Authors of DISRUPT: Proud. Loud. Leading Without A Doubt (2014)

The following 37 authors are FWN's 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World awardees from the U.S., Philippines, Singapore, Brazil, Japan, U.A.E., Canada, Poland. Moving stories about: Leader Identity, Power and Influence • Cultural Adjustments to Success • Victories over domestic violence, incarceration, poverty, discrimination and harassment

Networking Filipina Leaders


Cora Manese Tellez

Founder and CEO
Sterling Health Services Administration


Cora founded Sterling Health Services Administration (HAS) in 2004 and is its President and CEO. Sterling leads in the health benefits and healthcare financing by putting employers and consumers in control of healthcare spending and in touch with resources to help them manage their money and their health. The company serves clients throughout the U.S.

Before 2004, Cora was the President of a division of HealthNet, President of Prudential’s western health care operations, CEO of the Bay Region Blue Shield of California, and Regional Manager for Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii. 

Cora received her M.A. in public administration from California State University. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mills College where she received a BA degree and then served as college Trustee. 

Cora serves on several boards of directors. She was instrumental in starting Asian Community Mental Health and Filipinos for Social Justice. 

She has been honored for professional and community service by numerous organization including Women Healthcare Executives, Asian Pacific Fund, Bay Area Tumor Institute, among others.


Marily Mondejar

Founder and CEO
Filipina Women’s Network


Marily, the Founder and CEO of the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) has dedicated the last decade to transforming how global Filipina women view themselves and how others perceive them. The transformed image is of women doing influential things.

Her initiatives to bring about this transformation have included producing alternative and more positive search results on the Internet for the term “Filipina,” embracing Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and campaign to end domestic violence, and facilitating the creation of a pipeline of Filipina leaders with the skills to compete at all levels in all sectors.

As the sixth of 13 children, Marily learned early how to get her voice heard by her family and carried this over throughout her career in roles such as a senior business leader, as a Board Member for organizations working on the Status of Women, and as a former Commissioner on the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force. 

Marily also draws from her experience as a survivor of an abusive relationship, a single mother, and a U.S. immigrant who started from scratch to promote networks for advancing the status of Filipina women globally. 

Marily has helped shift the language of mentorship to “femtorship,” and the mindset of Filipinas from being a silent force in society to a catalyst in changing the face of power in America and worldwide. Her impact can be measured by the countless number of women she brought along with her and those they will in turn bring along with them to positions of leadership. 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appointed Marily as Commissioner of the Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor agency for the Redevelopment Commission responsible for $20 billion in assets to create jobs, affordable housing, commercial space, parks and open space areas.


Elena Buensalido Mangahas

Filipina Women’s Network


Elena Mangahas is a graduate of the University of the Philippines where she was also active in theater production with its repertory company.

Elena currently serves as Chairperson for the Filipina Women’s Network and serves on other boards.

Her interests include historic preservation and goodwill relations. She received numerous awards that credit her for community work and mobilizing efforts. 

Her twenty years with the County as an employment specialist give her the advantage of working with various populations and creating programs that promote their economic independence. 

The work of FWN is near and dear to her heart because it represents her desire to insure that the significant contributions of Filipinas are recognized in their adopted land.


Gloria T. Caoile

FWN Advisory Board;
National Political Director
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance


Gloria has dedicated her life to empowering people who need the most help and ensuring their voices are heard. She is National Political Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO.

She served for over 30 years with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a 1.3 million-member union, where she fought for the rights of others to make a difference in their lives. She remains active in AFSCME special projects such as leading disaster response and relief teams.

At one point, Gloria was the highest-ranking Asian Pacific-American woman in the labor movement.

She has been a stalwart supporter of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the U.S. and devoted to developing the next generation of women.

She is a recipient of distinguished awards including the Philippines’ Presidential Merit of Honor, St. Scholastica’s College Pax Award, and FWN 100 Most Influential Women.

She finds the greatest meaning from her private family life. She lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband and loves being a grandmother.

