Oralia Michel is an award-winning marketer and social entrepreneur. Recognized as a Hispanic marketing trailblazer, she is the founder and owner of Omágen Inc., a marketing and public relations consultancy based in Los Angeles. Before launching Omágen in 2008, she founded, owned and operated the first, and longest running, Latina independently owned, public relations agency in the nation for twenty years. Ms. Michel believes success is measured by much more than the size of your bank account. For her, success is measured by living her vision and purpose - to help those around her realize their goals and to leaving a sustainable world for future generations.
Her passion for reading and writing since an early age has always been at the heart of her success. One of her unique talents is helping people and brands find the words to tell a compelling story that will impact and touch their target audiences across multiple marketing channels. Her writing is grounded in the tenets of journalism and her experience as a reporter, editor and publisher.
Her career began in 1976 as a community news editor at a chain of bilingual newspapers in Los Angeles (today collectively known as Eastern Group Publications), and then went on to the Highlander Newspapers chain in the San Gabriel Valley. She relocated to work as a reporter at several daily newspapers around the country: the Fort Worth Star Telegram, in Texas; the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, in Pennsylvania; and the Belleville News Democrat, in Illinois.
Ms. Michel returned to Los Angeles to take the position of assistant editor at a trade magazine for Mexico’s apparel industry, Notivest, which led to a promotion to Executive Editor. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Michel was asked to launch and manage a new trade publication for Mexico’s fashion industry, Notimoda. Ms. Michel grew the magazine to early success by securing the exclusive rights to publish editorial content and fashion photography from the worldwide fashion publishing leader, Fairchild Publications, publishers of Women’s Wear Daily and W, (the first and only time the rights were ever granted).
This successful launch of the fashion magazine led to another promotion for Ms. Michel. This time she was named Latin American Division Director for Notivest. Ms. Michel oversaw the two publications, as well as four annual, fashion trade shows with operating offices in Mexico City and California.
The operation and marketing of this international fashion publishing and exposition management division led her to travel extensively to Europe and Latin America.
Recognizing her entrepreneurial drive to finding solutions, and armed with the experience of successfully launching, operating and marketing magazines and expositions in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America, she set out to start her own business. Ms. Michel set up her own shop and successfully operated Oralia Michel Marketing & Public Relations, OMMPR, from 1984-2006. After twenty successful years she sold her agency to New York-based Taylor, to establish Taylor PRimero and expand services to the Hispanic market.
Ms. Michel’s entrepreneurial spirit soon compelled her to strike out on her own again when she launched Omágen Inc. Her wealth of experience and established relationships are assets highly valued by her clients whom seek out her counsel and services. Omagen’s services include: marketing communications, strategy development, media relations, public affairs, community outreach, experiential marketing, event production, and publishing.
Her diverse client partners have included Toyota, Goya Foods, Dell Computers, Google, Curacao, The J. Paul Getty Center, The California Endowment, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Trust for Public Land, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, The Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, The National Restaurant Association, Fundación E, Mexico’s Ministry of the Economy, and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (now Univision Radio): radio stations: KLVE FM, KSCA FM, KTNQ AM and KRCD FM. Her public relations programs have secured the international and national media spotlight that has been instrumental in growing some of the largest, annual live entertainment, cultural and business events in the Hispanic market. These events include: The National Restaurant Association Show International Pavilion, Fiesta Broadway, the Mariachi USA Festival, LéaLA, the Spanish Book Fair in Los Angeles, Expo Mexico Emprende and the Congreso Internacional de Emprendedores, among others.
She served as a consultant for the award-winning Common Ground plan, the Watershed and Open Space Plan for the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers that sets sustainable urban design guidelines for the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers double watershed, prepared for the California Resources Agency.
Among recognitions received for her work are: Entrepreneur of the Year awarded by Latina Style Magazine 2013; the California Legislature’s “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award,” The National Association of Hispanic Publications honored her with its “Superior Achievement Award, ” the Pasadena-Foothill YWCA presented her with the “Outstanding Woman in Communications Award”, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival honored her with their “Integrity Award”, the National Latina Business Women Association awarded her the “Inspiration Award,” Hispanic USA Magazine named her one of the nation’s “top 100 Hispanic women in communications,” and the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) honored her as Communications Professional of the Year.
Actively involved in her community, she has demonstrated herself to be community leader through her participation on a number of Boards and committees including: Serving as a Board Member for the premiere environmental organization, Heal the Bay, is Senior Advisor to the Hispanic Public Relations Association Los Angeles and Founding President of the National Hispanic Public Relations Association. She co-founded the MARIACHI USA Foundation and a past director of the Latin Business Association, the East Los Angeles Classic Theatre, the California State University’s Hispanic Support Network and Self-Help Graphics. She has also provided pro-bono services to such organizations as HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality), the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Network of Hispanic Women, the Salesian Boys and Girls Clubs, and ArroyoFest, the only event to ever succeed in closing a major freeway to promote a healthy environment. She is lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a long-time member of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California.
She is a native of trendsetting Los Angeles and thrives on the diversity of her hometown. Michel’s interests include living green, nature, exploring world cuisines, music, and collecting Latino folk art. Sharing experiences with her thirteen nieces and nephews is her constant source of inspiration and joy. Ms. Michel is committed to celebrating multiculturalism and to spotlighting positive Latino images. She is a graduate of California State University at Los Angeles and Colegio del Pacifico in Sonora, Mexico.
Blazing the Hispanic Market Trail
Established in 1984 by Oralia Michel, a former journalist, editor, publisher and marketer, Oralia Michel Marketing & Public Relations (OMMPR) was on the cutting edge of the Hispanic market boom. At a time when the “Hispanic” market was still an enigma, Michel’s vision was a catalyst for bringing Latinos into sharp focus for the mainstream marketing world. For over 20 years years OMMPR distinguished itself as a leader in a highly competitive communications industry.
From Michel’s early career as a journalist and editor, to marketer and public relations practitioner, her mission has been to change the way Latinos are perceived in U.S. mainstream society. Michel founded her agency embarking on a quest to change negative perceptions to positive images of Latinos. Through marketing communications and public relations, she found and effective way to impact the types of stories covered by media.
In the early 80s as marketers began to focus on the increasing Latino population numbers evident from census data, Michel recognized the opportunity. The Latino market was exploding and deserved attention. Her trailblazing efforts were key in bringing the previously overlooked “Hispanic” market to the forefront. In the years that followed, Hispanic and multicultural marketing and public relations became a top priority for companies, brands and organizations wanting to grow and succeed. When Michel sold her agency in 2006, the Hispanic market was continuing to evolve and was forging the new America she had long-envisioned.
In the Beginning
Michel’s parents who had a retail shop when she was a young girl seeded Michel’s entrepreneurial spirit. Her parents also invested in real estate, and her father’s dream of opening his own butcher shop was in the making when he passed away when Michel was fifteen-years-old. As a teen, Michel led many school fundraising events and got her first job at the age of 16.
Michel’s entrepreneurial spark was fully ignited years later when a former colleague suggested they partner and start their own Advertising/PR shop. Deborah Miller, a marketer and exposition/trade show director, was a creative genius and organizational expert. Michel and Miller had worked together for a publishing and exposition management company where they directed and managed publications and expos in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. Their start-up was immediately successful, but Miller’s involvement was short-lived because she was compelled to segue out of the business for family health reasons. Michel continued with the agency which she operated successfully from 1984-2006.