Carmen Castillo

CARMEN CASTILLO

THE GREAT PROVIDER
  • A self made titan builds a global business and provides for her family and employees

Carmen Castillo has a large family—her mother, nine siblings, twenty-three nieces and nephews, and another two thousand plus, if you include her employees (Carmen considers them family). She provides for them all with a great sense of pride.

Carmen’s saga is one of rags to riches. Her parents were poor, raising the brood in the south of Spain during the Franco regime. When Carmen was seven years old the family moved to Mallorca.

“We moved at the time of the government transition. There was much fear and trepidation, as no one truly knew the direction in which our country would go. Franco, to his credit, did one thing right—he invited King Juan Carlos back from his exile in Italy, and this made for a smooth transition.”

I enjoy my ability to provide for my family—paying college tuition for nieces and nephews, purchasing a home for my mother, advocating for women and minority-owned businesses worldwide, and being deeply entrenched in the everyday business of my company, staying close to clients and employees alike.

Carmen has always been a girl with a vision, a go-getter with purpose. “I knew from an early age that I would stand on my own two feet—be my own boss.  I had an inner drive to achieve that goal.”

She got her first job at thirteen in order to pay for her education. The overachiever entered a private high school early, excelled, and even graduated early.

Carmen’s life-changing moment came when she was invited to visit some friends (who summered in Mallorca) at their home in Palm Beach, Florida.

“I knew in an instant that Florida was where I wanted to be. I went back to Spain, received a student visa (the quickest path to returning) and enrolled in a Palm Beach County culinary school.”

The dream of opening her own business and doing it her way was always in the cards, and Carmen, surveying the landscape, decided that internet technology was the place to be. “I knew it was here to stay, and that it would change the way we live our lives forever.”

Kismet hit while Carmen was working at a restaurant where she met the Chairman of Superior Group, a company dedicated to staffing and engineering services primarily for the aerospace industry. The Chairman was most impressed with Carmen’s hunger for business; they struck a friendship and they continued discussing a potential collaboration. Eventually, a partnership developed, and to this day, Superior Group and SDI continue to do joint business across the globe.

SDI International was born in a one-bedroom apartment in Pompano Beach, Florida, with Carmen at the helm (and pretty much everywhere else). Initially, SDI provided strategic recruitment, pay-rolling and Independent Contractor Compliance programs, eventually evolving their service provision to include tail-end supply chain management and procurement solutions centered on managing large numbers of small suppliers handling numerous non-critical transactions for large multinational clients.

Editor’s Note:
Carmen founded SDI International Corp. in 1992 with an eye toward leveraging emerging technologies to rationalize business processes and deliver cost savings. Carmen’s daily responsibilities as President/CEO of SDI revolve around the overall coordination of company operations, sales cycles, and customer service efforts.
SDI Website

Early in her business development efforts, Carmen learned about the importance of diverse certification for small companies looking to do business with larger corporations.  Carmen made sure that SDI became certified as both a Woman- and Hispanic-owned enterprise (MWBE), through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) and their regional and local adjuncts.  SDI began to leverage the purpose of these organizations: to connect certified MWBEs with large companies committed to doing business with diverse suppliers.

As her business grew, so did her clientele, all Fortune 500s, and SDI followed her clients’ global footsteps, opening Centers of Excellence to support them 24/7, worldwide.  Before long, Carmen’s dream grew from regional, to national to global—her portfolio of solutions, headcount and global operations reflecting that growth. As Business Trend noted in their March 2017 article, “SDI International went from supply chain management, vendor management, general procurement, into business process outsourcing, taking on entire non-core functions for her client companies.”

Asked how the Latinarrific essence is reflected in her life, Carmen was quick to respond. “my ability to provide for my family—paying college tuition for nieces and nephews, in purchasing a home for my mother, advocating for women and minority-owned businesses worldwide, and being deeply entrenched in the everyday business of my company, staying close to clients and employees alike.”

That unique sense of family and service, and her advocacy for an equal playing field for all business owners and suppliers, plus her charming humility has Latinarrific saluting Carmen Castillo.

Yesi Murillo

This determined Dominican, overcame the loss of her father, climbed the corporate ladder and founded a leading non-profit to help Latinas....

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Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent at Latinarrific
Kent Wallace has worked in the mainstream media for over 30 years. He has been a journalist, publisher, performer, art critic and marketing strategist. He has written for such magazines as Esquire, Source, Ear, ArtSpeak and Notorious (to name a few).

Wallace was a contributing writer for “High on Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max's Kansas City,” he co-authored and authored several published books.

Wallace has hosted radio shows on ESPN (Reno) and KPLY (Reno). Wallace has appeared on Montel, The Tyra Banks Show, The John Walsh Show and the Rikki Lake show. Wallace also served as a consultant on an HBO’s hit series.

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