Henry Cardenas, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), will soon be inducted into the 2011 Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Mr. Cardenas was among the Class of 2011 to be inducted at the 26th Anniversary Gala & Awards Celebration this past February at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame encourages business leaders, students and government officials to honor business excellence and each year, inducts prominent entrepreneurs who have demonstrated extraordinary business acumen by founding or growing their respective businesses.
“Hard work. Dedication. Innovation. These are all vital elements that make any business successful no matter the economic climate. In times like this, our inductees exemplify these characteristics,” said Rod Shrader, Denton Thorne Chair in Entrepreneurship at the UIC College of Business Administration and Faculty Director for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “The Hall of Fame Class of 2011 epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit and business excellence needed to help get our economy moving while also inspiring our future business leaders to succeed.”
A true pioneer in Hispanic event marketing, Henry Cardenas has spent the last 30 years managing, producing and executing some of the biggest live entertainment acts in the U.S. and across Latin America. He co-founded CMN in September 2003 and leads an award-winning team that has orchestrated massive, brand-building consumer campaigns for corporate giants such as Anheuser-Busch, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Diageo, H&R Block, American Airlines, MillerCoors and Verizon, among others. CMN has impacted the event marketing industry by incorporating the passion points of Hispanic consumers into innovative experiential programs for brands worldwide. Prior to launching CMN, Mr. Cardenas served for 14 years as President/CEO of Cardenas Fernandez & Associates (CFA). During his tenure at CFA from 1986 to 2000, he was instrumental in making CFA the largest Hispanic production company of sports, music, and other live entertainment events in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Due to a recent surgery, Mr. Cardenas unfortunately was unable to attend the ceremony.
“I am extremely humbled by this recognition. I would like to thank the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame so very much for this tremendous tribute. This is an honor to a lifetime worth of work, and many people have contributed to this success. I would like to thank my family, whose love and understanding are an inspiration each day, as well as my partners and clients, for their unfettered trust and for supporting programs that benefit the Latino community. Last but not least, thanks to my team, whose loyalty and dedication is unparalleled.
“I came to the U.S. as a teenager with many dreams. I worked days and nights, seven days a week and made many sacrifices along the way. Fortunately, I kept my faith and was blessed to come across people who believed in me. I hope that, via this honor, I can inspire other Latinos to seize the opportunities out there. It is important to remember that success is not measured by balance sheets, but by helping pave the way for others.”
Mr. Cardenas made his mark in the music industry in 1985, when he organized the first-ever Pan American Music Festival in Chicago. His foresight and leadership led it to become one of the most successful and long-lasting festivals in the country. Since then he has produced over 5,000 shows worldwide and has achieved some of the highest grossing acts in Latin music history, including Marc Anthony at the Madison Square Garden ($1.7 million, 2009) and Mana at the Allstate Arena ($1.7 million, 2007). A soccer enthusiast, Mr. Cardenas has produced over 100 soccer games in the U.S. and in February 2010, he signed an unprecedented partnership with the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (AFA), which grants CMN the exclusive right to organize matches for two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina through June 2014. CMN will also manage the commercial rights for the team, which features reigning FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
Mr. Cardenas earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Northeastern Illinois University and a MBA from Governor State University.
The 2011 Hall of Fame Class includes:
Godard Abel, BigMachines, Inc.
Stuart Bernsen, Chiro Wellness Centers
Henry Cardenas, Cardenas Marketing Network, Inc.
Carry Chessick, Restaurant.com
Jeff Engle, Association Management Centers
Mark Engle, Association Management Centers
Scott Engle, Association Management Centers
John Fairclough, The Resicom Group
Martin F. Gfesser, Trendler, Inc.
Ron Grason, Nitel
Scott Holstein, Kim & Scott Gourmet Pretzels
Jim Horan, Blue Plate
Vasanthi IIangovan, VIVA USA Inc.
Ahmad Isalm, Commonground
Marvin Klein, PortionPac Chemical Corporation
Timothy McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Steve McShane, Midtronics, Inc.
Bill Neiman, Neiman Brothers Company
Laura Neiman, Neiman Brothers Company
Kim Oster Holstein, Kim & Scott Gourmet Pretzels
Richard Panico, Integrated Project Management Co.
Dale Pollak, vAuto Inc.
Rick Stern, Nitel
Mark A. Thierer, SXC Health Solutions, Inc.
Genevieve Thiers, Sittercity
Sherman Wright, Commonground
“For the last 26 years, the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame has been a showcase of Chicago’s successful entrepreneur community,” said Michael Pagano, interim dean of the UIC College of Business Administration. “This new crop of inductees is further proof that even in toughest times, through hard work, creativity and dedication, you can succeed in business. On behalf of the CBA, I congratulate the Class of 2011.”
About the Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies
Founded in 1982, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago is one of the leading entrepreneurial research and professional organizations in the United States. The Institute’s mission is to champion the entrepreneurship mindset and skill -set among students, faculty and the community-at-large. Today, the Institute offers innovative programs designed to advance the entrepreneurial spirit in students, business owners and the international research community.
Founded in 2003, CMN is the leading multicultural event marketing and sponsorship agency in the U.S. CMN creates brand impact through music, sports and other interactive experiences that capture the hearts and minds of millions of consumers across the nation. In 2010 CMN produced more than 700 live events, including concerts, experiential campaigns and mobile marketing tours. For more information please visit cmnevents.com.
[Submitted by Cardenas Marketing Network and reprinted with permission]