DO I have high hopes for AHAA?

Several months ago in October of 2011 I wrote an op-ed piece titled “I have high hopes for the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies”.


It was necessary to write last year’s op-ed piece since I felt after working with AHAA for fifteen years, the momentum and directionality of our Industry’s trade-marketing association did not represent the needs or that it was not a compass for our Industry. 


I also voiced my concerns for the roaring silence of the ‘Voice of our Industry’.


Prior to last year’s AHAA conference in Miami, I promised myself I would not continue working with AHAA if the organization did not begin to better understand the needs of not only a select few Hispanic Agencies, but the needs of all Hispanic Agencies, the Media, the PR Agencies and the Industry at large.


During a detailed lunch conversation with now current President of AHAA Roberto Orci from Acento Advertising and Horacio Gavilan – Executive Director and trustee & curator of our organization and Industry lore, I explained based on my experience with working with other mainstream and Hispanic focused trade organization what I saw were the problems with the association, the lack of focus of the organization, the system in which it operates from year-to-year, the lack of inclusion of other pertinent sectors of our Industry that need to be involve for a buy-in into AHAA.


I left the lunch having said what I felt was appropriate and it boils down to this.  The Organization needs to stand up and deliver or move out of the way for another organization to take the lead.


I also felt that I was heard.


Our readers received my post “I have high hopes for the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies” with mostly positive comments rather than negative comments.  They, as well as myself, felt the same issues about AHAA.  I just voice them on a public platform.


I also enjoyed a barrage of clandestine e-mails sent to many in the Industry asking for my head. 




But only cowards do not sign their e-mails with their real names and our Industry has endured several attempts by cowards to disparage individuals.




My intention is not to single out specific leaders of AHAA for the lack of continuity of message; the lack of longevity of unified annual initiatives to help our industry; or even the overall lack of excitement for our future at the expense of their individual pet initiates.


My intent is to create discussion even if you do not approve of my voice, style or platform.


I have high hopes for AHAA and our Industry.


I believe we can own the conversation of language, culture and media effectiveness to reach ALL US Hispanics and how it impacts marketing to America.


I believe we will hit $10 Billion in ad expenditures soon.


I believe the US Hispanic Advertising Industry needs to join forces with the US Hispanic Public Relations Industry and forge partnerships with the social and mobile associations to create critical mass.


I believe that there is much more growth ahead for our Industry.


I believe that the entrepreneurial spirits amongst our ad agency, marketing and media executives in our Industry is going to grow exponentially.


I believe we can help promote Hispanic Role Models, Hispanic teachers and the pursuit of a High School & College Education amongst our Consumers.


I believe we can create an industry talent initiative and scholarship program for our Industry, along with a mentor program that guides the executives that will help us understand, promote & sell the 2020 Census and offers talent for future Board of Directors for AHAA and many other organizations.


I believe we can help promote a healthier US Hispanic Consumer and help fight AIDS and other debilitating/deadly diseases amongst our Consumers through our public service initiatives.


I believe there is much to be done in our Industry.


I believe AHAA must honor its past history and its pioneers for future generations of executives; many have yet to be recognized.


I believe AHAA must become more inclusive and add other non-agency voices to the Board of Directors to help steer the organization for the remainder of this decade to maximize the opportunities ahead.  AHAA’s performance is not optional or a luxury for the organization, its members or the Industry.


I believe AHAA can represent to our Industry more than just an Annual Conference; members look for insight but expect leadership and growth.


We need a new compass that works for ALL of us and puts the organization back on track.


What we all need now is LEADERSHIP.


AHAA, if you do not take it someone else will.


AHAA are you up to the task?


Readers, what are your hopes for AHAA?


We are about a three weeks out till our next AHAA conference in Miami from May 3 – 4, 2012.


I have high hopes for AHAA.


Gene Bryan



Fortes in Fide.

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