December 08, 2000

The sixth annual Diversity Achievement Awards, sponsored by District Two of the American Advertising Foundation (AAF), will be held Wednesday, January 17, 2001 at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street in New York City, at 6:30.

Actor and director Edward James Olmos will reprise his role as host of the event. This year’s honorees are: Jose M. Cubas, President and Chairman of SIBONEYUSA, Professor Connie Frazier of Howard University, Byron Lewis of Uniworld Group, Catherine Liggins Hughes of Radio One, Russell Simmons of Rush Communications and Verizon Wireless.

The Diversity Achievement Awards seek to recognize the strides made by individuals and organizations in promoting diversity in the advertising and marketing industry. This year’s awards are being chaired jointly by Louis Carr, Executive Vice President of BET Network and Allan Gardner, Senior Vice President of True North Communications. The gala event typically draws 300-400 marketing communications industry leaders. Past honorees include Spike Lee; Henry McGee of HBO; Isabel Carter Stewart of Girls, Inc.; and Keith Clinkscales of Vibe magazine.

This Year’s Honorees

Each year, District Two honors one person who has built a successful career and motivated others to do the same. This year’s Role Model Award goes to Jose M. Cubas, Founder and Chairman of SIBONEYUSA. Throughout his career in the industry, Cubas has brought Hispanic marketing to new levels, inspiring others to pursue a career in communications. SIBONEYUSA is a leading minority-owned full-service advertising agency in the US Hispanic market. SIBONEYUSA services its clients with offices in New York, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

The Industry Career Achiever of the year is given to a person whose career reflects a high level of consistent and successful accomplishment. This year the award goes to Catherine Liggins Hughes. Ms. Hughes is Chairperson of Radio One, Inc. one of the largest radio companies in the country.

Professor Connie Frazier of Howard University is being honored as Educator of the Year, an award recognizing an individual responsible for increasing awareness of aspirations, obstacles, contributions and progress of minority groups. Professor Frazier has 20 plus years of marketing experience. She is a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at Howard University, as well as being an advisor to the university’s college chapter of American Advertising Federation.

Byron Lewis, Founder and Chairman of Uniworld Group, Inc. will receive this year’s award for Industry Influential. This award is given to an individual who has helped raise awareness and promoted career opportunities for minorities. Through his agency, as well as through mentoring and intern programs, lectures, and multi-cultural events, Lewis has opened doors for many account people, producers, creatives and entrepreneurs in the industry.

Russell Simmons, Founder and CEO of Rush Communications is being honored as Trendsetter of the Year. This award is given to an individual who has gone where no one has gone before and replaced passivity and ignorance with understanding and opportunity. NBC called him the “King of Hip Hop” but his influence has gone far beyond his founding of Def Jam records. Most recently, he joined forces with Donny Deutsch to form dRush, hailed by The New York Times as the vehicle by which “Madison Avenue is hooking up with the hip-hop nation.”

In addition, District Two is honoring Verizon Wireless as Corporate Leader of the Year due to its commitment to creating and implementing a successful diversity program. Verizon Wireless has maintained an enviable record of sustaining and improving its diversity programs throughout its organization. Verizon’s high level of minority employees at all levels speaks to its commitment to promoting a more diverse workforce.

The American Advertising Federation represents 50,000 members nationwide in the advertising agencies, advertisers, media companies and universities. Their broad membership, including 224 local advertising clubs, 150 college chapters, and more than 100 corporate members, provides the opportunity to focus its programs at a grassroots level. The organization recently formed the American Advertising Foundation which includes in its charter “the promotion and support of diversity in advertising” and a National Cultural Diversity Committee, consisting of senior level minorities and human resource professionals to help develop and evaluate a variety of its programs.

District Two of the AAF consists of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

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