We had the good fortune of connecting with Denise A. Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Denise A., have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance shifted dramatically the moment I became a Mother. My priorities shifted overnight and the merit of being a working mom took precedence over many things. I truly believe that Mothers are masters in the art of balancing it all. I am a career driven woman, always aspiring for self enrichment through education and leadership. When I started my business my balance shifted even more. You have to really invest your time and love into your projects to see them flourish and that can severely alter your personal time. Being a Mother is also a very committed role so your personal time also shifts drastically. When I founded the Virtual Mom Collective I knew that I wanted to really highlight and support the working Mom because our balance is ever evolving. VMC was Founded by two working Moms as a response to the spread of COVID-19, and the need to connect moms during these times of quarantine and social distancing. We built our foundations on creating an online platform for Mothers seeking support and community. Our goals are to empower, uplift the working and SAHM Mom in quarantine. Since founding this project I think of balance as an investment in yourself; prioritize the things in life that really inspire you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I currently hold a dual BFA in Photography and Graphic Design and Marketing and Business Management, and an MBA in Leadership from Florida International University. I am truly passionate about empowering Moms to speak about their own stories; as my own journey into Motherhood is what sparked my venture into writing. I’m an advocate for gender equality in the workplace for women. Treating gender diversity like the business priority it is, promotes self-worth empowerment for working Mothers. The Virtual Mom Collective was founded on this principle. My desire is that the VMC serves as a platform of support and community that enable Moms to speak their truths during #thisnewnormal. As a woman returning to the workforce after a brief maternity leave; I tackled many challenges along the way and with perseverance and determination I continue to understand that life is a never ending challenge. I want to let Moms out there know they are not alone; and your Mom tribe starts with you; because Mother is a Verb.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a lover of old book stores, farmers markets and thrift shops. I love eating at local restaurants like La Fresa Francesa, Crackers Dining and Finka Table and Tap are a few of my favorites. I am a lover of Trader Joe’s and Sprouts supermarket. Grocery shopping should be an enjoyable experience where the labels of what exactly is in your food is clear. I love going to Knaus Berry Farm during strawberry season and smelling the fresh ripe fruit and picking up some sticky buns fresh from their ovens. I am photographer so visiting open spaces and seaside restaurants like Smith and Wollensky are a fun treat for anyone visiting Miami beach. Miami is a mix of all the above so your palette can taste and savor many options.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Their are several women who have inspired me deeply during my journey into blogging. Firstly, Jenniffer Pastilloff who I wrote a piece for on her blog The Manifestation last year has impacted me deeply since we began quarantine last March. She is the quintessential definition of what true life coach should be – she gets it and she helps you learn about self acceptance. Talya Stone over in the U.K. another incredible blogger, who also published a piece of mine of the hardships of finding a Mom tribe when you first become a Mother, navigating that uncertain time of who you want to become when you envelope this new role. And finally Lis Mesa, one of my dearest friends who is an author and incredible mentor. She inspired me to write when I felt I didn’t fit the mold to be a “writer”. My first piece ever written was published by Scary Mommy – inspired by her courage to pour my heart on paper.
Image credit: Dac Mac Photography