Transforming Self: Personal Narratives


Michele Bumgarner

Michele Bumgarner Racing, LLC


Michelle is the first Filipina to reach the top level of open-wheel motorsports, racing of vehicles with the wheels outside the car’s main body and in most cases one seat. 

Known throughout the Philippines as the Asian Karting Queen, Michele has blazed a trail in the karting world winning championships, breaking barriers, and representing her country on the international motorsports stage. 

She made her debut into single-seat racing with the National Karting Series in the Philippines in 1999 at the age of ten. She was the first female winner in the Asian Formula 3 Series and the youngest female participant in 2006.

Michele became the first female champion of the Rock Island Grand Prix in Rock Island, Illinois, the world’s largest street karting race and made her Pro Mazda debut at Sebring in 2008.

She is now racing on the Mazda Road to Indy, the ladder system for drivers seeking to compete in the Verizon Indy Car Series and of course, the greatest spectacle in racing, The Indianapolis 500.

Michele blogs for Top Gear Philippines.


Cris Comerford

White House Executive Chef


Cris has been the executive chef for the White House since 2005 and is the first woman and person of ethnic minority origin to hold the position.

She was hired as assistant chef in 1995 and appointed as head of the White House kitchen by the First Lady Laura Bush and retained by the Obama administration.

Her love for cooking was nurtured by her mother, whom she assisted in the kitchen as a child. Cris has over 26 years of culinary experience including studying food technology at the University of the Philippines and working at various restaurants and hotels in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Vienna, Austria. 

She is a member of the exclusive Le Club des Chefs des Chefs, a global association of chefs of heads of state. Cris has teamed up with the First Lady Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative to help promote healthy and nourishing food. 

Aside from being known for her food’s vibrant colors and flavors, Cris is also a dedicated mentor, church deacon, wife, and mother.


Kristine M. Custodio, ACP

Senior Paralegal and Business Development Director
Butterfield Schecter and Van Clief, LLP


Kristine is a Senior Paralegal/Business Development Director for Butterfield Schechter & Van Clief LLP. She did her paralegal studies at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2004, became a Certified Paralegal in 2006, and received her Advanced Certified Paralegal designations in Discovery (2009) and Trial Practice (2010).

In 2006, she obtained her Human Resource Management certificate from UCSD while serving as an administrator for her family’s adult residential facility for developmentally disabled adults. 

Her many elected and appointed positions include: Vice President of Policy for the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (2014), member of National Association of Legal Assistants-Paralegals (NALA) Continuing Education Council (2014), Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council (2103), Commissioner for the City of San Diego’s Citizens Equal Opportunity Commission (2013), ethics chair for the Professional Development Committee (2009), and UCSD’s Lambda Epsilon Chi, the National Honor Society in Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies (2011).


Sonia T. Delen-Fitzsimmons

Senior Vice President
Bank of America Merrill Lynch;
Board Member
Filipina Women's Network


Sonia is known for her business acumen and support for many global causes. She is a Senior Vice President for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in San Francisco.

She was the Executive Producer of the documentary Harana. Sonia sits on boards of the Filipina Women's Network, Philippine International Aid, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco, and the Foundation International.

She co-founded Kulinarya, an amateur and professional chefs competition to raise awareness about Filipino cuisine. As an entrepreneur, she co-founded AcuGlobal Endeavors, an international trading and licensing company that exchanges goods and services in Asia. 

In 2010, Sonia received the Presidential Citation from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her decades of service in the Fil-Am community in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for raising funds for those affected by Typhoon Ketsana. 

Sonia appears on the FWN YouTube Channel’s mentoring program. Sonia enjoys golf, classical music, and opera. She is married to Christopher Fitzsimmons and they have three sons—David, Justin, and Matthew.


Ernestina delos Santos-Mac, M.D.

Philippine American Community Center of Michigan


Determined to extricate herself from poverty, Ernie devised a plan to fulfill her dream of a better life. Her plan was simple and based on getting a good education.

