Guest post by Myrna Calderón
I’ve never had a guest post before on Espresso con Leche, not because I don’t plan on having any guest bloggers, but because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.
Well, now it has! I’m so proud (orgullosa) to introduce my *very first* guest blogger, none other than my beautiful, talented Mami, Myrna Calderón. Here, she shares her experience attending the LATISM ’12 conference.
With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, I wanted to express my gratitude where it is due.
It goes without saying that I am always grateful to God, my family, my friends and so often to random strangers that do or say something that restores my faith in humanity. I hope that I manage to let them know how appreciated they are and that they’re not taken for granted.
I want to focus on a group of people, companies and sponsors that when you put them together form what many people now know as LATISM or Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media.
I became part of this group kind of vicariously at first because my daughter Laurita found them on Twitter, started attending their Twitter parties and in a short time, she fell in love with this organization and what they stand for. That was three years ago, and to this day, her relationship with LATISM and its members is one of professionalism and fraternity that none of us could have envisioned.
In a short time, I became familiar with some of the names that she kept mentioning over and over again with an enthusiasm that was contagious. In 2009 she was able to attend BlogHer in NYC and for the first time was able to set eyes on some of these who to that point were just names; and all Heaven broke loose!
Jeannette Kaplun was the first, then one by one Blanca, Melanie, Ana Flores, Carrie, Reina, Sylvia, Ana Roca Castro, Elianne, and she couldn’t wait for me to meet them, too.
So I did meet them– and then I understood.
LATISM Ladies at BlogHer 2010
Last year she and I attended LATISM conference in Chicago where we drank the “Kool Aid “ and decided to go for more this year in Houston!
Elianne, Laurita and I at the LATISM 2011 Awards Ceremony.
Javier Moreno and I cut loose!
At the LATISM ’11 Opening Reception.
With new friends at LATISM ’11: Brian Cockman and Edwin Gil. 🙂
It’s amazing how you can visit a city for the first time without actually having the time to see much of it, but the fact that what’s going on inside that hotel is so interesting, educational and fun that you don’t complain.
I really have to give a lot of credit to the hosting chapter, Houston, headed by Juan Alanis and everyone who played a role in putting together such a huge production. Every detail, from the accommodations to the food, the entertainment, the speakers, the hotel staff, the swag and the sponsors was top-notch.
One of the sponsors, McDonald’s, hosted the first day’s breakfast while celebrating the 40th Anniverssary of the Egg McMuffin. They served that, of course with an array of other goodies like their oatmeal with fruits, danishes, croissants, coffee and orange juice. I think we were all very pleased and we agreed with their Spanish motto, “ Me Encanta”. Thank you, McDonald’s not only for that, but for all the charities the company is involved with, like The Ronald Mc Donald Houses, which is probably the one we are all more familiar with.
We each got plenty of coupons for healthy eats at the McDonald’s Me Encanta Breakfast!
The breakfast celebrated McDonald’s 40 years of serving the Egg McMuffin!
Other sponsors included were Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola and Nely Galan’s Adelante Movement, AT&T and their “It can wait” no texting while driving campaign, Nintendo, Google Plus, just to mention a few. The people that were representing all the sponsors were as helpful and friendly as could be to make the experience even more pleasant.
(From L to R, behind Laurita:) Luis De La Hoz founder of Latino Small Business Owner,
Mayor Pro-Tem on the Houston City Council Ed González, his Chief of Staff Jerry Peruchini, and Jeannette Quiñones-Cantore of Sazón Boricua.
With the always-charming Francisco Cortés, founder of Fox News Latino
and a wonderful longtime friend.
Another longtime friend (familia, really!) Vanessa Smith,
Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for the national,
family-owned national newspaper Impacto Latin News.
Many people returned back home either late Saturday or early Sunday (except for those that were stranded for many days due to Super Storm Sandy). A group of those who were flying later were invited to have brunch and get a private tour of The Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets (basketball, not baseball as I first thought. Oops!)
It was a fantastic experience, because we also got to give Toyota some input on their education, environment and safety initiatives and saw the Rockets practicing, as well. Big thanks to our friend Javier Moreno of Toyota for allowing us to be a part of that special event!
Hey, we even had the chance to go to a short excursion after that with some of the stranded guys from the NY and NJ area, Sal, Oscar and Isaac, to Discovery Park. Laurita and Sal rented canoes in a small lake. I remember it being a beautiful, cool, cloudless day that will always make me think of a perfect touch to conclude the unique experience that was LATISM 2012. And that’s not even mentioning the pajama part!
To all of them and everyone, to old friends and the new ones, to the hard work and time invested by the Board of Directors: Ana, Elma, Elianne, the tech squad, Tony, Salvador, and everyone who in a big or small way did something to make it happen, I tip my hat to you (if I had one) and say kudos and thank you.
Nuestra casa es su casa; The Central Florida Chapter and our personal casa in Orlando. 😉