Our very own Executive Vice President Yudi Fernández was recently recognized as a 2019 Latina of Influence by Hispanic Lifestyle. Yudi attended Hispanic Lifestyle’s Latina Conference in California and accepted a national award recognizing her business and personal achievements.
In her acceptance speech, Yudi stated that she was part of the 4% of minorities represented in the public relations industry workforce and encouraged her fellow honorees to commit to improving that statistic. As someone who has defied the odds her entire life, Yudi is dedicated to transforming corporate norms and paving a way for greater diversity not only in the PR field but in business.
Yudi began her career as a real estate and business reporter in Miami, and has since become a renowned figure in public relations through her career at Schwartz Media Strategies. In under a decade, she has climbed through the ranks to become Executive Vice President, earning the trust of her clients and respect of her peers.
At Schwartz Media Strategies, Yudi leads campaigns for real estate, banking, and construction services clients. She is known for her attention to detail and commitment to client service. But her reach goes far beyond our firm; speaking on panels and at conferences across the US, covering topics such as building your personal brand and how real estate companies should leverage social media
Yudi keeps a jam packed schedule, but we managed to catch up with her for a quick chat upon her return from California.
How does it feel to be honored as a 2019 Latina of Influence?
It is an honor to be recognized among other women making an impact in business and in their community. It’s rewarding to see how many talented Latinas are paving the way for the next generation across many industries and fields driving the US economy.
What was one key takeaway from this year’s Hispanic Lifestyle’s Latina Conference?
A major takeaway for me came from a financial seminar held about saving for retirement and building wealth. It emphasized how Latina women are lagging in financial planning and motivated me to focus more on this area and to find ways to help other women do the same. As they say, knowledge is power.
How would you describe your journey from reporter to Executive Vice President of a PR agency? What was the turning point for you?
As a journalist, you have an incredible opportunity to report on important issues and offer a platform for people’s voices to be heard. I find that many of my journalistic instincts and skills have been integral in developing my career as a publicist. I get to tell stories across many platforms. As a journalist, I felt I was on the sidelines reporting on the game. Now I’m in the locker room creating the plays. Both are fulfilling in different ways.
What would you say your responsibilities are as a role model for young Hispanic women, and what advice would you give them?
Spending time with young women giving them guidance, sharing my own lessons learned and helping them identify a career path is an opportunity to contribute to my community in a meaningful way. One piece of advice I always share is to be unafraid of failure. As women, we often second-guess our decisions or fear we don’t have what it takes. We limited our opportunities and cap our own potential. Instead, we need to first tell ourselves “I can do it, I will earn it” and channel that energy to reach your goal.
In your acceptance speech, you called for a commitment to change. What difference would you like to see in the years to come and how do you think we can get there?
As a public relations professional, it’s imperative to increase diversity within our field as minorities are well underrepresented. We all must commit to change because fostering inclusion requires collaboration from every level of the organization, being more aware of our unconscious biases and making changes to our hiring practices.