Since elementary school, she single-mindedly pursued her plan to obtain the best possible education. She hurdled obstacles posed by ‘non-believers’ who frowned on women who wanted to obtain college education. 

Her sacrifices included living in a depressed area in San Andres Bukid, Manila and walking every day to the University of Santo Tomas campus.

Another obstacle was her father’s opposition to her plan to take the test needed for medical jobs in the U. S. However, an uncle gave her the money to take the qualifying exam. 

Living in the U. S. for more than 40 years transformed the indigent girl from Bicol to a lady whose heart bleeds when she sees the woeful plight of the poor. She made a lifetime commitment to help the less fortunate through charitable activities benefiting poor people in the Philippines and in Michigan.


Judge Cheryl Nora Moss

Family Court Judge
Nevada Eighth District Court


Judge Cheryl Nora Moss was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a first generation Filipino-American and daughter of two medical doctors, Dr. Demetrio T. Nora and Dr. Rena Oquendo Magno Nora, who both graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Philippines.

Judge Moss has served in public office as the State of Nevada’s first Filipino elected to a District Court.

Judge Moss has two siblings, a brother who is an oncology surgeon in Los Angeles, California, and a sister who is a corporate executive in New York City. 

Judge Moss is married and her husband has been involved in the construction of City Center, Trump Tower Las Vegas, Red Rock Hotel & Casino, Hoover Dam Bypass, and The Las Vegas Springs Preserve. She has three dogs.


Janet Susan Rodriguez Nepales

Hollywood Journalist
Member, Hollywood Foreign Press Association


Janet is the first and only Filipina member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that gives the Golden Globe Awards. 

Since 2007, she has sponsored the ‘Janet Susan Rodriguez Nepales Journalism Awards’ for deserving journalism students at her alma mater, Quezon City High School. She is a member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, National Association of Professional Women, and LA Press Club. 

Janet won 1st prize in the Outstanding Entertainment category for the 2012 Philippine American Press Club’s Plaridel Journalism Awards and 2nd prize in the Best Columnist/ Critic-International Journalism category for the 2013 LA Press Club’s Southern CA Journalism Awards. 

She is a columnist for the Manila Bulletin and Philippine News, a contributing editor at Balikbayan Magazine, and a correspondent for GMA-7. 

Awards she has received include the 2005 Celebrity Chronicle Journalist of the Year Award, the 2007 Asian PR-Wire Journalist of the Month Award, and the 2008 Quezon CityAlumni Association Multi-Media Award. 

She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas.


Col. Shirley S. Raguindin

Chief of Diversity
National Guard Bureau;
Chief Diversity Officer
AirNational Guard


Colonel Shirley S. Raguindin serves as Chief of National Guard Diversity to the Chief, National Guard Bureau (NGB), General Frank J. Grass.

In her dual role she serves as Chief Diversity Officer as principal advisor to Director, Air National Guard (ANG). Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III. She is responsible for the strategic direction, implementation, and alignment of ANG’s integrated global diversity and inclusion initiatives to achieve the highest state of military readiness for over 458,000 Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians.

Shirley was commissioned in 1986 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program from the University of Hawaii. She is the recipient of the Diversity Training University International Diversity Executive Leadership Award (2014), International Women’s Outstanding Leadership Award (2013), and Diversity Officer LeadershipAward by Diversity Best Practices, Inc.


Janet C. Mendoza Stickmon

Professor of Humanities
Napa Valley College


Janet is a teacher, performer, and author of Crushing Soft Rubies and Midnight Peaches, Two O’clock Patience.

She has taught ethnic studies, social justice, and other subjects at the high school level and is a professor of Humanities at Napa Valley College where she teaches Filipina(o)-American Heritage, American Mind, and Introduction to Africana Studies.

She founded and is a facilitator of the Broken Shackle Developmental Training Program, a program that promotes the use of healing techniques to help reduce the effects of internalized racism. Her books have been used in courses colleges across the country.

