most iconic national gathering for trendsetters and influencers in the industries of marketing, social media, entertainment, journalism and entrepreneurship. Often referred to as the "Latino SXSW," the 9th annual Hispanicize 2018 roars into Miami this April 17-19 with a jam-packed agenda that once again has a lot of everything for everyone! So what's new for Hispanicize 2018? A major partnership with iHeartLatino, the expansion of the Hispanicize CMO & Diversity Summit as well as the launch of the Hispanicize U and the Hispanicize Diversity Marketing & Communications Career Fair. As always, there will be loads of inspiring panel, an interview with LeJuan James, concerts, parties, and tons of info and demos from brands like Prudential, Microsoft. Facebook, Toyota, Wells Fargo, United Airlines, and many more.
1. Founder Manny Ruiz Shares Exciting Details About Hispz 2018!
We caught up with Manny Ruiz, the founder and mastermind behind Hispanicize, for an exclusive interview about the details of this year’s epic event. Keep clicking for info on where to stay, play, and dine while you're in the 305!
LATINA: Why do you think Hispanicize resonates so much with the audiences it represents and how do you manage to cater to different industries at one time?
MR: We lure attendees with content, speakers and a unique multi-industry approach but what keeps ‘em coming back is the wow experience we give them. When people come to Hispanicize, they’re often blown away because in addition to the 100-plus sessions and keynotes, they’re seeing terrific brand experiences, celebs, music concerts, film premieres and much more. We’ve had live penguins and synchronized swimmer performances! Hispanicize is also notorious for calling things as they are in the Latino community so we get a lot of street cred for doing that. No PC allowed!
LATINA: Hispanicize seems to continue growing and evolving! What is going to be different or unique about Hispanicize this year?
MR: The fact were in a crucial election year and that we’ve been through so much as a community is an important storyline for the top sessions, town halls and speakers that we will feature this year. Besides that, our brand-new partnership with iHeart Latino is going to be great for attendees because it will enhance and increase the presence of performers and the Latin music industry at our event. This year we’re also launching a Hispanicize U track for communications degree seniors at 11 universities nationwide that will be able to attend free. We’re also partnering with HP to launch the nation’s largest job and career fair for Latino professionals and students in the communications field.
LATINA: What would you tell a first-time attendee to expect?
MR: Wear comfortable shoes, leave your boring side behind, bring your A-game, and get ready to meet some really incredible people because this is the Who’s Who of influential Latinos in media, social media and entertainment. Hispanicize has bred many connections that have resulted in everything from major business deals and partnerships to marriage and kids so you never know what to expect at Hispanicize and we like to keep it that way.
LATINA: What are some of the Latina-themed angles to this year’s event?
MR: To begin with, our event is overwhelmingly now curated by Latinas such as our national chair Claudia Romo Edelman. One of the most curious facts about the event is that about 70% of our attendees are women so while we’re not officially a “Latina event,” in practice we very much are. It’s one of the reasons why most of our speakers, overall, are women and also why some of the tracks of the event are often women-focused. For example, most of brands at this year’s event, such as Prudential, are focused on empowering women, a consistent theme that we’ve alway championed.
LATINA: Every year there's one party that everyone hopes they get the invited to – which party is it this year?
MR: Each of the three days will feature incredible evening programs – and everyone registered is invited to attend them. Last year we featured a world premier concert with Juanes and this year we’re partnering with iHeart Latino for other performers that will also be awesome. Our second night is huge because it’s the evening of the Prudential Financial Positive Impact Awards that will honor five outstanding Latinos who are regular people that do extraordinary good. The third night, our closing night, ends with our Tecla Awards, the so-called “Oscars of Latino social media”. This program is also great fun with comedy, awards, glitz and great musical performances.
LATINA: Take us to the behind the scenes side of producing Hispanicize annually. What is something most people don't know about the Hispanicize event?
MR: Many people don’t realize how much Latina power has driven the development and growth of the Hispanicize brand, including my wife Angela, who co-founded the company and for many years put up with running it from our home. Our business partners, Lexi Terrero, Katherine Johnson Gunn, Cristy Clavijo-Kish, and Piera Jolly deserve a lot of credit for building Hispanicize Media Group into what is has become.
LATINA: What's next for Hispanicize and for you?
