Secretary Miguel Cardona joins us for a candid conversation. He shares stories of growing up as a proud Puerto Rican in Meriden, Connecticut and how those roots led him to one of the most powerful institutions in our country. He explains how his biculturalism shaped him and what he’s doing every day to ensure that all children, especially Latino children, succeed.
Host: Marco A. Davis, CHCI President and CEO
Guest: Alejandra Y. Castillo, former CEO of the YWCA USA
Alejandra Y. Castillo believes that her purpose in life is to raise the standard of conversation in every room she enters, to raise educational and environmental standards, to stand up for reform and justice, and to make long-lasting, remarkable change that makes the world a better place.
Castillo is a relentless visionary and change maker in the fields of public policy, regulation and law, as well as an accomplished leader of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. A well-recognized turn-around leader, Castillo is keen in driving system change that leads to efficiencies and effective service delivery and performance.
Castillo is the immediate past CEO of YWCA USA, which serves 2.3 million women and girls around the country with a network of over 200 associations. YWCA plays a dual role as a social service provider and advocate for reform and justice. Under Castillo’s leadership she raised over $270 million for YWCA USA and turned the 162 year old non-profit into a data-driven organization focused on creating measurable social impact through innovative approaches to address 21st century challenges and realize opportunities across 1300 communities.
In 2014, Alejandra was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as the national director of the Minority Business Development Agency, becoming the first Hispanic American woman to lead the agency. She helped secure financing and capital in excess of $19 billion and created or retained more than 33,000 jobs.
Castillo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the State
University of New York at Stony Brook; a Master’s in Public Policy from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; and a Juris Doctorate from American University, Washington College of Law. Castillo divides her time between Washington DC and Broward, Florida.