Samantha “Sam” Ramirez-Herrera is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, creative director, writer, mother, feminist, and civil rights activist. While she wears many hats, at her core, Sam is a storyteller.
Storytelling is the heartbeat of her company, OffThaRecord.com (OTR), a creative content agency and digital magazine headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. At OTR, Sam has built a network of creative multicultural millennials who use their talents and technology to tell raw, uncensored and authentic stories to uplift marginalized communities and promote purpose-driven brands, nonprofits and change-makers.
Sam’s unorthodox path to becoming a digital media maverick is rooted in her own story of drive and determination. She was 7 years old when her parents decided to move the family from Mexico City to the United States, seeking a better life. As an undocumented immigrant, she grew up in the shadows, working hard to get ahead while at the same time fearing the possibility of discovery and deportation. After graduating high school, she waited tables and worked other jobs to make ends meet before becoming a DREAMer, thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Wanting to create something that was uniquely her own, Sam burst onto the digital scene in 2012, developing her own YouTube channel and show. She chronicled the journeys of independent musicians and artists following their own paths and doing what they loved. The show’s tagline – “Live. Create. Inspire.” – remains Sam’s mantra to this day.
The channel gained an impressive online following among millennials of color. Based on its success, Sam officially launched OTR in 2015, working out of a small office at an advertising agency in downtown Atlanta. That same year, she started the Kick Ass Girl Pow Wow (KAGPW), a digital platform that celebrates girls and women of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages and career paths, “who are living out loud with purpose and passion.” Sam hosts monthly Kick Ass Girl Pow Wow dinners where women can meet for food, conversation and support.
Through her work at OTR, Sam addresses topics she is passionate about, including feminism, economic justice, immigration, reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, and mental health in communities of color. She is proud that, in its relatively short time, OTR has grown enough to employ staff and pay creative professionals in its network to produce original work for its clients, which are among the nation’s most influential brands and organizations. They include Johns Hopkins Medicine; civil rights activist Arndrea King; Ms. Foundation for Women; AFROPUNK; and I Live For, a not-for-profit committed to ending the cultural stigma of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders in teenagers and young adults of color one story at a time.
As an extension of work at OTR, Sam, shares her expertise in communicating with Latin and Hispanic audiences and multicultural millennials. She has become a highly sought-after speaker on college campuses and at conferences addressing the issues of immigration, gender equality, sexual orientation and identity, culture and ethnicity, and diversity and inclusion. As a proud, Mexican-born DREAMer, she is also a vocal advocate of U.S. immigration reform.
Sam has appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews as well as in Forbes, Mundo Hispanico, and more. She has spoken to audiences nationwide. She recently was named a 2018 scholar at The Aspen Institute Ideas Festival.