RJ Echols, Chief Executive Officer at Ascend En La Escena – has 25+ years of experience leading teams that successfully build brand marketing programs. Most notably, he led the development and implemented an organic marketing and business plan that grew the career of hip-hop recording artist, Twista to a multiplatinum status in record time. RJ developed and now implements the long term business model and ensures the overall success of the agency.

Robert McCowen, Executive Partner at Ascend En La Escena – has 20 years of entrepreneurial experience which includes building solid structures that are essential for a business to thrive. He exhibits an impeccable work ethic and operates with a high level of veracity, demonstrating a standard that inspires and motivates the team. Robert provides executive management, direction and guidance with business affairs and steers the agency toward steady growth and development.

Cecil B. Lucy, CPA, MBA, Esquire at Ascend En La Escena – oversees finances including budgets, client sponsorships and project donations. Cecil directs all accounting and legal business affairs. With 30 years of diverse management, accounting and law experience, he is an expert in the industry and has worked for the top accounting, city municipality and established institutions in the world. Cecil is also the former CFO at Tuskegee University.

Tony Hardy, Executive Brand Analyst at Ascend En La Escena – analyzes unique brand opportunities and provides expert guidance in deal negotiations. While earning a law degree at Whittier Law School in California, he invested in local entertainment events and developed a knack for identifying key branding initiatives that drive product sales. Tony has an extensive background in investment strategies and a passion for brand events, which allows him to cultivate successful projects as an executive member of the team.

KC Echols, Executive Producer, Global Brand Partnerships at Ascend En La Escena – manages multiple project teams and produces client, brand and vendor collaborations. KC successfully negotiates authentic partnerships and product endorsements, leveraging 25 years of expertise. She has worked in several roles including national project director and concert tour manager which include work on groundbreaking projects that made history for the global product brands Nissan and Sprite.

Anthony Austin, Creator and Executive Producer of En La Escena and Partner at Ascend En La Escena – obtained a degree in Television Broadcasting and started his career as a freelance camera operator and producer before joining Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Office of Media and Entertainment. This position allowed him to work all across the world including China, Bali, Mexico, Denmark, Israel and the White House. Anthony leads the global production team that produces program specials, live broadcasts and viral commercials that contribute to the agency’s unique capabilities.

Larry Kizer, Global Communication Executive, Partner at Ascend En La Escena – is CEO at BM Transportation which provides the agency’s mobile brand marketing services. He has an extensive background in communications, working alongside radio executive Marv Dyson at Clear Channel. As a radio personality and show producer, Larry developed a knack for delivering crucial messaging and now oversees communication as a key spokesperson for Ascend En La Escena. He also created the Dream Nurturer youth project that host the Beauty Inside Out workshop.

Madeline Schwartz, Head of Marketing, Public Relations Director at Ascend En La Escena – core operating style is focused on building efficient websites with measurable results. She earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from CUNY. Madeline has 10 years of experience managing online marketing that includes website development and design, ensuring authentic client visibility. Madeline is also liaison to affiliate PR agencies where being Trilingual allows her to communicate with international associates.

Meet Our Hosts/Reporters
Elizabeth Ortiz
Elizabeth is President and CEO of MY Lifestyle Magazine, which is a Global Network Partner with Ascend En La Escena. MY Lifestyle Magazine is an emerging chic magazine for multicultural readers. Elizabeth arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant from Colombia and immediately pursued higher education at Hunter College, studying English and Theater and later earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. Elizabeth completed a prestigious internship at HBO Latino and has since worked as a TV host. She has a passion for business, and has been involved in strategic marketing, promotion, event production and real estate. Elizabeth also participates in special projects with Ascend En La Escena as host, reporter, interviewer and interviewee. MY Lifestyle Magazine and Ascend En La Escena work in sync to deliver the very best in multicultural lifestyle!
Natalia Cristina
Natalia was born in Bahia, Brazil. She is the newest addition to the Host/Reporter family. Natalia joined En La Escena when she obtained an assignment posting photos on the social media sites and translating event footage for program specials that were being edited for broadcast in Brazil. After a camera man recorded Natalia’s natural interaction with event attendees in Rio, her role in front of the camera was sealed with Ascend En La Escena. Natalia transitioned into the position of reporter for network coverage in Portuguese at the 2014 Rio Carnival and Soccer World Cup in 2014. Because international event attendees come from all around the world and speak multiple languages, Natalia is able to connect with people from most everywhere. She speaks Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish and is currently learning English.
Thalia Patillo Cortez

