Alumnae Leadership Award

Evita Castro, an alumna from Trinity High School’s class of 2003, exemplifies the value of a solid academic foundation in a successful design career. As a Daniel Murphy Scholar and an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma recipient, her journey through Trinity was marked by rigorous academic discipline and a broad-minded approach to learning. She channels that same dedication and insight into her role as a leading creative director and brand strategist in the Midwest’s home leisure industry.
While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in industrial design at the University of Notre Dame, where she consistently appeared on the Dean’s List, Evita studied abroad at Nanzan Daigaku in Japan, rapidly achieving level 3 Japanese language proficiency. This experience not only showcased her adaptability and eagerness to embrace new cultures but also played a pivotal role in shaping her global perspective.
Following her graduation in 2007, Evita's professional path began as an intern with Josh Owen, LLC in Philadelphia, PA, where she contributed to the creation of prototypes and promotional materials for product launches at Milan Design Week and Art Basel Miami. Her journey then took her to Urban Outfitters, Inc. where she was a technical illustrator, blending artistic vision with mechanical precision. She successfully developed a catalog for standardization in custom-built store fixtures produced by craft artisans in India, China, and Indonesia exclusively for their sub-brand Free People.
Returning to Chicago in 2009, Evita's career took a dual path: she delved into the world of fashion, making a mark at Latino Fashion Week with her unique designs, while also exploring the realm of education, teaching in local schools. Her role as a freelance graphic designer during this period allowed her to weave compelling visual narratives for various clients.
In 2013, Evita joined The Great Escape/Universal Pool Corporation, where she skillfully managed marketing campaigns in tandem with their ad agency to create visuals for television, e-commerce, and store signage. She also worked with each of the 26 retail locations across the Midwest to unify the brand experience by developing cohesive product and promotional signage, creating visual merchandising portfolios, and producing large scale graphics for the entire fleet of service vehicles and semi truck trailers. Her success in this role depended as much on her design and strategic skills as it did on her clear understanding of cross-cultural communication and team dynamics.
This role was a prelude to Evita’s international stint in Hong Kong at Art Loop in 2015, where she blended her talents in education with branding and marketing. She created interactive art experiences that resonated with diverse audiences at the center and at prominent public art events, including Affordable Art Fair and Art Central, using a multifaceted approach. Evita would encourage participants to view artists as individuals shaped by diverse cultures while mastering art techniques to enhance patience, communication, and composition skills. The experience was not just about imparting artistic knowledge; it was about fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity through art.
Returning to Chicago and rejoining The Great Escape in 2017, Evita brought these enriched perspectives to her role as Creative Director and Lead Brand Strategist, where she has been instrumental in developing product education, innovations in chemical packaging design, and creating multimedia tutorials with a team of regional managers, freelance professionals, and C-suite executives. Her experiences in listening to and valuing each team member’s expertise became a cornerstone of her leadership style. This approach not only contributed to the company’s success but also reinforced the importance of inclusive and educational storytelling in brand strategy.
In 2022, Evita's journey took a philanthropic turn as she was chosen to become the beneficiary manager for The Great Escape’s CEO-founded charity called Greater Together, leading projects that foster community building and enjoyment. Her collaborations with organizations like the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Jesse Brown Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center are a testament to her commitment to communal well-being.
Evita’s story is one of embracing new challenges and leading a life rich with diverse and rewarding experiences, a testament to the foundation laid during her time at Trinity High School. Under the guidance of inspiring educators like Eileen Watts (nee Joyce ’54), Rose Crnkovich, Barbara Mezyk, Judy Miller, Tamariz Irlanda, and Vicki Siliunas, Evita honed her ability to think creatively and originally. These mentors played a pivotal role in shaping her approach to communication and leadership, always emphasizing integrity and authenticity while echoing the wisdom imparted by Sister Michelle Germanson: "We gave you the tools to know yourself and your unique gifts, so you could journey onward toward a fulfilling life."
Outside her professional endeavors, Evita’s life is rich with exploration, from delving into AI tools for creative ideation to enjoying international travel and Chicago’s diverse culinary scene with her partner Mansour Ourasanah and their daughter Leena. On her journey, Evita aims to embody the spirit of lifelong learning and empathetic leadership, striving to blend knowledge with genuine connection in every aspect of her life.