Diversity Awareness Partnership

Keynote Speaker

DAP welcomes Marty Castro, internationally-recognized leader in community service, government, social service, and philanthropy to address our 9th Annual Diversity Summit. His topic:

Diversity & Inclusion in an Era of Division & Intolerance

Marty Castro is the President and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to corporations, entrepreneurs and non- profit organizations seeking to have a positive social impact on diverse communities. Utilizing his multifaceted experience in community service, government, politics, healthcare, social service, philanthropy, business and law, coupled with his broad and deep local, national and global network of relationships, Marty assists his clients in building and executing upon projects that will benefit the community.

As part of his consulting practice at Castro Synergies, Marty currently serves as the Interim CEO of Casa Central, one of the largest Hispanic social service agencies in the Midwest. Casa Central’s programs address the needs of the entire family, from early childhood to older adults, in order to build strong, healthy and stable families and communities. Marty is responsible for all the operational and financial aspects of this $17 million budget, 550+ employee agency.

In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Marty to a six-year term to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (“Commission”) and also appointed him Chairperson of the Commission. He was the agency’s eighth Chairperson and the first Latino Chairperson in the history of the Commission. Marty served as Chair of the Commission until December of 2016.

In December 2009, Marty was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to Chair the Illinois Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is the State public body that arbitrates complaints of discrimination in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Marty served as Chair of the Human Rights Commission until March of 2015.

In 2018, Marty was appointed by Illinois Governor-Elect JB Pritzker to co-chair his Transition Committee on Equality, Equity and Opportunity (the “Committee”). The Committee issued a report to the new Governor to help guide his administration on a host of equity issues impacting the people and government of Illinois.

Marty was recently selected as one of the “50 Most Influential Latinos In Chicago” by Negocios Now magazine and was also selected by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. in October 2011. Marty is the recipient of three honorary doctorates, most recently from Governor’s State University in May of 2018. Marty was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Roosevelt University in December 2011 for his work in advancing social justice. In June of 2016, Marty’s alma mater, De Paul University, presented him with an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters for his community activism and work in the area of civil and human rights.

In May of 2016, Marty was presented with the Ohtli Award, by the Mexican government, its highest honor outside of Mexico, awarded to persons who have had a profound, positive impact on the Mexican Diaspora.

Marty is also a former corporate board member of Bankmont Financial, Inc., where he served on the Audit Committee, and of Harris Bankcorp, Inc., where he served on the Community Reinvestment Act Committee.

Born and raised on the Southeast Side of Chicago, Marty is the son and grandson of Mexican immigrants. Marty’s paternal grandparents came to South Chicago in the 1920s and worked in the steel mills and helped build the community and parish that made up the first Mexican settlement in Chicago.

Marty’s late father, Ray Castro was a prominent community, veterans and political activist and in 1980 Ray was elected the first Latino in Illinois history to be a Democratic Ward Committeeman, when he was elected to that post in the 7th Ward. In 2007, the Castro family was honored for their many contributions to the community and to Hispanic life in Chicago by and exhibition at the Chicago History Museum entitled, “From Colonia to Community.”

Marty is the proud product of Head Start and Affirmative Action. Marty was the first in his family to graduate from high school and the first to obtain a higher education. He graduated from St. Francis De Sales High School and received his B.A. in political science in 1985 from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988.

Marty practiced law and was a partner at several prestigious law firms, including Baker & McKenzie, then the world’s largest global law firm. At Baker & McKenzie, Marty practiced corporate transactional law and complex commercial litigation. Marty was also the Hiring Partner for the Chicago office and also led the firm’s national diversity efforts. Marty was also leader of the diversity efforts at his other law firms, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. At both firms, Marty practiced in the areas of litigation, and diversity consulting and training.

Marty was also the Vice President of External affairs for Aetna, Inc., where he had profit and loss responsibility for Aetna’s diverse markets strategy in the Chicago Regional Market. Marty was also responsible for Aetna’s Chicago Regional Market philanthropy, with a special emphasis on helping to address healthcare inequalities in under-served and diverse communities.

Marty’s commitment to philanthropy has been longstanding. Having served two non-consecutive terms on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust (the “Trust”), where he chaired the Trust’s Fellowship Selection Committee and was an outspoken supporter of diversity and inclusion both at the Trust and its grantee organizations. Marty is also one of the Founders of, and serves on the Steering Committee for Nuestro Futuro, the Trust’s Latino philanthropy initiative.

Marty also plays an active role at the international level, having been appointed by Democracy International to be an official observer of the Presidential elections in Egypt in 2014 and by former President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center to be an official observer of the Kenyan elections in August of

2017. He has been selected as a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab (“GDL”), an organization that brings together international leaders to engage in informal diplomacy and conflict resolution on critical issues of the day. In 2018 Marty was elected by his global colleagues to the GDL Elected Advisory Council. Marty is also part of the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network, which brings together diverse leaders from across the globe to work on issues of social responsibility. Marty is also active with the American Jewish Committee (“AJC”), having recently been appointed to its National Latino Jewish Council. Marty is also active with the AJC’s Latin American Committee which brings together diverse Latino and Jewish community leaders from the
U.S. and Latin American Jewish communities to foster ties of understanding and collaboration and has twice been selected by AJC to participate in its Project Interchange leadership trips to the Middle East.

The constant thread running throughout Marty’s career has been his personal commitment to community service. Marty has been an active leader in community, civic and philanthropic organizations, and blue ribbon and governmental committees. Marty currently is a trustee and past chair of the board of the National Museum of Mexican Art, the only accredited Latino Museum in the United States. Marty is also the Chair of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, which annually hosts Destinos, International Theatre Festival in Chicago.

For his leadership and accomplishments, Marty has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the American Humanist Association’s Religious Liberty Award for standing up to religious intolerance, the National Maestro Award from Latino Leaders Magazine; the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cultural Champion Award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, the Award of Excellence from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; the Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award; and the National Medical Fellowships’ Humanitarian Award. Marty also was the inaugural recipient of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Cesar Chavez Humanitarian Award; the Edwin A. Rothschild Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, that group’s highest honor, and the Inaugural Bob Edgar Champion of Democracy Award from Common Cause Illinois for his commitment to good government and political reform.

Above all, Marty’s greatest personal and professional passions are to be a social change agent, make a positive social impact and help shape his two teenage sons into good citizens who will continue the family tradition of community service.