Do What Brings You Happiness: Cindy Castellanos ’99

By Lauren Jefferson | May 30th, 2019

ON THE MARKET STREET BRIDGE above the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Cindy Castellanos ’99 is the consummate professional as she poses for photos, ready for a corporate meet and greet in any impressively appointed boardroom. But in the face of incessant shutter-clicking while answering a series of interview questions and shifting out of the way of passing curious pedestrians, she can only keep a straight face for so long.

Then she can’t resist clowning for the camera.

It’s that authenticity – both in relationship-building and communication – that has helped her to success in the world of corporate talent acquisition. As a global MBA recruiter for the Fortune 500 global science and technology innovator Danaher Corporation, she assesses the brightest graduates from top universities in the US, Europe, China and India, and then works to match them with the best position within Danaher’s workforce of 67,000 associates in more than 30 companies.

These companies provide medical diagnostics, scientific research, dental outcomes, water safety and treatment, and pharmaceutical and food packaging, among other products.

Cindy Castellanos ’99 often walks through Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station on her travels as a recruiter for Danaher Corporation.

Her reward is hearing from candidates thankful for her influence “in connecting them to an opportunity that has created a positive change for them or helped them progress in life,” Castellanos said. “These young professionals are changing the science world and making life better for us. One of them will find the cure to something, I believe, so being able to be a part of that is something I am really passionate about.”

Castellanos was always interested in science; at EMU, she paired an elementary education licensure with a biology minor. After teaching for a year, she then worked in college admissions, recruited fellows for clinical research teams at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and for five years was the western US regional recruiting manager for Aramak.

Those experiences “have all been assets that have helped me to where I am today,” she said. “I really love my job.”

Her global travels – “engaging and building relationships with amazing people and exposing them to new situations and opportunities” – are an extension of her own early cross-cultural experiences, first as a teenager traveling from her Philadelphia neighborhood by bus to attend Dock Mennonite Academy, and later at EMU on her semester cross-cultural to Ivory Coast and France. The exposure to new worlds “helped me adapt to change,” she said.

In her hours of conversation with people in transition – all seeking purpose, place and a community where they are challenged and empowered – she often shares from her own experience: “The straight path we’ve planned out for ourselves rarely happens, and that is totally OK.”

In her own life, she’s looked up to Professor Sandy Brownscombe (now emerita), her advisor at EMU, whose “passion and love for education showed in everything she did and how she taught, even how she lived outside of her work,” Castellanos said. “While I was making a decision on what to do – and I changed my major three times – I just thought that if I could be as happy as her doing something I love, I want to find whatever that is and do it.”

That sentiment has evolved into her motto, which she often shares: “Do what brings you happiness and in that doing, your passion will shine.”