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F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

Job Creator • rainmaker • global leader
10th Annual
Filipina Leadership
Is Design Gendered?
FEMtorMatch –
Pinay Power 2020 Vision






elcome to the
10th Annual
Filipina Women’s
Welcome to our returning and
new members!
It is with great honor that I
serve you as President of FWN
for 2013. I would like to thank
Marily Mondejar our past
President and Founder for her
vision and devotion to shaping
FWN into what it is today. And I
am ecstatic that she continued
on the board as our Executive
Director along with our other
Board Members who spend
so much time and energy to
make sure the mission and
values of FWN stay intact. But
there is still much to be done to
continue the charge!
One of my goals as President
is to engage our members by
providing the same networking
and professional development
mixers we have in San Francisco,
in more cities. We began this
year with the FWN Roadshow
where past FWN 100 Awardees
hosted us in various cities
across the US. It was a reminder
that our FWN Energy is strong
no matter where we travel and
that the Most Infuential Award
is a working award where
the awardee pledges to be a
Femtor to younger Filipinas so
that we may see more Filipinas
in the highest ranks of their
companies and organizations
across all industries.
For the past ten years, the
Filipina Women’s Network has
identifed our Most Infuential
Filpinas in the U.S. Now is the
time to expand our search and
identify our leaders globally
which will culminate at the
Pinay Power Summit 2020.
2013 marks the beginning of
our search for the Global 100
Most Infuential Filipinas in
the World. I was not surprised
when amazing nominations
came in from so many diferent
countries. Filipinas are a force
to be reckoned with! It is in
our culture to get involved and
make a diference.
So as we charge our way
towards Pinay Power 2020, I will
focus on these two questions:
First, do our members fnd
FWN as a place to learn,
share ideas and network with
colleagues? Second, are we
helping our members to be
efective and successful in their
professional lives? We learn
from Apple and Google that
listening to customers drives
their business. I will be looking
for your feedback so FWN can
continue to ofer programs and
connections that fullflls your
drive and satisfes your needs.
I look forward to hearing
from you.
his year’s Filipina
Leadership Summit is
particularly joyous.
We mark a historic
To celebrate our 10th year,
we launched two initiatives to
culminate at the FWN’s Annual
Filipina Leadership Summit on
October 24-26, 2013:
Pinay Power 2020 – a global
campaign to select the 100 Most
Infuential Filipina Women in the
World. This is a working award –
each awardee is asked to ‘pay
forward’ by femtoring young
Filipinas helping FWN build the
next generation of Filipina
leaders by 2020 creating our
pipeline of qualifed leaders with
the hope that some will rise to
‘president’ in the private and
public sectors.
The Global100 awardees
selected are coming from
Bangladesh, Canada, China,
Guam, Japan, Philippines,
Poland, Singapore, United Arab
Emirates, and, of course, the
United States. The celebration
continues with Learning
Journeys to the campuses of
Charles Schwab and Google as
we partner with the Filipino
employee groups of these
We inaugurate FEMtorMatch
– a strategy to develop active
Filipina community partnerships
worldwide. FEMtorMatch is a
structured one-on-one online
femtoring program that unlocks
the power of the Internet to
broaden and deepen the reach
of traditional femtoring. FEMtors
are the FWN’s 100 Most
Infuential Filipina Women in the
United States (FWN US100)
Awardees from 2007 thru 2012
and the 100 Most Infuential
Filipina Women in the World
(FWN Global100) 2013
Awardees. FEMtors will share
their competency and skill sets
with selected FEMtees or
protégées. Both FEMtors and
FEMtees can reside anywhere in
the world.
I refect on the two most
important projects that has
changed our community over
the last 10 years:
2004 – launched the
Filipinas Against Violence
spurred by the unsolved murder
of Claire Joyce Tempongko who
was murdered in front of her two
young children. In collaboration
with V-Day, the global
movement to end violence
against women and girls, we’ve
taken our message to
Washington DC, New York,
Las Vegas and annually in San
Francisco. We’ve opened
dialogue about violence at
home and how to seek help. Last
February 14, we chaired V-Day’s
One Billion Rising San Francisco
City Hall event with a public
pledge against violence led by
SF Mayor Ed Lee on the steps of
the People’s House. Over 4,000
attended this momentous
occasion. Next year, we Rise for
Justice to help women who have
been abused or assaulted claim
their dignity.
2006 – launched the Pinay
Power Campaign, which began
our search for the 100 Most
Infuential Filipina Women in the
United States. We have made
great strides – most notably, the
historic election of Tani Cantil
Sakauye, the frst Filipina to
become Chief Justice of
2013 – FWN goes global
CEO and Founder,
Filipina Women’s Network
Filipina Women’s Network
kicked of with the U. S.
Roadshows. Watch out, we’ll
see you at the next one!
Excitement races through
me as I think about the new and
historic journey the Filipina
Women’s Network with our new
president, Susie Quesada – she
epitomizes the future – our next
generation of amazing Filipina
2013 will be a memorable
year as we take a leap in
advancing Filipinas, leaving an
unmistakable footprint visible
around the world. FWN is
energized and ready to take
over the globe!
Creative Director
FWN Fellow
Message from the CEO and Founder ........ 2
Welcome from the FWN President .......... 2
Message from the FWN Chair .................. 3
Message from the Selection
Committee Co-Chairs.......................... 3
Pinay Global Power 2020 Vision .............. 4
Global 100 Keepers of the Flame ............. 4
About Filipina Women’s Network ............ 5
10th Filipina Leadership Summit ............ 6
Kapuso Ng FWN Award ......................... 6
Leadership Keynote: Cora Tellez .............. 7
Acceptance Keynote: Loida Nicolas Lewis .. 7
Is Design Gendered? ............................... 8
FEMtorMatch ...................................... 10
FWN Global 100 Awardee Profiles ....... 11
Cover Story: Delle Sering-Fojas ........... 15
Summit Schedule ............................... 16
here is a path that
lies before us and it
is one that knows
no borders. I know
this now for a fact because it is
evidenced by the diversity of
Filipinas nominated for the
Global Search for the Most
Infuential Filipinas. They’re the
new engine in the realm of
trans-national leadership. Yes,
Filipinas could be immigrants or
migrants, scholars, fellows or
performing artists, international
students or overseas contract
workers, global activists or
traveling businesswomen – all
primed for a massive
international network of Filipina
leaders who bear their advocacy
work or afect the change that
they wish to see in the world
(thank you, Mahatma Gandhi for
what is now an evolved meaning
of transnational leadership!). The
Pinay Power cohorts will be in
this 2013 Summit, so let’s get to
know them.
There are groups who are
deconstructing the history and
status of Filipinas in the mother
country in order to reclaim what
was once their priestess position.
There are Filipinas who lead
international movements that
began from the homeland and
there are others continuing to
advance the feminist agenda or
break glass ceilings, all energized
to take Filipinas to that
proverbial next level.
Lessons we learned in the
Filipina Women’s Network is that
what lies before us is the clarity
of our individual purpose,
regardless of where we live or
work; tasks we advance is the
re-weaving of our cultural
strength into one indestructible
fabric and a strategic support
system that begins with Pinay
mentoring. And are we there
yet? Yes, the engine is running!
Mabuhay tayong lahat!
am pleased to welcome
you to this year’s Filipina
Women’s Network (FWN)
Leadership Summit,
a historic event which gives
us the opportunity to honor
the very frst 100 Filipina
global leaders. This worldwide
search is part of the strategic
plan of FWN’s Filipina Global
Power 2020 Vision – to
double the number of Filipina
global leaders by 2020. I am
proud to say we are well on
track with our vision. Our
honorees have demonstrated
exceptional courage,
innovation and leadership
in advocating for women’s
rights and advancement.
They build on the future of
our communities, inspire our
youth and future leaders, and
contribute signifcantly to
society with their outstanding
accomplishments in corporate,
government, educational
institutions, military or
non-proft organizations.
Chief Diversity Ofcer,
Air National Guard
Filipina Women’s Network
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 3
M E S S A G E F R O M T H E S E L E C T I O N C O M M I T T E E C O - C H A I R
n 2007, when I received
notice I would be included
in the frst Filipina
Women’s Network list of
100 infuential Filipinas in the
United States, I could not contain
myself. It was quite an honor;
and, with extreme delight, I
shared the news with family and
friends. In succeeding days, I
learned about the other women
– pioneers in science and
medicine, notable business
leaders, well renowned artists,
esteemed community leaders,
and more. No ordinary group of
women, I was truly humbled to
be in their midst.
As we gathered in Washington,
D.C. to receive our awards, I
marveled at the confdence and
composure of the women. How
wonderful that our life’s journey
brought us all together!
Most, if not all, shared
common traits. We were
goal-oriented, highly capable
with the ability to multi-tasked
but singularly focused when
required, success driven and
proud to be Filipinas. We received
a lot of compliments that
evening. We were congratulated
for our leadership skills, our
sensitivity and compassion to
others, our lack of trepidation, our
willingness to take risk, and our
obstinacy to meet challenges and
overcome barriers. But the one
distinctive compliment I
cherished was that we were
recognized for our commitment
to mentoring future generations.
I cannot recall a more
auspicious moment – until now.
This year, Filipina Women’s
Network has expanded its search
to fnd Filipinas worldwide who
are infuencing their
communities, organizations, their
industries and professions. As
with my previous nomination,
I am honored and humbled to be
included in the Filipina Women’s
Network Global 100 Awards.
Once again I will spread the news
to my family and friends. Once
again I am ecstatic to be part of
this group. Not because I want to
be honored (let me tell you it
never gets old), but because I am
anxious to meet my new
heroines. I cannot wait to meet
the Filipina women who are
making change happen in Africa,
South America, Australia, Asia,
Europe and North America.
Please join me to celebrate them.
National Political Director, Asian
Pacifc American Labor Alliance
F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g 4
Sustaining the Pinay Power 2020 Vision is quite
daunting. As the excitement dies down and the
reality of executing FWN’s 2020 game plan, many
will drop out and others will pick up the torch. The
Keepers of the Flame are the caretakers to ensure
that the the vision is kept alive.
“Never again forget the contributions of Filipina
women in the building of the world.”
–Marily Mondejar
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 5
Be the #1 resource for learning, professional /
professional development and leadership
for Filipina women.
Position Filipina women as economic and
social contributors to the global workplace.
We achieve our mission through public
education forums and career development
programs that:
» Infuence popular culture.
» Raise awareness of the activities, careers
and status of Filipina women in the
global workplace.
» Enhance public perceptions of Filipina
women’s capacity to lead.
» Change biases against Filipina women’s
leadership abilities.
» Build the Filipina community’s pipeline
of qualifed leaders to increase the odds
that some will rise to the “president”
position in the public and private sectors.
1. Branding
» Shaping the Filipina Image
» Filipina Action Now
2. Social Justice
» Anti-Domestic Violence and
Anti-Human Trafcking Campaign
» Immigrant Rights
3. Coalition Building
» Annual Filipina Summit
» Search for the 100 Most Infuential
Filipina Women in the World
4. Leadership Development
» Filipina Women Who Could Be
President Fellowship
» Filipinas in Motion
» Boards & Commissions Appointments
» Political Training
» FWN Fellows
» FEMtorMatch
5. Cultural Awareness
» FWN Salo Salo
» Sheroes Monologues
» Strategic Alliances with corporate
Filipino employee afnity groups
We strive to exemplify our values
through –
» Partnership
» Innovation
» Integrity
» Openness
» Respect
We fulfll our mission and achieve our
vision through a commitment to:
1. Learning and professional
» We believe that learning is critical
to performance.
2. Service
» We anticipate and satisfy the
needs of our members and other
3. Success
» We achieve our mission and
professional success.
» Act on feedback from our members.
Link Filipina women locally and
» Encourage every member’s
participation. Make decisions after
considering the needs of our
» Collaborate with members to create
opportunities and solve problems.
Explore new ways of doing things.
» Build an environment that supports
risk-taking and innovation. Are
honest and straightforward.
» Share information openly and in a
timely manner. Make the best use of
resources available.
» Achieve our mission and fnancial
» Collaborate across boundaries and
» Encourage the open exchange of
views, concerns and learning. View
challenges with an open mind.
» Learn from mistakes. Listen for
» Seek and give helpful, timely
feedback. Value the potential of
ideas and of people.
» Leverage diferences in people and
in opinion.
» Embrace our cultural heritage as
an opportunity.
1. Intensify Member Value
Engage and partner with all
members, understand their needs
and expectations, and respond
with value-added solutions to
strengthen learning, leadership,
professional and personal
development in their respective
workplaces and the Filipina community.
2. Create, Capture and Provide First
Class Knowledge and Professional
Make FWN the most comprehensive
source of information on Filipina
American culture, workplace learning,
leadership, professional and personal
development for Filipina women.
3. Lead Through Technology
Leverage technology to engage
members, capture knowledge,
facilitate interaction, and deliver
customized products and services.
4. Shape The Filipina Image
Defne the Filipina image and shape its
future by being the leading source of
workplace data, trends, and successful
practices for Filipina women
5. Position FWN as the recognized
leader with current and emerging
Serve the Filipina global community by
being a leading catalyst for sharing
professional learning and personal
development worldwide.
Alicia Fortaleza
Bambi Lorica MD
Edcelyn Pujol
Elena Mangahas
Marily Mondejar
Col. Shirley Raguindin
Sonia Delen
Susie Quesada
Consul General Jun Paynor
Deputy Consul General
Jaime Ramon Ascalon
Consul Reginald S. Bernabe
Consul Reichel Quiñones
Elsie McAteer
Florence Corteza
Hydra Mendoza
Gloria T. Caoile
Col. Shirley Raguindin
Bambi Lorica MD
Cynthia Rapaido
Mutya San Agustin MD
Sonia Delen
Thelma Boac
Elisa Sunga
Rebecca Corteza
Candy Mae Estalilla
Bennie Quevedo-Burris
JoAnn De Jesus
Noelani Sallings
Prosy Delacruz
Stella Mendieta
Sylvia Harms
Yael Rosenwald
Peter Koehler
Al Perez
Blesilda Ocampo
Charlene Fassler
Crystal Milo
Eleanor Fernandez
Iriz Lorenzo
Chef Jessette Kalsi
Kristen Lostica
Leah Laxamana
Marice Tran
Julio Lujan, JL Imagination
Event Production and
Asian Week Foundation
Ramar Foods Intl.
Lydia Cruz Foundation
Southwest Airlines
CSAA Insurance Group
Academy of Art Univ.
Kaiser Permanente –
The Permanente Group
Maya Ong Escudero
Seven Seven Corp. Group
Global Networks: Maria
Beebe, PhD | | Twitter@filipinawomen
HOW TO REACH THE FILIPINA WOMEN’S NETWORK: P. O. Box 192143, San Francisco, CA 94119 | Phone: 415. 935. 4FWN
The views and opinions of advertisers
and contributors expressed
in this publication do not necessarily
state or refect those of
Filipina Women’s Network.
© 2013 Filipina Women’s Network.
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may
be published without the
expressed written permission of
the publisher.
F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g 6
he Filipina Women’s Network (FWN)
unveiled a groundbreaking endeavor to
bring together remarkable Filipina women
from around the world to receive the 100
Most Infuential Filipina Women in the
World Awards™ at the 10th Annual Filipina Leadership
Summit on October 24-26 in San Francisco. The FWN
Global100™ Award honors women of Philippine
ancestry who are infuencing change and making
change happen in their communities, their industries,
their professions, in the world: in Africa, North
America, South America, Asia, Australia, Antarctica
and Europe.
“FWN is building on the great success of the
100 Most Infuential Filipina Women in the United
States Awards™,”said FWN President Susie Quesada.
“Launched in 2006, the FWN100 U.S. Awards was
purposely created to develop strong leadership in
the Filipina American community by 2012. We have
achieved that goal and have now identifed the
accomplished women who are signifcantly changing
public perceptions of Filipina women’s capacities to
lead, innovate and infuence U. S. society and the
workplace. These leaders are also femtoring young
Filipina women to succeed in their careers. Going
global is the next logical step and this campaign will
culminate in the year 2020”
“The Global100™ Awards is the heart of FWN’s
Filipina Global Power 2020 Vision: to build the Filipina
community’s pipeline of qualifed leaders to increase
the odds that some will rise to the “president”position
in all industry sectors worldwide, “ explained Marily
Mondejar, FWN CEO. “Filipina women have migrated all
over the world to seek economic empowerment - their
collective stories will be the largest recorded diaspora
of modern times. The Global100™ Awards is historic
and the most apt to celebrate FWN’s 10th anniversary.”
“The selection of the frst FWN Global100™
Awardees is an opportunity for FWN to collaborate
with these leaders so together we continue to create
breakthroughs and femtor the next generation
of Filipina leaders, an efective form of succession
planning,”emphasized Elena Mangahas, FWN Board
Chair. “We are excited about
identifying these trailblazers
as we want their support in
launching the frst FEMtorMatch
Femtoring Initiative at the
Filipina Leadership Summit in
Nomination entries must
be received by August 30.
The nomination application
process will take place entirely
online at http://summit.
Qualifed candidates will be
evaluated by a Selection Committee based on the
size and scope of their positions, infuence in their
industries and communities, board afliations and
other leadership roles. To review the Award FAQs - go
The Filipina Women’s Network invites online
nominations in the following seven categories:
category recognizes a Filipina woman who may not
have the big title or corner ofce, but is a driving force
behind the success of her community organization’s
project or initiative; or her employer’s organizational
business unit or department. Someone who has gone
beyond the call of duty to devote time, energy, and
resources to support her organization.
BUILDERS Builders have demonstrated
exceptional business impact at a large workplace
environment; displaying deep passion for a cause
through collaborative initiatives at a nonproft
institution; high potential and skill with measurable
results at a government agency, or organization
in any feld. “Buildership”is about building better
organizations, leading broken organizations to adjust,
repair, and re-align.
EMERGING LEADERS This award category
recognizes Filipina women below age 35 who are
making their mark in a leadership role and has
demonstrated exceptional
business impact at a large
workplace environment;
displaying deep passion for a
cause through collaborative
initiatives at a nonproft
institution; high potential and
skill with measurable results
at a government agency, or
organization in any feld.
This award honors Filipina
women in their capacities as
either the chief executive,
president, executive director
or founder of a company, community organization,
non-proft, or business venture that they helped start,
build or signifcantly grow. This award category is for
trailblazers who have marshaled resources and applied
innovative practices, processes and/or technologies in
a new and groundbreaking way to address a signifcant
business or organizational opportunity.
recognizes women who have broken new ground
in the marketplace, have delivered new and unique
applications of emerging technology transforming
the way people think, in the felds of sports, literature,
the arts and pop culture, or have improved the lives of
others by helping develop a product or service in the
felds of science, engineering, technology, or medicine.
This award category is also for someone who have
either launched a new enterprise learning function
or completely overhauled an existing development or
community initiative.
“NICOLE” This award honors Filipina women
whose words, actions, and activism, inspire others to
act and revolutionize society’s way of understanding
traditional beliefs and customs thus leaving behind
a Filipino global imprint. “Nicole,”who sparked an
international dialogue about women’s rights, national
sovereignty, and international law as she steadfastly
pursued justice against her rapists, inspires this
FWN Global100

Awardees to be recognized at the
10th Filipina Leadership Summit
recognizes Filipina women leaders who have demonstrated
exceptional business acumen combined with a forward-
looking vision in the development or infuencing of
policies, campaigns or laws that impact business, industry,
and society and who enrich the lives and careers of others
by sharing the benefts of their wealth, experience, and
30% of the awardees in 2013 will be selected each
from the United States and the Philippines. A new award
category is the selection of Filipina women under age 35
for the Emerging Leader category.
The FWN Global100 Awardees will be honored at a gala
awards dinner during the 10th Annual Filipina Leadership
Summit at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel in
San Francisco. The Filipina Summit is convened in October
because the earliest documented proof of Filipino presence
in the Continental United States was in October 1587 in
Morro Bay, California.
Most Infuential Filipina Women in the World Award™
recognizes Filipina women who are infuencing the face
of leadership in the global workplace, having reached
status for outstanding work in their respective felds
and are recognized for their leadership, achievement
and contributions to society, femtorship and legacy. The
awardees are asked to femtor a young Pinay and bring her
to the Filipina Summit.
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 7
ora M. Tellez serves as company
President & CEO of Sterling
Health Services Administration
(, a
company she founded in 2004.
Cora has 25 years of management experience
in healthcare fnance and delivery. Prior to
founding Sterling, Cora was President of the
Health Plans division of Health Net, Inc., an
insurance provider that operated in seven
states and achieved revenue of $8 billion from
health plans. She has also served as President
of Prudential’s western health care operations,
CEO of Blue Shield of California, Bay Region
and Regional Manager for Kaiser Permanente
of Hawaii.
Sterling is a leader in a category of
tax-advantaged healthcare benefts called
health savings accounts, or HSAs. As an
independent HSA administrator, Sterling
serves the needs of insurance carriers,
employers and consumers. The company
ofers a comprehensive range of services,
such as payment of medical bills, education,
collection, customer service and reporting to
establish and manage HSAs. In addition to
HSAs, Sterling ofers a complete portfolio of
products including administration of health
reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), fexible
beneft plans (FSAs), premium only plans
(POPs), COBRA and self-insurance. Sterling
is also an expert provider of healthcare
related compliance services under ERISA
and healthcare reform. The company helps
employers solve problems around insurance
afordability while providing employees with
tools and fnancial incentives to consume
health services thoughtfully. Sterling is a
pioneer in the TPA feld in providing fnancial
incentive out of its own funds to promote
healthy behavior on the part of employees.
