Over the past two decades, Cristina Benitez developed a wide range of
branding and marketing programs that target the growing Latino
population in the United States. In 1998, she founded Lazos Latinos
a specialty Hispanic, strategic branding and advertising company based
in Chicago. Formerly senior vice president of ethnic marketing at
DraftWorldwide, Benitez directed Hispanic direct marketing campaigns for
Sprint, AARP, PacifiCare, HFC and Miracle-Ear. While at Draft, she
spearheaded Dimensión Draft, the agency’s nationally recognized study on
Hispanics and direct marketing.
Benitez's prior Hispanic advertising experience was vice president
account services at FOVA, Grey Advertising’s Hispanic agency in New
York. In this capacity, she introduced many products into the Hispanic
market such as Cover Girl, Pantene, Kraft General Foods, and Dannon
Her expertise across all aspects of advertising, her passion for
Latino leadership and her culturally diverse background as a bilingual
native of Florida make Benitez a popular motivational speaker. In 2007,
Paramount Market Publishing released her first book, Latinization…How Latino Culture is Transforming the U.S.
, which was Paramount Market Publishing's best selling book of the year. Her latest book, Latinization and the Latino Leader
, was released in November 2010.
Benitez taught high school Spanish in the public high schools of
Greenville, South Carolina. In 2004, she created a Hispanic advertising
course for Columbia College and taught as an adjunct professor there for
Benitez lives in Chicago and is active civically as a board member
of The Chicago Public Library and The Luna Negra Dance Theater, and she
serves on the Audience Development & Diversity Committee of the
Museum of Contemporary Art. In November 2008, Benitez was honored with
the 2008 ATHENA award for assisting women in achieving their full
potential, and providing opportunities for the growth and development of
women-owned businesses. In September 2009, Benitez received the Latino
Author’s award from Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White at the
state’s Hispanic Heritage event.
Benitez received her BA and MA from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina. She was the original founder and faculty advisor of our Latino Media & Communication initiative
and its various offshoots.
DePaul ENGAGE Award, 2012