Luis Avila is a man who believes deeply in the power of collaboration to create platforms, spaces and opportunities for empowerment — he’s got a passion for working with people to get big things done. And he’s got quite the résumé.
After migrating from Mexico almost two decades ago, Luis stayed in the United States to attend college, where he developed projects with people involved in the arts, politics and social justice. This makes perfect sense as he’s an author, a traveler, an entrepreneur, an actor…and even the Spanish voice of the infamous McRib sandwich.
He’s the Founding President of Iconico, a consulting firm that helps build advocacy capacity in communities. He’s a Google NextGen fellow, a member of countless advocacy boards and has worked diligently on a number of campaigns, both national and regional, right here in Arizona.
Tune is as host Brian Burkhart chats with Luis about “modest success,” perseverance and the willingness to try new things, and fighting for those who need it the most.
:50 — The power of Google, the global giant
2:09 — Yes, the McRib — we’ll get there
3:31 — At just 15 years old, Luis created a magazine called Semanario La Voz — a project he calls a “modest success”
8:47 — Dairy farming is the furthest thing from “easy work” — Luis hated it, but learned what hard work truly means
10:54 — “Regardless if I can or not, I will just try it” — Luis explains his lifelong mindset toward learning new skills
14:11 — Luis has always lived a bold life, and it continues to pay off
16:57 — A brother who’s a costume designer on Broadway and a sister who’s a community organizer in D.C.
18:39 — “We love this country, we do everything we can to advance our family and our communities, and yet, we sometimes are invisible” — Luis talks about his involvement in politics and his fight against SB1070
24:29 — How the fight against “the epicenter of hate” helped — at least for now
26:21 — “They were throwing burritos at us…but we worked through it. We actually fought back in Arizona.”
29:04 — The important work of Iconico, Luis’ advocacy-building firm, and Instituto, a nonprofit Luis runs that focuses on helping low-income communities get ready for the 2020 election
32:47 — Good, bad or indifferent, we must have tough conversations from time to time
36:19 — Don’t ever take “no” for an answer — Luis’ No. 1 life lesson
38:33 — Let’s treat each other like human beings, because that’s what we ALL are
41:33 — If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to make as big of an impact as you ultimately want
44:13 — Luis’ toolkit for success includes running toward the things that scare him most, letting people know why they matter to him and applying for jobs he knows he doesn’t want
52:40 — “The future looks bright if we place the people most impacted at the center”
58:20 — The moment you’ve been waiting for — the real story of the Spanish McRib voice