01/07/2013 03:38 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2013

Latinos on Madison Avenue: A Call to Action

It takes something pretty substantial to make eyebrows raise on Madison Avenue, but last week, just that happened when this list of "Who to Watch in Adland" debuted. It wasn't who was on the list that had people buzzing, it was who wasn't on the list: (hint: the country's two largest demographics aren't on it) women or Latinos.

Latinos in the advertising industry are lacking even as demographics increasingly shift in the United States as well as research report after research report concluding the group's consumer power, population, and cultural influence have grown substantially over the last decade. Simply put, being Latino is in. Politicians know it, brands and marketers know it, and Hollywood knows it. So, why then, are there so few Latinos in leadership roles in an industry that wants so badly to break into?

According to Nielsen, the Hispanic market's buying power totaled "... $1 trillion in 2010 and $1.5 trillion by 2015." Big brands are building strong campaigns geared toward the Latino consumer, and Latinos have proven to be effective leaders and influencers across other industries including government, journalism, arts, and fashion. Where are the leaders on Madison Avenue?

Perhaps it's time for a little soul searching within the community. If Latinos want products and brands to represent them in campaigns (and not in an irrelevant way), a large part of that will depend on who, at the agency level, is representing them in the room. Latino Millennials especially have a real opportunity to change the aforementioned list, and any other who's who list in the industry. We're more tuned in and plugged in that any other demographic when it comes to engaging with brands -- it only makes sense we take that journey with brands starting from the pitch.

Consider this a call to action to for our generation to shake things up, not only become influencers in the industry, but also represent and engage Madison Avenue on the creative, planning, marketing and every other level of the industry. Take charge of our future in the industry.