Ana Roca Castro is currently the CEO of Plaza Familia—the first bilingual education platform that engages educators, parents and learners in the curriculum co-creation process. This is done with authoring tools, gaming features, and online tutoring.

Ana is also the founder of LATISM (Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media). LATISM is a non-profit organization that empowers the Latino community in the areas of education, health, technology and business through the use of tech innovation and social media.


For more information and ticket / table purchase options visit:

Behind the scene video:

Latino Trendsetter Playlist video:

LATISM Conference 2013 Recap

Founded in 2009, Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community through the use of technology and social media.


The LATISM 2013 conference was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and LatinTRENDS was fortunate to partner with LATISM. In a statement LATISM founder Ana Roca Castro said, “With our National conference being in New York City this year, LatinTRENDS is a perfect partner. We especially love that LatinTRENDS strives to reach the entire Latino community through a grassroots approach by partnering with local small businesses,” she added.


The theme for this years conference was “Using tech innovation and social media for social impact.” Through education, health, technology and business LATISM strives to inspire those to be the “voice for the voiceless” as stated by Roca Castro. During the three-day conference the agenda was jam-packed with workshops on Infographics, gaming, social media, coding, health and much more. The First Ever Latino Hackatón was one of the main events and at the end of the conference participants joined in on the All4immigration march around Park Avenue.


I was fortunate to attend the Infographics, gaming and mobile, social media workshop. I also attended workshops on social media and and personal branding and professional growth through LinkedIn. Astonishingly, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second! I definitely learned some helpful tips during all the workshops in order to bring about change to our Latino community.


According to a Pew study, Latinos are the leading users of social media, and have been earliest, strongest adopters of mobile technology. LATISM is a great way to bring together bloggers, businesses, media, and more to help the Latino community. It was a privilege to be invited and hope to be back next year! View the video below to see footage from the LATISM conference.



Disney Backs Down on “Dia de los Muertos” Trademark


As we reported last week The Walt Disney Company was planning to trademark the term “Dia de los Muertos” in an attempt to protect merchandise to be produced in association with Pixar’s upcoming animated film based on Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations.

In a statement the company said: “As we have previously announced, Disney-Pixar is developing an animated feature inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.

“Disney’s trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities. It has since been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our trademark filing.”

The Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos is a combination of the Roman Catholic All Souls’ Day festival and indigenous Mexican beliefs and practices, and usually entails families decorating their dead relatives’ graves, offerings of the deceased’s favorite foods and building elaborate shrines in their homes for departed loved ones.

Lalo Alcatra, a Mexican-American cartoonist, who created the skeletal Godzilla-sized Mickey Mouse, with the words: “It’s coming to trademark your cultura (culture) tweeted: “On the offensiveness scale, it seems awful and crass, as the words ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ aren’t just some brand name but a holiday.”

Disney has not said that social media responses were responsible for the trademark withdrawal but we are pretty sure the online backlash had something to do with it.

Pew Study Finds Blacks and Latinos Love Instagram and Twitter

According to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project they found black and Latinos are more likely to use Twitter and Instagram than other groups. When looking at the landscape of social media users across the internet and

The readings come from a national survey conducted between November 14 and December 9, 2012 on landline and cell phones and in English and in Spanish. The results reported here come from the 1,802 respondents who are internet users and the margin of error is +/- 2.6 percentage points.

Take a look at the findings below:

Black users over-index on Twitter
Twenty-six percent of Black internet users surveyed said they used Twitter, compared to 14% of White users and 19% of Hispanics. Back in 2010, Pew reported that 13% of Black internet users, 5% of White users and 18% of Hispanics were using Twitter.

Blacks and Latinos also over-index on Instagram
Twenty-three and 18% of Black Latino internet users stay flexing on Instagram, compared to 11% Whites.

Pinterest in the Whitest social platform
Eighteen percent of White internet users are on Pinterest, compared to 8% Blacks and 10% of Hispanics.

Twitter is most popular among urban-dwellers.
Twenty percent of people living in urban areas use Twitter, compared to 14% in the suburbs and 12% in rural areas.

Pinterest is more popular among better-off people.
Twenty-three percent of people with household income between $50,000 and $74,999 use Pinterest, as well as 18% of people who make more than that. Just 10% of people who make under $30,000 use it.

