Five years after being named one of the nation's most promising minority students by the American Advertising Association, Brenda Hernandez (BA '07) has turned that prediction of success into reality.
"I've only been in the industry for three years, so winning an award of this caliber is humbling, to say the least," Hernandez said.
This year there were 1,028 Lions awarded among 34,301 entries to the nearly 60-year-old competition that has set the benchmark for excellence in creative communications.
Hernandez, a scriptwriter at LatinWorks, was part of a 12-member creative team from the agency that won a Gold Radio Lions award in the category of Entertainment & Leisure Adult. The three-piece radio campaign was for Cine Las Américas, a multi-cultural media arts center based in Austin that promotes cross-cultural understanding through entertainment, film, media arts and education. The radio campaign was designed to promote the center's annual film festival.
The LatinWorks submission was among more than 1,500 worldwide entries in the radio category, Hernandez said.
"It's hard to say what judges are going to look for, but what makes any radio stand out is being able to bring to life a story through sound. That's what the team focused on," she said.
LatinWorks has more than 120 employees and developed work recognized nationally and internationally. The agency has been named Multicultural Agency of the Year by both Ad Age and Adweek and has employed several successful Broncs through the years.
As a LatinWorks copywriter, Hernandez said she has been involved in all types of writing projects ranging from print, TV, radio, social media, point of sale and others with such well-known brands as M&M's, Snickers, Twix, Skittles, Starburst, Texas Lottery, and Budweiser. She described the winning campaign as an exciting, satisfying and rewarding experience.
"I'm proud of being surrounded by a group of such talented people who come from all over the world," she said. "LatinWorks fosters the arts, a creative environment, self expression; what is there not to like? When you are allowed to do something you are passionate about for a living you can't complain."
Hernandez has started the graduate advertising program-creative track at The University of Texas at Austin and also spent a year studying advertising in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, her love for and excellence in what she does began at UTPA after graduating from PSJA North High School.
At UTPA, she was a member of the University's Advertising Club, the Panorama staff, and the National Student Advertising Competition team. She credits her good preparation for her field to faculty mentor Dr. Kimberly Selber, an assistant professor of communication at that time who is now associate vice president of University Marketing and Communications.
"She,(Selber) is so passionate about what she does. She gave me a glimpse of what the outside world looked like and consistently went out of her way to push students to settle only for the best," Hernandez said.
Selber describes Hernandez as a "rare spirit."
"I'm so proud of her and what she's accomplished professionally in such a short itme. She has the drive, creativity, the brains and the stamina to be a shining star in the advertising industry," Selber said.
Although Hernandez hopes to complete her graduate degree in the future, she said she prefers short term goals.
"It's less stressful that way," she said.
Hear the LatinWorks winning ads here.