Ad Age is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 through the lens of the impressive creative contributions Hispanic and LatinX talents have made to the industry. Each week, we are asking prominent industry leaders to serve as guest editors. Each will share a milestone project from their own careers and then give the stage to other talents they want to celebrate.
Kicking off the series is TBWA\Chiat\Day New York CEO Nancy Reyes. An industry vet of more than two decades, she has helped steer marketing around major brands including Adobe, Abbot, Google, Henkel, HP, IBM and Procter & Gamble. Prior to landing at TBWA in 2016, she was VP-marketing creative for Verizon and also served for more than a decade at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion has been her passion, and in 2018, she founded the Circle of Women program at her agency to bring executive coaching to emerging female leaders, half of whom are women of color. Reyes also serves on the board of the Ad Council and Prep for Prep, a leadership and gifted education program for students of color. Last year, she was named an Adcolor Legend for embodying the organization’s “Rise Up, Reach Back” mission.
Here, Reyes shares a memorable project that her agency created for Family Equality, an organization dedicated to promoting equality for LGBTQ+ families.
My mother was from El Salvador and my father was from Puerto Rico. We grew up financially disadvantaged with very little odds of success. But we had a work ethic that was unparalleled. What we wouldn’t do to get ahead! We would–however impossible the obstacles, the times, the system–push through, jump the hurdles. We would find a way. I’m a CEO, for goodness sake. There’s beautiful problem-solving creativity to finding the way.
Sometimes, we can become so fixated on finding a way that we don’t even realize the great injustice we live in. And then, we may even feel guilty feeling any sense of pride to have made it, done it, achieved it—without having actually changed the system that failed us.
It’s complicated. Do we romance the complicated? Do we romance the end of systemic oppression as much as we romance the journey? Or is there anything more powerful than a journey of success through systemic oppression? Is it even success after all?
I love how these questions are faced in our recent work for [national nonprofit] Family Equality.
For many aspiring parents—including those in the LGBTQ+ community, there are no simple answers to a very simple question: “Where do babies come from?”
The story we created, about a pair of dads who map out this answer for their child, is equal parts engaging, unbelievable and humorous. It captures many of the feelings and emotions of people within the LGBTQ+ community who are deprived of basic rights. I’m overwhelmed with pride over the “I don’t take no for an answer” storyline that is subtly present.
Isn’t it so real and so true that those of us who have been disadvantaged look to the right and left of us for people who believe, who will fight, who will move the cause forward? What can’t be overlooked is the excitement with which we share these stories with our children to educate them but also maybe to provide a little hope and a little beauty in the journey. I found myself so drawn to this work that used humor (humor!) to bring attention to a wrong in our world. It makes it memorable. It makes it powerful. It makes us wonder if we should be laughing or fighting. It makes me proud. It makes me remember that in the battle against an oppressive state, you can be a fighter. You can find the spirit to find a way.