BY MANNY RUIZ
What began last year as an offbeat idea over dinner this week turns into reality: on Sunday I will join a small contingent of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises executives at the Vatican that will personally give Pope Francis a special Telemundo/Hispanicize award for his innovative use of social media.
Even though I’m not Catholic this trip is an incredible honor for me because, well, this is THE POPE, a major world leader and this will be at THE VATICAN, a place steeped in rich history. Pope Francis is a man of substance who is universally admired for positively disrupting the papacy with a visionary approach that is refreshing, humble and cool. The Pope’s work with the Scholas Ocurrentes Foundation, a program that connects technology with arts and sports programs in order to promote social integration (especially in poorer communities) is a major reason why we’re giving Pope Francis the Innovation Award.
The fact Pope Francis is the first Pope of Latino descent is also a major deal for all of us who are traveling more than 10,000 miles round trip from Miami to Rome for this presentation. If we didn’t say it before, let me say it again: we’re honoring Pope Francis on behalf of our Latino community but especially for those of you who make up our nation’s contingent of Latino content creators, journalists and cultural influencers. Our DiMe Media team of Angela Sustaita-Ruiz and Cristy Clavijo-Kish are also with me representing Latino influencers and the Tecla Awards.
While in Rome – and Italy in general – we will be generously hosted and accommodated by our official hotel partner Best Western. Over the course of the next 9 days, we will document this historic journey and all of our adventures, history and travel insights through social media using the hashtags #HispzInRome and #ViajaConBW.
Finally, it would be remiss of me to not give my friend and strategic partner Borja Perez, Senior Vice President, Digital & Social Media of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises props for conceiving this grand idea. Borja was the one who first mentioned this plan to me and when he said this I have to admit that at first I laughed it off because it seemed so logical yet impossible to pull off. I’m glad that Sunday he will have the last laugh. Because of his idea, the incredible support of Telemundo and the hustle and hard work of Ccom Group’s Luis Gutierrez, something truly wonderful is about to happen. May this trip be as large a blessing to our Latino community as it will be to us that will get to meet Pope Francis.