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Benitez & Gonzalez

Benitez & Gonzalez
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Cristina Benitez and Marlene González

Cristina Benitez is a Hispanic marketing specialist. For nearly three decades she developed a wide range of branding and marketing programs that target the growing Latino population in the United States. In 2010 she assumed the position of Director Latino Media and Communication, an undergraduate and graduate program at DePaul University in Chicago. 

Cristina is also an entrepreneur and in 1998 she founded Lazos Latinos, a specialty Hispanic strategic branding and advertising company based in Chicago. Lazos Latinos’ mission is to build leadership brands by embracing, understanding, and respecting the Latino consumer.

Formerly senior vice president of ethnic marketing at DraftWorldwide, Cristina directed Hispanic direct marketing campaigns  for Sprint, AARP, PacifiCare, HFC, and Miracle-Ear. While at Draft, she spearheaded Dimension Draft, the agency’s nationally recognized study on Hispanics and direct marketing. This research was the first of its kind to examine direct opportunities targeting Hispanic consumers. Cristina's prior Hispanic advertising experience was VP account services at FOVA, Grey Advertising’s Hispanic agency in New York. In this capacity she introduced many products into the Hispanic market such as Cover Girl, Pantene, Kraft General Foods, and Dannon Yogurt, among others.

In 2005, Ms. Benitez's company, Lazos Latinos, added "Latinization" to help Fortune 500 companies understand and develop their Latino employees. Here workshops, Linking Latino Values to Leadership, have helped companies such as Deloitte, Kraft, P&G, Abbott, Exelon, General Electric, PepsiCo, and Shell to name a few. Cristina's expertise across all aspects of advertising, her passion for Latino leadership development, and her culturally diverse background as a bilingual native of Florida make her an invaluable and highly successful motivational speaker.

Cristina is a board member of the Gateway Foundation, The Chicago Public Library,  Luna Negra Dance Theater, and serves on the audience development and diversity committee of the Museum of Contemporary Art. She served on the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois, the Lt. Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Council, and the Advisory Council of the Women’s Business Development Center.

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phone: (312) 280-1224

Marlene González is founder and president of Life Coaching Group LLC. She is a leader in the cutting-edge industry of executive coaching, consulting, and training. Her organization is dedicated to "developing leaders as a catalyst for corporate growth and a source for intellectual capital." Her client list includes government, non-profit, educational institutions, and Fortune 500 companies. She supports them in areas such as multicultural leadership, gender equality, and women's empowerment, mentoring and coaching programs, career development, wellness, managing cultural differences, and building cross-cultural teams. She serves on multiple boards, including as a member of the board of National Council of La Raza, National Hispana Leadership Institute, and the National-Louis University.

González has more than 30 years of corporate and business experience with Fortune 500 companies, She has held many executive corporate positions in the U.S., Europe and Latin America in areas such as management, operations, product development and innovation, franchising and field service, training, learning, and development. She is the former senior director of global training, learning, and development for McDonald's Corporation.

González is a certified Executive Coach, Life Wellness Instructor, and a licensed practitioner for the Insights Discovery personality assessment model. She holds a BS degree, an Executive MBA/PAG from IESA Business School in Venezuela and also holds a graduate diploma on managerial issues in the global enterprise from Thunderbird University, the Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona. She is pursuing a doctorate degree on Natural Health and Nutrition.

Marlene lives in Illinois with Carlos, her husband of more than 20 years.Together they enjoy traveling and gourmet cooking.

Her company's website is

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Latinization and the Latino Leader, by Marlene Gonzalez and Cristina Benitez
Latinization and the Latino Leader, by Marlene Gonzalez and Cristina Benitez
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