In 2012, Cora led the development and
launch of the Gift of Learning and Gift of
Health program. Intended to encourage
Filipinos donors in the US to send money
to needy relatives in the Philippines, the
program ofers a secure vehicle to ensure that
the donor’s funds are spent for the purpose
intended by the donor.
With a long and successful record in the
health insurance industry, Cora founded
Sterling because of her strong belief that
consumer directed plans will have an
enormous impact on the afordability and
accessibility of healthcare for individuals and
businesses. She speaks nationwide to groups
of insurance professionals and fnancial
advisors, companies of all sizes and consumers
about the vital changes needed in health care
benefts and the role that consumer-directed
plans play in reform.
Cora received her master’s degree in
public administration from California State
University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of
Mills College where she received a BA degree
and served as college Trustee. She serves
on the boards of HMS Holdings, Inc., and
Practice Fusion. She also serves on several
nonproft organization boards, including the
Institute for Medical Quality. She is a former
board director of Crescent Healthcare, Bank
of Hawaii, Glendale Federal Bank, Cal Fed
Bank, Catellus Development Company and
First Consulting Group. She has served on
numerous non-proft boards, including The
Cowell Foundation, Mills College, Holy Names
University, and Philippine International Aid.
She helped found Asian Community Mental
Health and Filipinos for Social Justice. Cora
has been recognized for her professional and
community endeavors by such organizations
as Women Healthcare Executives, the Asian
Pacifc Fund, and the Anti Defamation League.
oida Nicolas Lewis served as
Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice
International, a $2 billion
multinational food company with
operations all across Europe, from
1994-2000. She assumed the leadership
of one of the largest companies in the U.S.
after the death of her husband, the African-
American, Wall Street fnancier Reginald F.
Lewis, and won over a skeptical business
community by moving quickly to sell assets
including the corporate jet, paying down
debt, downsizing the New York corporate
staf by 50 percent and increasing earnings.
After successfully running the company for six
years, she completed the sale of TLC Beatrice
and its related businesses in 2000, achieving
a 35 percent return on investment for its
In 1987, her late husband, Reginald, a
Harvard Law graduate, had bid for and won
the international operations of Beatrice
International in a $1 billion leveraged buyout
that at the time was the largest of its kind.
In 1992, he was listed by Forbes Magazine
as among the 400 wealthiest Americans. In
1995, Mrs. Lewis appeared on the cover of
Working Woman magazine as the Top Business
Woman in America.
Currently, Mrs. Lewis is Chair and CEO of
TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment frm.
A lawyer by profession, admitted to practice
in the Philippines and New York, Mrs. Lewis
was the frst Filipino woman to pass the New
York bar without attending law school in the
United States.
After having won her discrimination
case against the US Immigration and
Naturalization Service in 1987 and been
awarded three years back pay, Mrs. Lewis
served for ten years as General Attorney with
the INS. She co-authored “How to Get A Green
Card,” now in its 10th edition and a best-seller
in its genre.
Mrs. Lewis is a philanthropist and a leader
of the Filipino-American community. She is
one of the founders of the National Federation
of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
an advocacy group in the United States. She
is also one of the founders of Asian American
Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF),
and of the US Pinoys for Good Governance
(USP4GG), organized after the election in
May 2010 of Benigno Simeon Aquino III as
President of the Philippines
In 1998 in her hometown of Sorsogon,
Mrs. Lewis funded the microfnance People’s
Alternative Livelihood Foundation of Sorsogon
Inc. (PALFSI). The Foundation has since helped
20,000 families through micro-lending,
helping lift them out of poverty.
In 1999, also in Sorsogon, Mrs. Lewis
founded The Lewis College (TLC). The school
ofers Pre-K through high school and college-
level coursework, including a six-month TESDA
approved nursing assistant course. TLC is now
recognized throughout the Bicol Region as a
champion in information technology having
won a regional competition in 2010.
Mrs. Lewis supports Asian American Legal
Defense and Education Fund, Asian Pacifc
American Legal Center, Asian Pacifc Islander
Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Asian Pacifc American
Film, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian
American Federation of New York, Asian
American Foundation, Diversity Theater and
Ma-Yi Theater.
F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g 8
s there a diference between
how communication design as a
profession is practiced by women
and men? Though I have often
found that women are more likely
than men to explore personal issues
through and within their work, I am
wary of essentializing identity. Speaking
of the inherent qualities of maleness
and femaleness is problematic, for to
naturalize diference in this way limits our
freedom to determine our own identities.
I do not necessarily think that I impart
a feminine quality in my work, but the
strategies and aesthetics I work with, for
example layering or unraveling, may be
culturally gendered as feminine. That
is, they refect certain qualities that are
associated with femininity in western
I came to the United States after
graduating from college with a bachelor’s
degree in Fine Arts from the College of
the Holy Spirit in Manila. At that time, in
the late 70s, there was no educational
institution that ofered a master’s degree
in Design.
My personal trajectory as a graphic
designer took me frst to California
College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco,
then studying for my MFA in Design at
Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfeld
Hills, Michigan, before moving to New
York. Many young designers look
to New York as the Holy Grail, for it
is in experiencing this urban ethos
that their creative talents are tested
amid a competitive and challenging
Because of my Filipino background,
I see my feminism through a diferent
lens than my western contemporaries,
and a quality that has historical roots
within our culture. In the Philippines, it is
not unusual to see women in positions
of power, especially in politics; we have,
after all, had not one, but two female
presidents. The United States has had no
such precedent, to date.
Is Design Gendered?
In my almost 30 years as an educator
in the design feld, frst in San Francisco
and now New York, I have had a
disproportionately large number of
female students across the board. The
perpetual conundrum in our discipline
and practice is that there while there
may be many more female educators,
there are very few design studios and
companies owned and run by women.
It poses questions about what women
see as preeminent in a design career
and the divergent choices of teaching
and professional practice. Over the
years, these women’s teachings and
pedagogical approach have infuenced
young women and men alike, and as a
result, a number of men are doing design
work that refects a certain sensitivity
and complexity not often seen in
generations past.
As a teacher, I am interested in
developing in my students, a point of
view shaped by their personal history.
I frmly believe that instilling a strong
sense of self-esteem leads to a critical
outlook towards one’s work, culture, and
the society at large. With this process, I
ofer an alternative perspective on the
role of design... that it is not merely a way
to sell a product, but an opportunity to
enlighten, pose questions and interact
with, and understand the world.
Lydia Cruz
For your selection to the
FWN Global 100:
100 Most Influential
Filipina Women in the World
9 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
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F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g 10
WN is launching its
FEMtorMatch™ Program at
its 10th Filipina Leadership
Summit & Global 100 Awards
Celebration in San Francisco on
October 25-27, 2013.
What is the FEMtorMatch™ Program?
The FEMtorMatch™ Program is FWN’s
well-researched and academic-based
strategy to develop active Filipina
community partnerships worldwide.
FEMtorMatch™ is a structured one-
on-one online femtoring program
that unlocks the power of the Internet
to broaden and deepen the reach of
traditional femtoring. FEMtors™ are
the FWN’s 100 Most Infuential Filipina
Women in the United States (FWN US100)
Awardees from 2007 thru 2012 and the
100 Most Infuential Filipina Women in
the World (FWN Global100) Awardees
FWN’s US100 and Global100
Awardees will share their
competency and skill sets
with selected FEMtees.™
Awardees are senior
and executive leaders,
managers, professionals,
elected and appointed
ofcials, subject matter
experts, and entrepreneurs
in the public and private
sectors including the
military worldwide.
These Awardees are the FEMtors™ for
the FEMtorMatch™ Program. FEMtees™
are professional Filipina women, in
need of femtoring, who apply and
are approved through an application
Filipina Women’s Network (FWN):
FEMtorMatch™ Program
process. Both FEMtors™ and FEMtees™
can reside anywhere in the world, and are
encouraged to submit their applications
before and during the 10th Summit.
Through FEMtorMatch,™ trained
FEMtors™ and screened FEMtees™ are
matched in one-on-one partnerships and
agree to communicate at least bi-weekly
through a secure site accessible on
FWN’s website. As in all quality femtoring
relationships, the needs
and interests of the women
in need of femtoring drive
the exchanges between the
FEMtees™ and the FEMtors.™
Based on established
academic and industry
leadership competencies, the
FEMtorMatch™ program can
provide Filipina FEMtees™ the
skillsets and networks they
need to succeed, develop and
manage highly efective campaigns and
organizations in the private and public
sectors including the military.
FEMtorMatch™ is a partnership that
focuses on the needs of approved
FEMtee™ participants. It encourages
a FEMtee™ to develop to her fullest
potential by helping the FEMtee™
manage her career path with a future
What are the organizational goals of
the FEMtorMatch™ Program?
FWN is committed to build the Filipina
community’s and FWN’s pipeline of
qualifed leaders, to increase the odds
that some will rise to the “President”
position in the private, public and military
sectors worldwide, and to expand the
pool of FWN’s FEMtors.™
The FEMtor™’s organization will
have a leader/manager/executive who
will refect on her qualities & skills and
become a better leader/manager/
The FEMtee™’s organization will gain
a high-potential employee who will
learn the critical qualities and behaviors
that lead to success in leadership,
management and executive roles.
For application materials and
more information, please email to:
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 11
Executive Director,
Susie Tompkins
Buell Foundation
Residence: San
Francisco, California
Bio: A self-described
“social change dreamer, devoted mother & wife,
foundation director, political kibitzer, fundraiser,
peacemonger, and writer.”As Executive Director of
the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation, she manages
a San Francisco-based foundation capitalized at over
$6 million. Susie Tompkins Buell, founder of the Esprit
de Corp clothing company, inspired the clothing
industry with her revolutionary fusion of corporate
mission with social responsibility. Created in 1990, the
Foundation directs funding using a “women and girls
lens,”evaluating potential grantees for their inclusion
of women and girls, not only as recipient of services
but also for their representation on boards and staf.
Belinda’s pivotal role in directing this private Foundation
towards causes supporting women and girls.
Belinda Munoz is the political advisor focusing on
fundraising for progressive women candidates. Some
of the candidates that Belinda has fundraised for are
Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren and
Kamala Harris to name a few. In her down time, Belinda
can be found either blogging about anything from
politics to poetry or on the move in pursuit of the perfect
playground. She is married with one son and lives in
San Francisco.
Come Visit My
Tagalog Lyricist
and Vocalist,
Brinoy Music
Residence: San Francisco, California
Born and raised in Manila, Bessie is the 2nd of 8 children
of Teresa Javier de Leon and Romeo Garcia Badilla.
Bessie took part in several world tours promoting
Philippine Tourism. During one of the European tours,
Bessie became a mannequin du cabin for the house of
Balenciaga for 4 years. During of-season in Paris, Bessie
would fy to Manila to tape a weekly sitcom, “Eh, Kasi
Babae,”which became the number one show on prime
time TV. Bessie was nominated for “Most Promising TV
Celebrity,”and “Best Actress in a Comedy,”on her frst
year on television. Bessie married businessman Bambi
del Castillo, the couple would later have two daughters,
Blanca and Ines and later moved to the USA and have
lived in Connecticut to the present.
After losing her husband to brain aneurism in 2006,
Bessie kept herself busy producing Independent Films,
Documentaries and helping build homes for the poor in
the Philippines through Gawad Kalinga. She was able
to help build a village with 30 homes for 30 families,
the village is aptly named, “BAMBIVILLE,”after her late
husband. Bessie is a recipient of the Rotary Club of
Manila Award for Online Tourism for “COME VISIT MY
PHILIPPINES,”a Facebook Group Site with over 45,000
members promoting Philippine Tourism.
Residence: Makati,
Education: Masters in
Public Administration
What was you very frst job? Tutor in English as a
Second Language
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? Access to education prevents girls
from being trafcked or becoming vulnerable for
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? Bob Santos otherwise known as
“Uncle Bob”who is an activist from Seattle, WA and a
former U.S. Secretary’s Representative Department of
Housing and Urban Development, Northwest/Alaska
Region selected by President Clinton. He recognized
my potential before I believed it myself. He guided
and pushed me to step in positions to be the voice for
Filipinos and other people of color in the government
system. He never judges people and always believes
in the opportunity they can accomplish. He remains
humble, encouraging, and always makes time for
others. He’s a constant friend, mentor, and advisor for
many years.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: I worked for a local
government ofce in the county of Washington state.
The ofce staf composed mostly of Caucasian and I
was one of two Filipinas who worked in the ofce. I
challenged the traditional ways to create accessibility
on government funds and programs for immigrants
and refugees. I was ostracized for thinking diferently.
I took it as an opportunity to stand up for other people
of color by asserting my rights, which inspired other
people to step forward and fght discrimination within
the bureaucracy.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I worked in the county
of Washington state, I fought for equal opportunity. I
learned quickly the politics in development, created
partnerships to mobilize, and social justice that still
needs to occur within government systems. I took a
new position in City government and galvanized the
community. It resulted to cultural competency training
and speakers from immigrant and refugee groups. I
learned how to connect my networks together for social
justice and education.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I left at a young age due to the Marcos
The 100 Most Infuential
Filipina Women in the World
12 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
regime, and returned 9 years later to visit family for
two weeks. Three years ago, I decided to volunteer for
a non-proft organization on anti-human trafcking. It
resulted to living and working in the country for 3 years.
My position to work against human trafcking was in my
frst couple of years. Now, I’m working on the prevention
side, which is access to education with the
Filipino custom or tradition I would like to
pass on to others: Mano. Blessing from the elders by
laying their backhand to your forehead.
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Why? Sinigang. It’s
comfort food and it reminds me of my lola.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I played basketball in H.S. and still do on occasion. My
competitive side comes out on the court.
Who is your favorite female fction shero?
Why? Selene from the movie Underworld. I love strong
women fgures, who know what they want.
Book you are currently reading: I am Malala by
Malala Yousafzai
What is your greatest regret? I don’t have one.
What is your life philosophy? You can’t control the
environment around you, but you can control how you
react and feel about it to make the change needed.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
Continue to inspire and empower all women from all
backgrounds so we may recognize the power we can
make together.
Journalist Food
Residence: Flanders,
New Jersey
Bachelor of Arts in
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? As a journalist, via my writings of Filipino
food, culture and travel, I bring generations & countries
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Nora Daza via her cookbooks and TV cooking
shows which I watched with my mom regularly. She
shaped my love for cooking and writing about it.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: “Do you write in English?”was
a question an American once posed to me in a job
interview. Since I had been a writer in the Philippines, I
thought I could slip into the role easily in the States. I was
wrong. I speak with an accent and to Americans, they
can’t fathom how someone who doesn’t speak like them
can write well. I have worked hard to disprove that my
coming from the Philippines does not make me less of a
person, or less intelligent than Americans.
Why did you leave the Philippines? We moved to
the USA 20 years ago due to my husband’s job transfer. It
was a work opportunity we could not pass up. We saw it
as a chance to give our sons a good education and better
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Family meals spent together daily.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: That’s
a tough question. I think I am pretty transparent.
Favorite fction shero: I prefer to admire real life
sheroes rather than fction.
Book you are currently reading: Pastor’s Wives by
Lisa T. Cullen
What is your greatest regret? I have no regrets. I
have been blessed with a good husband, great sons, and
awesome family. If I didn’t get what I want in life, then it
was never meant for me. No regrets really.
Your wish for the Filipina Women’s Network?
For the goals to be accomplished. I would very much like
to see Filipinas all over the world put in a positive light.
No matter what role or occupation we have, Filipinas
are the best. I hope to see great Filipina women leaders
succeeding in the community in the coming years. The
world is a better place when there’s a Filipina running it!
Clinical Nurse
Kaiser Permanente,
Los Angeles
Medical Center
Residence: Los
Angeles, California
Education: Doctor of Nursing Practice
First job: Clinical Intructor in a school of nursing in the
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? That nurses all over the world utilize
evidence-based practice to provide the most efective
care based on best available evidence.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: My clinical mentor Dr. Anna Omery has
infuenced most of my professional career. I learned to
speak the language of research and evidence-based
practice through her mentorship over the years. I pursued
my doctoral degree to have the competencies necessary
in producing new knowledge and translating this to
clinical practice. This is what “value-added”is in my role
as a CNS. It is Dr. Omery who fostered my professional
growth while at Kaiser Permanente.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: I can only speak of nursing
profession. I think majority of us Filipina nurses are still
perceived to be less assertive when communicating with
members of the healthcare team i.e. doctors. I believe
this stems out from our upbringing in the Philippines
respecting the authority at all times. The clinical practice
model when I was in nursing school is to follow doctors’
order and not to disagree or question them. I hope
the paradigm has shifted because it is a must that we
speak up to reduce medical errors. Speaking up and
questioning doctor’s orders is an advocacy for patient
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I was diagnosed with
cancer. I did a lot of soul searching then. I went over
the life trajectory checklist... where I have been in my
professional life and where I wanted to go. I decided
that I will not allow cancer to take over my life. It was
then that I decided to go back to school for my doctoral
degree. Here I am, a cancer survivor and continue to
enjoy my family and my career.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I left the
Philippines for better opportunities. Seeing my cousins
migrate to the US gave me the impetus to pursue
nursing as well. I thought being a nurse I will have a
better chance to go to US, practice the profession and
consequently be able to provide for my family. It was
a ubiquitous thing then. My experience proved it to be
ONE Filipino custom or tradition you would
like to pass on to others: Taking the hand of an
elder and bringing it to forehead as a sign of respect at
every point of greeting and farewell.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: My favorite is adobo. It
is one of the easy recipes that I know. I don’t have to do
any measurements, just estimate the amount of vinegar
and soy sauce and it is ready to go. This is the best recipe
for extremely busy professionals who may need to cook.
Other than that, take out is the easiest option if running
out of time.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: That I
sob everytime I watch the movie “ET”.
Favorite fction shero: When I was growing up, I
loved to watch Wonder Woman because she is a symbol
of strength as she fghts for peace, equality and love.
Book you are currently reading: Road to Relevance
by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers
What is your greatest regret? I don’t want to
focus on things that happened in the past since I can’t
do anything about it. Just need to move on and learn
from it.
What is your life philosophy? Think big, dream big
and have a focused life plan and that includes enjoying
life to the max.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: To
continue promoting the strength of Filipino women all
over the world through your vision.
Executive Director,
San Francisco Hep
B Free Campaign
Residence: Daly City,
Education: College
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? SF Hep B Free Campaign serves as a
national and global model for eliminating Hep B in at risk
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Marily Mondejar. I’ve grown up in FWN and
Marily was there at each transition in my career. She
taught me to fght for my worth
First job: Temporary Ofce Clerk with Kelly Stafng
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: I was working for the Hertz
Corporation in its suburban division Hertz Local Edition
(HLE). In 2 years, I was promoted 5 times and had to
fght numerous rumors about me having an afair with
my boss and overhearing things like “I guess you have to
be a woman and Asian to get promoted over here”.
I learned that being in management position in a multi-
Billion dollar company along side predominantly male
colleagues and superiors that I had to work 3 times as
hard because 1) I was the youngest regional manager 2)
I was a woman and 3) I was Filipino
What was the turning point in your
professional life? I realized that people will say nasty
things about you, people you don’t even know, people
you haven’t even worked with. At the end of the day,
spending time on people who aren’t important to you
and have no validation to the things they say is time
wasted and taken away from the good work I can focus
on. The last 4 years have been the roughest years in my
life in grappling professional and personal relationships
around work and projects but I learned that when
challenged and when someone tries to demean you, to
take that energy and use it to fuel energy into good work.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: I grew up with the cultural value
of Bayanihan spirit, the tradition of helping. I grew up
watching my parents help those around them because
they didn’t want them to struggle even to their last dollar
or just a few minutes to lend a hand.
Favorite Filipino recipe: My mom’s pancit molo
(won ton soup). Its our staple family recipe and it brings
back memories of all the parties she hosted at our
house, events, and stories at those events and event the
moments in prepping this food. Its a recipe she’s passed
down to us and it also brings smiles to my nieces and
nephews who are always requesting it.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I’m
kind of a tomboy. I grew up with 3 brothers and was
always jealous of their toys. I didn’t even have a Barbie.
I would have rather launch a rocket. That’s why I have
interest in sports and cars, golfng, hunting, you name it.
Favorite fction shero: Bionic Woman. I was born
in the 70’s and grew up watching this show. It was great
to watch a strong female character on TV who was also
feminine and pretty yet very macho and strong.
Book you are currently reading: Born To Rebel by
Frank J. Sulloway
What is your greatest regret? Exploring my
passion at an earlier age. I thought my happiness was to
be an obedient child because it made me happy to make
my parents happy
What is your life philosophy? Faith and Fear cannot
coexist. Meaning that if you really believe in something
then you can’t be scared and you have to just trust your
faith and trust that people have faith in you.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
I’ve seen FWN grow so much in the past 10 years.
I remember when I was the youngest member. I
would like to see these Femtees become Femtors and
establish a workshop or program for junior high and
high school ladies and address health relationships and
communication and the core of self value and how to use
that to communicate efectively.
Realtor, Coral Sea
Realty; President,
Cabuhat Tech.
Residence: Dededo,
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Lead families to a better life by taking the
extra mile to fulfll their dreams of homeownership.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Mr. Henry Schnabel. Being my frst boss in
Guam, he patiently taught me the nature of my job, he
was very strict and disciplined and he taught me that in
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 13
order for us to succeed, we have to go through diferent
challenges but don’t let challenges stop you. Instead,
we have to be focused on our goal and govern by good
values and social responsibility.
First job: Cashier at Kimpura Restaurant in Makati,
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: In my opinion working in the
Middle East countries is the most difcult workplace that
challenges Filipina workers. Although their decision to
seek employment abroad is not easy and often made
out of desperation, a large number of Filipina leave their
families to seek a better quality of lives for their families.
