The American dream is hard to achieve, and Latinos are moving to America from all around the world in pursuit of theirs. As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Glenn Parada, who was recently recognized in Forbes for being the first Hispanic-owned mortgage company in Palm Beach, Florida’s Billionaires’ Highway.
Glenn Parada was born in El Salvador in the early 1980s during the country’s civil war era, known as the “Black years”. Due to the hardships and extreme violence of the war, his father (an evangelical minister for the Assemblies of God) was able to obtain legal entry to the United States in response to a direct result of the Ronald Regan administration in the mid-1980s.
I grew up modest as a son of a minister; things were different under those circumstances – I was surrounded by church members, Christian music like Marino, and sometimes Ray Conniff playing on the record player. All I knew was that we prayed a lot, we always had people visiting us, and I remember hearing scary stories of people.
What Brought Him to the U.S.
El Salvador was in the heat of war when I was born, and I remember my father showing me an audio recording of when I was a baby. When he played it, you can hear me crying with loud gunshots going off and soldiers screaming. My father looks at me and says, “We were under the bed, hiding when I recorded this.” Flying from a war-ridden country into New York City, New York, my family and I moved to New Jersey to start anew in hopes of achieving the American Dream. In El Salvador, we were all crammed in one room, and then in New Jersey, we had rented a house, and it felt great; I would see how hard my parents would work to make sure we were comfortable. My childhood was enjoyable and educational because I was around my dad, so I would try to emulate him in every way.
His New Life
From a very early age, I was involved in sales working as a baker – making, baking, and selling Salvadorian sweetbreads from my family’s bakery in the metropolitan area. I was also involved in community outreach events and awareness programs through Christian churches since elementary school to the present day. After graduating High School from Upstate New York, I joined the United States Army as an Armored Tank Crew-member and served as OPFOR in Hohenfels, Germany. After my military service, I got into the Mortgage Industry and have since built my experience in politics, business, churches, and finance.
What Makes Him Optimistic About America’s Future
I see how this world has been flipped around politically and is under a wave of cancel culture, but what makes me optimistic is that, first, we have very low unemployment numbers. Secondly, there have been new initiatives regarding policy put in action for minorities. And the final thing that makes me optimistic is that the economy is elastic, so regardless of pandemic and political barriers, we are bound to bounce back.
What He’s Up to Now
I am on a mission. I am helping Hispanics achieve their homeownership dreams by offering a mortgage to borrowers with no credit and no immigration status, among other programs. I feel so honored that my mortgage company has continued to grow exponentially to the level of being headquartered on Billionaires’ Highway in Palm Beach, Florida.
You can follow Glenn on Instagram @glennparada