Many of our airport small business partners have extensive careers that go beyond—and add unique value to—their work in airports. One of our partners has spent her career dedicated to fighting for social justice and brings that expertise to her role as an operator.
Gloria Castillo is the founding partner at CMC Enterprises, LLC, an Airport Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) operator who has been a partner with Hudson Group since 2009. CMC is invested in five Hudson stores in Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), which includes the Evolve by Hudson concept.
When Castillo started in the airport, she was leading Chicago United, a nonprofit organization committed to building an inclusive business ecosystem, as president and then CEO. She spent 16 years with the organization enabling her to pursue her passion for social justice and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Social Justice conferred by Roosevelt University.
She has continued to advocate for positive change through her work as Director of We Rise Together, and speaking on multiracial leadership and community-based economic mobility.
Gloria comes from a long line of community advocates as her parents were among the founding members of the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago.
“As a Latina business owner, I am very pleased that Chicago and the Chicago Department of Aviation have been very intentional about including Latinos in the airport landscape,” she said. “It is gratifying to participate in a meaningful way and bring skills that add value. I am very grateful to be part of advancing an inclusive economy.”
She credits her background in diversity for providing her expertise when it comes to embracing every customer and ensuring the store’s merchandise caters to the global audience at Terminal 5.
“The diversity of our operators is what makes Terminal 5 an authentic representation of Chicago,” said Sherain Thompson, URW Assistant General Manager, ORD. “Gloria’s expertise and passion for diversity and inclusion is an added value to our work at T5. Sharing the same mission to bring more minority and women-owned businesses into the airport and help them succeed is a win-win for all.”
Gloria began at the airport when the Terminal 5 original renovations began more than 10 years ago. Having borne witness to the original transformation, she is excited to be a part of the current revamp. While she has witnessed much evolution during her time working in airports, she notes that the dedication of concessions employees and their love for the airport and passengers has stayed steadfast. She refers to these employees as unofficial ambassadors who truly make a difference.