Instagram has become much more popular than Tumblr.

Tumblr has been around since 2007, but just 6% of people surveyed use it. Thirteen percent use Instagram.
Facebook is used by everyone everywhere — even senior citizens.

Blacks and Latinos are also leading the way in terms of buying smartphones or tablets. A March 2012 Nielsen study found that 57.3% of Latino phone owners and 54.4% of black phone owners own smartphones vs. 44.7% for whites.

According to social media consultant Wayne Sutton, blacks and Latinos are attracted to Twitter’s level playing field.

Do you agree with these findings?

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Meet Trendsetter: Eder Holguin

As a tech savvy, out-of-the-box player in the dynamic online marketing industry for nearly a decade, Holguin has an in-depth background in operations, sales and marketing. His clients have included brand name Fortune 500 companies, as well as innovative startups. Holguin is active on the speaker’s circuit of the online industry, and serves as executive advisor to several privately-held companies. He is a venture-capital stakeholder in firms developing online business applications, and also invests in allied real estate projects.

Business Background
Self-motivated and goal oriented, Eder Holguin has over 12 years of experience managing sales, marketing, operations, personnel and online media. Eder is currently Chief Revenue Officer at Virtual Fan Network, a Digital Sports Marketing Platform involved in the evolution of Sports Marketing. Virtual Fan Network connects Athletes, Fans and Brands via Social Media, Display and Mobile.
Eder joined the Integrate team in April 2010 as the VP of Strategic Partnerships. Within weeks, he was offered and graciously accepted the post of Chief Revenue Officer. His leadership and vision are quickly shaping the future of the company.
Prior to joining Integrate, Eder founded OnDemand Research, which later became part of XL marketing, where he served as Vice President of Interactive Marketing. He also co-founded Iron Traffic, an online lead generation and advertising network that started with three employees in March of 2003 and was featured in the 2009 Inc 500 listing of fastest growing private companies in the US.
In 2003, he co-founded Iron Traffic, a tech-driven marketing firm. Starting with just three employees, the company grew rapidly, with annual revenues eventually surpassing $8 million. Recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S., Iron Traffic was featured in the high-profile INC. 500 list.
Previously, Eder Holguin served as Director of Sales for Media Whiz, an online marketing company specializing in lead generation and affiliate marketing services.
Holguin spent five years as Executive Manager for Equifax Marketing Services, where he concentrated on the special needs of market research companies.
He has built and executed numerous online panel development platforms, including projects for,, and
With the significant increase in the nation’s Spanish-speaking population, as indicated by the 2010 census, Holguin maintains a special interest in these emerging markets.


1. Share the greatest impact of your childhood.

Growing up with an absent father and an alcoholic mother, the greatest impact in my life was my grandmother. She taught me to live my life by a set of values and provided the foundation I needed to have a prosperous and happy life. She taught me the value of hard work, discipline and ethics. I truly believe all the success I’ve had in my life is in direct correlation to the principles I learned from her. She was by far my biggest influence.

2. Define your experience growing up being Latino and being Latino in today’s world.

Growing up being Latino has been both a blessing and a challenge. Having being raised in such a rich culture provided me with a great set of values and allowed me to experience things that most people in America have never been exposed to. I have seen firsthand the struggles of living in a third world country and at the same time I have been labeled and looked down upon because of my name, background and accent. I learned early on that I had to work harder than most people to prove myself, which initially I saw as unfair but quickly learned it was something that I could use as motivation to work harder and improve myself in every way.

3. Tell us some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome.

Not having the typical background of coming to the US from South America, I quickly realized that I had to work twice as hard to make good impressions and have access to the opportunities that most people take for granted. Learning the language was a big challenge for me, in addition not having a degree from a typical US university proved to be a challenge when I started my career in advertising.

4. What would you say was the greatest positive influence on your career?

When I joined my first advertising agency I had a great mentor. I would say he was the greatest and positive influence. He taught me to embrace my differences and leverage my talents instead of trying to be like everyone else. I used to feel self-conscious about my accent, about my education background, etc. but I realized soon enough that those things didn’t matter.