But many of them are being abused and exploited by
their employers. They often exposed to discrimination
and racism, raped and sometimes even killed. Since this
are happening at their workplace this maltreatment are
hidden from the scrutiny of the public. Their employers
often confscate their travel documents so they cannot
leave and fle complaint against their employer.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I decided to get into real
estate was the turning point of my professional life.
Seing the happy faces of the buyers closing their frst
home made me realize that I can make buyers dream
come true and this led me to a wonderful career. I
was awarded the Outstanding New Comer award, Top
Producer Award within my ofce for many years, PDN
People’s Choice Award 11th and 12th Annual Ginefi’E
Itano Realtor Award and 2013 Business Woman of the
Year Nominee. Recently named 2013 Realtor of the Year
by the Guam Association of Realtor, the greatest honor
bestowed upon a Realtor.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I married
a US Citizen residing in Guam. We were blessed with
3 children. My husband’s family were from Cavite and
regardless of the infuence of the U.S. soil they remained
conservative and practice the traditions of the Filipinos.
My children grew up very respectful of older Filipinos:
they say “po”and “opo”when talking to someone older;
or greeting “mano po”as a sign of respect.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Kissing of hands or mano po as a
sign of respect.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Adobong Pusit. Easy to
cook and healthy and delicious.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I’m
Favorite fction shero: Wonder Woman. Like her, I
want to be superwoman to balance my time with my
family and career; fnd time to perform volunteer work.
Book you are currently reading: The 4 Disciples of
Execution by Chris Mcchessny, Sean Covey & Jim Huling
What is your greatest regret? None. Because those
decision that I made and all those learning experience
has shape me in many ways and where I am right now.
What is your life philosophy? If there is a will,
there is a way.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: More
power to Filipina Women’s Network. May you continue
to be an inspiration to all of us and be blessed with more
years to continue your quest to commemorate, empower
and advance the Filipina Women in the World.
President, Global
Residence: Portland,
Oregon, United States
Education: Ph.D.,
Stanford Univesity
First job: Radio
Station Disk Jockey
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Policy and applications of information and
communication technologies contribute to improved
access to quality education.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Dr Gelia Castillo. I never met her but her
research always put people frst. Guided by the maxim
that Science must serve a human purpose, her activities
as a social scientist centered on agricultural and rural
development, health, gender, environment, poverty,
inequality, capacity development; and participatory
approaches. Putting people frst has been my mantra
frst as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bontoc, Mt Province,
Philippines, as a contractor for international development
programs in Sudan, Philippines, Washington, DC, Liberia,
and South Africa while accompanying my husband
during his US Foreign Service career, and as Director,
Global Networks, Washington State University.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Being a Filipina in the global
workforce is a challenge for several reasons:
Misconceptions about Filipinas, as exemplifed by the
rants when Megan Young, a Filipina won the Miss World
title this year; and, Gender bias that are prevalent not
only in the US and but also in other parts of the world.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? I consider getting my Ph.D. degree
from Stanford University my “clout”card. It validated
my intellectual capital and afrmed my social science
focus on asking: What does this activity or intervention
mean for people? Who will beneft? Who will lose in the
Why did you leave the Philippines? I fell in love
and married a US Peace Corps Volunteer. Then I became
a Peace Corps Volunteer and was assigned to Bontoc,
Mt. Province, which I consider my frst cross-cultural
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Reciprocity
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Halo-halo. You can get
most of the ingredients anywhere in the world. And it
is a good conversation opener about the diversity and
mix of people in the Philippines and that my two kids
exemplify that intercultural mix.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
Philippine folk dancing was an early passion.
Favorite fction shero: Mariang Makiling - she is not
afraid to use her power and infuence.
Book you are currently reading: Illustrado by
Miguel Syjuco
What is your greatest regret? Not having enough
time to do everything that I want to accomplish.
What is your life philosophy? To lead and be led.
My life philosophy tries to align my orienting values with
a vision of sustainable development, weaves local with
global community, and balances personal life and work.
This life philosophy informs my belief in transformational
leadership that draws from both western and eastern
traditions. I don’t always succeed in living my philosophy
but I keep on trying.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: That
it would grow a second and third generation of Filipina
women leaders not only in the U.S. but worldwide. And
that those who are being honored today will nurture
more Pinays and sustain the network.
Senior Program
Residence: Mountain View, California
Education: B.A., Business
First job: Server, Dunkin Donuts (at age 14)
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? Embrace collaboration, innovation
& change. I look for ways to connect entrepreneurs,
nonprofts & colleagues to empower the collective.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Cari Templeton, Manager, Program Manage-
ment Google, efectively encouraged me to take on chal-
lenges I thought were beyond my reach through “play to
your strengths”guidance and problem solving “direction.”
Her support was instrumental in helping me realize my
work passion – “creating internal systems that fully en-
able people development.”Her “lean in”approach takes
a “what would you do if you weren’t afraid”angle. She
rallies for her team to move beyond their self-imposed
barriers and let their leadership abilities shine.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Culturally, we’re wired to please.
As the complexity in the scope of my work increased,
making people happy would not equal success. Cross-
functional success means diferent things to diferent
groups. To fnd a way to get people to step out of their
expertise, focus on impact vs. the process there and to
trust can be difcult. Through “rewiring”the “want to
please,”I was able to make it work for me. When the
team knows you’re genuinely vested in their interest, that
mistakes are not wrongs but opportunities to learn and
there’s never a done state – then that “want to please”
mentality fully drives you.
What was the turning point in your profes-
sional life? The past year can be summed up as:
“haven’t done before at such scale”and “outside area of
expertise / the ultimate stretch”but let’s bet on “love of
subject.”I compared myself to someone who was sea-
soned and highly technical. We were very diferent. How
could this work? Two female sponsors who were thinking
3 steps ahead highlighted how a diferent approach
could beneft learning systems at Google. Having leaders
see the value in making bets on interest over experience
helps women like me grow and recognize opportunities
we didn’t even think of for ourselves. My manager sees
individual strengths within the team, fnds opportunities
for these strengths to work fo the greater team and plugs
them in. She doesn’t discount the gaps. Instead of asking
us to “be everything”she encourages us to partner with
others who can complement how we work. I’ve never
been more engaged and energized than now.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I lived in the Philippines in 3rd, 7th
and 1st year High School. I left to return to my parents in
Maryland for 10th grade. I was away for almost 2 years
and they wanted me to prepare for college here. The time
there gave me a strong connection to the culture and
fuency in Tagalog. I’ve introduced many expats back to
enjoy the islands!
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: The cord at the wedding. “Infnity”
is one of my daughter’s favorite words. Take this object
out of traditional context, for me the cord symbolizes:
fnding what you’re looking for, strength in union /
collaboration and continuous improvement.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Halo Halo: Not so much for
the food itself (although it’s good) but more for what it
represents. Alone, the ice would be – cold. Add pinipig,
ube, milk and more – you’ve created something sweet
that’s diferent yet complementary in favors, textures
and colors. It’s a great “food visual”for my life journey
and how it’s taken me to where I am now. The “ice”was
growing up in Maryland. Like the color, I thought we
were all the same until I was told I couldn’t audition for
“Annie”as a child because I wasn’t white. The “milk”was
growing up in the Philippines. Weekends in Laguna with
family, rallying in the streets for Ninoy and embracing
my culture was a “nourishing”experience. “Nata de coco”
– my favorite, was marrying my best friend, Rohit. The
“love like no other”missing ingredient to my life. Ube,
mung beans and jackfruit – the richness of growth at
Google. From launching support operations in Hydera-
bad, India for AdWords & Checkout to building internal
systems for Corporate Engineering – I’m thankful for the
collaboration, creativity, challenge, and fulfllment work
brings. I feel like I’ve won the “Forever Masters Degree”
award! We learn from each other everyday, embrace
change and are encouraged to give back to our com-
munities. Lastly, my “pinipig”are my girls Eila and Raya.
In 5 years, they’ve sprinkled a love uncomparable to any
other. They encourage me to look at the world through
the lens of “why not?”and inspire me to make change
for the better.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I’ve walked from Cupertino to San Francisco.
Favorite fction shero: Gem – She was a cartoon
character that was a hologram so ahead of her times,
misunderstood sometimes, yet strong and innovative.
She could transform herself – much ike I see many
female leaders.
Book you are currently reading: Lean In by Sheryl
What is your greatest regret? Traveling to Italy
(when we were told it would be safe to do so) when
Nanay was recovering. She took a turn for the worse
when we were away. We were still able to spend time
with her but I wish I had not gone and given her more
time with us at home.
What is your life philosophy? Ask “why not?”
Test for “beyond the test.”Live a growth mindset. Be
resourceful, encourage collaboration and make impact.
Empower each other through education. Use technology
for meaningful collaboration and social good. Most
important, through it all, have fun and be authentic!
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
Create a dialogue beyond the event that promotes the
beauty in being diferent, knowledge sharing, embraces
technology, helps women defne their meaningful
“jungle gyms”and encourages authenticity.
F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g 14

Senior Manager,
State & Local
Afairs and PAC,
Former Deputy
District Director, House Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi
Bio: Carmela Clendening serves as a Senior Manager of
Government Afairs at She is responsible
for the policy and political strategy at the state and local
level as well as the management of the
Political Action Committee (PAC).
Prior to her current role, Carmela spent seven years
with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, serving in her
leadership and political ofce in Washington, D.C. and
most recently as her Deputy District Director in San
Francisco. During her tenure with Pelosi, she served as
the Finance Director for her campaign and leadership PAC
and also advised the Leader on her outreach to the Asian
American Pacifc Islander American community.
She has a strong background in the technology
industry, having worked for HP as a Political Afairs
Manager and managed Leader Pelosi’s outreach to the
tech community in San Francisco.
Carmela graduated from the University of Maryland
College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and
Politics and a certifcate in Asian American Studies. She
was born in Quezon City, Philippines and was raised
in Ellicott City, Maryland. She currently resides in San
Francisco, California.
Vice Chancellor
Residence: Dhaka, Bangladesh
What was you very frst job? Teacher
Education: Doctor in Business Administration
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Being the frst woman Vice Chancellor
(President)in Bangladesh has inspired women to
take actions for women’s empowerment and society
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: Being the frst woman
Vice Chancellor (President) of a private university in
Bangladesh has inspired women to take actions in
support of women’s empowerment and advancement in
society. Her extraordinary accomplishments in promoting
women through education-based programs, initiatives or
personal action in a developing country like Bangladesh
have earned for her the most coveted recognition.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Studying the education system in
Bangladesh which follows the British system, preparing
and submitting the proposal for the establishment of
American International University-Bangladesh.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? A more challenging work ofer
One Filipino custom or tradition you would
like to pass on to others. Women Leadership
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Adobo, so very much
on Filipinos
Overseas of
the Ofce of
the President of the Philippines
Residence: Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: A.B. Major in the Humanities
What was you very frst job? Editor of the Pax
Romana publication for the Asia-Pacifc. This was the
monthly newsletter covering the student catholic
associations in the region
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Because of the mandate, mission/vision
of the Philippine government agency I head (CFO) my
infuence has great global impact.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? President Benigno Aquino III who
appointed me to the position of Cabinet-rank Secretary
of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas because he has
given me the freedom to push the envelope when it
comes to my job, to explore all possibilities in promoting
the welfare and well-being of overseas Filipinos, to
continue to recognize and highlight even more the
contributions of the Filipinos in the diaspora, to lay out
a more comprehensive array of diaspora engagements
so that they become signifcant partners of the country’s
development and fnally to help in mainstreaming
migration & development in the country’s decision
making process.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: Most difcult challenge
in the workplace was when I, together with a Filipino
male partner, was setting up in New York one of the frst
all-Filipino computer consultancy frms way before the
dot-com boom, in the ‘70’s. The male-dominated top
management of computer consultancies were not used
to speaking to a woman who happens also to be an
Asian, a Filipino, who was introducing Filipino computer
professionals to become consultants in New York. They
were more comfortable in dealing with my male partner.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I joined my sister, Loida
Nicolas Lewis, as her assistant (and later Vice-President
for Business Development) when she became CEO and
Chair of the TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc. a
multi-billion dollar multinational company that she took
over upon the death of her husband, Reginald Lewis,
who was the frm’s CEO/Chair.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. We have a peculiarly Filipino term
for it: “malasakit”- that whatever the job is and whoever
we are serving, we are fully and personally involved and
engaged, we care and we share.
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Sinigang ng hipon -
the combination of the diferent tastes one encounters
- from the shrimps to the vegetables, from the soup to
the fruit that one uses whether guava, lemon, sampaloc
or lime.
One thing that we would not guess about
you: That I cry at the drop of a handkerchief while
watching movies and they do not have to be tragedies;
the beauty of a scene, the romantic twist of the story, the
undeniable charm of children, anything and everything
can cause those tears to drop at the movie theatre.
Who is your favorite female fction shero?
Princess Lea of Star Wars - that early, she was already
an empowered woman and she falls in love with the
unlikeliest hero
What is your greatest regret? That my parents to
whom we owe who we are now, are no longer around
to see what we, as a family, has accomplished especially
for our compatriots whether they are in Sorsogon, our
hometown or all over the world
What is your life philosophy? Let me quote from
a book that I read every day: “Daily Word for Women”:
“Celebrate all that you are, all that you are becoming!
Your life is a magnifcent journey - a spiritual journey
in which you will discover what you are capable of
achieving. Always be the best you can be, do the best
you are capable of doing. When you do, you truly will
be celebrating life. Do not be afraid for God is with you
all the way. Let God’s love be a healing balm that gently
soothes you. Rest assured that with every step you take,
you are walking a path that will lead you to greater and
greater accomplishments.”
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: I wish
that the Filipina Women’s Network continue to share
with everyone the inspiring stories of Filipino women
everywhere and to encourage our next generation of
Filipinos (whether in the Philippines or overseas) to
reach for their dreams as they truly come true.
Vice President,
Bio: Jocelyn Ding is
the VP of operations
for Google Enterprise.
Her responsibilities include deployment, support, and
communication and training services for Enterprise
customers across all products. Jocelyn also leads the
operational teams that own the order management,
product fulfllment, program management and business
systems development functions.
Prior to joining Google, from 2000-2007 Jocelyn
was the executive vice president of technical and
business operations at Postini. She was responsible for
the buildout of Postini’s data centers and the delivery
of customer support services. Postini was acquired by
Google in 2007. Earlier, Jocelyn was the director of IT
at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto,
Jocelyn has an MBA from the University of Minnesota
and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and
accountancy from the University of the Philippines.
President and Chief
Operating Ofcer
Philippine Bank of
Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: College
First job: Auditor
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? I’ve mentored individuals who now
hold leadership positions worldwide. I’m proud to have
contributed to the leaders that they are.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Dennis O. Green. He was named Citicorp Chief
Auditor in the early 1990s. I met him in Hong Kong
shortly after his appointment. Dennis selected me to be
part of a Global Conference, even when I was not even
Philippines Audit Head. He eventually invited me to work
for him in New York. While family priorities prevented me
from accepting his ofer, he continued to open doors for
me, appointing me Asia Audit Head just a few years later.
This was the frst of many leadership positions I would
hold within Citi.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Being a Filipina in a multinational
bank in the 1980s was quite a challenge. It was a
very male dominated industry, so I felt that I had to
speak louder than the rest in order to be recognized.
I found that my colleagues, especially those outside
the Philippines, equated how vocal one was with
competence, so I had to learn to speak up and speak
loud in order to get my ideas across. While much has
changed in the past 30 years, such that there is much
more equality and diversity in the workplace today, I
fnd that this continues to be a challenge for Filipinas
who work overseas. We are raised to be respectful and
ensure that we do not ofend anyone; however, in a
highly competitive work environment, we need to learn
to go head to head with a diverse set of colleagues while
maintaining grace and respect.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others
I believe that who we are today is, in large part, shaped
and infuenced by those who have come before us. As
such, one Filipino custom or value that I would like to
pass on to others is respect for elders.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Coming from the Central
Luzon region, with some of my lineage originating from
Pampanga, the province best known for its cuisine, I am
hard pressed to name a favorite recipe or dish – there are
too many for me to choose just one! I am simply grateful
that my family’s Pampanga origins have made me
genetically predisposed to be able to prepare almost any
Filipino dish.
(Continued on page 20)
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 15
elle Sering-Fojas is the CEO and
co-founder of Seven Seven Softwares
(77Soft), a provider of high-end IT
services to the top fnancial institutions
of the world and one of the pioneers
of the next generation of BPO: Knowledge
Process Outsourcing (KPO). Founded in
New Jersey in 1996, Seven Seven ofers a
wide range of IT-enabled KPO services, i.e.,
Software Development & Quality Assurance,
Infrastructure & Application Support, Technical
Service Desk, Back Ofce Services, and IT
Consulting & Placement.
Born in Manila, Philippines, she moved to
the US, and eventually founded Seven Seven
Softwares with a vision she shared with her
partner – to harness the true potential of the
Filipino IT talent and showcase it to prestigious
Wall Street frms. She has created thousands
of jobs in Manila and has opened the door for
talented Filipino IT professionals in the very
competitive US job market.
Under her management, Seven Seven
has been a consistently recognized for’s Top Business Award.
Sering-Fojas has also been named as one
of the 100 Most Infuential Filipina Women
in the U. S. in 2009 by the Filipina Women
Network, and was selected as one of the Top 50
Asian-American Business Awards in 2011 at the
prestigious Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
Jopin Romero interviewed Delle and here are
excerpts of the many facets of her infuential
reach which resulted in her selection as
FWN100 ’09:
IMPACT: Describe the signifcance of an
activity, program, or project that you
may have created, been part of, or have
managed; and how it afected the quality
of life of your constituency or community
(in the U.S.).
In 1996, Delle founded Seven Seven
Softwares in Rockaway, New Jersey, an IT
Consulting Firm mainly catering to clientele in
the New York fnancial district. As a true believer
of Filipino talent, she founded the frm with
the confdence that her fellow countrymen can
make it in the competitive US IT workspace.
Twelve years into the business, and countless
fulfllments of customer’s IT requirements, she
has opened the door for Filipino IT professionals
to showcase their potential in prestigious Wall
Street frms.
At the same time that 77Soft was starting
to make inroads in information technology
enabled services, the Philippines as a country
was exploring how it can ofer the country
as a location for ofshore services. With
the aggressive salesmanship of Delle and
their strong partnership with Philippines
Department of Trade, the biggest customer
service companies in the US expanded its
facilities in Manila. This move was a magnet for
these companies’ competitors to also locate in
Manila, thereby jumpstarting the rapid growth
of the Philippine call center industry. That bold
and pioneering campaign made the Philippines
as it is now known globally as the Center of
Excellence for Customer Service. Its world
market share (revenue, reputation, output) is
the biggest, bar none.
INNOVATION: Describe a strategy or
project that you have created, managed
or improved.
77Soft was involved in developing the tax
computerization of Marikina City, providing
technology services that increased the
productivity of the city operations and became
a showcase among the League of Cities in the
Philippines. For this project, Marikina was
nominated as a “Galing Pook”awardee in
recognition of a visionary local government
project that makes the most of its constituents’
resources and raises the bar of delivery of public
services by a local government unit.
INVOLVEMENT: How have you been
involved with other people (U.S. based
groups, businesses, government agencies,
community members)?
Success in marketing the Filipino talent
lies with her involvement with groups such
as the Department of Trade and Industry,
NY Consulate, local government, and their
hardworking and dedicated people.
At the same time that it was starting to
penetrate the US IT- enabled services sector,
the Philippines as a country was exploring
how it can ofer the country as a location of
choice for ofshoring. With the aggressive
salesmanship of Delle and her team, and their
strong partnership with then Philippine Trade
Representative in New York Romulo Manlapig,
the biggest customer service companies in
the US decided to setup call center facilities in
Manila. The advent of these two companies
acted as a magnet for their competitors to also
locate in the Philippines, thereby jumpstarting
the rapid growth of the Philippine call center
industry. Because of that bold and pioneering
campaign of Seven Seven Softwares and
Philippine Trade, the Philippines is now
known globally as the Center of Excellence for
Customer Service. Its market share in terms of
revenue, reputation, and output in the global
call center business is the biggest, bar none,
even India.
FEMTORSHIP: Have you served as a
Knowing that she could not sell the
Philippines forever as an individual, she passes
on her vision and mantra that you sell the
Philippines through yourself to each and every
employee of the company. The company’s
sales and marketing staf go through a three-
month one-on-one training and mentorship
program before graduating to full fedged client
relationship managers.
Today, Delle’s sales team is known in Wall
Street as thorough, efcient, and professional.
The culture at 77Soft has become sales
trademark among their clients and prospects.
SUSTAINABILITY. Describe what you
have done to ensure sustainability of
your activities (e.g., continue making
positive impact, increase involvement of
constituents, use of resources, etc.).
Believing that charity begins at home,
she initiated a scholarship program for the
children of her company staf. She and her
husband donated a computer laboratory to
the University of the Philippines - Engineering
Department that provides a creative and
technical venue for students – and therefore
the Philippines – talent pool to continue to be
enriched and learned.
Josephine “Jopin”Romero is the Commercial
Counselor at the Philippine Department of Trade and
Industry. Currently based in Manila, Jopin is looking
forward to representing the Philippines at her next
posting in Brazil.
Clockwise from top: Delle Sering; Delle with Mar
Roxas, Mac Fojas, Mila Sering Picache, Romel Solis
and Peter Abastillas at the inauguration of Seven Seven
Corporate Group Manila Headquarters; Delle with her
son and husband.
