Ad Age's first Women to Watch Colombia event, in partnership with local trade publication P&M, honored a dozen outstanding Colombian women in advertising, media and marketing at the W Bogota Hotel on Sept. 2.
Honorees included execs from multinational and local brand marketers, agencies, production and design, and ad tech. Women to Watch, started by Advertising Age in the U.S. in 1997 to recognize women who are changing the industry, will be held in seven countries this year, including the U.S., China, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico.
Meet the first class of Ad Age's Women to Watch Colombia:
On the marketer side, Teresa Parra, marketing manager of local pasta company Doria, has developed new products and strategies to boost the frequency of pasta consumption in Colombia.
Sylvia Escovar, president of energy company Terpel, Colombia's No. 1 service station operator, for the last three years, has led the company's biggest reorganization and a change in corporate image in Colombia and other markets, including a revamp of clean, modern, landscaped service stations under the motto "At Your Service."
Ana Maria Scarpetta, marketing director of Kellogg's, is behind the development of new categories like healthy snacks in Colombia and neighboring countries.
In the ad tech world, Sandra Quintero last year became Facebook's first country manager for Colombia, where more than half the population is on Facebook and her team will more than double next month from 5 to 11 people. Ms. Quintero was previously Havas Media's director for the Andean region, heading digital operations.
On the agency front, Marialejandra Urbina, Lowe SSP3's regional planning director for Latin America, added a regional role after bringing a reputation for strategic thinking to one of Colombia's most creative shops. At the regional level, she trains planners, helps them with local brands and steps up in new business pitches.
Geovanna Nassar, general manager of Interpublic's brand experience agency Momentum Colombia, helped the agency grow 250% during her first year, working with clients like Exxon Mobil, SAB Miller and PepsiCo's Frito Lay, while also publishing her first book, called BTL: Brand Experiences.
Ximena Tapias, who works closely with ad industry leaders as executive president of UCEP, the Colombian Union of Advertising Companies, led the revamp of Colombia's advertising self-regulation code and is also president of the Commission of Advertising Self Regulation.
Maria Angelica "Keka" Palacio, founding partner and manager of Babel Group, Colombia's first company specialized in strategic communications and marketing, is sought after by marketers like Samsung for her deep understanding of consumer insight and PR conversation triggers to develop programs from crisis management to branded storytelling. She was a PR judge at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year.
In other creative fields, Lali Giraldo is manager and executive producer of Direktor Films, the production company she started with two partners in 2004 that produces about 50 commercials a year. Another unit, Room Service, creates content for digital platforms.
A celebrated graphic designer, Arutza Rico Onzaga started her own design studio, P576.
Media veteran Elva Lucia Daza, relationship marketing manager of El Espectador, a leading national newspaper founded in 1887, is keeping newspapers relevant. She also led El Espectador's award-winning social responsibility campaign Bibo, aimed at preserving forests.
Sofia Higuera, general manager of Fox International Channels Colombia, has brought investment dollars for production to Colombia, and made Fox a profitable competitor in a market where cable and satellite channels are pitted against the country's two well-established terrestrial broadcasters.