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Hispanic Heritage Month Panel with Andrianna Acosta and Sonia Diaz

For Hispanic Heritage Month, we invited Andrianna Acosta and Sonia Diaz to come speak on the relationship between their cultural identity and careers. Andrianna Acosta is currently a Digital Media Coordinator at Philly PR Girl with a background in media and technology. Our second speaker, Sonia Diaz, is currently the president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) and Senior Vice President at Balsera Communications. Both speakers emphasized on the importance increasing your knowledge while truly loving the work that you do.

Andrianna started the panel off with defining her definition of public relations as: “building relationships and connections with people through the media.” She had no idea how involved she would be in the public relations field and got to know so many different businesses while working in her current position. While working, she infuses culture and identity into her career. Andrianna likes to discuss her heritage and when she stumbles across other businesses that are Hispanic, she is able to bond with them at a deeper level. She believes that great businesses relationships comes from human connection, therefore, by sharing the same culture it solidifies that relationship. An important topic she covered was how society tends to put different cultures into different “boxes.” Andrianna was born in the United States and grew up speaking both English and Spanish. Her grandparents were born in Puerto Rico and so she considers herself “Americanized” in some ways. Often times, people assume she knows Spanish just because she is Hispanic. Because she was born in the United States and grew up immersed herself in the two cultures, they are mixed. She believes that everyone should stand up for themselves and stay true to who they are.

Similarly, Sonia has always been ambitious in her careers and had specific career goals. She got into PR when she was studying mass communication in college. She sought every opportunity in the public relations industry in order to gain experience and build a portfolio ever since. She believes that in order to successfully understand multicultural perspectives, you need to understand the nuances of the cultures. More specifically with public relations, she states that “once you understand that background, you will better understand the community you are speaking with.” At HPRA, she strives to improve on diversity and inclusion at an agency as well as industry level. Sonia advises young Hispanics going into the public relations fields to take advantage of college resources and speak to professors. She also explains that school shows students how they can finish an assignment but are not given the fundamental skills in PR.

Both women encourage young professionals to utilize their time at college to explore different careers and not stress on specific positions. With public relations specifically, it is a career that has different sectors to work in. Sonia added that PR has a “wide variety of things to do.” The discussion panel ended with the two speakers agreeing on that “there is no paycheck big enough that will encourage you to wake up and love going to work.”

Overall, their career insights have provided a lot of valuable knowledge. As a student who is still navigating through the industry, it was eye-opening to know that there are so many opportunities within the public relations field.

This blog post was written by Lily Tang, Digital Committee Member.

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