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Opinion: Hispanics Will Drive Baby Boomers of the Future

By  Chiqui Cartagena
(CNN) — With a name like Chiqui Cartagena, you can’t escape the fact that you’re different from your classmates in school. From the first grade on, I was constantly looked down upon and treated differently — and sometimes not so nicely.

I’m an Army brat. My father was a decorated veteran of the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment that bravely fought in the Korean War. When he left the armed forces, he became a corporate executive for General Electric in Spain, which is where I grew up from the age of 6 until I was 21 years old.

When I came to the U.S. to finish my education and became a journalist, I was fascinated by how little people really understood Latinos. So I have spent my whole professional life helping my fellow Americans understand who we are.

The last two Census reports and presidential elections have certainly elevated the awareness of the power and growth of the U.S. Latino community, especially in certain sectors, politics being one of them. But there is still a lot of ignorance about the important impact Hispanics are having on every sector of the U.S. economy.
U.S. Latino population is growing fast, and traditional demographic patterns are shifting
There are seven sectors of business — retail, food, entertainment, financial services, etc. — that offer companies unprecedented domestic growth opportunities, if only they will focus their efforts on marketing to Hispanics. But business leaders don’t feel like they know how to take the proper steps to capitalize on their Hispanic opportunity, so they don’t do anything at all.
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Editor’s note: Chiqui Cartagena is the vice president of corporate marketing for Univision Communications. She is a Hispanic media and marketing pioneer with 25 years of experience and the author of “Latino Boom II: Catch the Biggest Wave Since the Baby Boom,” her second book on the Hispanic market.

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