Oswego Roots, Latin Heritage Highlighted in Card Project

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Every hand is a winner for Newton Paul '97 M '99 and York Kemp '97, who are hedging their bets on success for their Latin Heritage Cards.

The Latin Heritage Card team, sitting left to right: Kirsy Munoz, director, public relations; Johanna Fernandez '05, director, research and development and corporate events; Newton Paul '97, M '99, co-founder and president; Patricia Perez '05, director, marketing, sales and expansion; York Kemp '97, co-founder and executive vice president, marketing, promotions and sales. Paul's brother, Andre E. Paul Jr., executive vice president, logistics and warehousing is not pictured.

No two suits are the same in this educational deck of playing cards, which feature legendary Latin faces from the decades and centuries.

The cards feature familiar names like labor activist Cesar Chavez and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor. A shuffle reveals more obscure personalities like Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Costa Rican astronaut, or Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean who became the first Latin American to win a Nobel Prize in Literature.

The multipurpose cards can be used as trivia or for games, making them effective tools in and out of the classroom, Paul said.

"This product is meant to educate, entertain and engage people," said Paul, an entrepreneur whose brother, Andre, first envisioned a product dedicated to Latin American history in 2004. It wasn't until he hooked up with Omega Psi Phi brother Kemp in 2006 that Paul knew what form it would take.

Paul and Kemp had worked together professionally and while enrolled at Oswego, where they organized Adopt-a-Highway and other community service intiatives for their fraternity.

The business partners and friends also pulled two fellow Oswegonians into the project: Patricia Perez '05, marketing, sales and expansion director, and Johanna Fernandez '05, director of research and development and corporate events. Another alumnus, Eli Hernandez '96, helped with research in the early going.

Paul said he hopes to make new Laker connections by taking on student interns from Oswego.

Since launching the product and company in September, Latin Heritage Month, the duo and team have made Latin Heritage Cards their top priority.

"Having a single-minded pursuit of excellence is the only way we can make this Latin Heritage Cards venture successful," said Kemp.

"I feel like everything we are doing is relevant," he added, pointing out that President Barack Obama in October signed an executive order renewing the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. "This government initiative identifies perfectly with our mission toward raising awareness and supporting academic achievement."

"Every time we introduce Latin Heritage Cards to people at events, through media coverage, or person-to-person, there's always a level of excitement about the product," said Paul.

Latin Heritage Cards will release a Spanish edition of the deck this year. Paul and Kemp have plans to keep evolving after that, perhaps in developing smart phone apps.

"When you start with one really good idea, other businesses and products are going to develop from that," said Kemp.

— Shane M. Liebler

PHOTO CAPTION:
The Latin Heritage Card team, sitting left to right: Kirsy Munoz, director, public relations; Johanna Fernandez '05, director, research and development and corporate events; Newton Paul '97, M '99, co-founder and president; Patricia Perez '05, director, marketing, sales and expansion; York Kemp '97, co-founder and executive vice president, marketing, promotions and sales. Paul's brother, Andre E. Paul Jr., executive vice president, logistics and warehousing, is not pictured.



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