"No," says Linda DeJesus, "I am not the average Latina." She says she is a a snapshot of what Hispanic females can become.
"I'm an interesting demographic as a Latina woman," says Ms. DeJesus, 36, senior VP-managing partner with New York-based Bravo Group, Young & Rubicam's Hispanic unit. Ms. DeJesus graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and took her first advertising job with CPV/Bozell Jacobs Kenyan & Eckhardt in San Juan as an assistant account executive in 1984.
She moved to Foote, Cone & Belding's San Juan office as an account executive, then jumped to Bravo as an account executive in 1989.
From there, Ms. DeJesus' career hit fast-forward, moving through account supervisor and VP-management supervisor before heading west to become acting general manager and open the agency's San Francisco office in 1993.
Within a year, she returned to New York as VP-director of business development, leaving the San Francisco office with $6 million in billings and 15 employees.
Bravo executives sought to tap one of Ms. DeJesus's acknowledged skills: the ability to find and grow business.
Under her charge, a U.S. Postal Service "Dinero Seguro" (Sure Money) campaign surpassed volume and revenue goals by 35%, doubled brand and advertising awareness and usage measures, and earned the agency and client a 1999 Gold Effie.
The client's compounded annual growth rate for the three years under her leadership has surpassed 279%, she says.
She works to enlighten clients and other marketers to the trends in multicultural marketing. Her goal is to help them to recognize opportunities, become proactive on cultural and social issues and increase advertising budgets to meet the fast-paced growth of the marketplace.
"The fact is ... when in the past during any presidential campaign have the candidates had to learn Spanish to turn the Latino vote?" she asks. "It's an important time. It's an exciting time. And I'm happy to be a part of it."