Owner, Grace Events; U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance
Community Involvement: Secretary of the Board of Trustees for the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance. In this capacity, she supports the organization's advocacies to promote upright ethics in public service. She is also actively involved in community programs in Los Angeles for the advancement of Filipino Culture and the Filipino American community as a whole.
First job in the US: Office Manager
FilAm Shero In America: Loida Nicolas Lewis embodies the spirit of Godliness in advocating her favorite causes. In a speech before the Global Summit of Filipinos she said, "Whether we sit in an executive office as a CEO or a babysitter in a private home, our being Filipinos enables us to anticipate how the other person is feeling and we respond positively or react humanely." On many occasions I have partnered with her in advancing many worthwhile programs or projects that have significant impact or influence on the global community, and doing so has made me a firsthand witness to her understated elegance in leadership.
Proudest Professional Achievement: As an immigrant and naturalized citizen, she started from the ranks. Through hard work and dignified performance, she rose to the highest position in corporate America, second to the owners of the companies that she worked for. Without any intent to be braggadocious, she has many proud moments. But, the one that she is proudest about is leaving a trail and reputation of successful leadership in mentoring budding managers who reported to her. These managers continue to be trailblazers in the credit card industry; and they are quick to acknowledge that it was through her mentorship that they learned the ropes.
Biggest workplace challenge as a Fil-Am woman: Throughout the course of her career in America, she was pitted against Ivy league educated men who held equal rank executive positions as her. These men's first impression of a minority, petite woman who spoke with an accent, was less positive than the norm. At the onset, she had to prove herself. When they soon found out that she could hold her own, she could not be intimidated, and what she had to say had substance they treated me with reverence not only as a peer but as a woman of equal competence.
Five year goal: To build a foundation for the children's choir of my parish school and leave a legacy of quality musical and professional education. She hopes that through a foundation many generations of young musical talents will be introduced to higher form of musicality and she also hopes that through solid musical programs the young talents grow a keen appreciation of the arts.
The one thing that nobody would guess about her: You would never guess that she is by nature a shy person.
Filipino custom or tradition that she would like to pass on to others: The tradition of "pamanhikan." That today's generation may continue to follow the refinement of the old world in formally "asking" for the hand of a woman in marriage. That, modern day men may be cognizant of such tradition so that modern day women are treated with respect and deference as it it pertains to this tradition.