Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize Brenda Victoria Castillo Incoming President & CEO National Hispanic Media Coalition as a 2019 Latina of Influence. Ms. Castillo along with our entire list of 2019 Latinas of Influence are invited to participate in Latina Conference 2019 taking place April 10 and 11, 2019 in Ontario, California.
Brenda Victoria Castillo was born in East Los Angeles and grew up in the neighboring Boyle Heights and the suburb of Montebello, CA. She comes from a line of strong women who worked hard to make a living in Mexico, and later, seeking a better life for herself, she came to the U.S. She is the first generation born in this country on the side of her mother, carrying on the legacy of women who strived for a better tomorrow. She is a graduate of East Los Angeles Community College where she received her A.A. in Journalism. She then transferred to the University of Southern California in order to pursue her B.A. in Political Science. Brenda takes pride in her indigenous background, connecting to her Isleta Pueblo roots and seeking peace and understanding through her Tiwa heritage.
In the late 80’s and 90s, while few Latinas were in positions of power in media, Brenda rose to become a Producer at KTLA-TV Ch. 5, creating news content about marginalized minorities and communities, as well as reporting on the legacies of Latinos in this country, including Ricardo Montalbán, César Chávez, among many others. As an Emmy award-winning producer and rising director, she was committed and passionate to producing meaningful, thoughtful and representative content in local media.
At this time, social justice for Latinos became an important part of Brenda’s life. She worked as secretary for the newly formed National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), an media advocacy and civil rights group that fights against exclusion, unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate portrayals of Latinos in all media. She believed in the premise that how Latinos were perceived in media is how they will be treated. She never lost sight of social justice and working with others to strengthen the nation’s Latino community as a place for personal and social development.
Throughout the early 2000’s, Brenda worked as Director of Diversity and Community Outreach for the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles, and then later, as Director of Western Region Government and Public Affairs for BP America, and teacher for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She was also appointed to the California Teacher Credentialing Commission under Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governance, all the while working to bring fairness, diversity and equity to her places of employment.
As fate would have it, Brenda has now become the future leader for the NHMC. As the President & CEO-elect, her tenure begins in 2020. The NHMC Board voted her to lead the organization because throughout her life she continued to make outstanding contributions to an entertainment industry that has been historically – and continues to be – largely male and nearly all-white.
Brenda is co-chair of the NHMC’s Business Advisory Board, serves as station manager and producer of NHMC’s KHBG-LP 101.5 FM radio station and NHMC’s Podcasts where she develops Latinx themed-programming to be broadcasted and streamed on various online platforms.
Nominated by Araceli Velasco and the National Hispanic Media Coalition
As an unquestionable leader of integrity and optimism, Brenda Victoria Castillo has long been dedicated to mentoring and empowering the next generation of Latina/o creatives, helping them develop their skills, confidence and self-worth to adapt and thrive in a competitive media market. With her support, she has inspired them to learn, dream and achieve their goals, many becoming community leaders and rising, successful artists themselves. As a result, Brenda has gained the respect of her NHMC staff, has infused the energy needed for them to perform better by providing them with alternatives and solutions to their problems. She is an effective, creative and innovative manager, coming up with good, unique ideas that turn goals into realities.
As a social justice advocate all her adult life, Brenda has remained committed to fighting for intersectionality across-the-board, giving a voice to those who cannot stand up for themselves and shining a light on the underrepresented. For this, she deserves the recognition as a Latina who has never been afraid to raise her voice for honesty, truth and compassion for those less fortunate.
Every step toward the goal of justice and equality required sacrifice, suffering and struggle for Brenda. Countless times during her career, she was the only woman and only Latina in a room of white males. Along the way, she had to overcome injustice and discrimination based on her gender and race. She had to strive harder, remain optimistic, and never allow guilt or fear of confrontation defeat her. She was always focused, made strategic, difficult decisions, but simply made things happen that would ultimately better the lives of all people in our community.
Brenda never lost sight of where she came from and that became the root of why she became a tireless leader in the fields of Latinx community development, diversity and inclusion, and publicrelations. Despite the divisiveness of the nation in today’s political and social climate, there is no doubt, that Brenda has created a pipeline for up-and-coming Latinas and minorities to become successful artists and executives in entertainment nationwide, and has opened the door to improving and achieving equality, justice and fairness in all forms of media. Those are her greatest achievements – achievements that need to be recognized, celebrated and honored.