Two equally important engagements occupy prominent places on Monique L. Nelson’s calendar. More imminent than her marriage is her date to take the helm at UniWorld Group Inc. when its founder and CEO Byron Lewis Sr. steps down and assumes a new position as chairman emeritus.

Since Lewis founded the organization 43 years ago, UniWorld has carved out a unique niche in the world of advertising and communications. It is the longest-standing full-service multicultural advertising and communications agency in the U.S., a status attributable to Lewis’ vision and creativity.

“I am extremely proud of the agency and all that it has accomplished,” Lewis said in a statement. “I have been impressed by Ms. Nelson since she joined the agency five years ago. She understands the business very well. And, it is my honor to turn over UniWorld to her very capable hands as she leads the agency in its next exciting chapter.”

While Nelson is inheriting a formidable team, she is the new coach, so to speak, but she plans to maintain the basic game plan that has brought the company matchless prestige and success.

The agency continues to be a trendsetter, poised to connect forward-thinking brands to the $2 trillion spending power of multicultural consumers while pushing the envelope with innovative ideas and fresh solutions for the general market as well. UniWorld Group also has a strategic alliance with WPP, one of the world’s largest communications services groups.

“Byron and I feel very strongly about the legacy,” Nelson said in a recent interview. “But we plan to launch a number of new innovations on air, in print and on radio as well as in mobile, digital and other social engagements and media opportunities.”

When asked about the “multicultural” designation as part of the group’s mission, Nelson explained the term. “Well, it’s part of the mix,” she began. “I don’t know if you can isolate just one or the other. There are a lot more ‘others’ out there now than there were 43 years ago. … There are a lot of areas that are gray now than before. I think we’d be remiss not to look at the total market.”

Moreover, she added, “Multicultural advertising grew from a need to address the complexities of a unique and underserved market. As this discipline progresses, I am honored to be leading the charge at UniWorld in developing the next evolution of multicultural advertising, not only in the U.S., but around the world. As multicultural communities increase in size and complexity, never have the need or possibilities been greater for the agency’s capabilities to provide its unique cultural insights for a better understanding of how diversity is reflected in our society.”

Even so, Nelson insisted, the company’s core remains Afro-American–“but not exclusively,” she added, noting that 34 of their clients are Hispanic.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Nelson was an outstanding student in high school, so much so that she earned a four-year scholarship to Vanderbilt University. After graduating, she was hired by International Paper Co. in Green Bay, Wis. And then there were some nine years with Motorola which allowed her to travel broadly, including Sao Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Milan, Italy.

“I came to UniWorld in 2007, and one of the things I thought was lacking was a focus on digital technology and global marketing,” Nelson said. Almost immediately, her international experience enhanced operations, vastly improving UniWorld’s brand.

Nelson is extremely excited about the company’s many clients, including Three Musketeers and Ford Motor Co., for whom Kevin Hart is the pitchman. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s featured in “Think Like a Man,” one of the top movies nowadays.

“Yes, Kevin is doing our Explorer, and doing tremendously well with it,” Nelson enthused.

She plans to get married sometime later this year and we can only hope that “Crazy Kevin” doesn’t drive off with their Explorer.