Name: William Jason Rosario
Occupation: Marketing and advertising
NYC Neighborhood: The Bronx
Tu país: Dominican Republic
Jason Rosario was born and raised between Washington Heights and The Bronx. As the new chief diversity and inclusion officer at advertising agency giant BBDO, Rosario continually finds himself returning to his roots for inspiration. Growing up, his identity always felt complicated: “I usually tell the story that I would go to the corner bodega, and I would ask for something in Spanish, and they would still be convinced to talk back to me in English. It’s like they couldn’t see me. They couldn’t see past the initial presentation. And that has shaped my entire experience.”
Rosario’s career, focused on removing stigmas, has risen through the intersection of storytelling, business and creativity. He was the executive producer and host of the Yahoo! News original series Dear Men, which explored manhood and how to define masculinity. In 2017, he founded The Lives of Men, a social-impact creative agency that helps redefine modern masculinity through design, strategy and events.
Rosario says, “I really want to speak up on the complexities of who we are as individuals, the many intersections that we embody, the richness of our culture, the richness of who we are as human beings and how we bring that to life in unique ways—both in our professional and personal lives.”
As the conversations around Latinidad and its marginalized communities continue, Rosario sees younger generations taking up the notion of Latino identity unapologetically: “We are arbiters of cool and create culture and impact in many ways.” Read more of our conversation with Jason below.
What makes NYC home? It’s the hardest place to live and grow up, and it shapes you in ways that you have no idea are so beneficial for you to survive in different places. So I think it’s just the age-old adage that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I think that is absolutely true.
Favorite spot in NYC for inspiration: My mom’s house in the Bronx. It reminds me of all of the possibilities that were—or could not have been, or would not have been—had I not made different decisions in my life.
Describe Latino culture in NYC: We just launched a new employment research group at BBDO called Acento, and I think that’s how I would describe Latino culture in New York. We give it that accent. We give it that thing. We are New York’s acento.
Favorite saying: “No tapes el sol con un dedo” (Don’t cover the sun with one finger).
What’s next? Continuing to lay the foundation for an equitable place to be at BBDO. We have a lot of work to do, but I think we’re making progress. Secondly, I want to continue creating content around the intersection of masculinity and the implications of that conversation on culture, diversity, equity, inclusion, allyship and mental health. And lastly, I want to move from identifying so much with the work I do and be in the world. I’m not my title. I’m not who I work for.