Driven to innovate
F I L I P I N A WO M E N ’ S N E T WO R K | w w w. F i l i p i n a Wo me n s N e t w o r k . o r g 16
Mark Hopkins InterContinental
(except as noted)
999 California Street (in Nob Hill)
San Francisco, CA 94108
All sessions and events are open to full
Summit registrants; no additional fees are
required. All others: session-only, event-only
and one-day-only attendance tickets can be
purchased at
7:30 AM – 8:45 AM
Meet @ Room of the Dons Hallway/Wedding
Room, Mark Hopkins InterContinental Lobby
Attire: Business casual, walking shoes
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
211 Main Street, San Francisco
Chair: Edcelyn Pujol
IMPORTANT: Please wear you FWN name
badge in order to board shuttle and entry to
Charles Schwab
Our day at the Charles
Schwab Corporation is
through the collabora-
tion with the Filipino
American Network @
Schwab (FANS).
9:30 AM – 9:40 AM
Nina Aguas, Chief Executive Ofcer
and President, Philippine Bank of
Communications Inc.
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
Shaping the Filipina Pop Culture Image -
Heavily infuenced by mass media, popular
culture generalizes the lifestyle and tastes of
a group of people. How has popular culture
infuenced the perception of Filipina women
in the community, the workplace, our own
home countries and throughout the world?
What has popular culture done to defne the
‘culturedness’ of the lower classes outside of
the ‘ofcial culture’ and education emanated
by the dominant classes? What can be done
to re-shape the assumptions and stereotypes
that Filipinas encounter? Fascinating discus-
sion topic by experts in advertising, market-
ing, media and image management.
» Odette Keeley, News Anchor & Executive
Producer, New America Media & Comcasat
TV; Director, NAM National Network
Speaker Panel:
» Cristina Luna, Principal, The Luna
» Edwina Kluender, Director of
Communications, Mandarin Oriental
San Francisco
» Rebecca Delgado Rottman, Vice
President, Community & Government
Relations, Academy of Art University
» Vivian Araullo, (former) Head of News
Production, Executive Producer, ABS-CBN
International / The Filipino Channel
This is a very informal Kwentuhan session (a
la “The View”) among kindred spirits of how
being bicultural is both a challenge and an
advantage. Attendees leave with an action
item of what they can do to infuence the
pop culture images of Filipina women.
Love Your Personal Brand:
Manage it and Set it Free
(Branding in the Digital Age)
Coke, Mercedes-Benz, Gucci, Fedex, Apple,
McDonalds - timeless corporate brands that
continue to be current with the times. But
what about your personal brand? Have you
checked your image lately? On Facebook,
LinkedIn or Twitter? Do people think of you
as a ‘Kim Kardashian’ or a ‘Kerry Washington’?
Are you cool, groovy or sweet? From chang-
ing your hairstyle and make-up to updating
your wardrobe or accessories, this session is a
wake-up call about the image others have of
you – fresh, current and appropriate to your
personal brand. Attendees leave with an
action item of what they can do to enhance
their personal image.
» Patricia Gallardo, Group Director of
Corporate Social Responsibility and
Sustainability (Global), Shangri-La
International Hotel Management, Ltd
Speaker Panel:
» Cathy Campbell, Director of Diversity &
Inclusion, Charles Schwab & Company, Inc.
» Keesa Ocampo, Corporate Afairs,
ABS-CBN International
» Pati Navalta Poblete, Director, Asia
Region, Global Footprint Network;
Author, The Oracles: My Filipino
Grandparents in America
» Col. Shirley Raguindin, Chief Diversity
Ofcer, Air National Guard
12:15 PM – 2:00 PM
Being a Filipina entrepreneur and having it
all. The truth is, being in business is a con-
stant challenge and reinvention. Women
entrepreneurs engage in conversations
on becoming millionaires, how they did it,
sustain it and own their success without the
guilt. Attendees will leave the session feeling
» Gizelle Covarrubias, Managing Director
of Information Technology, Strategic &
Critical Engineering Technology, Charles
Schwab & Company, Inc.
Speaker Panel:
» Cora Tellez, CEO, Sterling Health Services
» Evelia Religioso, President, Siniloan
Feeds Corporation; Vice President, REVA
Farms, Director, Rural Bank of Mabitac Inc.;
Chairman, Siniloan Water District
» Isabelita Manalastas-Watanabe,
President & Representative Director,
Speed Money Transfer Japan Kabushiki
2:00 PM – 2:15 PM
» Amar Bornkamp, Janet Chan,
Charles Schwab
» Elena Mangahas, Board Chair,
Filipina Women’s Network
» Edcelyn Pujol, Board Member,
Filipina Women’s Network
2:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Shuttle to Mark Hopkins Mark Hopkins
3:15 PM – 4:45 PM
Exploring the 12 Life Empowerment Areas
based on the 12 Human Needs
Presented by:
» Marily Mondejar, Organization Change
Consultant and Executive Coach
Are you going through change? Are you
looking to launch a new chapter in your life?
Graduation? Job transition? Career plateau-
ing? Reinventing your business or starting
a new venture? At a personal level - are you
starting a family, divorcing, empty nesting,
considering retirement?
Change is a constant in our lives and it can
mean many diferent options. We invite you
to a hands-on workshop that will give you
the ability and confdence to embark on
your personal journey in exploring the rest
of your life.
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
@ San Francisco City Hall
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco
Bay Area Filipino Mayors, elected and
appointed ofcials, FWN Board of Directors
welcome Global100 Awardees and Filipina
Summit Attendees at the beautiful City Hall,
the People’s House.
Sumptuous Filipino food bufet sponsored by
Susie Quesada (FWN100 ‘07), Executive Vice
President, Ramar Foods International and
President, Filipina Women’s Network
Attire: Professional Business; Filipiniana
optional; wear purple for Domestic Violence
Awareness Month and the FWN corporate
color. Please wear your FWN name badge
Contribution: Included in All-Access Summit
Pass registration; meal tickets collected.
Transportation shuttle provided if you are
registered for the full summit and staying at
the hotel. Meet at the hotel lobby. Shuttle
leaves at 5:00 pm promptly. If you miss the
shuttle, take taxi to City Hall. Board shuttle
back to hotel. Leaves promptly at 7:45 pm.
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Mountain View, California
Speakers: Jocelyn Ding, Margaret Lapiz,
Marily Mondejar, Regina Manzana-
Sawhney, Susie Quesada
9:00 AM
Futurists believe that a career in STEM is the
future of the global workforce. Experts will
share unique insights into our nation’s STEM
skills gap challenge. A dynamic dialogue
that will outline the steps why and how
Filipina women can shift career focus on
STEM industries.
» Elaine Serina, PhD (invited), Principal,
Talas Engineering, Inc.
» Amelia Duran-Stanton, Deputy Chief of
Inspections / Ortho Physician Assistant,
U.S. Army
» Carmencita Padilla, MD, Director,
Newborn Screening Reference Center,
Executive Director, Philippine Genome
» Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering, Cabinet
Secretary of Climate Change, Climate
Change Commission, Republic of the
» Julie Soo, Esq., Staf Counsel, California
Dept. of Insurance, Past President,
Commission on the Status of Women
10:20 AM
The message of Lean In for Filipina women-
on-the-rise. Implications for Filipina Women
of the World. Competitiveness and growth
in the workplace. Joining the conversation,
sharing “Lean In Moments”, connecting with
other Filipina women across the globe. Is
Lean In the answer to Filipina Global100
» Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi (invited)
CEO, Geoscience Testing Laboratory
» Margaret Lapiz (invited)
Vice President, Kaiser Permanente –
The Permanente Medical Group
» Jocelyn Ding, VP of Operations for
Google Enterprise
» Col. Shirley Raguindin, Chief Diversity
Ofcer, Air National Guard
» Marife Zamora, Managing Director,
AsiaPac and EMEA, Convergys Corporation
» Nina Aguas, CEO and President,
Philippine Bank of Communications Inc.
12:30 PM
Exhibitors: Natalie Aliga, Herna Cruz-Louie
Every year, FWN invites to the Summit,
Femtees – young (and not-so-young)
Filipinas seeking career guidance. This is a
session for the
Femtees. Pinay
Speed Femtoring
is a networking
event at which
femtees /
protégés can
ask experienced
professionals like
yourselves the “everything-you’ve-always-
to-ask” questions. Femtees will have the
opportunity to interact with Femtors during
the course of the event by moving to
diferent topic tables every 15 minutes.
Pinay Speed Femtoring: A gathering of 200
women – Femtors and Femtees – getting
together to lay the groundwork for the next
generation of Filipino American leaders.
» Natalie Aliga, (FWN100 ‘12); Grants
Administrator & Community Relation
Representative, CSAA Insurance Group
» Herna Cruz-Louie (FWN100 ‘11);
Co-Founder of The American Center of
Philippine Arts
2:45 PM
A provocative discussion on the four areas
that can put the Filipina community on the
mainstream business map.
» Jacki Bona (invited), Global Product
Marketing Manager, Twitter
17 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
» Cris Comerford (invited), Executive Chef,
The White House
» Gloria Caoile, Labor Activist
» Daz Lamparas, President, San Francisco
Chapter, APA Labor Alliance
» Rozita Villanueva Lee, Commissioner,
President Obama’s Advisory Commission
on Asian Americans and Pacifc Islanders
» Regina Manzana-Sawhney, Senior
Program Manager, Google, Co-Founder,
Filipino Google Network
» Susie Quesada,
Executive Vice President,
Ramar Foods International
» Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, Mayor Lee’s
Education and Family Service Advisor
4:30 PM
» Marife Zamora, Managing Director for
Asia Pacifc, Europe, Middle East, and
Africa, Convergys Corporation
5:30 PM
Of the Grid @ Fort Mason, San Francisco
8:15 PM
Willard Room,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
Getting personal with Global100 and
FWNM100 Awardees as they share their
deepest secrets in small table settings over
tsokolate and matamis.
Exhibitor: Elena Mangahas
Speaker: Gloria T. Caoile
7:00 AM
Room of the Dons,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
Speaker: Maria Pizarro
8:00 AM
@ the Mark Hopkins
9:00 AM
Room of the Dons,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
» Marily Mondejar
CEO & Founder, Filipina Women’s Network
» Astrid Tuminez, Ph.D.
Regional Director, Legal and Corporate
Afairs, Southeast Asia, Microsoft, Inc.,
9:30 AM
Room of the Dons,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
You don’t have to be in politicis to learn
from this session. If you enjoy strategy and
tactics, you will walk away with a clearer
understanding of how you can increase your
infuence in your
own organization,
infuence your
boss and those
who matter in your
career success;
fnd meaning from
work you think you hate but can actually
thrive by shifting the conversation to issues
that matter to you.
» Vida Benavides, Principal, State, Local and
Multicultural Practice at Dewey Square
Group; Democratic Party Campaign
» Carmela Clendening, Senior Manager,
State and Local Government Afairs/PAC,
» Genevieve Jopanda, Executive Director,
San Francisco HepB Free Campaign
» Dr. Jennifer Ong, California Assembly
» Meriam Reynosa, District Representative
CA State Legislature
» Gloria T. Caoile, National Political
Director, APALA
18 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
10:45 AM
Room of the Dons,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental
» Nina Aguas
President and Chief Operating Ofcer,
Philippine Bank of Communications
» Eileen Aparis
Executive Director, Foundation
» Suzie Moya Benitez
Trustee and Executive Director, Bayanihan
Folk Arts Foundation; Associate Vice
President, Campus Life Philippine
Women’s University
» Annette David
Clinical Associate Professor, University
of Hawaii, Founder and Director of
Consulting Services, Health Partners LLC
» Rosemer Enverga
Founder, Philippine Canadian Charitable
» Patricia Gallardo
Group Director of Corporate Social
Responsibility and Sustainability
(Global), Shangri-La International Hotel
Management, Ltd
» Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi
Chief Executive Ofcer, Geoscience
Testing Laboratory
» Isabelita Manalastas-Watanabe
President & Representative Director,
Speed Money Transfer Japan Kabushiki
» Carmencita Padilla, MD
Director, Newborn Screening Reference
Center, Executive Director, Philippine
Genome Center
» Michele Bumgarner Miranda
Indycar Race Driver, Bumgarner Racing
» Imelda M. Nicolas
Cabinet Secretary, Commission on
Filipinos Overseas (CFO), Ofce of the
President of the Philippines
» Ambassador Patricia V. Paez
Ambassador to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia &
Estonia, Republic of the Philippines
Embassy of The Philippines, Poland; Non-
Resident Ambassador to Lithuania, Latvia,
& Estonia
» Carmen Lamagna Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, International American
University - Bangladesh; President-Elect,
International Association of University
Presidents (New York)
» Evelia Religioso
Vice President, REVA Farms; President,
Siniloan Feeds Corporation
» Patricia Riingen
Senior Vice President, East & South Asia,
Western Union
» Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering
Cabinet Secretary of Climate Change,
Climate Change Commission,
Republic of the Philippines
» Astrid Tuminez, Ph.D.
Regional Director, Legal and Corporate
Afairs, Southeast Asia, Microsoft, Inc.,
» Marife Zamora
Managing Director, AsiaPac and EMEA,
Convergys Corporation
» Lucille Lozada Tenazas (invited)
Henry Wolf Professor,
Parsons The New School for Design
» Dr. Maria Beebe
Founding Partner, Global Networks
12:00 PM
@ Mark Hopkins InterContinental
1:15 PM
Room of the Dons,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
The power of telling our professional stories.
Previous attendees have found this session
meaningful and provide a foundation for
new friendships.
» Dr. Tess Mauricio
“Make Me a Filipina Total Beauty”
» Gel Santos Relos
“Empowering the Filipina Woman by
Empowering the Filipina Teen”
» Maria Almia delos Santos
“Spiritual Care of the Dying”
» Bennie Burris
Challenges -”If you’ve learned how to sail
the waters of San Francisco Bay, you can
sail anywhere”
» Imelda Cuyugan
“How I Negotiated For What I Wanted” -
» Elizabeth Ann Quiriño
“Life and Leadership Lessons From My
Two Mothers”
» Dr. Jasmine Therese Esguerra
“Reclaiming Our Feminine Wisdom”

@ the 10th Filipina Leadership Summit | October 24 – 26, 2013
Cora Tellez
Founder & CEO, Sterling HSA
Keynote Guest Speaker
Loida Nicolas Lewis
Global 100 Acceptance Keynote
6:00 pm – No Host Reception
7:00 pm – Dinner & Awards Ceremony
Filipina Attire / Formal / Barong / Black Tie
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel
999 California Street, San Francisco
RSVP before October 20, 2013
Please join the Filipina Women’s Network in Honoring
F O U N D E R S A N D P I O N E E R S • I N N O V A T O R S A







• P O L I C Y M A K E R S A N D V I S I O N A R I E S •





100 Most Influential
• P O L I C Y M A K E R S A N D V I S I O N A R I E S •
» Sonia T. Delen
Senior Vice President
Banc of America Leasing (BAL)
» Trisha Marco
Marketing Coordinator, Telamon
Engineering Consultants, Inc.
6:00 PM
Peacock Court,
Mark Hopkins InterContinental
Please join the Filipina Women’s Network in
honoring the FWN Global 100: The 100 Most
Infuential Filipina Women in the World.
Filipiniana / Formal / Barong / Black Tie
F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E 19
(Continued from page 14)
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: Not a
lot of people know that, outside the workplace, I dabble
in interior design. Transforming a plain space into one
that is vibrant and inviting is a personal passion.
Favorite fction shero: I don’t have a fction hero,
but my real life hero is my mother, because she was truly
a strong woman. She was the sum of all of us siblings
and more. My mother was a woman of great faith. She
taught us to pray, and taught our whole community
to pray. Despite her humble means, she and my father
built a chapel for our community, so that those who
did not have the means to travel to the church would
have a place of worship. She was a woman of hope and
brought much hope not just to us, but, more importantly
those she taught in the public school system. Many
of her former students have broken past their simple
beginnings and have built good, prosperous lives for
themselves. She was a woman of great love, not just to
us, but to our extended family and community as well.
Nobody who knocked on our doors would leave empty-
handed, even if all they brought with them was a cup
of rice. I cannot even begin to think of having a favorite
fctional hero, when, for most of my life, I have had a
real-life hero so close to my heart.
What is your greatest regret? I don’t have any
regrets at this stage. “What if?”is a question I would
never ask. I deal with whatever situation I am presented
with – it is what it is, and it is up to me to make the
best of it.
What is your life philosophy? I believe that you can
always change your circumstances. Eleanor Roosevelt
once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in
the beauty of their dreams.”This quote resonates with
me, because I am a dreamer. I came from very humble
beginnings, but that never deterred me from achieving
my dreams. While I believe in destiny, I also believe that,
in some ways, we are able to infuence the circumstances
we fnd ourselves in. I rose from the ranks, and it was
truly a climb, but I always felt that I was in control and
could infuence my situation.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: To
grow stronger. If we search deep and wide, I am quite
certain that we will be able to fnd far more than 100
infuential Filipina women. My wish is that we reach and
recognize a million Filipinas throughout the world.
Vice President
of Community
Relations &
Academy of Art University
Residence: San Francisco, California
Rebecca Delgado Rottman loves art, culture, and
humanity. In her work at the Academy of Art University,
she’s able to integrate her passion into her work. As a Vice
President of Community Relations & Government Afairs,
she develops communication strategies to reach out to
various communities, neighborhoods, and organizations.
Ms. Delgado Rottman creates opportunities for the
under-represented and under-served communities. In
the last two years, she awarded Pre-College Summer
Art Scholarships worth over $500,000 to high school
students in public schools in San Francisco, Daly City, San
Jose, San Lorenzo, Oakland, and the City of Richmond.
The partnerships culminated into two scholarships to a
4-year undergraduate degree program at the Academy of
Art University worth over 200,000.
Rebecca also partners with many non-proft
organizations and government agencies in helping
improve the quality of life for the residents of San
Francisco by keeping the City clean, green, and beautiful.
Ms. Delgado Rottman created the “Community Service”
programs at the University. Upon her recommendation,
the University adopted 16-city blocks under the “Grafti
Watch Program,”where student volunteers led by Kappa
Sigma Fraternity remove grafti in all public furnishings
every other weekend. Ms. Delgado Rottman encourages,
recruits and organizes students to participate in the City’s
“Community Clean Team.”Throughout the University’s
participation, they consistently produced a number
of volunteers and have been instrumental in helping
to clean and green the city. The students helped in
abating grafti, litter clean up, sweeping the streets, tree
planting, and beach and park beautifcation in various
neighborhoods throughout the City.
Rebecca was the frst Filipina elected to the San
Francisco Democratic County Central Committee in the
12th Assembly District in 1998. She was re-elected and
served as the Second Vice-Chair. She is married to a
wonderful man, John Rottman. Ms. Delgado Rottman is
very proud of her daughters, Toni and Angela Delgado.
Executive Director,
San Francisco
Ofce of
Investment and
Residence: San Francisco, California
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Politics from Princeton
What was you very frst job? Intern
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? Developing sustainable communities
including housing anchored by innovation clusters that
export knowledge and services is a model for other cities.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? Amy Neches with TMG Partners,
a San Francisco bay area full service real estate and
management company, has over 30 years of real estate
and fnance experience. Amy was an early mentor who
showed great dedication to her work, demanded the
same caliber of excellence from her colleagues, and
had a strong commitment to helping others reach their
professional goals.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: Prior perceptions
or stereotypes can blur vision and lead to
misunderstandings and confict, but I’ve found that
listening to better understand the underlying interests as
well as adopting a problem solving approach has been
useful to carve a path forward.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Accepting Mayor Ed Lee’s
appointment in 2011 as San Francisco’s redevelopment
director, despite the tenuous status of redevelopment
in California, has been the most challenging and
rewarding professional experience to date. My charge
has been to demonstrate that economic development
and community revitalization are synergistic, and that
the bonds of community are essential to the dignity
of people with an emphasis on accountability and
transparency for taxpayers and community stakeholders.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. Bayanihan or the spirit of helping
one another
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Lechon because it
brings back great memories of my family
celebrations and barbeques growing up.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
As a child, I wanted to be an ice skating doctor.
Who is your favorite fction shero? Scout Finch,
the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird, because of her
ability to ask tough questions as she searches for the
What is your greatest regret? Not having enough
time to visit other countries and cultures as much as I’d
like to.
What is your life philosophy? As Lily Tomlin said,
“The road to success is always under construction.”
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: It’s an
honor to be recognized by the FWN. The organization’s
work is invaluable in providing assistance to and
cultivating the existing as well as the next generation of
Filipina mentors and leaders.

Assigned to the Air
Force ISR Agency,
US Air Force
Fort Walton Beach,
Florida, United States
Education: Executive Masters in Leadership,
McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
First job: Hostess in a local Italian restaurant
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? My mom told us to take care of our corner
of the earth. I want to be a good world-neighbor.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: My mentors within the military have been
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Our sense of family and how our
“extended”family demonstrates respect and connection.
Favorite Filipino recipe: My dad’s lumpia because
he is a fantastic, creative cook! During the holidays, I
look forward to my immediate family sitting around our
dining table rolling his lumpia. This is quality time with
my family flled with laughs and jokes about who can
roll them the best (and the worst).
What is your life philosophy? Earn each day.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: I hope
this organization may continue to prosper and continue
connecting women with professional development
resources across the globe so that we may better improve
our communities.
Founder /
Te Luna
Company, Inc.
