Lisa Garcia Quiroz, People en Español Founder, Is Dead at 57


An obituary by Remy Tumin for the New York Times.

Lisa Garcia Quiroz, the founding publisher of People en Español, one of the most popular Hispanic magazines in the United States, died on Friday at her mother’s home in Denver. She was 57.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her husband, Guy Garcia, said.

Ms. Quiroz’s career in media — first at Time Inc., where she also launched the magazine Time for Kids, and then at Time Warner, where she became the company’s first chief diversity officer — was driven by a deeply held conviction, she said.

“I feel a unique mission to give the Latino community a voice,” she told Harvard Magazine (she was a Harvard graduate), referring to her role at People en Español, a Time Inc. offshoot of People magazine. “I thought this was a great opportunity.”

Ms. Quiroz (pronounced KEE-rose) started People en Español in 1996, a time when coverage of Latino communities in the mainstream media was limited.

Earlier, a speaking engagement at her old elementary school on Staten Island inspired her to develop Time for Kids, an award-winning classroom newsmagazine that was launched in 1995.

“She had a way of finding missions and new projects that we could all get excited about and bring people together,” Jeffrey L. Bewkes, Time Warner’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview.

Later named to lead Time Warner’s diversity initiatives, Ms. Quiroz “gave diversity a business head,” said Dan Osheyack, a former Time Warner executive who worked with her for 30 years, “meaning that she helped transform the sensibility about it from the right thing to do to the smart thing to do.”

“She did that,” he added, “by pointing out the changes in audiences and the importance of developing storytellers who told stories across the spectrum of the population.”

Ms. Quiroz was simultaneously in charge of the company’s philanthropic efforts in the arts as president of the Time Warner Foundation and as senior vice president for cultural investment.

In seeking out worthy beneficiaries of the company’s largess, she took a hands-on approach, personally frequenting small theaters and arts groups throughout the metropolitan area.

“I feel like I rediscovered New York,” she told The New York Times in 2007.

Outside of Time Warner, she was a former chairwoman of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Corporation for National and Community Service, appointed in 2014 by President Barack Obama. The agency oversees volunteer programs like Senior Corps and AmeriCorps.

Ms. Quiroz had also served on the boards of the Public Theater and the Apollo Theater Foundation in New York.

Lisa Marie Quiroz, was born on Jan. 10, 1961, the oldest of three siblings, and grew up on Staten Island. Hers was the only Latino family in an Italian neighborhood. Her mother, Neida Quiroz, a homemaker, grew up in Puerto Rico and came to New York in 1956. Her father, Armando Quiroz, grew up in Brooklyn, where the two met. He worked for the federal Department of Labor and helped establish Job Corps programs in New York and Puerto Rico.

In a third-grade report, Ms. Quiroz declared that she would go to Harvard someday, and so she did. After graduating in 1983, she worked for Harvard’s admissions office, traveling the country recruiting minority students. She went on to receive an M.B.A., also at Harvard, and was recruited by Time Inc. while she was a student.

As one of the few Latinas at Harvard at the time, Ms. Quiroz initially struggled there. But after adapting to campus life she went on to refer to the university as part of her “roots.”

“She really found herself, who she was as a person and who she wanted to be professionally,” said Norma Aguilar-Dave, a cousin.

After her death, the Harvard Kennedy School, with a donation from Time Warner, established a fellowship in her honor, announcing that it would be tailored for “emerging student leaders” at the school “with a strong commitment to the Latino community.”

Ms. Quiroz had made cultivating leaders a priority.

“She became a mentor to dozens of people,” said Gary Ginsberg, a Time Warner marketing and communications executive, “people who went far and wide at the company.”

The broadcaster Soledad O’Brien and Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of the musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” were among those she influenced.

“Our family is gutted by the loss of our friend Lisa Quiroz,” he tweeted. “She loved artists and loved supporting organizations that supported artists.”

In addition to her husband, Ms. Quiroz’s survivors include her parents; a stepson, William Garcia; a brother, Mark Quiroz; a sister, Noreen McLeary; and her stepmother, Irene Quiroz. Ms. Quiroz had recently moved from New York to her family’s Denver home as her cancer progressed.

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