Born and raised in New York, Thalia has evolved into a top communicator. She is an Emmy Award winning reporter in NYC who worked for WABC TV, Channel 7 Eyewitness News. Thalia graduated from New York University with a B.S. in Communications and began her news career covering traffic for Metro Traffic and Weather. She moved into hard news working for RNN TV in New York City. Thalia also spent time reporting for News 12 NJ and CT as well as WFSB Channel 3 Eyewitness News in Hartford, CT. Thalia has covered many major events featuring a variety of subjects. Thalia is one of the best in the industry and she is a senior Host/Reporter on the Ascend En La Escena team where she delivers the facts in a fun and exciting way. During her free time, Thalia participates in the Apollo Theater Academy working with high-school students considering career options.

Karen Jeanette Gutierrez

Born in Beverly Hills, California with roots from a Honduras background in Central America is one of our most exciting Host/Reporters. At the age of 18, Karen was 3rd Runner-up in the Miss Teen USA pageant where she received top scores for her beautiful appearance and natural interaction in front of the camera. Karen went on to do print modeling and walked in fashion shows which included: NYFW, Couture Fashion Week, NJFW and with Designers Alicat Avril, Elena.V and Sachika Twins. Her vibrant personality caught the eye of the Ascend En La Escena production team during multiple fashion events in Miami and New York City. Karen continues to be one of the most sought after Host/Reporters on the team. She returned to South Beach, Miami and covered Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as a reporter. Karen continues to excel in her position and enjoys traveling to branding events everywhere.

Sandra Escallon
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Sandra developed a passion for cultural artistic expressions. She studied Communications and participated in cultural activities during her time at Montclair University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Sandra’s passion for learning and enjoying cultural activities led her to participate at parades, festivals, concerts, and dances that celebrated dozens of cultures from around the world. It wasn’t long before she mastered a professional style and learned the basics in hosting and reporting. Sandra obtained a position as a Segment Reporter with Ascend En La Escena. Some of Sandra’s best work can be seen in footage from The Colombian Film Festival and Latin Fashion Week. She lives by the statement “believing in your dreams, love, and listening to your heart are the tools to be a light for yourself and for the world.” Sandra enjoys the perk that her position creates; to connect with people and celebrate cultural differences.
George Roberts
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil George grew up in a location known for having some of the most beautiful people in the world. He enjoyed celebrating the internal and physical characteristics that people exude. George initially worked with photographer Carlao Limeira on various projects for Elite Models in Brazil, which led to his first of many modeling assignments in retail catalogs. With good looks and a great personality, George was often asked to host some of the larger fashion shows and soon became known for generating excitement at the most popular events. George journeyed to New York City and began hosting live cultural events which ultimately led to a position as Host/Reporter with Ascend En La Escena. He also writes for So Festa Magazine and interviews branding and business professionals who have involvement in the arts. George is a popular choice to report and host events and activities that honor the Brazilian Community.
Talia Castro-Pozo
Talia was born in Lima, Peru where she started dancing and modeling at an early age. She quickly excelled and won The Peruvian Press Best Dancer of the Year Award which motivated her to start acting. Talia became the face of hundreds of national and international commercials and print campaigns with brands that include American Express, American Airlines, AOL, British Airways, Coca Cola, Cooking Light Magazine, Discovery Channel, Expedia, Goldschlager, Google, Latina Magazine, Nintendo, Wella and Yahoo. Talia then developed reporting skills and became a Host/Reporter at Ascend En La Escena covering various events. As a spokesperson and entertainer, Talia is one of the most seasoned professionals on the Ascend En La Escena team and she delivers a unique perspective on many of the entertainment events.
Lauren Leon

Lauren is a talented reporter and radio personality of Dominican descent. She developed aspirations to work as a news reporter at an early age, viewing them as powerful and savvy, so she pursued a career in Television. Lauren speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese which allows her to communicate with people from around globe. She is a Radio Host for BlogTalkRadio.com and Reporter/Host at Ascend En La Escena. Lauren has a natural vibe with audiences at international and urban events. The segments that she host are spicy and filled with excitement. Lauren enjoys conducting interviews with celebrities who share projects that are outside of the talent that bought them fame. In her time with Ascend En La Escena, Lauren has successfully interviewed some of the hottest celebrities on the planet.