Residence: Daly City,
Education: Master’s Degree
First job: Accounting Student Assistant
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? Having a unique visibility in the
entertainment industry and social media is my platform
to educate and encourage others globally.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Angeli Pangilinan Valenciano as a mentor,
prayer warrior, and dear friend. I’ve always respected her
for her work in the entertainment industry and value the
time she’s given me to provide me guidance, inspiration,
and prayer especially during the times I needed it the
most. Tita Angeli helped me see past the limitations
set by my own mind, and to see the impact of our
professional and personal roles have on the world every
day. I’m absolutely grateful for Angeli’s gifts that will
continue to infuence me.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: I often fnd myself being the only
Filipina (asides from my company’s team) in an industry
composed mostly of men. Often times I fnd myself
searching for others who share the same background and
mindset, in hopes of creating stronger collaborations and
partnerships. However I embrace it, as Filipinos make
their mark worldwide it is easier to overcome. I hope
to create more opportunities for the next generation of
Filipinas wanting to enter the entertainment industry.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? The culmination of all major events
and how they are all connected. From my mom raising
me on her own, to my piano teacher who taught me
how to love music, to all my women industry mentors
who pushed me past my limits, to every success and
challenge – have all contributed to a transformation.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: An American nun asked me once,
‘Why do Filipino kids bring their hand to their elders
forehead?’ I told her, ‘It’s a sign of respect.’ I think it’d be
great if everyone did the ‘Mano po’.
Favorite Filipino recipe: I love my grandmother’s
homemade ‘bagoong’ recipe! It’s quite tasty but because
I’ve watched my Lola make it, just makes it my favorite.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I went to beer school for one week.
Favorite fction shero: Maria Rainer (aka Julie
Andrews) in Sound of Music. If you can create peace in a
household through music, you are a hero to me!
What is your greatest regret? I can’t say I have
any regrets.
What is your life philosophy? We all have
20 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
God-given talent and its usually hidden underneath the
things you love to do. If you listen to the voice in your
heart and do what you love, you will be led to become
the person you’re meant to be. Because I continue to
experience it myself, it’s my personal mission to educate
and encourage others of this. It’s the greatest gift you can
give to yourself which will make a positive impact to the
rest of the world.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
For continued growth, success, and to be a light of
inspiration for today’s Filipina women and most
especially, future generations.
Senior District
Te Ofce of State
Senate Majority
Leader Ellen M.
Residence: San Leandro, California
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science
First job: Ofce Manager
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Ensuring that the Asian Pacifc Islander
Community engage in the political process and advocate
for social justice and efective change.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett
has served as a wonderful mentor and friend. Senator
Corbett is a shining example of female leaders in our
nation who has earned her spot in leadership through
her dedication and service to her constituency. She
has been a fghter for social justice and change. She
has supported my personal endeavors, and has been a
beacon of encouragement. She has taught me to always
be humble, to remember where I came from, to be a
champion for the most vulnerable and to fght for what
is right. I thank her for her positive infuence.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Although working for the California
State Legislature has been such a rewarding, educational
and humbling experience, it is most unfortunate that
there is only one Filipino American legislator in the State
of California. It has been a struggle fnding a qualifed,
viable and dedicated Filipino-American candidate to
run for elected ofce, thus serving as an example of the
lack of representation amongst the Filipino-American
community in government and politics. I am proud to
say there is a growing number of Filipino-Americans that
are employed as legislative aides and district stafers,
but it is our turn to take those leadership positions and
positively impact and represent our community. It is
my hope and goal to support and encourage young
professionals, women, and other Filipino-Americans like
myself to take a seat at the decision making table and
bring forth efective change.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: “Mano Po.”It is a humbling and
respectful gesture to honor our elders.
Favorite Filipino recipe: My father, Romy Reynosa
had the best Biko recipe. It had the perfect balance of
brown sugar, sweet rice and coconut milk. I will always
remember the smell, the taste and the color and long for
it on the coldest of days. Unfortunately, my father passed
in 2009 and his Biko recipe went with him...
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I was
the only Filipina to serve as one of California’s 55 electoral
college delegates in 2012. My votes for President Obama
and Vice President Biden are forever recorded in the
National Archives in Washington D.C.
Favorite fction shero: Hello Kitty. Because she is
awesome and can rock bows.
What is your greatest regret? I spend my time
focusing on my future and not the past.
What is your life philosophy? Be a voice to the
voiceless, be a champion for the most vulnerable, fght
with tenacity, forever be humble, forgive when it seems
impossible and love always with never ending joy.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: Many
more years of success in shaping the lives of Filipina
Women worldwide and making a positive impact in the
Filipino Community as a whole. Let us continue on the
path of mentorship and partnership among the Filipina
sisterhood and remembering those strong and infuential
women who have paved the way for amazing Filipina
women to come.
Racecar Driver
Bumgarner Racing
Residence: Avon,
Education: GED
First job: International Athlete
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Being an Asian female racer in a male
dominated sport
One person who infuenced your professional
career: My biggest infuence besides my parents will
have to be my former driver coach, Terry Fullerton. He
was Two-Time World Karting Champion and former
teammate of the late Aryton Senna. He’s taught me so
much as a driver and as a person.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Being a female surrounded by a
majority of males is a challenge as it is.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When the racing industry started
recognizing me as a racer and not just a female racer.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Palabok and Turon are my
top favorite Filipino dishes.
Favorite fction shero: Katniss Everdeen. Because
she is a strong, powerful, and independent woman.
What is your life philosophy? “The pride of
knowing that we made the most of our talents doesn’t
exist unless it’s earned.”Ray Lewis
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: That
the organization will continue to support Filipinas like
myself to excel globally.
Director of
Corporate Social
Responsibility and
International Hotel Management, Ltd.
Residence: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong,
Education: Masters Degree
First job: Executive Assistant, Presidential Management
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Integrating sustainability into business
operations, infuencing businesses to invest in social
development, and mitigating impacts of climate change
by altering operations
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Greg Dogan, President and CEO of Shangri-La
– he took a chance on me without understanding what
I do in full, and have allowed me the opportunity of
innovation and service through Sustainability
Most difcult workplace challenge as
a Filipina woman: Being Filipina – because
boardrooms are (still) not used to having strong Asian
women who are well-versed in business, management
and their craft and are as ballsy as their male
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Sending that cold email to the
Shangri-La COO in 2008
Why did you leave the Philippines? To get a
chance to make a diference globally, learn and increase
my competitiveness
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Humor
Favorite Filipino recipe: Adobo – because I am told
I cook it well and for a vegetarian of 20 years to do this, it
puts me in what is quintessentially Pinoy!
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I am
not on Facebook
Favorite fction shero: Princess Leia from Star Wars
– calm under pressure but a force for good.
What is your life philosophy? Risks are always
good opportunities
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: To
expand globally and fnd more non-traditional Filipina
leaders in the most unexpected of places
San Francisco
State University
Residence: San
Francisco, California
Education: Ph.D.
First job: Teaching dance at the Academy of
Performing Arts
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Growing critical educators and service
providers who transform schools and communities
throughout the world.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Ramon Quesada, who was my professor at
Ohlone Community College changed my life. Before I
met him, my experience in school was both traumatic
and disengaging. Ramon was the frst person that told
me that I had the potential to succeed. (And he also gave
me my frst copy of America is in the Heart by Carlos
Bulosan.) Ramon inspired me to become an educator like
him, one who cares deeply about students and one that
is committed to provide opportunities, encouragement,
and love for them to transform their worlds.
Most difcult workplace challenge as
a Filipina woman: I fnd that I am often
underestimated by people in general for the color of
my skin, my assumed gender, and my assumed age.
This underestimation has sometimes damaged my
self-esteem but it has also fueled my drive to combat the
ways in which people view Pinays. It has also been my
fre to connect Pinays together so that we can have each
other’s back when we are being mistreated. Pinayism!
What was the turning point in your
professional life? The turning point in my
professional life was when I had my daughter Mahalaya
(Love & Freedom). Although some people believe
that having a child can be the death of one’s career, I
believe that the birth of Mahalaya gave me a new life
as a teacher. In many ways, she is my best teacher. She
teaches me everyday how to mother. She teaches me
everyday how to love. Consequently, she has taught me
to be a better teacher.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Kapwa: I am you and you are me.
Favorite Filipino recipe: I love dinuguan because it
is made from blood. Some may fnd it repulse but I see it
as courageous, unapologetic, and delicious.
What is your greatest regret? Letting an
oppressive white male professor make me choose
between being an activist and a dancer.
What is your life philosophy? Pain+Love=Growth
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: Find
ways to use our resources to support Filipinas worldwide,
especially those who are marginalized and ignored. I
hope that I can be part of this work.
President and Founder
Senior Resources &
Services, LLC
Henderson, Nevada
Education: Masters of Public Health
First job: At age 16, I got a summer job at Fort Shafter
Military Base, Hawaii as a Filing Clerk/Typist 1.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Dr. Adrian Yuen for mentoring and inspiring me
to be the best in the conduct of my spiritual, intellectual
and psychosocial life. He mentored me in leadership
skills, confict management, understanding personality
21 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
traits and temperaments, and never to personalize
comments. He taught me that mature servant leadership
is about service to God, fulflling the mission He assigned
to us, and living and leading others towards a purpose-
drive life.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: While working as Grants
Administrator and consequently, as Interim Director for
Homeless Services at Hawaii Department of Human
Services. I’d attend meetings with Senior Executive
Directors (who were dominantly males in their 50s),
of other federal and state agencies and non-proft
organizations who were two levels above me. I felt either
discriminated upon, or my abilities were underestimated
because I was a woman, colored, inexperienced and
young. I’d be greeted with questions like “What are you
doing here?”or “Where’s your ‘Boss’?”But due to my
professional background and all-around experience, I
was able to win their respect and attain credibility, meet
their expectations, and prove myself worthy and equal
to them.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? After obtaining my Masters of
Public Health, I worked with Hawaii’s legislature as the
Interim State Director of Homeless Services – reviewing
grants and recommending programs to fund. Then, I was
promoted to Grants Administrator position, managing
over $11-million funds for projects on a Statewide basis.
I also managed the construction of a $300,000 Family
Investment Center that ofered multi- services for all
ages. In 1997, we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. After
working for a year as a Case Manager for Seniors for the
Southern Nevada Housing Authority, I was promoted to
Director of Senior Services, servicing the Southern
Nevada’s senior population. In 2000, I founded the Senior
Resources & Services, LLC, a Geriatric Care Management,
Marketing and Consulting company. It ofers innovative
ways of providing geriatric car by partnering with
over 200 healthcare, medical professionals, and senior
services practitioners.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? When I was 13, my mother decided
to migrate to the U.S. in search of greener pasture, and
to be with our close relatives. We settled in Honolulu,
Hawaii where we grew up and studied.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like
to pass on to others: One of Filipinos’ greatest
strengths and pride is our innate love, care and respect
for members of immediate family, as well as members
of our extended family (grandparents, aunts/uncles,
cousins, distant relatives, etc.).
Favorite Filipino recipe: Cassava con Leche Flan Cake
– a favorite Filipino dessert made of cassava topped with
leche fan based on a Filipino recipe which I occasionally
cook and enjoy eating.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I love journaling the defning moments or turning points
in my life since the 1980s. I also love to compose Gospel
songs which I hope my musician husband (a former
band lead/bass guitarist) could put into music.
Favorite fction shero: Loida Nicolas Lewis.
Although she isn’t fction, she’s a sincere leader, generous
with her time, talent, and resources. She’s passionate
about God and is humble despite being a billionaire.
What is your greatest regret? None whatsoever.
I’d been blessed by the Lord. I’m happy, fulflled, and at
What is your life philosophy? I’m visionary,
passionate about the Lord, and live a principled-center
and purpose-driven life – a philosophy that has
guided me not only in my personal life, but also in my
business dealings, as well as in performing church and
community services throughout my life.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: That
FWN’s mission and vision are realized by 2020; that more
Filipino women achieve CEO status, become millionaires,
get elected into political ofces, gain respect at the
workplace, and attain national/global recognition for
their talents, smarts and achievements.
Associate Professor,
of History,
San Francisco
Co-Founder and Board Member, Little
Manila Foundation
Residence: San Francisco, California
Education: Doctor of Philosophy, History, Stanford
First job: Cashier, Jack in the Box
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? My work inspires community members
to value our history and preserve our Filipino American
historic places and buildings.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: I am continually inspired and deeply infuenced
by Dr. Dorothy Cordova, Executive Director of the Filipino
American National Historical Society. Dr. Cordova, who
was born in Seattle in the 1930s, was the frst scholar to
explore the histories of Filipina Americans in the United
States, and received a National Endowment for the
Humanities grant that led to the publication of the book
Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans. She also co-founded
the Filipino American National Historical Society. She
has generously shared all her research and mentored
hundreds of young scholars like myself, and continues to
do so into her 80s.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: The discipline of American history is
fairly traditional, male, and white, and academia can be
a lonely place for women of color. As a tenured professor
in the history department (as opposed to the Asian
American Studies dept., where I had taught part-time)
it is always a challenge to earn the trust and respect of
students in my classes, especially of freshmen, who take
US history classes as a requirement. Often, they expect
their professor to be an older, middle-aged white man
wearing a tweed suit. They are shocked when I, a young-
ish Filipina, walk into the classroom. Some students
attempt to challenge my authority and knowledge.
The frst week is always a continual challenge to push
students to think beyond racist, age-ist and gendered
stereotypes. By the second week, I usually win them all
over. This is a challenge white professors never face.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? The most pivotal moment in my
professional life was when I received my acceptance,
with a full scholarship, to the doctoral program in history
program at Stanford University in 1997 (frst Pinay in that
program). I had not planned an academic life for myself
– in fact, I never knew that that path was really an
option until wonderful mentors and amazing classes led
me to that path at UCLA. But with that acceptance, I was
able to get my Ph.D. A doctorate at Stanford gave me my
life of scholarship, community-based research, advocacy
for Little Manila, an amazing network of colleagues and
friends, my current position as a tenured professor of
history at San Francisco State University. At Stanford, I
wrote the dissertation that has become my latest book,
Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o
American Community in Stockton, Calif.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like
to pass on to others: Cooking and passing on our
heirloom and regional family recipes.
Favorite Filipino recipe: A Cebuano/Visayan fried
donut, binangkal. It is a four-based baking powder-
leavened sesame-seed covered donut that you will fnd
nowhere else in the Philippines except in the Visayas,
particularly in Cebu and Bohol. Immigrants from the
Visayas brought it to the United States, and from World
War II onward, most gatherings in Stockton would be
incomplete without someone’s binangkal gracing the
dessert table. My grandmother and mother made the
donuts on special occasions and holidays and passed
down the recipe to me. I’m now the third generation
binangkal maker in my family. Binangkal requires an
ingredient so precious and rare these days: time. It is a
laborious process to make the dough, roll it into balls,
and fry them, and they must be eaten within hours.
Recipes like these remind us of our deep regional and
provincial roots, and of love emanating from the hands
that prepare them. These donuts are so regional and
special; they can’t be found at Filipino bakeshops. They
are truly a family heirloom recipe, and only those who
truly love you will put in the time to make this very
special dish.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: In my
spare time, I cater Filipino desserts (and many family
heirloom recipes) with my side business, Dr. Dawn’s
Baking Company!
Favorite fction shero: I love the Lola character
in Filipina artist Lynda Barry’s semi-autobiographical
illustrated books. She’s sharp, hilarious, and throws a
tsinelas like a missile.
What is your greatest regret? Not doing an oral
history with my father before he passed away in 2005.
What is your life philosophy? Everything happens
for a reason, and you must be always prepared and
thankful for the blessings and challenges that Bathala/
God/Goddess puts in your path.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: That
the FWN reaches out to Filipinas doing work and making
a diference in our community who are engaged in
cutting-edge political, cultural, and artistic work that
isn’t always recognized by the mainstream Filipino
American community.
CEO, Seven Seven
Corporate Group
Residence: Rockaway,
New Jersey
Education: Bachelor’s
First job: Checker/Clerical Support at garment center
in New York.
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? My leadership bears the reputation in
delivering high quality service to our clientele; we have
the trust of our clients.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Nobody except my father Antonio Sering. My
dad had the most extraordinary infuence on my life.
He is a very good leader, a very good man. While I have
learned great values from school, friends, peers and
other people, My dad has showed and instilled in me
the highest moral values I could have, and that should
always be the case, that children would always imitate
the moral values of their parents. I always say that it is
through him that I credit many of my accomplishments
and successes.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Being the minority in all three
aspects – my gender, nationality and religion. These
subjects have had a great impact on me as a person and
as a woman. I believe that despite the fact that even a
lot of Asian American regardless of whether you work
in high status, well-paying jobs, it is just so unfortunate
that many still experience several diferent mechanisms
of discrimination in the workplace. I myself have had
my own share of unjust treatment from my previous
workplace. Nevertheless, I bravely face these challenges.
I have overcome the hurdles. I humbly took pride of who
I am as a woman and as a Filipina. I believe that nobody
should single out a person especially women to be a
problem because of their sex, race and beliefs.
Why did you leave the Philippines? Mainly for
safety reasons. The Philippines has endured political and
social unrest and encountered tremendous obstacles
in democracy way back Marcos time in the 70’s. The
country was not safe at that time especially coming from
a family of politicians like ours. We may have left for
political reasons but we have never run away helping our
countrymen in our own little way by bringing business
in the Philippines.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Filipinos greatly value family ties...
and the PO and OPO.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Nothing in particular... but I
like fried Pinoy food.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I’d
rather not to disclose it or else it would not be a secret.
What is your life philosophy? Lead by example.
I have always been guided by this principle, which my
Father had demonstrated. These are the words I always
remember in times of difculty whether it is with
regard to my professional career or being the head of
the company. Being a leader can be difcult. There are
many challenges, conficts to beat within the team. You
will always have people who convey diferently than
others. But in the end, when you lead by example, you
set the tone for your team and create a culture in your
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: That
FWN upholds the prestige and prominence of its name.
The organization embodies the success not only of its
members, but of the Filipino race, and I am hoping that it
may continue to do so. May we also continue to be proud
of our diversity and tradition as well as carry on the
legacy of solidarity of this organization.
22 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
Community Center
of Michigan
Residence: Troy, Michigan
Dr. Mac has been an infuential and prominent leader
in the Filipino community in Michigan since the early
70s. Her involvement and accomplishments in many
organizations makes it difcult to describe one project.
She is involved with the Asian Pacifc American Chamber
of Commerce, Governors Advisory Council for Asian
Pacifc American Afairs, Philippine Medical Association
of MI, USTMAAM. She is also a member of the American
Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan State Medical Society,
and Oakland County Medical Society. However, her
greatest passion is to keep the Philippine American
Community Center of Michigan (PACCM) aliveas a legacy
to the future generation in Michigan. She is the Past
President/Chairperson of the PACCM and a pioneer in the
Filipino community throughout the years.
The PACCM is the only center in Michigan and
ofers Paaralang Pilipino. The center also promotes and
preserves the Filipino culture, traditions, values and
heritage by providing services and programs for the
beneft of the community.
Dr. Mac has been a driving force in the design and
implementation of the PACCM programs and activities,
the recruitment of volunteers and students, the
fundraising and fnancing of maintaining the center, and
the overall spirit of community and generosity that is
contagious to everyone that she meets.
President, Siniloan
Feeds Corporation
(SIFECO); Owner
and Vice President,
REVA Farms;
Director, Rural
Bank of Mabitac Inc.; Chairman, Siniloan
Water District
Residence: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: BS Medical Technology
Evelia is the president of SIFECO, manufacturer of
animal feeds. It has a livelihood project. It benefts 114
cooperators and families. The Corporation provides
the piglets, the animal feeds, technical support and
marketing of the fnished hogs. The cooperator provides
the housing and labor in growing the pigs for 3 to 4
months. Net income is 75% for the cooperator and 25%
only for SIFECO. At any given time, the total population of
the project is 5,500 to 8,000 heads of pigs. The economy
gives a better return of proft to the small farmer who
earns from a minimum of fve hundred pesos to three
thousand pesos per head. The most efcient cooperator
was able to build a house from his income. The project
has been going on for a decade now.
SIFECO has 50 employees and a few are stockholders.
Accountants, drivers and production employees were
given shares of stock to encourage them to treat the
company as their own. Some of them become farm
owners. Nothing beats a happy working environment as
improves the economic state of the 50 employees, 114
cooperator farmers from Laguna and Rizal. Extended
capital to the pig buyers from Pasig, Marikina, Taytay,
Morong, Los Banos, Sta Cruz, Famy and Siniloan. .
President &
Speed Money
Transfer Japan
Kubushiki Kaisha
Residence: Tokyo, Japan
Education: M.A. Economics
First job: Economic Researcher, National Economic and
Development Authority of the Philippines (NEDA)
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? To inspire women to shine and be
successful in every endeavor she puts her heart into.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Mr. Manuel B. Zamora, Jr. He is the Chairman
and founder of Nickel Asia Corporation, and one of the
richest Filipinos. He is our wedding sponsor, and also
the godfather of our son, JC. He believed in me, and
encouraged me to pursue my dreams. When someone
asked him whether I could be trusted 200%, he replied,
“1,000 %”. He is one of the major investors in my
Japanese company.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Japan is country where there is still
a lot to be desired, for women to achieve an equal status
with men, in the work place. It is where the image of
the Filipina is stereotyped (as entertainers, generally).
