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Daily Inspiration: Meet Jesus M Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jesus M Rodriguez.

Hi Jesus M, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Venezuela dreaming of becoming a storyteller in Hollywood. I announced my plans to my family when I was 12 and they smiled at me like I mentioned that I wanted a puppy or something. But I was determined. As soon as I finished my master’s degree in Biology (I studied Communications prior to that), I moved to Miami where, and in less than one year, I was working at the Discovery Networks Latin America as a writer-producer.

That was 27 years ago and since then, I have worked as a director making commercials, music videos, several short films and one feature. But I have also worked -a lot- as a Creative Director and Marketer for entertaining brands that include Disney Channel, BET and the Oprah Winfrey Network. My exposure to the industry has been a roller coaster of amazing opportunities and some disappointments, where everything changes every month and people like me, with more than one talent, and with an accent that defines me more than my experience and my successes are looked like unicorns. I have worked with people like Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Erykah Badu, Jamie Foxx and Taraji P. Henson, and everyday I still feel like I am an outsider trying to fit in. But my love and determination hasn’t changed at all. If any, it has grown stronger.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Struggles are found in every step and around every corner. As an immigrant, you need to try twice harder than anybody else. You need to be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. You need to deliver double the success of your peers, and still, you will be at the top of the list when positions need to be cut and departments reduced. No matter how often you prove yourself and how successful are the projects you lead, you will always feel like you are the most dispensable person in any team. But you keep going, you do what you do with pride, determination, commitment and joy. And that’s the element that we bring more than anybody else: joy.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
When I shine, the brightest is when I lead a creative team producing truly engaging marketing. I believe in the strategic approach to the creative process from the get-go. Knowing your audience, understanding the voice of the brand you represent and then working backward from the result you want to achieve. And I measure those results in terms of emotional connections. You need to make your audiences feel, you want them connected. You need to make sure that they feel appreciated and heard. As a creative person, you need to make sure that what you “create” is sticky and fresh, but that also matters. You want them to remember your message because the message is relevant to them. Only then you will bring audiences to your shows (or products) and you start building loyalty. I have launched international’s franchises and re-branded networks bringing 300% more audiences than before. And I do everything with a smile, showing loyalty and respect to my peers and to the companies that I work for. I’m very unique because I create really smart and successful marketing, making it look effortless because I enjoy doing it so much.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
I would tell them that it is completely normal to feel like you are never completely ready for any job that truly means something important to you. The fear and excitement is actually a great fuel for great creativity.

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