BRENDA CASTELLANOS

Following her immigration to the United States in 2003, Brenda Castellanos received a degree in business administration and studied courses at the Culinary School of New York. Eventually, she and her sister sought out better food options in their area and decided to open their own restaurant, Antojitos Del Patron Mexican Grill, which became the first Mayan Guatemalan restaurant in New York. At their restaurant, they served Guatemalan coffee from their hometown and soon saw much success in their business. They soon established a second Mexican restaurant and IX, a coffee shop where traditional Mayan dishes are served. In these roles, she is responsible for keeping inventory, managing accounts and payroll, and coordinating staff.

As a respected voice in her community and her industry, Ms. Castellanos has been interviewed on television and radio shows in Argentina, Honduras and Guatemala. She also appeared on television stations such as Telemundo 47, Centro America TV and Azteca TV. Throughout the course of her career, Ms. Castellanos has attributed her professional success to her perseverance, her unique abilities and an abiding passion for her work. She has been able to learn a little bit from everyone she meets, whether they be nice or mean.

Ms. Castellanos has been most proud to bring her Guatemalan culture all the way to New York for others to experience. In the coming years, she hopes to continue managing a business that benefits customers, as well as the community. She wants to see her daughter and niece eventually take over the business, and she believes that, as women, you can do whatever you want. With enough hard work, you can have a better life in a leadership role. She would like to be remembered by her peers for her good food; people used to just call her a waitress, which was a wake-up call. Now when Ms. Castellanos hears her name, she gets excited.

Outside of her vocational circles, Ms. Castellanos enjoys such diversions as reading and spending quality time with her family. She is a dreamer and has faith in her dreams, and always follows her heart. Her family has always had her back, mainly her mother and sister.

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