Helen Hernandez

Director since 2009. Helen Hernandez is the founder of The Imagen Foundation. Prior to establishing the Imagen Foundation, Ms. Hernandez was the Vice President of Public Affairs for Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio's Embassy Communications (presently Sony Pictures Entertainment). Acting as this major television production company's local and national liaison, she was most instrumental in developing and supervising various corporate programs that enhanced the company's reputation in the national community for socially and culturally sensitive programming. The origins of the Imagen Foundation can be traced back to a 1983 meeting between Norman Lear, a principal of Embassy Communications, and Helen Hernandez, Embassy Vice President of Public Affairs. Lear was acutely aware of the near absence of positive portrayals of Latinos in the entertainment industry and understood the importance of positive images. The two met with leaders of the National Conference (formerly the National Conference of Christians & Jews or NCCJ), a respected non-sectarian human relations organization committed to fighting prejudice and racial tensions. Out of this meeting came the birth of the Imagen Awards competition, now an annual Hollywood tradition recognizing and encouraging the television, film and advertising industries to portray Latino actors and production storylines in a positive and accurate manner. The Imagen tradition is one that recognizes those Important producers, directors and writers who contribute from behind the scenes, as well as the Latin actors portraying these positive roles.  For the last fifteen years, Ms. Hernandez has been the Executive Producer for the Imagen awards. Over the years, the Imagen Foundation has honored such entertainment industry professionals such as Antonio Banderas, Phil Roman, Edward James Olmos, Bill Melendez, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez and Hector Elizondo. Under her leadership, the Imagen awards have become one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry.  The awards exemplify the best of what Hollywood can produce in portraying the image of Latinos and Latino culture. With Financial support from Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio's Embassy Communications, staff support from the NCCJ, the cooperation of many entertainment companies, the leadership of Helen Hernandez, and a voluntary advisory committee of professional and community leaders, the Imagen Awards became a successful enterprise. Since 1985, the Imagen Awards competition has brought out the best and most talented portrayal of Latinos in television and film. Ms. Hernandez is Vice Chair of the PBS Diversity Advisory Committee and serves on the Nominating and Corporate Governance and Station Services committees.  She previously served on the National Policy Advisory Committee and Strategic Planning Advisory Group.

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