President / Chief Executive Officer
Henry Cardenas, 55, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), which he co-founded in September 2002. Mr. Cardenas has spent the last 30 years managing and producing some of the biggest live entertainment events in the U.S. and Latin America. Prior to launching CMN, he spent 16 years at the helm of Cardenas/Fernandez & Associates (CFA), creating the largest U.S. Hispanic production company of music and sports.
Mr. Cardenas leads a dynamic, multicultural marketing team that has engineered nationally acclaimed, brand-building consumer experiences for corporate giants including Anheuser-Busch, H&R Block, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Diageo, American Airlines, and McDonald’s, among others. Each year, CMN produces more than 1,000 live events, impacting the event marketing industry by incorporating the passion points of consumers into innovative, award-winning experiential campaigns for brands worldwide.
For his pioneering efforts, Mr. Cardenas was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in February 2011.
Mr. Cardenas, who was born in Colombia, made his mark in 1985 by organizing the first-ever Pan American Music Festival in his adopted home of Chicago. His foresight and leadership led it to become one of the most successful and long-lasting festivals in the country. Following in those footsteps, he organized the Festival Presidente, for the Dominican National Brewery, and the annual festival went on to become that country’s premiere music event from 1997 to 2005.
Throughout his career, Mr. Cardenas has produced some of the highest grossing acts in Latin music history, including Marc Anthony at the Madison Square Garden ($1.7 million, 2009), Mana at the Allstate Arena ($1.7 million, 2007), Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony at the United Center ($1.5 million, 2007), and Vicente Fernandez at the Madison Square Garden ($1.5 million, 2008) and Allstate Arena ($1.4 million, 2008).
Constantly seeking to promote the work of Latino artists, Mr. Cardenas took his love for music and the arts to venture into a theatrical production with “Celia,” an Off-Broadway musical based on the life of the late Cuban singer Celia Cruz. “Celia” received critical acclaim, going on a global tour from 2007-2010. “Salsa’s Queen Still Rules,” raved the New York Daily News.
A life-long soccer enthusiast, Mr. Cardenas has produced over 100 club and international soccer exhibitions and has orchestrated experiential marketing campaigns for major brands such as Wrigley (“Futbol Extra”), Anheuser-Busch (“Suda La Verde”), and Heineken (“Futbol Tecate”).
His passion for “futbol” took on a new level in February 2010, when he acquired the U.S. rights to two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina, featuring soccer’s preeminent global superstar: Lionel Messi. CMN’s first match as part of the partnership took place on March 26, 2011 and featured Argentina against the U.S. National Team. The match drew 80,000 fans to MetLife Stadium – the highest soccer crowd ever recorded at the famed New Jersey venue.
In January 2012, Mr. Cardenas –along with international pop icon Marc Anthony— announced a joint venture into the non-profit world via the Maestro Cares Foundation, which will serve to benefit charitable organizations in developing Latin American countries.
“Our mission is to help Latin American children in creating healthy and safe environments, but a major priority will be on supporting their academic needs,” he said. “Education is key for Maestro Cares because it will bring the children closer to their dreams. They are our future leaders.”
Initial projects for the Foundation include assisting in the development of orphanages in Puerto Rico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic by providing food, school supplies, dorm rooms, classrooms and clinics so that disadvantaged and orphaned children are surrounded by a healthy environment for learning.
Mr. Cardenas has a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a MBA from Governor State University.