Elizabeth Barrutia: Leading with Integrity
Story By: Amanda Casanova
Elizabeth Barrutia speaks 4 languages and has in lived Mexico, Paris, Brazil and Spain.
With a deep passion for culture and language, Barrutia’s travels made way for her to successfully start her own business— a business that blended both her Latino heritage and her marketing skills.
She’s the founder and CEO of BARÚ, a Los Angeles-based marketing and media agency. The company has worked with Universal Studios, Disney and Warner Bros. Pictures, developing marketing strategies that will appeal to the Hispanic market.
“I love what I do every day and I feel so honored to be able to have a voice within the Latino community,” the wife, mother and entrepreneur said.
Keeping her Latino voice strong was something she learned from her family, she said. Growing up, she traveled around the world with her mother and her father, an expert on bilingual education and Linguistics Professor at University of California, Irvine.
“It was really important to my parents that I retained my Latino roots and language,” she said.
“They also imparted a love of language and wanted me to travel the world.”
She spent a few years in Madrid, Spain and months at a time in Mexico. She herself studied abroad in Brazil, completing her a year towards her bachelor’s degree at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and learning her third language: Portuguese. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley in Mass Communications and Latin American Literature.
“It was a lot of studying abroad and a lot of language and cultural immersion, which is really important for communication and interpersonal skills,” she said.
Those skills helped to navigate a career at large global media companies and later at a boutique agency where she rose from media director to executive vice president in a few years.
“After working for and running departments at several companies, I realized that could do it myself. It was a very empowering moment for a female entrepreneur to realize that I had the skill set, the ability and determination to start my own business,” Barrutia said. She launched BARÚ in 2007 and with support from her husband, close friends and colleagues, her agency grew. Today, BARÚ has expanded to provide marketing campaigns tailored for both the Hispanic and general market.
Ten years later, the company still maintains many of their initial clients.
“Making sure that our service is so exceptional that we’ve been able to retain our clients that have been with us since the beginning,” she said.
“Having parents who exposed me to global opportunities and having traveled so much, I had to overcome a lot of fear early on with being immersed in culture where you’re not exactly comfortable,” she said. “Being fearless is so important and being persistent and not being afraid when you hear ‘no,’ but rather looking at ‘no’ as an opportunity and how you can reposition that and turn it into a greater opportunity.”