The Japanese nationals are many times surprised that
a woman, and a Filipina at that, can be the “shacho”or
the president of a company in Japan. But once the initial
shock/surprise is overcome, and when Japanese see you
are competent and reliable and can really deliver, then
they give you the respect that you rightfully deserve. And
then doors start to open, and opportunities will more
easily come your way.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I left in 1977
for a Japanese government scholarship (research grant
and Masters degree grant). I returned back to serve the
Philippine government (NEDA) after my studies, but
after a year, returned to Japan, as the ASEAN countries’
representative at the ASEAN-Japan Centre in Tokyo. After
an unprecedented 3-term (9 years) term at the Centre,
I left for the US, but returned to Tokyo after PNB asked
me to help re-open its presence in Japan, frst as a Rep
Ofce, then upgraded to a full branch manager. I married
a Japanese and the rest is history.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Pagmamano to older people.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Sinigang na Hipon and
Adobong Baboy at Manok. My husband and children love
these two Filipino dishes.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: That I
am still a probinsiyana at heart.
What is your greatest regret? Not having started
my own business much, much earlier.
What is your life philosophy? Share with others
the many blessings you receive.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: May
the tribe increase!
Psychotherapist and
Professor, Greater
Echo Elysian
Council, Los
Angeles, CA
Joselyn has been a community activist since her
high school days, a passion she shared with her mother,
Remedios Geaga, who was a relentless advocate for
the advancement of Filipinos in all walk of life and
active in local politics. Joselyn has been a teacher all her
life, sharing her knowledge with students and clients,
especially high-risk adolescents of color. She has played
a key role in the establishment of the historic Filipino
Town of Los Angeles, and has invested personally in
real estate in this once-depressed area of downtown
Los Angeles. She continues to teach and practice as a
psychotherapist in the city. She has delivered talks and
written in professional journals on psychotherapeutic
studies among minorities in the U.S.
She continues to teach Social Work classes in CSU-
LA, and is a board member of two important Filipino
neighborhood councils: The Greater Echo Elysian
Neighborhood Council of L.A., 13th District, and Temple
Westlake Neighborhood Development Corporation. The
latter, a non-proft organization, has developed a $5
million low-cost housing complex within the historic
Filipino Town (Temple Beaudry area) and provides social
services to its community.
Joselyn received the Pioneer Woman Award from the
LA Council District 13. She has proven her professionalism
through her practice as a psychotherapist, professor, and
community board member.
Clinical Associate
Professor of
Stanford University
and ABC’s for
Global Health
Residence: Pacifca, California
Education: MD
First job: RN – Trauma Unit
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? Mentoring students in global health,
conducting medical missions to the Philippines, research
in the prevention of chronic diseases
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Ms. Fischer, a peace corps volunteer when I was
a junior high school student in the Philippines
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Learning the U.S. culture and
language when I worked as a nurse at Temple University
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Medical school.
Why did you leave the Philippines? To seek
opportunities in the US so I can go to medical school.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Caring
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Adobo, my son’s favorite
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
My age.
What is your greatest regret? No regrets.
What is your life philosophy? Live life everyday!
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
Success in promoting leadership training!
Dr. Librada C.
Yamat Dental
Residence: San
Mateo, California
Education: Doctor of
Dental Medicine
First job: cashier, disc jockey in a club as a
working student
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Based on my experience, poverty will not
be a reason for a person to stop dreaming and to succeed
in life.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Dr. Eleanor Tucker. She was my friend. We both
dreamed to be successful dentists in the US. She was
always there for me, support me and stand by me so I
will not give up in all the tests that come in life. Dealing
with her is always a challenge, but at the end of the day,
having a friend like her is a gift from God.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: As a disc jockey in a club,
you have to deal with many personalities including your
boss. As a working student, you go home late, school
the next day and prepare for exams. Not having enough
sleep, food, or time to study; saving money for tuition
expenses; help support my brothers and sisters to lighten
the burden for my parents who never been to school – I
turned to prayer to provide me the inner strength to
cope and face the challenges of life. As a woman, there’s
a lot of temptation in the workplace, but if you have a
strong faith and so much love for your family, nothing
is impossible.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I passed my board exams
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I used to have a good practice in
Manila, all the comforts in life. But my marriage was not
working and I was getting bored. I asked myself, “that’s
it, is this what life is all about?”I was feeling unsafe living
in the Philippines for myself and my children. I wanted
to give my children a safe place to live so I gave up my
practice and the comforts of life and started all over
again in the U.S.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. Humility
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Adobo; my
children’s and everybody’s favorite. You wont get tired
eating adobo.
What is your greatest regret? Working too hard
and not enough time to spend with my family.
What is your life philosophy? Life is what you
make it. Don’t pray for an easy life, pray to be a stronger
person. Be always positive. Whatever happens in life,
good or bad, this is God’s will. At the end of the day, you
will realize it’s always for the best. Humility, kindness and
compassion will make life good.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
Support and encourage people who are less fortunate so
they, too, will dream and succeed in life.
23 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
Chair, Reginald F.
Lewis Foundation
Residence: New York,
New York
(See article about Loida
Nicolas Lewis on page 7)
President &
CEO, Trinity
Nursing Home
Residence: Los
Angeles, California
Educational Attainment: B.S. in Education
First job: Medical Records Designee
What do you think is the global impact of your
That I have been able to inspire and empower women.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: George Hardi, CEO of Hardi Nursing Home
Management. He was my mentor and he gave me a
chance to get involved in the health care industry.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: The health care industry is a male
dominated industry.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Being given the opportunity to co-
own and operate skilled nursing facilities with Mr. Hardi.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I left in order
to be with my future husband.
One Filipino custom or tradition you would
like to pass on to others: Devotion to God and
respect for the elderly.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Paella because it is
combination of all my favorite foods on top of rice.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: That
I’m a grandmother with 3 grandchildren.
Favorite fction shero: Wonder Woman because she
is a powerful female role model.
What is your greatest regret? That I do not have
any granddaughters.
What is your life philosophy? If I am able to do it,
you should be able to do it.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: More
power and continued success!
Co-Founder and
Certifed Spiritual
Hospice Services
of Lake County,
Residence: Clearlake, California, United States
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
First job: Rural Health Nurse
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Establishing Hospice Services provided an
enduring model for a coordinated and compassionate
team care of the dying and their families.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Being mentored by the late Mary Ann Scofeld,
RSM, founder of the Spiritual Directors Institute in
Burlingame, California, brought out in me my hidden
gifts of compassionate listening, intuitive empathy and
the ability to direct those under my guidance to their
spiritual inclinations, inner clarity and inspired hope.
This transformed me into a better person who is more
efective in encouraging and uplifting others to a more
enlightened state.
Most difcult workplace challenge as
a Filipina woman: Cultural Bias: When I frst
came to the United States, some people would say
negative comments about my accent and my lack of
understanding of jokes that I was not familiar with. Over
time, I was able to assimilate the cultural norms. Having
done so, I am now usually respected by my peers.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Becoming a Certifed Spiritual
Director resulted in a shift from my nursing career to
helping improve the image and revitalize the healthcare
delivery of the Hospice Services of Lake County,
California, which I co-founded.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I immigrated
to the United States to search for my biological father,
who according to my mother, came to the Philippines
with the contingent of Gen. MacArthur towards the end
of World War II. I chronicled my quest in my published
memoir, Journey to the Beginning – A True Story.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like
to pass on to others: Bayanihan – fellowship with
others; acting in solidarity with others.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Adobo: I grew up with it
and always love its taste.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: My
Favorite fction shero: Wonder Woman – she
performed extraordinary feats that uplift the human
What is your life philosophy? Be open to life and
all that it ofers.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
That it will continue to discover many more unsung
Filipina heroines, as inspiration to others.
President &
CEO, National
Healthcare ACO;
Pacifcare Medical;
Biodermik, Inc., &
Telemedicine Inc.
Residence: Woodland Hills, California
Education: MD
Dr. Leviste is an award-winning physician and
surgeon, artist, educator, author and speaker. She is
considered an expert in evaluation and treatment of
the aging skin, with particular expertise in Ethnic skin
and Women of Color. She is an award-winning research
scientist and anti-aging expert. She trains physicians
world-wide, having lectured in several countries.
She is the author of several scientifc publications and
a former editor-in-chief of PMSSC Medical Newsletter
with medical columns in a few local newspapers. She
has served as a consultant to a number of boards,
cosmetic and drug companies and is founder and
president of Biodermik, Inc., a cosmoceutical and weight
reduction line tailored for wellness and prevention of
complications of diabetes and other internal diseases.
She co-founded Kasama Foundation, a non-proft
organization devoted to helping immigrants, disabled,
and the unfortunate in their medical and legal needs.
She volunteered to be the Dermatologist for homeless
children including Children of the Night, Projecto Del
Barrio, Pacifc Boys and Girls Club. She later co-founded
Medical Missions, Inc., sponsoring missions to the
Philippines and Latin American countries.
SVP and
Managing Director,
Asia Pacifc, Europe,
Middle East, and
Africa, Convergys
Residence: Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: College Graduate
First job: Marketing representative at IBM Philippines
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Philippines as the preferred contact center
destination globally– the BPO industry is only industry
where Philippines is the WORLD LEADER.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Andrea Ayers, President and CEO of Convergys
Corporation. She believed in the Filipino talent and my
Convergys Philippines executive leadership team - she
believed, and committed, that we would be the biggest
and the best BPO company in the country. And with her
support, we have made that a reality!
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: The number one thing that needs to
change for women to succeed in the workplace are the
expectations of who does what and how - we must not
be afraid to challenge roles and demand equal share/
responsibility with our partners– if you have a partner,
get them to do half!
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Taking the job as Country Manager
for Convergys Philippines in 2003 when I was already
ready for retirement after my successes in IBM and
Headstrong Philippines. I took the challenge of setting
up Convergys Philippines operations from 2 employees
to today’s largest private employer in the Philippines
with 36,000 people, and the largest geography for
Convergys globally. Building Convergys in the Philippines
was not just about business or commerce - it was about
providing meaningful employment, helping families stay
together, and improving quality of life.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Malasakit or in English – empathy.
It is a trait that helps us relate very well to others, and
unite towards a common goal to help bring about
positive change/uplift the lives of our countrymen.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Adobo - it is recognized as
THE Filipino dish!
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I am
down-to-earth, and I love to interact with employees
of all levels. I will go out of my way to visit sites at every
opportunity so I can connect with them frst-hand.
Favorite fction shero: Hermione Granger, in the
Harry Potter series. She is smart, dedicated to her loved
ones, and not only does she do great things to help
save her friends & fellow magicians, as a woman, she is
calm and collected, holding the group together in their
What is your greatest regret? I think I truly have
no regrets. Even with my own share of failures, I believe
they have taught me valuable lessons that helped me
become a better person overall.
What is your life philosophy? This is something
that I imbibed from my parents, who had a very deep
commitment to do something in the world – and that
is to always do a good deed for others. When I was a
child and complained about getting bored, my mother
would urge me to go help someone – anyone in need. To
this day, I always fnd a moment to be able to do a good
deed for others.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: I only
wish for FWN to be even stronger and more infuential
than it already is today! I hope that your mentoring
program spreads its wings to beneft more of our fellow
Filipina professionals in the Philippines so that more and
more of them will blossom into the top leadership roles
of their organizations. They will surely beneft from the
collective insights, life-long skills and expertise of FWN!
Te Filipino
Community of
Solano County, Inc.
Residence: Vallejo, CA
Education: BS Elementary Education, Philippine
Christian University
Norma is the frst president of the Filipino Community
of Solano County, Inc. that has been re-elected multiple
times because she is a bridge builder and a doer. She
has excellent presence, and shares the wealth with
the community. As the President of the prestigious
organization, through her great leadership, she has
accomplished all major projects that needed to be
done at the Filipino Community Center. Her goal was to
improve the Filipino Community Center.
During her tenure, she had undergone major projects,
such as the renovation of the old Filipino Community
Center, its headquarters for almost 65 years, with the
building fund that has been raised from our annual
fund-raisings that was saved over the years, and also
the rental house located behind the Filipino Community
Center, which has been accomplished, as well as with all
the other major projects preceding and the Scholarships
for any Filipino American students in the Solano County.
The grand total for all the expenses amounted to
$170,000.00. Norma had renovated the old center, but
she had not forgotten their main goal and dream of
the Filipino Community of Solano County, which was
to acquire a new and larger building. Finally, all of this
has come true. Through her leadership and steadfast
positive thinking with the great support and teamwork
of all the board of directors and ofcers, they were able
to purchase a new building for $1.2 million. This new
Filipino Community Center is intended to serve all the
various communities in Solano County, the Bay Area, and
surrounding areas.
Norma is also former President of the Solano County
Fair. She was the former General Chairperson, 2 terms for
the Philippine Cultural Committee and Pista Sa Nayon/
Festival Directors for 3 terms in the City of Vallejo.
24 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
Senior Regional
Vice President,
East & South Asia,
Te Western Union
Residence: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: BS Business Administration, magna cum
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? My work allows me to make a diference in
the lives of migrant workers, including OFWs, and their
One person who infuenced your professional
career? My frst boss at Western Union who recruited
me when I made the decision to go back to working
full time after a four year semi-retirement period. He
saw that I had the potential to succeed in the company
and provided the opportunities for me to manage other
markets apart from the Philippines, without requiring me
to move out of the Manila ofce.
What was you very frst job? Brand Assistant at
Procter & Gamble Philippines
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: My most difcult
workplace challenge is continuing to have a successful
career as a woman in a global company where my
responsibilities require me to travel all the time, and
to balance work related demands with my being a
mother to three children and efciently managing our
What was the turning point in your
professional life? The turning point was when I
joined Western Union. I really believe in the company’s
mission to connect migrant workers and their families
and to provide a safe, easy and convenient way to send
back their hard earned money. It is also very gratifying
to work with a company that has the same values as I do
in giving back to the communities in which we operate
and so I have been able to get support to fund and
implement several CSR programs (eg fnancial literacy,
building schools, providing scholarships and continuing
education, disaster relief, etc) in the Philippines and
other parts of Asia, and among OFWs and other migrant
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others.
The importance of family and the sacrifces that we make
in order to make our families live confortably (as in the
case of OFWs)
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Champorado because
it reminds me of home. Since I am always traveling,
I often miss breakfast with my family and I always
look forward to coming home to a steaming bowl of
champorado with tuyo.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
My maried name is Riingen and when I meet people
for the frst time they always ask if I am married to a
European. My husband’s family is actually from Ilocos
and Riingen means “wake up”in Ilocano
What is your greatest regret? I don’t really have
any great regrets because I don’t usually dwell on the
past or think about what I could have been or what
I could have done better
What is your life philosophy? Work excellence –
For everything that you need to do, you need to work
hard and give it your best all the time
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
I hope that this organization can provide the venue
for more Filipinas to be recognized globally for their
TV Network
Residence: Toronto, Canada
Education: BSC General Business in Education
First Job: Brand Assistant at Procter & Gamble
Rosemer is the Executive Vice President of one
of the largest umbrella organizations of Filipinos in
Toronto, Ontario, the Philippine Canadian Charitable
Foundation, which was founded by her husband
before he was appointed as a Senator in the Canadian
Parliament. Please refer to the Foundation website: Composed
of diferent leaders of various provincial, professional,
cultural and social organizatons, PCCF was created mainly
to assist various community charitable needs, PCCF will
have annual activities that will bring together the Filipino-
Canadian Community to promote the spirit of Charity. The
organizers of the foundation are proven charitable leaders,
collectively they have lead and assisted in sending over
$440,000 USD worth of Medical Equipment and supplies
to diferent hospitals in the Philippines, sent medical and
dental missions to thousands of poor and needy families.
Collectively they have assisted in the building of 33
Houses for the poor families.
She is the Marketing Consultant for GMA Pinoy
TV International for Eastern Canada, the international
channel of the largest Philippine TV network in the
Philippines. She has arranged for Filipino artists to come
to Filipino events in major cities (i.e. Toronto & Montreal)
as added crowd drawers. This has gotten the Filipino
youth in Canada to be involved and get to know their
Board Certifed
Owner & Founder,
M Beauty by
Dr. Tess
Residence: San Diego,
Education: Doctor of Medicine
First job: McDonald’s!
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? As “America’s Favorite Dermatologist”on
many TV shows, including The Dr. Tess Show on GMA,
I educate audiences globally.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Dr. Fe Del Mundo was my pediatrician in the
Philippines and took care of me after a devastating dog
bite on my face when I was four. She is a true healer
and the frst female student of Harvard Medical School!
My parents believe that she somehow passed her gift
of spiritual and physical healing to me. As a pioneer in
her feld, she will be respected and loved for her positive
spirit. I always wanted to be a doctor, a true healer. In
my feld of aesthetics, I infuse the importance of inner
beauty and spirituality in my work.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: During my dermatology training,
I felt blatant discrimination, virtually on a daily basis,
that I sufered from migraine headaches everyday. Even
now, it is difcult for me to look at the hospital I did my
training. As an example, my fellow resident (there were
only two dermatology residents per year) was absent
for two consecutive pregnancies. I alone shouldered the
work of 2 residents during those periods. When it came
down to picking one “Chief Resident”, the faculty chose
my Caucasian blonde counterpart (mind you, she was on
maternity leave for almost one of three years) - because
they felt I was “not a team player!”It was heartbreaking
and unbelievable. Our Resident Coordinator apologized
to me personally many years later for the mistreatment
I received. I forgave them; after all, no matter how hard
they tried to keep me down, I have become one of their
most accomplished graduates.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? I did not want to be a business
owner - I only wanted to be an employee. But my frst
job as a Board Certifed Dermatologist was made difcult
because of discrimination from my boss’ wife. It was
soul crushing going to work everyday. I was also denied
compensation I know was rightfully mine. I decided
that I would rather take my chances working in my own
clinic than to live an uninspiring life. Within 3 months of
opening my own practice, we were busier than ever and
the rest is history.
Why did you leave the Philippines? My whole
family left the Philippines during the Marcos ousting. My
parents made the decision to leave the Philippines when
I was 12. We had no idea how hard life was going to
be in America. Years after we immigrated, we were still
asking our parents why we moved.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Filipinos are the happiest, most
positive people and are naturally caring. I would like to
make that known to as many people as possible.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Sinigang. There’s nothing
like my father’s cooking. It makes me happy just thinking
about it.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I was
Battallion Commander of my High School JROTC program
and one of the top Female Marksmen in San Diego. So
don’t mess with me!
Favorite fction shero: Wonder Woman, of course!
What is your greatest regret? I wish I spent more
time with my kids when they were infants and toddlers.
But that was during my medical training and while
building a practice, so there wasn’t as much time as I
wanted. But, when it comes to family, there is never
enough time, is there?
What is your life philosophy? Always do the right
thing and no matter how things seem, it can always be
worse so I am always grateful, and above all... God has
a plan.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To attract the younger generation of Filipinas and to
build pride in accepting their own identity and greatness!
And it starts by marketing success stories and sharing
inspirational lives of powerful Filipinas to the next
Deputy Chief
of Inspections,
Inspector General/
Physician Assistant
United States Army
Residence: Converse, Texas
Education: Ph.D. and D.Sc. (Doctor of Philosophy and
Doctor of Science)
First job: Patient Administrator Specialist
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? It is based on the signifcance of the ability
to network regardless of the position.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: My instructor on the Patient Administrator
Course in 1992 when I was a private (E-1). She was
professional and embodied a strong non-commissioned
ofcer who cared about her students. She instilled in us
that we’re soldiers frst, regardless of what our job was
in the Army. We had to be good at our job, but had to
remember that someday we may be needed to go to
war, and I didn’t realize the impact of her words until I
had to go to war and be a soldier.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: How a Filipina woman sees herself
and what she thinks others in her workplace see her. If a
Filipina sees herself as a strong contributor and someone
who has a voice, she’ll be fne. However, if she sees
herself as a servant or someone who is subservient, it
will create a challenge not only for herself, but it will also
refect on how others will see her.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I became a physician
assistant and a commissioned ofcer in 2000. It
was a huge transition from being enlisted, a non-
commissioned ofcer, patient administrator, and then
going into physician assistant school. Once graduated,
it was a great opportunity not only to be a medical
provider, but also someone future leaders look up to for
guidance. During my frst deployment in Kosovo, I was
able to use my medical, people, and leadership skills,
then from that point on, my experiences thereafter have
been building blocks to get me where I am today.
25 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
Why did you leave the Philippines? My family
lived in the U.S. and my mother came back for my sister
and me in order to open up new opportunities. I’m
very appreciative of my upbringing in the Philippines,
especially living with my grandmother who was a strict
businesswoman. My strong work ethics are partly due to
the experiences I had in the Philippines.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like
to pass on to others: Be respectful of everyone,
especially your elders.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Adobo because it is easy to
make and I don’t need measuring cups. My family says I
make the best adobo (I always make it with love).
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
I was scared to go to basic training. I cried my eyes out
before leaving home, but after that I was fne.
Favorite fction shero: Mulan. I can relate to her
because she was young when she joined the military.
She had to assimilate, but she was still able to hang with
the men and boys in battle.
What is your greatest regret? That I didn’t have the
opportunity to be a drill sergeant when I was enlisted,
but things happened for a reason.
What is your life philosophy? To always learn. I
love to learn, teach, travel, and make a diference. My
love for learning is what has made me successful and it
also lets people know I will not know everything, which
keeps me humble.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
I wish success for FWN in being able to infuence future
generations to know their heritage and be proud. I also
wish for FWN to continue identifying women who are
making a diference, and I wish for FWN to continue to
grow and foster future friendships and togetherness.
Tayo na!
Senior Partner,
Health Consulting
Services, Health
Partners, L.L.C.