Kelly Dayana Camacho

As a Colombian native who grew up along the coast in Barranquilla, Kelly was captivated by the natural beauty of the area. The love of travel, fashion, health and beauty led her to explore a career centered on making people look beautiful. Kelly obtained credentials and gained 10+ years of experience as one of the highly regarded hairstylist/makeup artist in the fashion and entertainment industry. She creates signature looks for the top catwalks, utilizing a style described as fresh and flawless. Kelly also works on editorial shoots where she takes a modern approach to beauty, making her indispensable to designers, magazine editors, art directors and celebrities. She also provides professional makeup consulting and she continues to stretch her artistic abilities. Kelly joined the Ascend En La Escena team as a Reporter/Host covering fashion and beauty events where she delivers a unique perspective from behind the scenes.

Andrew Rosario
Andrew has an extensive knowledge of all things sports! He started his career as a sportswriter with the New York Beacon. Andrew covered events that include the Baseball World Series and All-Star Games, NFL Super Bowls; NBA Finals and All-Star Games, U.S. Open Tennis matches and championships; and World Championship Boxing events. He is a member of the Latino Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association. Andrew’s vibrant personality led to guest appearances on the WCBS-TV program Sports From The Roundtable; host of the program Sports New York Style, co-host of What’s The 411, and producer for ABC Sports Radio during the Summer Olympics from Sydney, Australia. Andrew joined the Ascend En La Escena team as a Senior Sports Reporter. He continues to provide significant coverage of the most outstanding sporting events and he conducts the most exciting interviews with the world’s top athletes.
Lily Agosto

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Lily grew up in a home with strong Latin roots that celebrated cultural food and music. She obtained an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Management and landed a job that allowed to her combined her love of food and people. Lily was manager of the vibrant Latin Bistro, Ideya in SoHo, New York. Her vivacious and comedic personality caught the eye of a Hollywood director. Lily obtained roles in several film projects which launched her acting career. She fell in love with the creative process and developed the television series Gabriel. Lily went on to host a pilot cooking show where she co-wrote the first episode. Lily joined the Ascend En La Escena team as a Reporter/Host covering film events and activities featuring international food and music. Her passion shows in all of her work. Along the way, she also created the humanitarian organization, SOL Foundation.

Lisbeth Lora

Lisbeth was born and raised in New York City. She is a fitness, print, and fashion model who has graced the runways and cameras of New York’s hottest fashion events. Lisbeth has walked for dozens of designers including Rosita Hurtado, Xiomara Hernandez, Keidy Amaya and Marco Hall. Her talent has been showcased on many networks including Telemundo, Buenos Dias Nueva York, VH1, and in a Latin Fashion Week TV commercial. Lisbeth is an advocate for women believing in self-love, self-acceptance, confidence and faith. She also believes modeling is an expressive art form and it tells a story without words. Lisbeth enjoys festive events that bring people together to celebrate cultural likenesses and differences, generating fun and excitement. She loves connecting with people as a Reporter/Host with Ascend En La Escena. Lisbeth is warm and passionate with a temperament that draws people to her everywhere she goes.

Omayra Jimenez

Born in New Jersey and raised in Puerto Rico, Omayra started modeling at an early age. Her accomplishments include modeling assignments for Hawaiian Tropic and Coors Light and she also won bikini competitions in the Dominican Republic. Omayra worked for the international brand Benetton and enjoyed modeling at their annual fashion shows. She was educated at the University of Ponce in Puerto Rico and shortly after moved to New York City. Omayra’s goal is to be an unforgettable communicator. She worked as a co-host on the show De Aqui Pa Alla con el Pacha. Omayra was featured on the cover of several Latin Magazines and Newspapers. She developed an acting workshop and En La Escena produced the spinoff segment, Omayra Jimenez Woman Empowering. Omayra is a Reporter/Host at Ascend En La Escena. She covers news worthy entertainment segments at branded events celebrations.

