A Colombian native who moved to America in 2011 and is now ready to start her own company.
By Kathryn Walsh and Philip Garrity
Claudia Castañeda, Colombia
Claudia Castañeda was 23 and a communications coordinator for a bank when she left her native Bogotá to move to Mexico. Today, having moved to America in 2011, the White Plains resident is a mother of two who freelances for an event-planning firm and is in the process of building her own company. She maintains her country’s traditions by speaking Spanish at home, cooking Colombian food, and “reinforcing with our kids the importance of family and respect; even though we’ve been outside of Colombia for a long time, we never forget our traditions, our family, or our memories.”
My Story: “I have a BA in communications and journalism. [While in Mexico] I married Pierre Noriega, also from Colombia, and moved to Toronto, where we lived for six years…For me, [a career] has been difficult because we move a lot. Every time we move, I have the challenge to start all over and make my own connections. I’ve decided that I want to be as involved as possible in my kids’ lives, so for me to go back to the corporate world is not a real option right now. My goal is to continue with my professional growth but also to have enough time to share with my two little ones.”
My biggest challenge living in the US: “I would say it’s been the sense of belonging. Even though it’s a great place to live, I’ve found it very challenging to find a job in my field without facing some discrimination for being Latina.”