Nannett Rodriquez brings verve to Viva! Communications
Nannette Rodriguez always knew that she had something to say, but she wasn’t always sure how she wanted to say it.
“Originally, my focus was on art,” Rodriguez said. “I took a lot of classes and I was fairly good at it for a good portion of my life, but I didn’t have the patience and the industriousness to make a living at it. For college, I decided to keep my art classes as electives, but looked for a way to combine my love of art, languages and communications in something I could make a living at. My first major was journalism, but I found that advertising was a better fit.”
The decision to leave Puerto Rico wasn’t easy for Rodriguez, but she felt it was necessary.
“Schools in Puerto Rico are very good for some things, but in [mass communications] and public relations are not as advanced,” she said.
Rodriguez enrolled at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., where she earned her bachelor’ degree.
“I began thinking about graduate schools,” she said. “Drake [University] had the program of study I wanted and an administrative assistantship program that allowed me to get a full ride for graduate school.”
Rodriguez graduated with a master’s degree from Drake in 1997 and decided to stay in Iowa. While working fulltime, she freelanced in graphic design, translation and copy writing. “I was using it as a creative exercise, but I didn’t see myself making a living at it,” she said. “About three years ago, I began thinking this would be a great thing to do if there was enough steam behind it to make it an actual business.” She found that steam in 2002 when she landed a large client that made her fledgling firm, Viva! Communications, its agency of record. Rodriguez says her company’s billings doubled in 2001 from work of mouth alone.
“We have 24 clients across Midwest,” she said. “People are starting to recognize that we’re a very stable and viable alternative to standard ad agencies. It’s the same quality product at a lower price.”
Rodriguez is proud of firm’s status as a successful minority-run business, and Viva! Communications is growing quickly as Iowa businesses seek new ways to reach the growing Latino community.
“We provide a wealth of information and serve as a resource for businesses that want to tap this market,” Rodriguez said.