5. As an honoree, what do you hope that being a trendsetter will inspire you to accomplish?

I hope my story and previous experiences can be an as inspiration for others who are where I was early on in my career. It seems overwhelming to think for someone who just moved to the US to think they can succeed in any area of their lives, I hope my story can help others have hope and to see that with hard work, discipline and a good attitude anything is possible.

Meet Trendsetter: Antonio Ruiz-Gimenez

Antonio Ruiz-Gimenez is an entrepreneur with a record of launching progressive, dynamic companies across multiple industries from finance to fashion to social media.

Most recently, Mr. Ruiz-Gimenez embarked on reshaping several industries through Infrastructure Media Group Holdings – IMGH and Innovators Fund; two enterprises he co-founded in 2012. IMGH is a holding company focused on global infrastructure, energy, commodities and public private partnerships. Innovators Fund is a collaborative based seeding platform focused on investing in novel, disruptive technologies across multiple disciplines globally.

Prior to his current ventures, Mr. Ruiz-Gimenez co-founded healthcare hedge fund YYC Capital in 2009 and oversaw the fund through early 2012, during which time his fund’s portfolio manager was recognized in Fortune’s 40 Under 40.

Mr. Ruiz-Gimenez’s earlier ventures include Cabool Australia, a surf clothing line that he founded in 2003 and grew from a mere concept to a brand with an international presence in over 250 stores spanning four continents. Prior to Cabool, in 2000, he pioneered one of the original European social media networking sites, altering the way we communicate far in advance of today’s platforms.

Mr. Ruiz-Gimenez holds a law degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He dedicates his free time and resources to PVBLIC Foundation, a foundation focused on repurposing media for social impact, amongst other philanthropic and charitable activities.


1. Share the greatest impact of your childhood.

My grandfather Joaquin Ruiz-Gimenez Cortez has been the greatest impact in my life. As a lawyer, politician and scholar, my grandfather was the vice president of the Plataforma de Convergencia Democratica (the Platform for Democratic Convergence) in 1975; and between 1951 and 1956 become Spain’s Minister of Education. In 1982, he was elected to the Intstituto Internacional de Derechos Humanos (International Institute for Human Rights); thereby becoming Spain’s First Public Advocate at a juncture where Spain was transitioning to a new democratic social construct after General Franco’s death. My grandfather’s boldness and care for his fellowmen led him to become Spain’s UNICEF president between 1989 and 2001. My grandfather always considered himself a civil servant and protector of his people and family. My memories of him give me strength and inspiration in all of my endeavors.

2. Define your experience growing up being Latino and being Latino in today’s world.

There is no better time to be a Latino especially in the business world. Growing up as a Latino has given me unprecedented opportunity. The values, pride and dedication of my community have instilled in me valuable work ethics. I always thought that Latino’s possess a true entrepreneurial spirit; thereby, being a businessperson could be described as an instinct inherited from my Latino roots. In today’s world, the Latino community is becoming more educated in science, technology and international trade. Thanks to this renaissance amongst Latino leaders, I am more inclined to reaching my goals as a businessperson.

3. Tell us some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome.

Arriving to the United States and thriving as an entrepreneur has not been an easy endeavor. Being far from the family, from the things one grows up with can at times make us apprehensive. However, as a self-motivated entrepreneur, I have been able to carve out a space for myself in America. Yet, my ultimate goal is to motivate other Latinos to overcome their challenges and thrive for excellence in their careers. Personally, I have been utilizing my challenges of fitting in a new country as a spring for perusing happiness and self-actualization.

4. What would you say was the greatest positive influence on your career?

The greatest influence in my career has been the entrepreneurial spirit of other fellow Latinos thriving for success in the US. It gives me satisfaction knowing that I am part of this Latino vanguard. I believe that Latinos represent one and other; for this reason, my goal is to become a column that helps maintain the foundations for Latinos success within and outside of the US.

5. As an honoree, what do you hope that being a trendsetter will inspire you to accomplish?

First and foremost I am honored to consider a trendsetter in the Latino community as well as for receiving this recognition. Hence, there is a host of young Latinos with astounding career goals, business ideas; perhaps, hard laboring individuals who find themselves at an impasse unable to attain their goals. My objective is to serve as a role model and an adviser to other young trendsetters, whom I may have the privilege and honor to cross paths with as other Latino leaders have done with me.