Residence: Piti,
Guam, United States
Education: Doctor of Medicine, Masters in Public
First job: Chief Resident, Department of Internal
Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook, NY
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Providing evidence and real life examples
of systems-wide approaches to promoting health and
fostering sustainable behavior change for better health.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Mr. Steve Tamplin, who was Regional Adviser
for Environmental Health at WHO when I joined the
organization, had a major impact on my life as a
professional. He motivated me to be a critical thinker,
approaching dilemmas and problems systematically and
rationally. But he also taught me to be creative about
solutions, to think not just outside the box, but to “throw
the box away!”Plus he impressed upon me the value
of personal relationships in professional life, and the
importance of timing to ensure successful outcomes.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: Working in international
public health, as a young Filipino female, I had
to outperform my colleagues to prove my worth.
Unfortunately, sexism, racial bias and ageism persist in
the 21st century, and as a woman of color, I knew I had
to work harder than everyone else to be taken seriously.
Eventually, though the quality of one’s work speaks
for itself, and that was vindication for all the earlier
What was the turning point in your
professional life? My turning point was when
I made the decision to give up clinical practice and
focus exclusively on public health. Clinical medicine is
downstream; you intervene after disease has occurred.
But public health is an upstream practice---you
intervene to protect health and prevent disease. A
successful public health outcome is intangible; it is
the absence of disease. Thus, it is much more difcult
to quantify success in public health, but the potential
for having a signifcant impact in the lives of many is
considerable. You may never be recognized as a driver
of good health, because your role is prevention. But the
personal satisfaction from efective public health practice
is immeasurable, and ultimately, much more satisfying.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I left kicking and screaming, because I
loved my life in the Philippines. However, my husband’s
home is Guam, and when he moved, I had to join him to
keep our marriage and our family together. It has been
one of the best things we have ever done as a family. Life
is simpler in Guam, and our kids have grown up learning
to be self-reliant and independent. Also, we have come
closer as a family because we had more time to be
together. This experience reinforced the importance of
doing as God’s will; He blessed many times over!
Filipino custom or tradition you would like
to pass on to others. The practice of thinking about
other’s welfare frst, being considerate of their comfort
and well-being before pursuing your own comfort
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Halo-halo! It is
quintessentially Filipino – a colorful and indescribable
amalgam of many favors, many infuences, yet uniquely
its own personality. It is quirky, like our national
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I adore shoes, and cannot bear to part with any of my
own. When I feel sad or tired or lonely, I buy shoes and
voila! Instant joy!
Who is your favorite fction shero? Captain
Janeway in Star Trek’s Voyager. She was the epitome
of feminine power – in control, rational but always
tempering decisions with compassion. Plus I loved the
Star Trek uniforms!
What is your greatest regret? Not pursuing my
horseback riding lessons
What is your life philosophy? Like Stephen Covey
said, always begin with the need in mind. Give it your
best shot, then let go and let destiny take over.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
Continued expansion and reafrmation of the intrinsic
worth and collective power of women who have the
courage to make a diference in their communities
Director, Newborn
Reference Center
National Institutes
of Health, University of the Philippines;
Executive Director, Philippine Genome Center
Residence: White Plains, Quezon City, Philippines
Education: Doctor of Medicine
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? I am currently helping low to middle
countries in the Asia Pacifc region set up their newborn
screening programs.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? National Scientist Perla Santos Ocampo
was known for her dedicated and sterling service as
medical educator, mentor, adviser, administrator and
institution builder at the University of the Philippines
Manila and throughout the nation. I have several
mentors in my academic life she is one person who
encouraged me to do things beyond my personal
expectation. She taught me the value of passion and
hard work in any endeavour in my life; the value of
being people-centric; the value of family; the value of
team-work; the value of excellence; the value of love for
country; and the value of prayer.
First job: Executive Ofcer, Department of Pediatrics,
Philippine General Hospital
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: When the newborn
screening program was having difculty in integration in
the public health delivery system, I made the bold move
of enrolling in a Master of Arts in Health Policy Studies
at the College of Public Health, UP Manila. I considered
this a step toward gaining the skills to write policies on
newborn screening. When I fnally prepared the draft
bill on newborn screening, I had to deal with legislators
and their staf who were predominantly male. Being a
student lobbying for a bill was an experience. Being a
woman probably became my strength at the end.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? My original plan was to take up a
fellowship on Neonatology after my Pediatric training
at the Philippine General Hospital. At this time, the
Geneticist at PGH passed away leaving a vacuum at
the hospital. My mentors convinced me (probably the
correct word is coerced) to pursue Genetics instead
of Neonatology. Although a very difcult decision to
pursue a road less traveled, I said ‘yes’. Upon my return, I
set up genetic services at PGH and various laboratories.
Because of my training, I became instrumental in setting
up the newborn screening pilot project in 24 hospitals
in 1996. Data generated was the basis for Republic
Act 9288 or the Newborn Screening Act of 2004. It is
now being ofered in 4,700+ and has saved more than
60,000 babies. That day in May 1987 when I said ‘yes’
to my mentors, my future changed. After all, Genetics
was for me.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Pagmamalasakit sa kapwa
Your favorite Filipino recipe? The traditional adobo
The one thing that we would not guess about
you: I used to be a quiet, soft-spoken student in
elementary and high school.
What is your greatest regret? I have no major
ones. I regret that my mother is not around to witness
this awarding. I would have taken her along. She died in
a car accident in 2005.
What is your life philosophy? In God’s plan, there
is purpose for every person in this world. Men can help
shape the future but only plans that are shaped with the
guidance of God will reach perfection. Thus, we have to
be consciously listening to God’s whispers...
God knows best.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: May
the FWN inspire more women around the world by the
sharing of experiences of the women at FWN. It is an
excellent venue for the Filipina to be recognised as a
source of hope for generations to come.
Professor, Napa
Valley College
Founder, Broken
Shackle Publishing
and Broken Shackle Developmental Training
Residence: El Cerrito, California
Education: MA Religion and Society and MA in Ethnic
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? As an author and professor, my essays,
short stories, poetry, and research articles have reached
and transformed audiences worldwide.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? Mr. Thomas Shepardson, my former
high school history teacher and now my father-fgure
and mentor, has always been a tremendous source
of support for me. He has always encouraged me to
follow my dreams. He is a man who has continuously
complimented me on how all those who come in contact
with me are drawn to and enamored with the spark that
he has always seen in me.
First job: Data entry position at Springs Bedding
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: The most difcult
workplace challenge for me has been being perceived
as too radical and therefore a threat to the educational
institution simply because I was revising curriculum so
that it would refect the diverse ethnicities represented in
the student population.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? A turning point in my professional
life was leaving a Catholic high school where I taught for
seven years. Due to its color blind racist mentality, lack of
overt solidarity with the LGBT community, lack of action
taken by administration to remove a teacher who was
sexually harassing female students, I decided I could no
longer, in good conscience, remain at that institution.
Continuing to work there felt like a violation of my inner
spirit. After listening to the advice of the custodian, a
fellow teacher, a student, and an alumni (coincidentally
within a two-week span), I decided to fnd another job.
With no guarantee that there were positions available, I
blindly sent out resumes to several community colleges.
This led me to an adjunct position at Napa Valley College
which within a year led me to a tenure-track position in
the Humanities Department.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I was born in the United States. I have
visited the Philippines twice. Once at 5 years old and a
second time at 25 years old. My return to the Philippines
is long overdue. I can’t wait to go back.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. Balintawak Arnis
26 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Lumpia made with
ground turkey, raisins, garbanzo beans, onion, green
onion and garlic. This is an adaptation of my mother’s
recipe which nonetheless reminds me of how beautiful
and loving she was.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I enjoy irreverent people.
Who is your favorite fction shero? Korra; she is
strong and courageous.
What is your greatest regret? Not studying abroad
while I was an undergraduate.
What is your life philosophy? Let your mind
immediately go to “Yes”!
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
I wish that its members will continue to reach out to
Filipinas around the world to expand its reach.
Hollywood Foreign
Press Association
Residence: Los
Angeles, California
Education: College
First job: Editorial Assistant
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Representing the Filipina in international
entertainment journalism and inspiring aspiring Filipina
journalists to pursue international entertainment
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Mrs. Lourdes N. Tacorda, my journalism high
school teacher at Quezon City High School, because
she inspired me to become a journalist and pursue my
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: I was discriminated by an American
colleague because she couldn’t accept the fact that she
is being edited by a Filipina who graduated from the
Philippines and is an immigrant.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I got married
in the U.S.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Respect for elders.
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Adobo. It is the favorite of
my family and friends.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
I am an actress, too.
Favorite fction shero: Wonder Woman.
What is your greatest regret? That my mother and
grandparents are no longer around.
What is your life philosophy? Nothing is
impossible if you put your heart and soul into it and walk
with God.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To inspire young Filipinas to be global leaders.
Professor of Clinical
Psychology in
Psychiatry Clinical
Department of
Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical
Residence: New York, New York
Highest Educational Attainment: Ph.D.
Lirio’s career spans over 30 years of academic work,
20 of which in psychiatric research and 10 in non-
psychiatric tobacco epidemiology. She has focused on
the hard-core, tobacco and nicotine addiction smoker
concurrently aficted with a psychiatric disorder such
as major depression, anxiety disorders, attention defcit
hyperactivity disorder, and alcohol and drug dependence.
She has been recognized nationally in the United
States and internationally as a scientifc and key opinion
leader for her work in tobacco addiction. She has
collaborated extensively with investigators and clinicians
based throughout the US, Europe, and Asia to conduct
clinical trials and epidemiological studies; to develop
scientifc educational programs; and to disseminate
research fndings in scientifc journals and through
presentations in national and international meetings.
Her work has been supported by the US government
(through the National Cancer Institute and the National
Institute for Drug Abuse), and by private industry grants.
While continuing to work and reside in New York,
Dr. Covey has been conducting activities for the Filipino
autism community during the past several years through
regular trips to Manila and the use of the internet and
other telecommunication technologies.
With collaborations from Manila-based leaders
working with special needs individuals, including the
Autism Society of the Philippines, the Independent
Learning and Living Center, and Caritas, Dr. Covey
founded and, in February 2011, registered the
Association for Adults with Autism, Philippines (AAAP)
with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission.
Further organizational and recruitment eforts enabled
the formal launching of AAAP in February 20, 2012, held
at the Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati, Manila. About
100 opinion and social leaders who were invited because
of their known relationships with autism projects and
individuals with autism attended the launch. In her
remarks at the launching of AAAP, Dr. Covey described
the mission and vision of AAAP: frst, to highlight and
ameliorate the enormous lack of services for the growing
number of Filipino adults with autism; second, to address
the anguished question of autism families – “who will
take care of my child (or family member) when I am
gone?”; and third, to build and maintain its keystone
project – A Special Place, a residential program for
Filipino adults with autism which would be the frst of its
kind in the Philippines.
Associate Dean
and Henry Wolf
Parsons Te New
School for Design
Residence: Montclair, New Jersey
Education: MFA Design
First job: Junior Designer at a small studio in Manila
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I was living in San Francisco,
I was tapped to be the national president of the largest
professional design organization in the United States,
the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). I served
from 1996-1998 and was the frst presidential appointee
outside of New York in the organization’s then 80-year
history and only the second woman. I was, in many
cases, the only Filipino ever to receive prominent
recognition in this feld, frst at the Cooper-Hewitt
National Design Museum and more recently as the
recipient of the AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement
in Design.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I was interested in pursuing graduate
studies in Graphic Design, which at that time, was not
ofered by any educational institution in the Philippines.
I also had the sense that my way of thinking and the
quality of my work needed to be challenged and allowed
the opportunity to evolve in a diferent context.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. Generosity of spirit
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Pancit Malabon:
it has to be done right with the right ingredients to be
authentic. I have only had the best kind from Malabon
One thing that we would not guess about you:
My iPhone music playlist has songs shared with me by
my two teenage sons, so it ranges from classical rock to
hiphop to contemporary world music.
What is your greatest regret? That my parents
passed away before I was able to reach prominence in
the professional design feld, a choice that they never
wavered in their support
What is your life philosophy? Life and work
are closely intertwined and happiness and a sense of
fulfllment in your chosen work is crucial in living a long
and satisfying life. It is a tragedy to engage in work that
one does not love, especially since 5 full days over the
course of a 40-hour (or more) work week is too long to
do something one does not care for.
Cabinet Secretary
Climate Change
Republic of the
Residence: Manila, Philippines
Education: Law Degree; Master’s Degree in
Mary Ann Lucille L. Sering is youngest of nine children
of the Governor of Surigao del Norte Jose C. Sering and
Dr. Socorro L. Sering, Ed.d. She attended college and
law school at the De La Salle University-Taft Avenue,
Manila. While in law school, she worked as a legislative
staf ofcer at the Senate of the Philippines. After passing
the Philippine Bar in year 2000, she briefy worked as a
Junior Associate at Roxas De Los Reyes Laurel Law Ofces
handling corporate cases. She then worked as a College
Secretary (equivalent to an Associate Dean) of San
Sebastian College of Law. She conceptualized the student
friendly bar review classes of San Sebastian College of
Law that eventually became one of the most attended
review schools in the country today. She resigned
as college secretary to pursue her masteral degree at
the prestigious Asian Institute of Management. She
graduated with a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship
and Social Development with honors.
In 2007, she was appointed Undersecretary of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources or
DENR, one of the youngest appointed to the post. It
was at the DENR that Lucille truly made her mark by
introducing policies intended to improve the image
of government lawyers by designing a course on
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education purely focused
on environmental subjects, considered a frst. She also
created the Green Legal Warriors, a voluntary program for
law students to engage in environmental cases for their
para-legal courses.
Through these eforts, Lucille was recognized by the
Supreme Court and was appointed to the technical
working group that crafted the landmark rules of court
for Environmental Laws. She was one of two non-justices
that formed the technical working group headed by then
Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
In 2010, Lucille was appointed as one of the pioneer
commissioner of the newly created Climate Change
Commission and was eventually promoted as the vice-
chairperson with a cabinet rank of Secretary replacing
former Senator Heherson Alvarez. She introduced the
Eco-Town Framework, a concept to build climate resilient
communities. It is now being piloted in several of the
poorest provinces in the Philippines, and the results of
the pilot are now being incorporated in the guideline for
land use planning for local governments. This will be the
frst ever land use guidelines that is risk based thereby
allowing local communities to prepare themselves
against climate change impacts.
Because of the initial success of these innovative
planning on climate change, the Commission has
received numerous support from international
development partners like the World Bank, the Asian
Development Bank, USAID, AusAid, German Aid, the
Global Green Growth Initiative, the United Nations
Development Program as well as other development
partners. Lucille has been invited by various international
organizations to speak and share the Philippine initiatives
for replication abroad. She represents the Philippines as
the Minister of Climate Change and heads the delegation
to the annual international conference of parties of
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change or UNFCCC. At age 42, she is considered one of
the youngest ministers at the UNFCCC.
Chief Executive
Geoscience Testing
Residence: Sharjah,
United Arab Emirates
Education: Masters Degree in Business Administration
First job: Quality Control Ofcer
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? I empower women with my extraordinary
story and breakthrough in the Middle East despite living
in a male dominated region.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Mr. Abdul Latif Gargawi, Chairman and owner
of Geoscience Testing Laboratory. He gave me the chance
27 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
to prove my worth as a leader and strategic decision
maker, and he has also given me the opportunity to
advance my corporate management and leadership
skills. I strongly believe his trust and belief in me has
empowered me in my climb up the corporate ladder.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Working in a multi-cultural male
dominated industry was not easy for me at the start of
my career in the United Arab Emirates due to gender
discrimination and the female household dilemma.
Generally, Filipinas are misunderstood because of their
economic status in the Middle East during the 80s;
Filipinas are believed to only work in the household, and
are being criticized and underestimated. For a female
to survive the hurdles in UAE, she needs to understand
and adjust herself with the culture. I have observed and
respected the culture while balancing it with my own
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I was awarded as Emirates
Businesswoman of the Year in 2008 in the Professional
Category. I’m confdent with this achievement I bring
honor and pride to my country. It has empowered me to
continue my advocacy of helping less fortunate Filipinos
working in UAE and it has opened opportunities to fag
up the excellence of UAE globally. I’ve made a mark in
UAE’s history being the only Filipina to date to stand
along with the powerful Arab women.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I left in
1992 because of both necessity and choice. Seeing the
difculties of life in the Philippines gave me reason to
leave because I had goals and a vision I needed to follow.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Bayanihan
Favorite Filipino Recipe: Sinigang na manok sa
sampalok because I love sour foods.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
I have a bubbly personality.
Favorite fction shero: Darna because she is an icon
of empowerment.
What is your greatest regret? The years I’ve missed
staying with my mother because I had to work overseas.
What is your life philosophy? Sharing our life
stories to our acquaintances, friends, and family is the
most valuable gift we could give them.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
May your organization continue to empower women,
recognize their strength, and uplift their spirits through
your projects. Mabuhay and more power to FWN.
Founder & Chief
Director, Te Peace
Game, Stanford
Venture Lab
Project, DNLE
Residence: Emerald
Hills, California
Education: Med Learning and Technology Masters
Mira Gillet is the founder and Chief Director of the
Peace Game, a top project in Stanford Venture Lab
Project through DNLE. She is a California credentialed
teacher with Masters in Education in Learning and
Technology. She is trained in Design Thinking through
Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and has a
Professional Certifcation in Project Management from
Stanford University. Mira graduated from San Jose State
University in Graphic Design and is a robotics coach for
the Marine Advanced Technology Education International
Competition. She is also the founder of Design Thinking
in a box to spread design skills inspired by Stanford
Design School. She volunteers at the Marine Science
Director, Asian
Global Footprint
Pati is leading Global
Footprint Network’s
engagement with Asia. Building on her on-the-
ground policy expertise as a journalist, Pati has been
engaging with over six Asian national governments and
various international institutions including the Asian
Development Bank (ADB) and the ASEAN Secretariat to
bring the issue of resource limits to policymaking.
Prior to joining Global Footprint Network, Pati was
a journalist for 15 years, working as a columnist and
editorial writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, deputy
editorial page editor for the Honolulu Advertiser and
staf editor at numerous Bay Area daily newspapers. Her
yearlong editorial series on foster care reform in California
for the San Francisco Chronicle helped lead to numerous
changes in the state law, and won her numerous
national awards, including frst place in the National
Headliners Award, Scripps Howard National Journalism
Award, Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Chi
Award and the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.
Pati was also the Chronicle’s nominee for Pulitzer Prize in
editorial writing in 2006 and 2007. She is the author of
“The Oracles: My Filipino Grandparents in America”.
Obama’s Advisory
Commission on
Asian Americans
and Pacifc Islanders
Rozita Villanueva Lee has the distinction of having
been appointed by President Obama to his Advisory
Commission in 2010 and continues to serve in this
capacity. The road from the dirt playgrounds of the sugar
plantations of Hawaii to the marble rooms of the Nation’s
Capitol and White House is told in Rozita’s Bio-sketch.
Rozita moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 1979. She
is a Filipina who was born in Maui, Hawaii of immigrant
parents Eugenio Estrada Villanueva and Leoncia Bermisa
Asuncion Villanueva. They came to the U.S. from San
Manuel, Pangasinan in the early 1930s to work in the
Hawaii sugar plantations.
Rozita is a Consultant with decades of solid experience
as a caring community organizer and leader, inspiring
keynote speaker, efective political campaign coordinator,
and meeting facilitator. She is currently working with the
Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation, a
Grantee of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange,
to outreach to the AAPI community regarding the
Afordable Care Act. While doing this, Rozita appears
on the NBC afliate KSNV-TV-3 Las Vegas as editorial
commentator addressing issues pertinent to the AAPI
communities, and participates weekly on the East West
Radio show at KLAV-Radio.
In the recent past, from 1991 to 2009, Rozita was a
business owner of “Drums of the Islands”Polynesian
Entertainment. She produced and performed in the
weekly Hawaiian-Polynesian Luau Revue with a cast
of 15 at the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino and other
venues. Her company holds the record of having had the
longest running Polynesian show on the Las Vegas Strip,
18 years. She also produced and hosted a television
program, “Spectrum”, on PBS KLVX-TV-10.
Rozita has been termed the “go-to”person in Nevada
for things referencing the Asian Pacifc community.
Government representatives from Dept. of Justice, Dept
of Housing and Urban Development, Dept of Labor, Dept
of Education, and Dept of Interior have called on her to
set up local meetings for them when they come from
D.C. National and local news correspondents call on her
to provide information about the AAPI communities in
Rozita has been politically active. She championed
the Asian American Studies Bill 525 in the Nevada
Legislature which became law and instituted by the Clark
County Commission.
Trustee and
Executive Director/
Associate Vice
Bayanihan Folk
Arts Foundation/
Philippine Women’s University
Residence: Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Education: Ph.D. in Social Development
First job: Researcher at the joint local government
reform commission
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Reinventing Bayanihan not only redefned
Filipinos’ appreciation of their culture, but it has shaped
peoples’ aspirations to seek only the best.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Conchita Sunico, a respected organizer and
fundraiser who has exquisite taste for all the good things
in life. As a mentor and boss, she allowed me to make
important decisions that helped me grow professionally.
She taught me to grab every opportunity for growth and
to be open to new ideas and experiences. She always
said, “Life is short; do what is right and give your best
at all times.”
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: A vehicle sales manager for a
Japanese car dealership. In a male dominated industry,
your ability to outsell is always put to the test. The
tendency, therefore, was for me to always be on my
toes, think on my feet, and prove myself to be up to
the challenge. The constant competitive pace can be
exhausting and draining on creative energy.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Family solidarity.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Pancit bihon with fried
lumpiang togue. It reminds me of Sunday lunches with
my family.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
I don’t enjoy late night parties.
What is your greatest regret? Growing up too fast.
What is your life philosophy? Live and love to the
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
For everyone in FWN to have continued success and to
expand infuence all over the world.
