For the last year I have been working as Vice President of Digital Influence for Ogilvy Public Relations. One of the most remarkable experiences that I have had during the last 12 months (and there have been many) has been through the work sponsored by Marca País - Imagen de Mexico. A joint public-private sector venture, this initiative was born to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and unrivaled tourist destination.
For months I have been working with a dedicated team of strategist at Ogilvy to launch the Mexico Today Ambassador Program, a program I've had the honor to oversee from conception to birth. We went live with the program the week-end before last in Oaxaca Mexico. The community features a group of two dozen phenomenal bloggers and writers including-
Ana Lillian Flores
Mark Mendiola Guerra
Brad A. Johnson
William B. "Bill" Kaliher
The purpose of this program is to shine a light on the true Mexico. At present there is a lot being reported about Mexico that does not reflect her best self. The purpose of the Mexico Today program is to share all of the wonderful stories coming out of Mexico that are not being reported, to overcome misconceptions about Mexico with the truth and to provide information that helps readers form more informed opinions about Mexico.
The people participating in this program are from diverse backgrounds but the one thing that unifies them all is their connection to Mexico. Some have moved to Mexico after traveling there and falling in love with the country. Others have businesses in Mexico. And yet others have an ancestral and in some cases spiritual bond to Mexico that transcends identity.
This program is inspiring to me. As the daughter of a Mexican citizen who refused to give up his Mexican citizenship although living in the U.S. and working as a social worker for the state of NY for over thirty years, I know and love Mexico. Although we were born in the U.S., my father raised my sister and I to know his Mexico and love his Mexico. Growing up he always told us that we were American and we lived in the U.S.A. but his house, our house was a little bit of Mexico and in it we spoke Mexican Spanish, we ate Mexican food and we honored Mexican traditions including futbol.
Nearly every summer and/or Christmas growing up we traveled to Mexico to visit the family and tour the amazingly rich and diverse country which is Mexico. I have decades of memories of the white beaches and azure waters of Cancun, of the skyscrapers and museums of el D.F. (Mexico City), of the mariachi and the cathedral of Guadalajara, of the rodeos and cobblestone streets of Guanajuato, of the coconut and lime fincas in Colima, of the gorgeous silver jewelry in Zacatecas, of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains and of the hauntingly beautiful Mayan ruins in Palenque.
The Mexico of yesterday, today and the promise it holds for tomorrow has always been very real for me. I have been travelling to Mexico consistently for over 30 years first as my father's daughter and then on my own as a tourist and a business woman with the Eastman Kodak Company. I love my Mexico lindo y querido (beautiful and loved Mexico). I know the promise that it holds and for years it has broken my heart to live in the U.S., this great country that I also love and to see that my fellow Americans don't often hear about or get to see the true Mexico. That is why it has been an honor and a privilege to be able to oversee this program and it is also why in Oaxaca when I was translating for the world famous Alebrije artist Jacobo Angeles, my voice cracked and I had to hold back tears of pride, joy and thankfulness.
To find others of Mexican descent and otherwise who share that passion and love for Mexico for me is magnificent and humbling. I am hopeful for what the future of this program holds. As my colleague writes this is a community that was "created to share Mexico's true stories with the people who want to hear them the most" and for that and for the honor of being a part of that, I am forever grateful.