Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales
Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc.
Having set aside a promising acting career that drew outstanding reviews for her on-stage work, Elena Sotomayor switched course having realized that the world of business, and later, experiential marketing, drew the best from her. In a short decade she has gone from fledgling business entrepreneur to one of the nation’s most successful Latina event marketing executives.
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Sotomayor arrived in the U.S. at a young age and quickly adapted to her new surroundings. “I owe everything to the fact that my mom opened my mind to the world – a new world of language and culture,” Sotomayor told Crain’s Chicago Business in an interview.
Upon graduating from Columbia College Chicago, Sotomayor began her marketing career as National Sales Director for Cardenas Fernandez & Associates (CFA), a live entertainment and sponsorship firm. Now, overseeing the marketing and sales departments as Executive Vice President at CMN, sales have grown at dramatic rates and the agency stands among the elite multicultural event marketing companies in the nation with clients including Anheuser-Busch, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, H&R Block, Diageo, among others.
Sotomayor’s vast experience has led to the creation of tremendously successful campaigns for Anheuser-Busch including Baila Con Bud Light, Futbol Kings, Invasion, Noches De Pasion, and Bud Light En Privado. Through experiential programs such as private concerts, mobile tour strategies and sampling tours, she has brought clients and consumer face-to-face, improving the overall brand experience.
Under the guidance of Sotomayor, CMN’s event marketing campaigns were rewarded with several accolades, including the 2011 Inaugural Billboard Marketing Award for Best Tour Campaign (“Vive Tu Musica with 5 Gum), Event Marketer’s “It Agency List” (2009, 2010), Crain’s Chicago Business’ “Fast 50” (2008, 2010, 2011), and a 2010 Ex Award for Futbol Kings, which supported Budweiser’s sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Sotomayor was named to Crain’s Chicago Businesses’ “40 Under 40” list in 2008.
But Sotomayor was never just
a businesswoman. No stranger to the arts and entertainment scene, the multitalented Sotomayor has stretched her own artistic muscle as dancer, model and actress. In 1999, she was cast in the popular theatrical production, “Latinologues,” displaying her versatility by portraying various characters during the play’s three-year run. The play was performed nationwide and garnered national and international acclaim.
Sotomayor holds a MBA in Entertainment, Management & the Arts from Columbia College and resides in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune
’s Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz once wrote, “[Sotomayor] is the kind of person who is always doing, always working, always strategizing at a pace sure to make the rest of us mortals ashamed of our indolence.