Dilenia Gutierrez

Born in the Bronx, New York in a Dominican family, Dilenia was inspired to embrace creativity with everything she did. She loved posing for the camera and attended the High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan. Dilenia worked as a host for the television show Entre New York y Quisqueya which aired in New York and Dominican Republic. She pursued more work in the television industry and obtained some freelance assignments. While Dilenia was a student at Lehman College, majoring in Communications, she explored new techniques and different ways of blending her Spanish culture with the mainstream. Dilenia obtained internships at La Mega 97.9fm and Amor 93.1fm radio stations where she gained vital media experience. With a knack for effectively communicating with people, Dilenia obtained a position with Ascend En La Escena as a Host/Reporter who reports in both Spanish and English.

Ameena Dove Rivera

Born and raised in a Latin household of music and dance, Ameena Dove cherished the natural rhythmic celebrations shared in her family. She grew into a talented actress, model, dancer, and interviewer. She attended a casting at Giant Magazine and obtained the lead role in the drama series, Technique, directed by Scott Paulson-Bryant. Ameena Dove was also casted as a dancer in the New Line Cinema movie, Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover. She expresses herself with such poise and charismas that people gravitate towards her. Ameena Dove became more passionate about fashion and entertainment behind the scenes. She worked to sharpen her interviewing skills and obtained freelance assignments. Ameena Dove obtained a position with Ascend En La Escena as a Reporter/Host where she is a viable member of the team.

Leticia Reyes

Leticia was born to soar in her pursuit of becoming an entertainer. At the age of eight, she regularly took the stage acting in musicals. As a professionally trained singer, Leticia performed at many events and was a member of the Seton Hall University Gospel Choir. Her physical beauty led to her obtaining many modeling assignments for various print publications. Leticia’s natural talent and skills as an actor and entertainer have also led to her obtaining many on-screen appearances. She was host of two television shows for the Caribbean American News Network – Leticia On The Scene and Caribbean Carnival And Travel With Leticia. Leticia was also featured as the resident mixologist on the Dominican television show, Que Comemos Hoy. She can be seen online at Latinos In Entertainment.com, on the program Spotlight On. Leticia is a Host/Reporter for Ascend En La Escena where she delivers outstanding interviews at Caribbean festivals and events.

Paola Cancellieri

Paola is a woman who diligently wears many hats! She is a Producer/Assistant Producer to the Executive Producer at Ascend En La Escena, working on some of the most viable projects at the agency. Paola has seven years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising where she focused on tourism in Mexico at RCI International. She has a solid understanding of brand marketing utilizing tactics that garner exposure for products and services. Paola has a unique set of skills that allows her to work in sync with the Executive Producer, formulating production tactics used to deliver distinctive coverage at live events. Paola often provides creative ideas that identify ways to promote the Latin Culture, making her a viable member of the team.

Karina Robledo

Karina was born and raised in New York City. She has always embraced her Latin culture. Karina graduated from St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights with a degree in Communication. Karina has always been a creative, fashionable lover of the arts and entertainment industry. She participated in various projects that allowed her to develop her creative skills. Karina began working with Ascend En La Escena as an intern and eventually earned positions as a photographer, videographer and then as an editor. From behind the camera, Karina has a solid understanding of how to capture a genuine connection between event attendees. She excels in her role as Videographer/2nd Camera person at Ascend En La Escena. Karina also teaches youth who came from around the world drama, video production, dance, art, and fashion.

Tommy Gantt

Tommy is a 20 year Broadcast Professional in New York City. He has an extensive amount of experience with Microwave Transmissions, Satellite Transmissions, Cellular Bonding Streaming, Grass Valley Acquisitions and Ingesting, Avid Interplay Acquisitions, photography, live news and production. Tommy supports the Ascend En La Escena production team in the position of Technical Producer.