As a spoken word artist she has performed at venues across the country. Through her literature and performances, she explores issues of love, motherhood, resilience, ancestral connection, and joy.

She holds an M.A. in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in Religion and Society from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


Leading Organizations


Nina D. Aguas

Philippine Bank of Communications


Nina is perhaps best known as a leading Filipina banker who has held key positions at Citigroup within Asia-Pacific and ANZ Asia-Pacific, and in New York, and is currently President and CEO of the Philippine Bank of Communications.

Beyond the walls of her CEO suite, however, she is an art lover and painter, a traveler with much wanderlust, and an accomplished home cook.

To her husband Mario, she is a supportive wife and partner, and together they share a rich spiritual life.

To her five children, she is a best friend, healer of broken bones and broken hearts, and disciplinarian—combining tough love with direct conversations. 

To her friends she is known for her generosity of spirit and infectious laughter. To her colleagues, she is a partner and mentor, bringing people of different skills and dispositions together and leading them to succeed.

At the end of the day, she is just like any other woman: she loves dressing up and has an incurable weakness for shoes and handbags.


Mayor Ruth Uy Asmundson, Ph.D.

Ambassador, Davis Sister Cities;
Special Assistant to University of California Davis Vice Provost on University Outreach and International Programs;
Former Mayor of Davis

From Barefoot in the Barrio to American Madame Mayor

Ruth was born and raised in Isabela, Philippines. She graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1964 from Adamson University, Manila, and with a Fulbright scholarship, obtained an M.S. in Chemistry in 1968 from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Chemistry in 1972 from UC Davis, CA.

While in graduate school, she met the then Mayor of Davis, Vigfus Asmundson when she danced Binasuan. He was charmed by her grace and asked her for a date. On their third date, he asked her to marry him. She said “Yes.”

Her Fulbright scholarship required her to go back to Manila where she became a professor and chair of the graduate school in chemistry at Adamson University.

Vigfus visited Ruth in Manila and again asked her to marry him and for the second time Ruth said yes. They have four daughters and raised two nephews. 

She was elected and served for 10 years on the Davis Board of Education and two terms as mayor of Davis. She is Ambassador to Davis Sister Cities and Special Assistant to UC Davis Vice Provost for University Outreach and International Programs.


Mary Jane Alvero Al-Mahdi

Chief Executive Officer
Geoscience Testing Laboratory, UAE


Mary is a Chemical Engineer and CEO of Geoscience Testing Laboratory (GTL). She has spent 22 years of her life living and working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She heads a multimillion-dollar and a multi-disciplinary company with over 450 employees, 4 branches, and 20 site laboratories. The prestigious Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, and the Dubai Metro are examples of their impressive projects.

Mary is a quintessential woman leader: an achiever, an influencer, a community volunteer, and a mother. As a visionary, she rose from the ranks through sheer hard work and determination steering GTL to greater success.

Combining education and Filipina charm, she serves as a role model for Filipinas and women in UAE and elsewhere. 

In 2008, she was the first Filipina to win the prestigious Emirates Business Women’s Award, the first runner-up in the Professional Category, and along with an elite group has been lauded by the UAE government for their professional excellence, exemplary work, and leadership. 

She is married to an Emirati national and they have two children. 


Suzie Moya Benitez

Trustee and Executive Director
Bayanihan Folk Arts Foundation


Trustee/Executive Director, Bayanihan Folk Arts Foundation and Associate Vice President Campus Life, Philippine Women’s University (PWU), and Trustee, Philippine Women’s College, Davao, Suzie toured the world as a Bayanihan dancer and Karilagan international model.

She studied Foreign Service (Assumption College), Public Administration and Governance & Development Communications (UP), Strategic Business Economics (University of Asia & the Pacific), Development Management (AIM), and Social Development (PWU).

