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Ana Lydia Ochoa: Inspirational Latina PR Pro

Ana Lydia has been nationally recognized as a communications leader since establishing her agency, padma, in 2006. Padma was the first ethnic PR/marketing agency focused on reaching bilingual, acculturated US Hispanic consumers.  In 2007, Ana Lydia further established the agency as a communications leader with the addition of online and social media capabilities and multi-ethnic outreach capabilities reaching South Asians.  Today, Ana Lydia has secured a creative and entrepreneurial team to lead multicultural, non-traditional outreach strategies for a diverse roster of clients, including Americas United Bank, Corona Extra, Mervyn’s, Time Warner Cable, Macy*s, The Liver Foundation, to name a few.  Check out her website: padma media and marketing.  Follow Ana on Twitter. Ana graciously set aside time for this interview.

Where did you grow up and how did your upbringing and environment contribute to the person you are today?

I am the first born daughter to Mexican immigrant parents. I was born and mostly raised in the San Fernando Valley, Southern California. Although both of my parents worked early in my life, by the age of nine, and three siblings later, my mother stayed home and raised us – my father worked and was continually promoted at work.

During the school year we maintained a very strict routine at home of minimal television, classical music during dinner – always with the entire family – homework sessions with my parents, outdoor activities, reading and art. Although my family is highly educated and very successful by all accounts in both the US and Mexico, we were never allowed to rest in our laurels. We were given three choices: Go to college, go to college or go to college!

At home, we were raised speaking –perfect- Spanish and English outside the home. During the summer we vacationed in various regions of Mexico perfecting our Spanish, learning about the Mexican culture, traveling throughout the country and spending time with our extended family.

In my pre-teens, my parents uprooted the entire household and moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, where we attended the leading Catholic private school in the city. We lived in Guadalajara for close to five years and vacationed in the US after the ending of each school year.

By the time we returned to the US, I was in my last year of Junior High and had to quickly adjust to a new school only to leave it behind less than a year later. My high school education was only the means to enter college.

When I recount my story I can’t help but notice how I was never given the option to fail, do any less than great and appreciate the beauty of my Mexican heritage.

Who were your role models as you were growing up and how did they affect you?

Thankfully, TV was limited growing up – limiting childhood idols based on what the media portrayed. My parents discussed politics, art, music, business and family in our household. Our role models were real – they continue to be real. From my paternal grandparents, who would do anything for my dad and his siblings to go to school, to my maternal grandmother that proved that with ganas you could have a successful business, to my various aunts, uncles, cousins and twice-removed relatives that prove that everyone has equal opportunities to succeed – and lastly, my parents. They not only raised four college-educated children, but they showed us to aim high. Success is limitless.

At what point in life did you realize your inner strength and fortitude?

My parents never gave us an option to fail. Although strict and Catholic, I knew from a very young age that I could do anything I put my heart to – as long as I worked hard. As my mother constantly reminds me, “?Si otros pueden, tu porque no?”

Given the recent study done on U.S. Latina high school students’ drop-out rate of 41% , what’s your advice for Latina(o)/Hispanic students who are in high school or college? New Report Addresses Reasons for 41 Percent Dropout Rate Among Latina High School Students http://bit.ly/2aNrYz

I strongly believe that parents have the ability to help their children succeed in school. Depending on the school system or blaming children for not having ganas has more to do with how they are raised, and less to do with their peers. Parents need to get involved. If they aren’t, professional Latinos/Latinas need to get involved with our teens to work on curbing this horrible statistic.

What’s your advice for those who may have already dropped out of high school or college?

Don’t focus on your mistakes, work towards the future that you want and know you deserve. Nothing will be handed to you, you have it in you to make it happen. Trust yourself and believe that anything you want – anything – is possible with the right attitude.

Why did you launch your business?

After being laid off in late summer 2006 I began consulting to supplement my unemployment check. And, although I offered various jobs, most of them required me to move out of state. This was not an option being that my father had recently passed and during my job search my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

As I continued to interview, my consulting practice grew and within a month I landed my first big project – leading PR efforts for the opening of California first Hispanic-owned business bank.

My projects varied, past co-workers and contacts continued to refer business, and in January 2007 I officially launched padma media and marketing.

What is your UVP (Uniqe Value Propisition)?

We focus on reaching bilingual, acculturated ethnic markets – people just like us! We know how to reach diverse markets, because WE ARE that market.

Describe your ideal client or project or give one or two case studies so that people can clearly understand how you’ve helped clients.

We service the marketing communication needs of Fortune 500 companies and non-profits with a focus on fashion, beauty, entertainment, food/restaurant and consumer products

What other services does your company provide?

We are a holistic agency, meaning, we present our clients with comprehensive plans that include diverse tools to best reach their intended target market. Those tools include public relations/publicity, social media outreach, relationship building, special event and marketing.

How does your Latina heritage help you achieve your goals?

Being Latina doesn’t make me better or less qualified. But, it does provide me with real life insight that I constantly tap into when creating plans for our clients.

What would you like to say to companies who are thinking of marketing to Latina(o)s/Hispanics but aren’t sure of what to do first?

Thank you! You will be pleasantly surprised to learn about the various options to reach target markets/niche consumers ready to learn about your product/service. You may also be excited to learn that you have options when hiring/contracting an agency to help you best reach your consumer outreach goals.

Although we all (may) have the same consumer goal, each agency has a different style, philosophy and motivation. Be open to interview and hire both small/boutique agencies as well as large/international firms.

What would you like people to remember about you after you’ve passed on (many, many years from now)?

It was all about the passion and the lack of fear in failing, whether in my personal or professional life.

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