Principal, State,
Local, and
Practice, Dewey
Square Group
Washington, DC
Vida Benavides develops and advises the Dewey
Square Group’s clients on third-party outreach strategies
inclusive of multicultural constituencies and consumers.
She has more than 15 years of experience as a political
and public afairs consultant and dedicates her spare
time as a leadership strategist mentoring and training
public servants, community leaders, and campaign
An expert in electoral politics, Vida provides strategic
counsel to clients on policy initiatives, voter education
and mobilization, political leadership, and civic
engagement as part of the Dewey Square Group’s state
and local multicultural practices.
Previously, Vida served as the Director of Public Liaison
of the Department of Public Liaison, Voter Education,
& Training for Democratic National Committee under
Chairman David Wilhelm. She also served as a political
aide in the Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Team and
’92 Clinton/Gore Campaign, as an advisor to the Kerry/
Edwards (2004) and Gore/Lieberman (2000) presidential
She also served as advisor and strategist for the
National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE),
the coalition that pursued passage of Filipino WWII
Veterans Beneft Enhancement legislation. President
Obama signed the bill as part of the Recovery and
Reinvestment Act in 2009. Vida has served as a board
member of Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco, APIAVote
of Washington, and the Presidential Nomination, Timing
and Scheduling Commission for the Democratic Party.
Currently, she serves as Leadership Advisor to America’s
Opportunity Fund.

28 F I L I P I N A W O M E N ’ S N E T W O R K | w w w . F i l i p i n a W o m e n s N e t w o r k . o r g
Clinical Associate
USC School of
Social Work
Residence: Sunland,
Education: Ph.D.
What was your very frst job? Waitress at Best
Lumpia Restaurant; Stockton, CA
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Women have a voice and a duty to use that
voice to stand with others and fght for justice.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? As an activist, former Congresswoman
Liza Maza has been the most infuential in helping to
shape, guide, and inspire my work. As an academic, Dr.
Pauline Agbayani has paved the way as a trailblazer for
Filipina research and has made sure that I don’t forget my
responsibility to my community as an educator.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: To always make sure
that Filipina women are not stereotyped. Further, it is
important that our agendas and issues are taken into
account and validated. It is not enough for Filipinas to
be at the table, we need to have a part in the agenda
setting and the decision making. And, we need to be
able to make room for other Filipinas so that we are not
tokenized and trivialized.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? A turning point in my professional
life was when I was told that if I wanted to be a serious
academic, I would not engage in community activism
or international solidarity, because “real”researchers are
impartial and objective. That was when I realized that I
had to redefne what it meant to be a “serious”academic.
A large part of that was also to fnd other Filipinas who
faced the same challenges and were forging new paths
such as Dr. Tintiangco and Dr. Mabalon. I also had to
remind myself that others like Dr. Agbayani, Dr. Strobel,
and Dr. Azores were very successful – in academia and in
service to the Filipino Community.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. Bayanihan
Your favorite Filipino recipe? My mother’s Beef
Sinigang. When I was younger, I would watch the almost
ritual way she would prepare and assemble the sinigang,
calling my sister and I in to taste it for just the right
amount of sourness. Growing up, my mom always had
a pot of something on the stove so that our home was
the house everyone came over to, especially when it
was sinigang in that pot. And, now, even as adults, she
makes this as our comfort food. It’s been a symbol and
literal taste of home when I have something to celebrate,
something to get over, and even something to mourn.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
That I am a procrastinator!
Who is your favorite fction shero?
Lyra from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
What is your greatest regret? Not being in the
country when a most beloved aunt passed away; not
spending enough time with her before she died.
What is your life philosophy? Take a deep breath
and leap.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To grow in sisterhood, in power, and in infuence.
Bio: Dr. Annalisa Enrile’s areas of research focus around
transnational communities, particularly in the areas
of adolescents and families; immigration; community
based practice models; and gender/diversity issues.
Dr. Enrile is the Chair of the Community Organization,
Planning Administration (COPA) Concentration, working
in the area of macro social work education. She is also
the Chair of the MSW Foundation Behavior Sequence,
especially interested in incorporating macro theories
such as Critical Race Theory, Confict Theory, Transnational
Feminist Theory and Empowerment Theory. Dr. Enrile’s
training is in ethnographic methodology and community
participatory methods and community empowerment
and activism, which encourage collaboration for change.
Dr. Enrile’s passion is rooted in her work in the
community, especially in the areas of international
human rights, militarization, gender rights, and modern
day slavery and trafcking. For over 15 years, she worked
with Gabriela Network. She served as the organization’s
Chair from 1998 to 2008, during which time she led the
Campaign for Justice for Nicole for which her honor from
the FWN Global 100 is named after. Dr. Enrile created
global immersion programs to the Philippines, bringing
together student learning, activism, and feminist
empowerment. This model is based on a woman-to-
woman, international solidarity framework. As a former
Fullbright Fellow, Dr. Enrile continues to do work globally
in the Philippines and the Philippine diaspora.
Regional Director,
Legal & Corporate
Afairs, Southeast
Microsof, Inc.
Residence: Singapore
Education: Ph.D.
First job: Secretary for a Freon company in Manila
when I was 15
What do you think is the global impact of
your infuence? I have worked in fve countries and
have trained hundreds of rising and senior government
ofcials in leadership.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Dr. David Hamburg, President Emeritus,
Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has been a true
mentor and sponsor. He’s an example of excellence,
discipline and commitment, and has focused his talents
and resources on improving the welfare of children and
preventing deadly confict. He gave me substantive
responsibilities when I was only in my 20s, exposed me
to very senior international policymakers, and has given
me career advice and professional introductions for over
two decades. He is a true infuencer and genuine leader.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: While living and working in the
former Soviet Union, I often felt challenged as a petite
Filipina in an often brusque and sexist culture. Most of
the meetings I attended were male dominated. I also had
to work in a communist setting, where everything was
more difcult logistically and substantively. But, because
I spoke Russian, that helped me gain early credibility. I
also worked for Harvard University and the name of the
institution also opened doors.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? When I decided to live and work
in the Soviet Union in 1990, just as it was about to fall
apart. I had been married for just over two years, and
my husband was living in Manhattan. We were just
starting out our careers so we were prepared to sacrifce
some of our time together. The job in Moscow exposed
me to high-level decision makers and gave me an
opportunity to be on the frontlines of one of the biggest
socio-political and economic transitions in any society.
It was a truly formative experience. I got to work with
Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, and later, had
an opportunity to meet with Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev
four times.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I was born
in a village and then raised in the city slums of Iloilo. I
left the Philippines because I was so poor and I knew
my opportunities were elsewhere. I converted to the
Latter-day Saint religion when I was 11. Through
that connection, I was able to go to Brigham Young
University. Later, I got accepted to Harvard and MIT.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Mano po to the older people.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Halo-Halo because sweet
ice is perfect for hot weather.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I’ve
had 11 years of Kung Fu training.
Favorite fction shero: Elizabeth Bennett because
she was ahead of her time and the proposal scene
between her and Darcy never ceases to make me laugh
What is your greatest regret? I have none.
What is your life philosophy? Miracles happen.
Be happy, be useful, be charitable.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
That FWN succeeds in creating a strong network of
women who can be role models and who can give
back to their communities back in the Philippines and
wherever they live.
CEO and President
Sterling HSA
Residence: Oakland,
Education: MPA
First job: Library Aide
What do you think
is the global impact of your infuence?
Serving as a role model – being a Filipina is an asset, not
a liability, as one strives for leadership.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: Jim Vohs, former CEO of KaiserHealth Plan,
Inc., for modeling behavior of a values-based leader.
Jim taught me that one can be successful in business by
doing good and being good.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Our mental model that values
security over risk-taking, modesty over assertiveness. I’ve
had to work hard over the years to re-learn and modify
certain behaviors that are counter-productive to what it
takes to lead organizations.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Accepting a key position at Kaiser
in Hawaii, knowing that I would be commuting from
Oakland on a regular basis.
Why did you leave the Philippines? My parents
felt our family would have more opportunities in the US.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Pakikisama.
Favorite Filipino recipe: Tortang Talong. (without
the meat)
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you: I am
navigationally challenged.
Favorite fction shero: I don’t have any.
What is your greatest regret? Wish I had
discovered stand-up paddling earlier in my life.
What is your life philosophy? Be a positive force in
the universe, and failing that, do no harm.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To grow and fourish!
Director, Military
Health System
Ofce of the Secretary of Defense for Health
Residence: Fairfax, Virginia
Education: Masters Degree
First job: Planner, Santa Clara County Health Systems
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: Being one of a few
females, let alone being Filipina, in the military is
a challenge. There are stereotypes that one must
overcome. The process of overcoming perceptions of
people who do not know you, is demonstrating that you
are professionally competent through sustained superior
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Joining the U. S. Navy was the
turning point in my professional career. I left the civilian
sector and joined an organization that I knew nothing
about. I had heard of the opportunities that military
service ofered, and knew that if I wanted to succeed as
a healthcare professional, I could do so. I saw the world,
advanced professionally, and learned to love and cherish
service to the military men and women of our country.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? I was born and raised in Seattle,
Washington. My father immigrated to this country to
seek a new life in a country that ofered a good life for
those who worked hard. My mother came to this country
as a student. They met in San Francisco, California, met,
fell in love, and had me.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
29 F I L I P I N A L E A D E R S H I P S U M M I T I S S U E
pass on to others. Filipino traditions of hospitality
when someone visits you or you visit someone.
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Lumpia – you can
use a variety of ingredients, making them diferent from
time to time, easy, and fun to eat. You can pop them into
your mouth without utensils, take a few bites, and then
they are gone!
One thing that we would not guess about you:
I was a University of Washington cheerleader.
Who is your favorite fction shero? Mulan the
Warrior Princess
What is your greatest regret? That I was not able
to know my grandparents.
What is your life philosophy?
“Be the change you want to be”from Mahatma Gandhi.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network: I
congratulate the FWN for its many achievements, and
wish that it continues its successful pursuit to achieving
its goals.
National Political
Asian Pacifc
American Labor
Alliance (APALA)
Henderson, Nevada
Education: Business School
What was your very frst job? Secretary to Anna
Chennault, President of the FLYING TIGERS Foundation
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Making a diference in people’s lives!
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? The sisterhood of APIAs in the labor
movement where I ‘grew’ up professionally! They were
vigilant, unrelenting and fought for workers’, human and
civil rights!
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman and why: A ‘question’ by a co-
worker WHY I WAS PROMOTED over her when I was
QUALIFIED and she had to work under me; whereupon
I immediately gave her a dignifed, educated lesson
in work ethnics, race/gender issues and that if she felt
strongly about NOT accepting the President’s decision, I
would be more than glad to transfer her! Four months
later, she came to me to apologize and thank me for
making her see the bigger picture and that it was “an
honor’ for her to work with a woman of substance,
intelligence and integrity... (her words). Then we got to
be good friends.
What was the turning point in your
professional life? Being recognized as a woman
of substance, great community skills and unqualifed
honesty that when asked for my opinion on matters that
afected policy and procedures – I gave the suggestions
– sometimes not the ones they wanted to hear – to the
Organization and unprecendentally promoted to be the
highest ranking Asian Pacifc American Woman in the
labor movement in my time – 80’s/90’s.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why
did you leave? My parents felt strongly that their
children should have a choice of their citizenship since
my mother was of American decent – and the choice
could not be made unless we had the chance to live in
the US as well.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others. RESPECT
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Why?
ADOBO – the name is catchy! The combinations of
cooking it is fun and its taste is palatable to almost
One thing that we would not guess about you
My AGE (unless you look at my CV/bio!)
Who is your favorite fction shero? Darna
What is your greatest regret? Not writing my
book (YET)
What is your life philosophy? Being DIFFERENT
FROM doesn’t mean LESS than!!!!
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To fourish, stay its course, maintain its credibiltiy,
integrity and accountability; and continue to empower
Mayor’s Education
and Family
Services Advisor,
San Francisco
Mayor Edwin
Lee; Commissioner, San Francisco Board of
Residence: San Francisco, California
Bio: Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell currently serves under
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee as his Senior Advisor
on Education and Family Services, as well as on the San
Francisco Board of Education. She is a strong advocate
and supporter of public education. Hydra is a product of
public schools, a parent of two public school children, a
former preschool teacher and an education advisor.
Hydra was frst appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom
to his Policy Council on Children, Youth and Families;
and later to his staf as his Education Advisor. Her work
allows her to build a strong partnership between the
Public School System (Pre-K to 20) and the City. In 2006
and 2010, Hydra successfully won a city-wide bid and
re-election for a seat on the San Francisco Unifed School
District Board of Education. Hydra is the frst and only
Filipina elected to ofce in San Francisco. She is proud
to be named as one of the 100 Most Infuential Filipina
Women in the World!
Hydra is a member of the United Way Women
Leadership Council, Board member on SPUR and the San
Francisco School Alliance, and Advisory Board Member
to Youth Speaks, College Track and Old Skool Café. She is
newly married to Eric McDonnell, COO of United Way Bay
Area, has two children, ages 15 and 17.
Assistant Vice
Chancellor for
State Government
Pima Community
College District
Residence: Tucson, Arizona
Highest Educational Attainment: Ph.D. in
Leadership in Higher Education (Spring 2015)
First job: International Flight Attendant for Cathay
Pacifc Airways
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? Advocate for the advancement of education
policies, promote access and afordability to minority
students, frst-generation college students, and women
in STEM.
One person who infuenced your professional
career: All of the women in my life have in some shape
or form infuenced and shaped my views of the world,
my values, and who I have become.
Most difcult workplace challenge as a
Filipina woman: Being stereotyped as a typical
Asian woman who is meek, subservient, and/or the
other extreme, being seen as a “dragon lady”at the
slightest showing of having an opinion. Either of these
two perceptions afects our ability to be taken seriously,
recognized as intelligent, strong, composed, seasoned,
and respectable leaders with talent and diverse
perspectives to contribute.
Why did you leave the Philippines? I migrated
to the U.S. in 1985 to pursue my masters in public
administration and seek the American dream of pursuing
a good education and to be a career woman. I’m blessed
to have achieved that dream, and more than I imagined.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Respect your elders, especially
your parents.
One thing we wouldn’t guess about you:
I’m friendly and outgoing.
What is your greatest regret? I wish I could have
spent more time with my father.
What is your life philosophy? To continue to
recognize and celebrate the success and achievements
of Filipina women. There are so many who are deserving
and who need to be given the same opportunity to
succeed. This is needed so much in our community, and
it will tremendously help improve the perception and
stereotype of Filipinas.
Maryland State
District 26, Prince
George’s County
Residence: Maryland
Education: BS in
Respiratory Therapy
As a life-long resident of the 26th Legislative District
and Prince George’s County, Kris Valderrama knows how
great our community is. Kris is a proud product of the
Prince George’s County public school system, where
she graduated from Oxon Hill Senior High School. After
high school, Kris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in
Respiratory Therapy from Salisbury State University, in
Salisbury, Maryland.
Following her career in the health care feld, Kris
pursued another interest – communications. Kris
currently works with the 1.4 million member American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
(AFSCME), AFL-CIO in their Public Afairs Department –
Strategic Communications Unit, working on such issues
as child care, home care and health care organizing.
In addition, Kris has been active in the labor
movement for over a decade campaigning and rallying
in support of working family issues. Beyond the scope of
her job but along the communications path, Kris co-
hosts, reports and interviews politicians and community
leaders on issues of interest to Prince George’s County for
Valderrama’s America.
Outside of work, Kris has always been involved
in the community and is no stranger to the political
arena. She has devoted her time to the campaigns and
electoral process of the 26th Legislative District for over
two decades – everything from GOTV eforts, to voter
registration drives to precinct polling work. Today, Kris
remains fully engaged in the issues and concerns of
people in Prince George’s County and the region.
VP, Strategy and
Kaiser Permanente
– Te Permanente
Medical Group
Residence: Oakland,
Education: MBA and MPH, UC Berkeley
As Vice President of Strategy and Integration, Margaret
Lapiz is responsible for the development and execution
of strategy for The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG).
As the largest medical group in the U.S., TPMG is
responsible for the health care of over 3.4 million Kaiser
Permanente members and is comprised of over 8,000
physicians and 34,000 nurses and staf. It provides
clinical care in 21 medical centers and over 40 medical
ofce facilities across Northern California.
As a member of TPMG’s Executive Leadership Team,
Ms. Lapiz provides strategic leadership in multiple areas
including fnance, operations, capital, communications,
human resources and technology adoption. Her
responsibilities include overseeing a $200 million
annual operating budget. She also plays a critical role
in determining how the medical group’s $10 billion of
annual revenue are allocated across the care delivery
system and how Kaiser Permanente can best invest over
$1 billion each year in new capital construction. Over the
past decade, Margaret has been instrumental in Kaiser
Permanente’s expansion plans including the construction
of eight hospitals and the addition of medical ofce
facilities in 15 communities across Northern California.
She is the executive with primary accountability for
TPMG’s eforts in such areas as diversity, leadership
development and Live Well Be Well, Kaiser Permanente’s
nationally-recognized and award-winning employee
wellness approach.
Lapiz joined TPMG in 1993 after completing both
a Master of Business Administration and a Master of
Public Health from UC at Berkeley. She was appointed
to Vice President in 2000. In addition to her TPMG
accountabilities, she is a member of the Mid-Atlantic
Permanente Medical Group’s Board of Directors. Her
research work with faculty at the Stanford Graduate
School of Business and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of
Business has resulted in the publication of papers in
The Leadership Quarterly and Healthcare Management
Review. Most recently, she was selected as a Trustee of
the UC Davis Foundation Board.
The child of Filipino immigrants who worked as farm
laborers in the agricultural felds of California, Margaret
established the Lapiz Family Scholarship Fund in 2003 in
honor of her parents and the experience of her family in
pursuing the American dream. The scholarship provides
tuition assistance to the children of farm workers seeking
a college education. In the time since its establishment,
it has succeeded in helping over 20 students attend the
University of California at its campuses in Berkeley, Davis,
Los Angeles and Santa Cruz.
Embassy of the
Philippines in
Poland; Non-
Resident Ambassador
to Lithuania, Latvia,
& Estonia
Residence: Warsaw, Poland
Education: Master of Arts in International Relations
What do you think is the global impact of your
infuence? The impact is contributing to the shaping of
relations among countries and peoples in ways that are
positive and benefcial.
One person who infuenced your professional
career? Why? Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani
because her inner fortitude, determination, unceasing
striving for excellence and ardent love of country propelled
her to reach the zenith of her career and enabled her to
break glass ceilings. She has also authored laws and has
taken numerous initiatives to advance women’s rights
and to “mainstream’ gender equality in our national
development plans and in the projects as well as
programs of various government agencies
What was you very frst job? Instructor in Strategic
Most difcult workplace challenge as a Filipina
woman and why: The image of a Filipina as being
good only as maids and baby-sitters. That is why I have
to work much harder and try to excel in the things that I
do so that I could be taken seriously in the feld of global
What was the turning point in your
professional life? I took up anthropology but was
asked to join an institution engaged in foreign policy and
strategy research. This opened the opportunity for me to
pursue a masteral degree in international relations. This, in
turn, led me to a career in foreign policy and diplomacy.
If you no longer live in the Philippines, why did
you leave? I was appointed by President Benigno S.
Aquino III as ambassador to Poland and as non-resident
ambassador to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
Filipino custom or tradition you would like to
pass on to others: Respect for the elders
Your favorite Filipino recipe? Why? The adobo,
because it is hailed as our “national dish,”is easy to cook
and appeals to the palates of all nationalities.
One thing that we would not guess about you:
That my favorite music is rock.
Who is your favorite fction shero? Athena because
she is the goddess of wisdom, courage, civilization, law,
and justice.
What is your greatest regret? Honestly, I could not
think of any regret I have.
What is your life philosophy? Embrace life fully –
the good times with the bad; the joys and the sorrows;
the ups and downs because this is the stuf life is made of
and always have a sense of purpose greater than one’s self
to keep one grounded.
Your wish for Filipina Women’s Network:
To engulf the world.
Analyst, City of
Los Angeles
Cora Aragon has an active
and varied background
in community service.
She believes that by contributing her abilities towards
the greater good of her community, she can make a
diference. Cora’s organizational, leadership and speaking
abilities have enabled her to serve as Mentor, Governors,
President of organizations, Servant Leader, Board Member,
and Events Chair.
Between 2002 and 2008, she held increasingly
responsible positions in the Toastmasters International,
Inc, where she made a diference by mentoring members
and future leaders on the benefts of Toastmasters
communication and leadership programs. Cora was
elected as District 52 Governor (2007-2008), overseeing
over 100 business and community clubs from Downtown
Los Angeles to Santa Clarita Valley. Toastmasters have
recognized her work with various awards
Promoting and preserving the Filipino cultural
legacy, heritage and tradition, making a diference to
the community, and the spirituality of serving in church
ministries are important goals for Cora. She serves as
President of the Los Angeles Filipino Association of City
Employees (LAFACE); President of the Filipino Catholics
of Holy Name of Mary (FCHNM), Board Member of
Philippine Independence Executive Council, Servant
Leader of the Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of LA
for the past six years. She also served as Past President of
St. Paul Alumnae Association, Additionally. she serves on
diferent boards and leads the Philippine Independence
Day and Philippine History Month celebrations in Los
Angeles City Hall.
She serves as a lector at the LA Cathedral, Holy Name
of Mary in San Dimas, and the Sacred Heart Church in
Covina; 2010 Simbang Gabi Publicity/Public Relations
Chair of the Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los
Angeles, and Mistress of Ceremonies at various events
Cora lives in San Dimas with her husband, Joey and has
three grown children.
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