Laura Castillo

LAURA CASTILLO

This entrepreneur finds her purpose and identity as an “Organizing Hero” 

Laura Castillo is a survivor. A person pulled herself up from her bootstraps and has embarked on the great American Dream. 

Laura’s parents brought her to the U.S.A. from Venezuela in order to provide her and her brother with a better life. And while her folks may have initiated that move, Laura has embraced it with aplomb! 

Laura was born in Caracas in 1977. Her father Luis owned a printing businesses and soon expanded to buying paper from Canada and supplying it to a host of newspapers in Venezuela. His entrepreneurial spirit would further continue to expand and his empire would continue to grow over the years. 

“We moved to the Coral Springs in 1981. I don’t recall much as I was 4-years old, but I do recall it was the boondocks, certainly not cosmopolitan Caracas. 

“My mother had an even harder time adjusting. I think she felt lonely and isolated, especially as my father would often return to Venezuela to oversee his business interests.” 

The reality was that Gladys was homesick. Coral Springs was fairly rural and mostly Anglo. Since, Gladys didn’t speak English she was basically adrift with no one but her children. 

“My dad, taking my mom’s feelings into consideration, moved us to Kendall (Miami, Dade County), where there was a vibrant Latin scene.  

“The move was healthy for my mom and us kids. If there were any downside it was that we were renters. I recall frequent moves around the area in my youth, which required me to change schools. It seems I was forever losing my friends and having to make new ones. 

“My best friend turned out to be my brother (11-months younger than Laura). He was the one constant.” 

Actually, there was another constant. Laura’s parents, desiring their children not lose their Venezuelan roots, would take the crew back each and every summer to visit family. These 3-month, annual treks became the highlight of Laura’s early years. 

In 1992 fate hit just before Hurricane Andrew did… 

“I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but we relocated to Weston in Broward County a week before Hurricane Andrew.” 

Talk about timing being everything—the home in Kendall was totally demolished in the hurricane! 

I actually believe that the most poignant Latinarrific thread that runs through my life is the blending of the immigrant work ethic, with the passion for holding family close to the heart.

And while Laura and her family had escaped a bullet, she found herself in the familiar position of her childhood—moving from a comfort zone to a new place—not an easy adjustment for a teenage girl just starting high-school. 

“My father was thrilled, of course. Weston had the best homes and the best schools and it fit right into his ever constant desire to provide the ‘best’ for his brood.” 

Laura was enrolled in Western High School in Davie. After her first year, Luis was able to buy a lot and build a home (they took occupancy in 1994. Laura’s parents still live in that home today). 

“I guess you could call it identity crises,” Laura explained to the writer. “I was used to the Miami vibe; the Broward crowd was different, predominantly white and once again, I was the newcomer. It was the first time in my life I felt like a minority.”  

“I think my dad sensed that I was having comfortable with my new environment and he offered to send me to Caracas as an alternative. I was thrilled!” 

“It was not only a wonderful growing experience but it allowed me to reconnect with my family and my culture. I moved into an apartment with a slightly older cousin and hit the ground running.” 

Returning to Florida when she was twenty-two, Laura found herself starting over. She began to hang-out with her brother and his crowd (a clean living, colle

ge educated group).  

“I soon enrolled at Broward Community College and earned an Associate Degree (AA) and found a low-level job that came with the opportunity of advancement.”  

After a time, Laura left the job and began working as an administrator in her father’s business. She realized if she were going to grow she’d need to finish her college education and so she enrolled at FAU (Florida Atlantic University) receiving a degree in Business and Marketing. 

This period provided Laura with more than an education—a baby, daughter Amber, was born in 2003. 

While Laura embraced motherhood, her father continued his upward trending. He was now buying real estate in Weston with the goal of providing a house for each of his children. With his eldest child pregnant, he offered Laura a home of her own. 

“The marriage didn’t last, perhaps my husband was too young for the responsibilities. I never held a grudge or looked back.” 

Laura had known Armando (as friends) for many years. It was Armando who helped support the young mom emotionally after the divorce.  

Eventually love bloomed between Laura and Armando and in 2010 they married.  

“Armando was a first-rate auto mechanic and I soon found myself back at my father’s generosity trough. Needless to say, my father provided the funding for our start-up business—a shop of our own.” 

Editor’s Note:
For more information about Organizing Hero
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And while the marriage and business almost collapsed under the weight of that first year, Laura and Armando carried on—both the marriage and the business survived. 

“Despite us weathering the early difficulties I still felt I was still playing a supporting role—with no real personal identity.  

“That changed recently when I embarked of a redecorating project of my teenage daughter’s bedroom. I went online seeking ideas and perhaps even assistance. I came across the NAPO website (National Organization of Productivity and Organizing Professionals). 

“I’d found my calling!” 

{Writer’s Note: Laura recently started her own business, Organizing Hero. She is focusing on residential in what might best be described as a hybrid of interior design.} 

“I’m finally in control of my own destiny. It’s liberating, rewarding and, well, about time!” 

Latinarrific salutes Laura Castillo! 

 

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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.
Kent Wallace
Senior Correspondent
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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