Sebastian Puente, CEO
Sebastian co-founded Cultural Strategies and serves as its managing partner. His experience spans 16 years crafting, producing, and managing communications and media strategies for clients. As the chief operations officer for Hispanic Radio Network (currently Hispanic Communications Network), Sebastian oversaw the production and distribution of daily and weekly cause-oriented radio and print campaigns, reaching millions of Spanish-speakers across the Western Hemisphere on over 160 radio stations, 60 newspapers, and 4 satellite radio channels. Among its clients were the National Science Foundation, US Department of Labor, and Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Sebastian co-founded an print and online media company that served thousands of Spanish-speaking homes with local search services and re-launched a weekly sports newspaper recognized nationally in 2008 with two José Martí Publishing Awards. His insights contribute to the development of brand strategy, custom media publishing, stakeholder outreach and advocacy marketing.
Juan has been working for more than 16 years on the media, agency and client sides of the marketing and advertising industry. At LatinWorks Marketing, Juan’s strategic planning and consumer research informed marketing programs for ESPN Deportes and Domino’s Pizza, among others. His unique media buying tactics were developed during his tenure at the Wizard of Ads and the Wizard Academy where he purchased more than $10 million annually in media for a variety of retail clients across the U.S. and Canada.
He has judged the AAF’s ADDY Awards and his blog, Hispanic Trending, is the leading Latino marketing and advertising blog. In addition to being an international public speaker, Juan has been published in several industry publications and newspapers, among them CNN’s AC360, Marketing y Medios, LatPro. com, Latino Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, and FutureNow’s GrokDotCom. Juan is frequently quoted in the news regarding his area of expertise and his insights appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, The Associated Press, CNN, Los Angeles Times, NPR, BBC, and Univision.
Juan earned a master’s degree in business administration, with emphasis in marketing and total productivity management, from Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. He oversees the firm’s planning, development, execution of client marketing and media buying activities.
Jessika Gomez-Duarte, Research Strategist
Born in Venezuela, Jessika has made the US her home since she was ten, allowing her to develop a bicultural identity that goes beyond just easily shifting from English to Español. Her work is driven by a passion to understand how cultural identity influences our experiences and perceptions of the world around us. Jessika’s diverse work experience includes research, community outreach, strategic and event planning. Prior to moving to Austin, Jessika was a project researcher for the Latin American Cancer Research Coalition in Washington, D.C. Her work spanned from developing research material to coordinating timely completion of projects. Beyond research, Jessika has extensive experience in designing and implementing outreach and recruitment campaigns using various types of media as community liaison and outreach coordinator for various nonprofit organizations. Jessika graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology, and has completed professional training in community interpreting and social marketing in Washington, DC.
Chris Tarango, Account Director
Born and raised in El Paso, TX, Chris is passionate about cultivating communities and fostering collaborations between policy makers, residents, and private industry. Since graduating with honors from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2010, Chris has built a career jointly centered on communications and political engagement. As a communications strategist, Chris is experienced in using PR and social media to effect public perception and motivate action. His strategic intuition developed while working on political campaigns, fundraising, and grassroots community organizing. Chris has worked with Fortune 40 clients and, most recently, served as a Regional Field Director and Digital Lead with the Texas arm of a presidential campaign.
Octavio A. Hinojosa Mier, VP Government Relations & Strategic Partnerships
Octavio brings national leadership and public sector experience to CS’s client work. As the former Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) in Washington, DC, Octavio led the non-partisan organization to help broaden awareness of the diversity of thought, heritage, interests and views of millions of Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. Octavio also served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Conference (CHC), a Congressional member organization committed to promoting the best interests and policies of more than 40 million Americans of Hispanic and Portuguese descent. During his tenure, congressional membership of the organization grew from its original seven founding members to include sixteen distinguished members.
Octavio has over five years work experience with the U.S. Department of State. From 1996 to 2001, he was assigned to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security where he served as a Security Analyst for U.S. embassies and consulates in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Africa. In 2002, the Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Resource Management appointed Octavio to serve as Special Advisor and Executive Secretary of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Governance Board where he coordinated high-level meetings with Senior State Department officials on a handful of Post-9/11 initiatives In 2004, he was also selected by the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., and the US-Spain Council as one of the “Young Hispanic Leaders” representing the United States at a business, cultural and political leadership program in Madrid and Santander, Spain. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of CHLI, Octavio also served on a number of non-profit Boards, including the Creyentes Council, Líderes Hispanos, Liberty’s Promise, Trekking for Kids, and the Washington Catholic Forum, Octavio holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the nation’s top public affairs school. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he is also conversant in French and Portuguese.