The last census of San Diego revealed that Hispanics represent a majority of the population for the first time. However, this has not always been the case. Thirty years ago, the Hispanic community in the United States was not what it is today; today, Hispanics are a strong and clear voice that contributes significantly to this country and one that has leaders who have left their mark in all sectors. One of those pioneers of the Latino legacy is Patricia Álvarez de Los Cobos, President and CEO of Energy Communications, Corp. Her work of more than thirty years has opened the doors of communication to the Hispanic market with integrity, perseverance, and a grand vision. In an interview with Celebrando Latinas Magazine, Patricia shares her career and the experiences that have motivated her to keep going.
A Binational Origin
Born in Quincy, Illinois, her mother had a vision to register her children as foreign-born American citizens. This decision would prove to be a seed of Patricia's future in this country. As a child, she attended Colegio Francés del Pedregal, a religious school in Mexico City with high academic expectations and multicultural foundations. Patricia tells us that she continues to connect with the childhood friends that she made there. Upon graduating from high school, Mexico was in a complicated social situation for students; the '68 protests and the difficulties faced by academic institutions were not optimal. For this reason, Patricia decided to work as a secretary in a thread factory. She was able to do this because in high school she took the stenographer course. She feels that although it was very nice to start a professional life, it was a mistake because one tends to fall in love with money and puts education aside. From there, she decided to go to Europe for a year, and when she returned, she was able to resume her position at the same company. After a while, she started working for Interdata, a German company where she discovered her passion for marketing. Interdata is a pharmaceutical market research company where she learned to make sales and promotional presentations to important laboratories. Her effort caught the attention of one of the laboratories where she continued her career. Although her professional career was in the pharmaceutical field, life had other plans for her. One of her best friends had married Mr. Jose Luis Guasch, who invited her to come to San Diego to work with him in 1989. Patricia arrived in San Diego without knowing anyone, with her family far away but with a spirit of adventure and open to new experiences. Along with her friend Pascal and Mr. Guasch, Patricia started from nothing, rented an apartment, and rolled up her sleeves for the new project she was facing.
"We started from nothing, we were the pioneers, a beautiful experience. We have seen the market grow with Univision, Telemundo, and of course Televisa Channel 12. The industry has been transformed, and we still stand strong."
The Beginning of a Legacy
Together, with a wonderful team that has been with her for 10 to 30 years, some of them from the beginning, they created the family that we know today as Energy Communications. They have adapted to the American market, always working in synchrony. The magic behind Energy Communications' success has been precisely the synergy with which everyone who is part of this company works. They have been vital for Televisa and vice versa, knowing what the American market is, what clients are looking for, and what is best for Televisa, they have been the guide that keeps them on top. Patricia shares with us that her mentor, Mr. Guasch, was always very open to her work, the TV station has always been a top-tier, high-quality facility, and he had this vision. Mr. Azcarraga also had the idea of conquering the American market, and now Emilio Azcárraga continues the legacy of his father and grandfather. To achieve this vision, they needed someone like Patricia. She always had a bicultural identity; she spent Christmas here with her family since childhood, celebrating Thanksgiving and many of the other American traditions. She grew up with both cultures, and when launching this project, she always had the vision of attracting a bicultural and fully bilingual team. Achieving this fusion of the two cultures has not been easy; she tells us that they have learned along the way. An example of this occurred in the nineties when they did a concert at Sea World with Ricky Martin and other groups. Sea World, which at that time had an amphitheater, was filled to such capacity that the event was not only a success but a logistical challenge for the American culture that was not used to this kind of crowd. The Americans did not know how to handle so many people, and both parties were forced to learn to respect all the guidelines and be flexible and find solutions that support the bigger picture. Through the years, it has been possible to understand the American and Hispanic mentality by finding options guided by Patricia's Mexican ingenuity based on the challenges of a country where everything can be adapted.
"That is the beautiful part, the funny part where we continue to be Mexicans with an American heart and Americans with a Mexican heart."
The Communication Industry
Patricia tells us that although the media industry has changed, the pandemic revealed an important fact, people turn to the news to be truly informed. The news is a reliable resource, most of the time, in which the public puts its trust to guide them daily. She recognizes the increase in social networks and that they indeed have a place in the digital universe, which is on a personal level, following people who have been vital to us, we are followers of people, and in that respect, social networks are significant. However, she clarifies that they are not content producers. Even these days, all the large communications networks continue to operate and make television programs that can now be seen on various platforms, which has changed. In this sense, there is still a vital need for promotional content because programming has a cost that must be covered through sponsors and commercials. Creativity is essential to excel in this industry, and Patricia's visionary nature leads her to success. Energy Communications Corp. received an Emmy in 2019 for their Sharp mini-soap operas. A unique promotional campaign in which her team set about finding a way to learn about health through short soap operas. The "telenovela" genre is part of the DNA of Hispanics, and Patricia and her team had the vision and creativity to tap into it. Televisa, an exclusive client of Energy Communications, is highly criticized for its soap operas, which people like and even men watch. It proved to be successful even in the promotional field.
Being Latina- The Real Challenge
One of the biggest challenges that Patricia recognizes is the very fact of being Latina, the discrimination that exists even today. It does not matter how much money you have. Without generalizing, many people have no education, do not know the culture, and do not imagine that Hispanics can be educated and prepared leaders. Patricia has witnessed those who judge by appearances simply because they have a different skin color. It has led to many disappointments from the point of view that when Hispanic people want to contribute ideas and values, others do not give them any attention or interest. In this way, they diminish someone who can contribute significantly, dismissing them as if they know nothing. Because of this, it was tough to open the doors for others. She acknowledges that it was the efforts of her team and other outlets such as Fanny Miller of El Latino San Diego and Celebrando Latinas Magazine and Radio Latina, to name a couple, that always fought for recognition. With a mission to educate, as pioneers, they have made the Hispanic community visible. It is not a unilateral effort but of all who have come to open the way.
A vision for the future
Patricia is preparing for a new phase in her career, growing the production area of Energy Communications. Providing services to organizations and companies to give life to the message they want to share to the Hispanic market, and being the vehicle for this objective to any person or business, always with their Hispanic heart, experience, and vision. Above all, Patricia is grateful to God for the opportunity to be here today and recognizes Televisa, Mr. Emilio Azcárraga, Pepe Bastón, and Mr. Félix Araujo, who saw and placed that trust in her.
We celebrate Patricia Alvarez de los Cobos for being a true pioneer for all Hispanic media channels. Her optimism and strong leadership continue to tell the story of the beautiful contributions we make to our country.
"My message to all of us who are Latinos, take advantage that we are Latinos. It is a great opportunity in this country to be Latino. It does not mean being born somewhere in Latin America. Being Latino means that you honor your values, what you learned, your culture, that you can speak your language, and that you are always a worthy representative of who we are."