Latinos are getting great attention through the vision of David Chitel, founder of New Generation Latino Consortium. I recently interviewed David who also is Co-founder with John Leguizamo on Urbano TV. They are having a New Generation Latino Marketing and Entertainment Conference at the Harvard Club in New York on April 11th. The panel speakers are top of the line, including Ana Flores, founder of Latina Bloggers Connect.
MC: Could you describe what a New Generation Latino is?
DC: There are so many different ways which the audience can be defined and therefore can get confusing to people and subsequently, for people to put together marketing programs that are geared towards them. In general, our demographic is anywhere from 14-34 years old from a media perspective and people who were born here in the US, or grew up here and have lived here for at least 15 years and are foreign born.
There are many commonalities and for the media perspective it is important to focus on those so people can assign budgets. That is what my organization is about, to bring clarity to that and help to make them actionable because it is too big of a segment of the market that gets so easily lost in the dust because it is not so easily defined just by status. It is more about culture and lifestyle.
MC: I am part of the Latism.org community, Latinos in Social Media. We recently had a twitter party about the mujer Latina. Some of the main points discussed were the lack of role models in leadership, promoting education, and breaking some of the typical stereotypes of women as sex symbols. Are there any initiatives in what you are doing to help with these issues?
DC: I am bringing clarity to the media market so people can say, “This market exists. I need a specific advertisement to reach this market.” Or “I should be producing entertainment that is functionally relevant. “
And out of that, my hope is that more role models come about. We have examples of role models, but there is no consolidation of it that is actionable. Latism is definitely one of them, and I as well. But there is none specifically for Latina’s. I try to put Latinas and Latinos on high profile stage in my conference.
For example, I have Rosie Perez who is a very well known Latina. She is going to talk about her journey at the conference and is going to be interviewed by Jackie Hernandez, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Telemundo, obviously a very prestigious position she holds.
So my hope is that by continuing to put together people who have broken to the other side, where others who are aspiring to be like them, can hear their stories. That will get things moving. I am also going to be doing that extensively through Urbano TV. But right now NGLC is like a business platform, and Urbano TV is more of a consumer platform.
MC: What is your definition of Leadership and what can you say to the Latino youth about what leadership means to you?
DC: Speaking specifically to up and coming Latinos: To realize how much power they have both inside themselves and collectively as a group. We saw it in the last elections and we see it in the pure numbers that Latinos represent. Specifically US born Latinos who are the majority of Latinos, who have a lot of klout and can come together and leverage that as a group.
I say that because there’s 23 different Latinos nationalities and different reasons for being here and different regions. I find that the Latino market as a whole tends to work in different silos and have many successes in the different areas that they are focused on. But if we could come together more and leverage our collective, I think that will be very powerful.
And I think that is going to be my message to the millenials in particular, because they are the ones that are going to drive the agenda forward. I certainly would be proud to be a part of it. But I think we need more people to be leaders and leverage the collective. I think that is what moves forward the African American population and we need more of that. That is what will make a difference.
MC: I just received your email newsletter today for Urbano TV and saw how you are featuring different people. I think that is great because it gives them some empowerment. Tell us more about Urbano TV.
DC: What I am going to be doing with Urbano TV is democratizing the process for aspiring Latino content producers in the same way that You Tube or other platforms have done, unadulterated without the need to be distributed through television or on the cover of a magazine.
If they are uploading good content, it is going to be seen by Latinos who are interested. So I am hoping to empower content producers, bloggers or photographers who are interested in the Latino audience or if they are Latino themselves or both. That is the vision for this platform, to put the power in the hands of us and not anyone else. And no one has really done this in the media world.
MC: As a visionary, what secret ingredients can you share from going from idea to reality?
DC: To be able to handle getting something off the ground, you have to do it for the right reasons, obviously to make it for your entire life. Otherwise it is going to be tough because there’s a lot of monetary hurdles or logistical hurdles, or if you will fail, you will be questioning yourself or other people will be questioning you.
You have to be able to see through all that, have a vision over the visibility of exactly how to get where you are going and you have to be able to adapt. Some of the advice might not be good, but some of it will be good. You have to be able to listen to that and adapt to get to the other side, so to speak.
I have already built and sold a company and being a little older now, and having a little understanding of how it works, by nature I become an elder statesman, i.e. over 40. I have a little more patience and know that it is a marathon, not a sprint. It is something you have to be patient with. You have to stick with the vision and be super passionate about it regardless of any outside forces that is telling you otherwise.
MC: Since my website is called Mi Caminar, which means My Walk, and we all have a journey to take in this life, what do you do to find your own inner peace?
DC: I find a lot of peace and grounding in my family, particularly my children that remind me every day to be patient and not take life too seriously. I also have a very big outlet by playing music. I play the guitar. Physically, I do the New York City triathlon which requires a lot of training. This is what keeps me focused. I like to set crazy goals. I never even ran a 5K and jumped into a triathlon. I really love it.
MC: Since you are helping all the New Generation Latinos share their voice by creating a platform to do so, what do you think is a core thing they are craving?
DC: I think Latinos are looking to see themselves reflected more in the world of media and entertainment and not so much in the way that has been done in the past which is TV shows from Latin America or TV shows which their parents or grandparents would watch. I think they are looking more for lifestyle and something that is culturally driven. I am meaning not just Spanish market television, but general market television, films and advertising… all across the board.
I blogged about it the other day. There was a cool aha moment when I was watching American Idol when Karen Rodriguez, one of the 13 finalists, sang Mariah Carey’s ” Hero”. She went back and forth from English to Spanish and gave J Lo goose bumps.
While there were several Latinos in the mix, I think she stole the vote by showing a reflection of who she is through that song and really touched a nerve. I think more Latinos are looking to see themselves represented in that way, proud and true to who they are and where they came from and I don’t think there is enough of that. I’m looking forward to see more of that.
Thank you David for sharing your thoughts and empowering vision as you lead the way for many.
What are your thoughts and ideas as to how Latinos can be more empowered with their voices?