The life of Tere Zubizarreta was an exemplary story of The American Dream. She started her career in advertising in the 1970s with no college degree, working as a secretary at McCann/Marshalk Advertising. In 1976, she founded her own agency, Zubi Advertising, with limited resources, including a borrowed desk, telephone and typewriter, and a $465 retainer from her first client. As her agency grew and prospered, she would be joined by her children, Joe and Michelle. Under their leadership, the agency would grow to over 100 employees with revenue surpassing $200 million in billings and would eventually be acquired by WPP.

What Tere lacked in formal education and credentials, she made up for with brilliance and a vision on how clients’ brands could grow given the changing demographic landscape. Like other pioneers in Hispanic advertising, she saw that the tremendous growth of the Hispanic consumer segment would help redefine American culture. What’s more, she aimed to help remove the barriers resulting from stereotypes about Latinos and other people of color, which she believed was preventing these communities from participating in the American Dream.

The fruit of Tere’s work has been recognized with numerous industry accolades and creative awards, including the Eduardo Caballero Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, now Hispanic Marketing Council (HMC), as well as being inducted into the HMC Hall of Fame. In 2012, Tere became the first Latina inducted into the American Advertising Foundation’s Hall of Fame, joining an elite group of advertising professionals that have shaped our craft.

A committed supporter of the community, Tere was the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Board of Governors and Committee Chair of the United Way of America. She was also the co-founder and former chairperson of FACE, Facts About Cuban Exiles, and she served on several boards of directors, including the Orange Bowl Committee and the Beacon Council and Miami Children’s Hospital. Sadly, Tere passed in 2007 after a long battle with cancer, but the legacy she built continues to thrive today.

Skip to content