MR: Hispanicize is expanding to three days in L.A. this Fall with a national event that will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in late September. I feel great that the Hispanicize event’s brand is now fully established and that through our new CEO Joe Uva and a growing team, the company is way bigger than me. The best is yet to come for Hispanicize, and I’m also excited about my own projects and ideas.
2. Where To Stay
The event takes place at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, a luxurious property on the Brickell side of downtown Miami. The hotel boasts amazing bay views and an on-site spa, which has a slew of services including 30-minute massages and facials. If you're visiting the hotel specifically for Hispanicize, you can also get a discounted rate on rooms by visiting the Hispanicize Event site. JW Marriott Marquis Miami, 255 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131 Phone: (305) 421-8600
There are also several other hotel options!
If you’re like us and prefer to stay by the beach, then head over to The Betsy Hotel South Beach! Away from the hustle and bustle, this renovated Art Deco gem is a laidback-luxe stay in all the right ways. Guests can enjoy sunrise yoga or enjoy an indulgent service at their garden spa—The Inca Treatment is the bomb. Don't miss drinks and dinner on their ocean-side deck. All in all, a wonderful place to retreat from work and life! The Besty Hotel South Beach, 1440 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139; (305) 531-6100
Another South Beach gem is The Gates Hotel South Beach. Lounge in trendy cabanas overlooking the pool with signature handcrafted cocktails or take the hotel’s custom SoBe Tuk-Tuk to the beach where towels and beach chairs await – the choice is yours! The Gates is a stylish playground ideally located on Collins Avenue within steps of The Bass Museum of Art. Finish the day with dinner at the new Mexican-inspired restaurant Agaveros Cantina led by Food Network’s ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ recent competitor, Executive Chef Nicolas Bour, who pairs savory bites with smoky sips. The Gates Hotel South Beach, 2360 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139; 800-445-8667
3. Where To Dine
The culinary scene in the 305 is constantly evolving, with creative eateries opening almost daily, and an array of fusion restaurants that are creatively changing the food scene. While you’re in Miami for Hispanicize, try to make time to explore the city and check out these little foodie gems:
There’s no shortage of places to explore in Wynwood, which is a short 15-minute drive from the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. New on the scene is 1-800-Lucky, an Asian inspired food hall that serves a variety of creative dishes in a cool industrial space. There are seven different food stations within the space, that offer unique food and beverage novelty items like the Instagammable fish-shaped cones filled with exotic ice cream from New York based Taiyaki, and a frozen beer machine. 1-800-Lucky, 143 NW 23rd St., Unit 312, Miami, FL 33127
If you want to explore a little more of what Miami has to offer, you can venture out to Hialeah and check out La Fresa Francesa, a charming, bohemian inspired café serving French-Cuban cuisine. The menu includes classic French dishes with a Miami twist, like "Un Cubano en París" (pork and gruyere sandwich), and “Oye Mami! Cubanita Crepe” (filled with homemade papaya jam, cream cheese, coconut). La Fresa Francesa, 59 W 3rd St, Hialeah, FL 33010 Phone: (786) 717-6886
If you love Cuban and Mexican, then you should check out A-Mari-Mix Fresh Mex Fusion, a great little spot in Westchester that serve their own unique fusion of these beloved cuisines. The Cubanito Taco (flour tortilla filled with refried beans, your choice of protein, maduros, cabbage, tomato, onion and cilantro), and the Ropa Vieja Tacos are standouts. A-Mari-Mix Fresh Mex Fusion, 9700 SW 24th St d, Miami, FL 33165 Phone: (305) 603-9134
If you want a Miami classic, then head straight to The Forge. The stellar steaks (Japanese Waygu!), decadent entrees (two-pound lobster pot pie!), amazing wine selection, and super-cool art-deco decor make a meal here a night to remember! The Forge Steakhouse, 432 Forty First StreetMiami Beach,; Florida 33140305 538 8533
And if you truly want to eat like a local, then indulge at NaiYaRa! Located in Sunset Harbour, Thai owner Chef Bee offers Thai street fare alonsgside Japanese specialties for one of the best meals in Miami. The salmon tacos, crab fried rice, and popcorn shrimp are a must! Wash it down with a Palomita or Lady Lychee cocktail and salud to an other amazing Hispanicize event!