Yet her love for the performing arts led to a career in arts and culture. She brought Filipino music and dance to the grassroots and the global scene through ‘Teaching and Touching Lives.’

Under her deft direction, Bayanihan has taken courageous steps towards innovation and change, becoming an 8th time world dance grand prize winner. 

She lectures on professional image and communications for financial institutions, is chair for Asia in the Federation for International Dance Festivals, and serves as international juror in Europe and Asia. 

Suzie and her late husband Noel are blessed with 3 children—Marco, Marielle and Marton.


Carmencita M. David-Padilla, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila

Guided Path: My Career in Medicine, Research & Public Service

Carmencita is Professor of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines (UP).

She concurrently holds 3 positions: Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center, UP System; Director, Newborn Screening Reference Center, National Institutes of Health, UP Manila; and Interim Director, Institute of Health Innovation and Translational Medicine of the Philippine California Advanced Research Institutes.

Among her awards are: UPAA Distinguished Award in Health Education (2014), Most Outstanding Pediatrician (2013), Outstanding Science Administrator Award (2012), Outstanding Health Research Award (2010), and Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (2008). 

She has more than 100 publications. She crafted the Newborn Screening Act of 2004 and now lobbies for passage of the Rare Diseases Act of the Philippines. 

Dr. Padilla has an MA in Health Policy Studies from the UP College of Public Health (2005). She completed her pediatric residency at the Philippine General Hospital and a fellowship in Clinical Genetics at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney, Australia.


Adela Sering-Fojas
with Miguel Fojas

CEO and Co-Founder
SevenSeven Corporate Group

Pakikisama: Building Relationships, Building an Industry

Delle is the CEO and co-founder of Seven Seven Corporate Group, a comprehensive and integrated IT services company, offering services including onsite consulting and placement, software development, business process outsourcing, production and application support, and call center services.

Her passion and the vision of her firm is to showcase the skills and talents of Filipino IT workers while creating thousands of jobs in Manila. She shares this vision with all of her employees.

The company has evolved into an end-to-end, single source global provider of choice for IT-enabled services.

 Its success is attributed to collaborative partnerships, proven multinational and multi-industry track record, capacity expansion and value chain integration.

Under Delle’s leadership, Seven Seven has been consistently honored with’s Top Business Award. Delle was selected for one of the Top 50 Asian-American Business Awards in 2011. 

Delle has initiated a scholarship program for the children of her company, and she and her husband donated a computer laboratory to the University of the Philippines.


Soledad Muesco Manaay, Ph.D.

Xicepta Sciences


Soledad holds a Ph.D. in International Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Gerontology/Psychology. She visited several countries to expand her knowledge of multiculturalism and the business practices of corporations across cultures.

She is the President of Xicepta Sciences, Inc., a manufacturer of wellness supplements and the CEO of Biologic Cosmetics, Inc., a manufacturer of molecular cosmetics.

Her business philosophy includes shaping a corporate culture that is sensitive to and supportive of diversity and motivating exemplary performance and productivity through empathy, understanding, and compassion. 

She believes that global mobility and e-commerce necessitates a diversified and flexible leadership strategy. She believes that the cycle of poverty can be broken through empowerment so she focused her company’s corporate social responsibility function on education. 

Dr. Manaay is the author of two books for young adults. She is married to Dr. John S. Hayden, M.D., Ph.D., who is also her business partner. 

She has a daughter from her previous marriage, Solitaire Patriz Manaay Miguel, and a silky terrier pet, Bebe. 


Susie Quesada

Filipina Women's Network;
Ramar Foods International


Susie is the President of Ramar Foods International, the leading manufacturer of Filipino and Asian frozen food in the U. S.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Susie attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a B.A. in Multicultural Literature and Education. She completed her Multiple Subject Credential at St. Mary’s College and taught middle school in the public school system in California.

She officially joined her family’s business Ramar Foods International in 2005.

With a background in education, her ability to work with many different personality types proved to be a strong asset when applied to the business world.

