Alejandra Y. Castillo is National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Appointed by Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker in 2014, Ms. Castillo brings a broad range of legal, business, and policy experience to MBDA.
A native of New York City and the daughter of a small business-owner, Ms. Castillo is the first Hispanic-American woman to lead the Agency since its founding in 1969. Drawing from more than two decades of experience in public, corporate, and nonprofit sectors, Ms. Castillo directs the Agency’s strategic efforts to enhance the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs).
Under Ms. Castillo’s leadership, the Agency has expanded its support of MBEs, with special emphasis on promoting STEM innovation and increasing access to capital. Since 2008, MBDA has assisted minority-owned firms in obtaining nearly $15 billion in contracts and capital and created more than 30,000 new jobs.
Before her appointment as MBDA National Director, Ms. Castillo served as the Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), where she coordinated with the White House and non-profit organizations on legislative affairs. Through her work leading HNBA, Ms. Castillo was instrumental in supporting the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor.
Earlier, Ms. Castillo served in the Clinton Administration as a Senior Policy Analyst to the Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In that role, she was responsible for developing and analyzing White House initiatives on anti-drug traffic and interdiction, anti-money laundering policies, as well as drug prevention and treatment programs.
Ms. Castillo credits her parents, who emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic during the 1960s, for instilling in her an appreciation of quality education, as well as fierce dedication to community-building through economic development. Ms. Castillo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in economics and political science, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, and earned a Juris Doctorate from American University – Washington College of Law. Ms. Castillo is a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of DC, the American Bar Association, and the American Jewish Committee. She also serves as a Board Trustee for the University of the District of Columbia.