Linda Castillo is the founder and executive editor of Modern Latina. An online magazine focused on Latina lifestyle. Her “day” job though is at Comerica Bank as their vice president. When she is not being a badass at work, she is raising her two little girls with her supportive husband. Meet my mentor, friend, and one awesome woman; Linda Castillo.
Epifania: Let’s start off with a tough question, shall we. How do you balance it all? Motherhood, marriage, an active marketing career and Modern Latina?
Linda Castillo: The notion of women having it all is such a hot topic and rightfully so. It’s not easy to balance motherhood and a career. I am very fortunate because I have a strong support system with my husband, parents, and family who help out so much especially with my two baby girls. I feel at ease knowing that if I can’t be with my daughters, they are in very good hands.
I think you can only do your best to balance it all because at any given time no area of your life will be at 100%. After all, we are only one person with a finite amount of time in the day and energy.
As a mother, I do have that internal guilt/conflict inside me wishing I could do it all. For example, this year I had to miss my daughter’s first school field trip because I had a meeting at work that I was unable to move. It was one of those instances that I wished I could be at two places at the same time and it broke my heart that I couldn’t go. My consolation was that I knew that there are so many other times that we spend together and that there will be many more field trips that I will be able to go to. In the end, you have to be able to let go of some things otherwise you will drive yourself crazy and burn out trying to do it all.
E: So true. It is amazing how much women beat themselves up. Who and what inspires you?
LC: My biggest source of inspiration is my two young daughters who on a daily basis show me what is unconditional love, reinforce the importance of giving back and inspire me to be a better person.
E: Oh that’s sweet. Children are great at showing unconditional love. With everything on your plate, how do you rejuvenate yourself? Meditation? Exercise?
LC: This goes back to your first question about balance. When I am trying to balance it all one of the first things I cut out of my life is time for me. The other week I painted my toenails for the first time in about 2 years. My daughter was so surprised and excited to see my toenails painted. For about 3-days, she kept commenting on how pretty my toenails were and asked when I would paint my fingernails. It was hilarious and I realized at that moment just how little time I spend on myself. I know it is important to spend the time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. So when I have the opportunity, I like to go for a walk to clear my mind, travel, read, and I enjoy attending conferences with empowering and motivational speakers. All of these are ways I open myself to new experiences and open my mind to new possibilities.
E: Before you started Modern Latina, you were a co-owner of a clothing store with your sister. Your career has always been in marketing. What originally interested you about marketing?
LC: I wish I was one of those people that knew what they wanted to do early on but in my case that wasn’t the situation at all. I remember I was at De Anza College and the counselor was explaining that I was over credits and I needed to transfer. In order to transfer to San Jose State University, I had to declare my major and I had no idea what I wanted to do so I chose business. Once I started to take the general business classes, I gravitated towards the marketing classes which had a balance of creativity and analytics. Marketing is an exciting career path with so many different areas to go into and it is constantly evolving with social media and technology. I happened to fall into a career that I really love.
E: I came across Modern Latina a few years ago and was amazed that someone local started an online magazine to share Latina voices. Why start Modern Latina?
LC: While I was obtaining my master’s degree in Mass Communication at San Jose State University, I recognized there was a huge gap in the media landscape for Latinos. Specifically, there were many negative portrayals of Latinos in mainstream media and a lack of media options that catered to Latinas. I clearly remember driving home from class one night and the idea to start Modern Latina came to me. I came home and got on my computer to search for the URL www.ModernLatina.com. I was so surprised that it was available and ever since that moment, I have continued to grow it. Modern Latina was born to share positive stories about Latinas and the Latino culture.
E: I love those moments. When things come together. How do you define Modern Latina?
LC: A “Modern Latina” is a Latina who juggles so many different roles and responsibilities in their lives. A “Modern Latina” is a mother, an entrepreneur, a student, an artist, and so much more than the list could go on and on. My hope is that Modern Latina features compelling, inspiring and relatable stories and resources for Latinas to live the life they want.
E: I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s so hard to post something new on Epifania. We all have those moments where we don’t want to post anything but we know it’s important. How do you get over that hurdle?
LC: For me, one of the biggest hurdles to post new content is carving out the time do it. I have so many ideas for new posts that I just don’t have the bandwidth to write them all. I select posts that are relevant to what is going on at the moment and I try to post at least twice a week.
E: Why was it important for you, to have Modern Latina give back? Why breast cancer?
LC: I want Modern Latina to be more than an online publisher and I see it as a conduit to give back to the community. For that reason, we host events that create meaningful opportunities for Latinas to connect and give back to the community. For our 10th Anniversary Celebration, we presented Fashion Fights Back – A runway event benefitting Latinas Contra Cancer. I chose breast cancer because it has impacted the lives of so many women. Last year one of my friends battling breast cancer and talking with her really opened my eyes about breast cancer and what we can do to decrease our chances of getting it. It was really important for me to raise the awareness about breast cancer in the Latino community and it was my vision and calling to create the Fashion Fights Back event to do so.
E: Wow, thank you for such a wonderful event. Your Instagram and Facebook are filled with your little girls. They must be proud of you. What is the most thrilling thing about being a mother?
LC: I don’t think I had experienced unconditional love until my daughters were born. For me being a mother feels like a piece of my heart is now outside of me with my two girls. The most thrilling thing about being a mother is that you are able to experience life through your children’s eyes. They bring back the magic in every little moment that as adults we may take for granted. They have so much passion for life that it is contagious.
E: Having a supportive partner is one of the things that has kept me going. After 10 years of marriage (it’s 10 right?), what is the most important lesson you have learned?
LC: Actually, we have been together 21 years and we are celebrating our 8 year anniversary this November. We met when we were teenagers and we have been through a lot together over the years. I would say the most important thing I have learned is that marriage is about compromising while staying true to who you are.
E: Wow 21 years! You don’t hear that often anymore. What is your message to fellow Latinas? To fellow women?
LC: My message is to follow your passion, push yourself to try new things out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to fail. And if you do fail, keep trying and remember that failure will make you stronger and provide valuable lessons for you in the future.
Linda is a true Modern Woman…a true Modern Latina.