She has served on the board of the Filipina Women’s Network since 2012 and the Ramar Scholarship Foundation since 2010. She is also a member and VP for Education of the Toastmaster groups the Pittsburg Speakeasy and the RAMARkables.

She currently resides in Walnut Creek, CA with her husband Dr. Christopher Woolf where they enjoy cycling, traveling, and spending time with their two cats and extended family.


Marife Zamora

Senior Vice President and Chairperson
Convergys Philippines

Leading an Industry: My Journey with 55,000 Heroes

Marife is Chairperson of Convergys Philippines Services, a branch of Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG), a global leader in customer management. As the first country manager for Convergys she set up its first contact center in 2003. Since then Convergys Philippines has become the country’s largest private employer.

In 2011, she assumed responsibility for Convergys contact centers in the Philippines, India, United Kingdom, and Malaysia.

Prior positions included serving as managing director for Headstrong Incorporated and IBM Philippines.

She has provided leadership for numerous associations in the Philippines including the Philippine Software Association, Contact Center Association. American Chamber of Commerce, and the Integrity Initiative.

Honors include the Asia CEO Awards 2011 Global Filipino Executive of the Year and the ‘Go Negosyo’ Woman STARpreneuer Award in the 2012 at the Women Entrepreneurship Summit.

Marife attended the University of the Philippines and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Transcending Boundaries


Maria Africa Beebe, Ph.D.

Global Networks;
Board Member
Filipina Women's Network

Harmonizing Global Teams in Afghanistan

Maria is a sociolinguist interested in intercultural communication and has an M.A. in Anthropology and Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.

Her 25 years of global development work and research interests led her to launch Global Networks, a Portland, OR-based consulting, research, and education not-for-profit that works at the intersection of technology, content, and pedagogy.

Her research interests include critical discourse analysis, women’s leadership, and ICT for development. She co-edited the book AfricaDotEdu: IT Opportunities and Higher Education in Africa. 

She read papers at international conferences; including a paper on MOOCs, m-Learning and ICT Smart Hubs at the World Summit on Information Society in Geneva in 2013. 

Maria had academic appointments at Washington State University and Oregon State University while working on international development programs. She is a visiting researcher at Portland State University.


Penelope V. Flores, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita
San Francisco State University

Ad Astra per Aspira: To the Stars Through Difficulties

Penelope is Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University, Multicultural Educa-tion, Mathematics Education, and Teacher Credential program. She is an author, writer, and editor of academic journals. 

She earned her Ph. D. in Comparative and International Education at the University of Chicago, Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennyslvania and B.Sc. in Education from the Philippine Normal University. 

She states: “I am a teacher of teachers in a post-modern world where the rights of ethnic minorities and women are continually challenged. The singularity of preparing credentialed teachers is an event of great importance to me because everything that follows it is altered forever.” 

She served on the Boards of the Illinois and California Humanities Councils. She was a consultant to UNESCO, USAID, AED, UNDP, and to Ministries of Education in Nepal, Indonesia, & Ethiopia. She read papers at the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction conferences. As co-founder & past president of PAWA, she created the Manuel G. Flores Prize Fund to support FilAm writers.


Mira Gillet

Founder and Chief Director
Peace Game Online, USA


Mira is a second-generation Filipina American. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Charles and their two beautiful children, Eva and Charlie.

Mira was born in and grew up in California in a multi-generational household with her mother, Lally Soriano; father, Eliezer B. Soriano; twin sisters, Karen and Liza; and her grandparents. 

Mira is a California-credentialed teacher with a Masters of Education in Learning and Technology. She is trained in Design Thinking through Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford and has a Professional Certification in Project Management from Stanford University. 

Mira has a background in Graphic Design with a specialization in reading and working with dyslexic learners. She volunteers at the Marine Science Institute. She is also the Director of Design Thinking at Workshop Education and the founder and director of Peace Game online.


Lenore RS Lim

President and Founder
Lenore RS Lim Foundation for the Arts


Lenore is an extraordinary printmaker who has led an extraordinary life. She is a pioneer and leader in printmaking.

She received the Presidential Award, the Pamana ng Pilipino Award for Filipinos overseas in 2004 and the Outstanding Professional Award for Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in 2005 for her accomplishments in the arts.

She enjoys a growing audience of collectors in the U. S., where she was awarded a prestigious Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner Foundation Grant, among other honors. 

She represented the Philippines at the UN World Women Conference Exhibit in New York in 2000 and OPEN, the International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations, in Venice, Italy in 2002. 

Her work is included in the U. S. Library of Congress and the private collection of Agnes Gund, Chairman and President Emerita of The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Ms. Gund wrote the foreword to Profound Afterglow: The Prints of Lenore RS Lim (2005). 

She is the president and founder of the Lenore RS Lim Foundation for the Arts.


Isabelita Manalastas-Watanabe

President and Representative Director
SPEED Money Transfer Japan


Isabelita has studied, lived, and worked in Japan for more than half of her life. She started her Japan career as Deputy Director for Investment at the ASEAN-Japan Centre in Tokyo. She helped set up the Philippine National Bank’s Japan presence, headed it, while also being Area Head for Asia and the Pacific.

She was moved to Rome as First Senior Vice President and Area Head for Europe, Israel, and Africa, and resigned in June 2010, when she decided it was time to be with family. She became a full time wife and mother, but that was to last only a couple of months.

Then she was back in the rat race, this time as the President of Speed Money Transfer Japan K.K. which she established. 

Lita lives in Tokyo with husband Fumio. Between the two of them and their children Anri, Chiori and JC, they speak 4 languages, have 3 nationalities, maintain 4 residences, and have a Ph.D. degree (Sophia University), an M.A. (Tsukuba University), MBA (Wharton), a B.A. (UC San Diego), and a Diploma in Music (Cello, Toho Gakuen). 

They continue to live exciting, out of the ordinary lives as a family, and enjoy every moment. Lita continues to work 6/7, 12/24 as she has done during most of her professional life, but still manages to cook homemade meals, for an ever-appreciative husband who thinks Lita is a “genius” at being able to whip up a good meal in 15 minutes’ time.


Imelda Nicolas

Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO);
Cabinet-level Secretary
Office of the President of the Philippines


Imelda is Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), a Cabinet-level position under the President of the Philippines.

She chairs the Metropolis Asia Secretariat, is a member of the Metropolis International Steering Committee, and is on the Experts’ Advisory Committee of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development.

She teaches a course on International Migration and Development for the Metropolis Professional Development. 

She was Cabinet-level Sec. of the National Anti-Poverty Commision, former Chair of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, Presidential Asst. for monitoring government funded infrastructures, Chair of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, delegate to the APEC Business Advisory Council & head of the Philippine delegation at the Beijing UN Conference on Women in 1995.

She was VP for Development at the New York-based TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc., & Managing Director at TLC Beatrice China. Secretary Nicolas graduated magna cum laude from St. Theresa’s College & completed graduate courses in Arts History at Columbia University.


Loida Nicolas-Lewis
with Rocio Casimiro Nuyda

Ora et Labora: A Girl named Loida of Sorsogon

Loida Nicolas Lewis served as Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice International, a $2 billion multinational food company. She assumed leadership of the company after the death of her husband, the African-American financier Reginal F. Lewis. She provided successful, compassionate, faith based leadership of the company and after six years sold the company for a significant profit.

Loida was recognized as the Top Business Woman in America in 1995. She currently heads a family investment firm.

Previously she was General Attorney with the Immigration and Naturalization Service after winning a discrimination case against the INS. Her best-selling book How to Get a Green Card now is in its 10th edition. 

Loida is a philanthropist and a leader of the Filipino-American community. She founded The Lewis College (TLC) in Sorsogon in 1998.

As noted in a recent Philippine Daily Inquirer article, she credits her father for her interest in politics and her entrepreneurial spirit. The article also noted that her two daughters graduated from Harvard and have successful careers.


Patricia Ann V. Paez

Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Poland and Non-resident Ambassador to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia


Patricia is the Ambassador of the Philippines to Poland and non-resident Ambassador to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. She is the first female Philippine ambassador to Poland since the Embassy reopened in 2009.

Since she assumed her official duty in March 2013, the Philippine Embassy has participated in the Congress of Women sponsored by Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 40th anniversary of Poland-Philippines diplomatic relations with a feature on the Philippines in Gazeta Wyborcza and an interview in Poland’s top-rated morning show about the status of women in the Philippines and the issue of human trafficking.

She served two Presidents as Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs and as Executive Director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Foreign Affairs. She was assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. She received the Presidential Order of Merit and the Gawad Mabini Award for her exemplary service in foreign policy and diplomacy.

She graduated with a M. A. in International Relations from the Australian National University in Canberra and was a Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Maryland, U.S.


Delia B. Rodriguez-Amaya, Ph.D.

International Academy of Food Science and Technology;
Senior Visiting Professor
Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul


Delia is the first woman president of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.

She was professor of Food Engineering, University of Campinas, Brazil (1977-2010) where she was Chair of the Department of Food Science, Coordinator of the Faculty Graduate Programs and Faculty Academic Council. She was advisor for 48 Masters and Doctoral theses.

Her awards include: Presidential Award Pamana ng Pilipino, East-West Center Distinguished Alumni, Brazilian Society of Food Science and Technology’s Andre Tosello Award, Philippine Association of Food Technologists’ 50th Anniversary Recognition Award.

Her research achievements include: more than 240 publications, invited lectures and 240 conference paper presentations in 25 countries.

She is a visiting Professor at a new Brazilian federal university, scientific adviser of the International Foundation for Science, editor of Current Opinion in Food Chemistry and Biochemistry, and on the editorial board of five scientific journals. Her Ph.D. is in Agricultural Chemistry from the University of California Davis.


Astrid S. Tuminez, Ph.D.

Regional Director
Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs, Southeast Asia

A Filipina in a Word, a Filipina in the World

Astrid joined Microsoft in 2012 as Regional Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs (Southeast Asia). She is an Adjunct Professor and former Vice-Dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

At the U. S. Institute of Peace she was involved in peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. She was a research director at AIG Global Investments and Moscow office director of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions.

She is the author of Russian Nationalism since 1856. Ideology and the Making of Foreign Policy and “Rising to the Top? A Report on Women’s Leadership in Asia.”

Astrid was a U. S. Institute of Peace Scholar, a Salzburg Freeman Fellow, a Harvard Kennedy School Fellow, and a Distinguished Alumna of Brigham Young University.

She received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and MacArthur Foundation, and serves on the boards of the Bank of the Philippine Islands and Singapore American School.

She has a Master’s in Soviet Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT.


Developing Next Generation Leaders


Amelia Duran-Stanton, Ph.D.

Inspector General and Physician Assistant
U.S. Army Medical Command

Standing on the Shoulders of Filipina Giants

Amelia is an Inspector General and a Physician Assistant (PA) with the U.S. Army Medical Command. Her military and medical career began in basic combat training in 1992. She was an enlisted patient administrator and then became a PA officer. 

She holds a Doctor of Science in PA Studies-Clinical Orthopaedics (DScPAS-CO), a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Masters in PA Studies, and a Bachelor in Business Administration. 

She was deployed to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Her awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Combat Medical Badge, and Expert Field Medical Badge. She is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit, an Iron Majors recipient, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of PA, and the first PA recipient of the Army Medical Specialist Corps New Horizon Research Award. 

She is an active mentor for researchers, PAs, and soldiers. She is married to Ralph Stanton, Jr. and they have two children, Sofia and Antonio.


Annalisa Enrile, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor
University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work

We Speak their Names

Annalisa is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work. Her areas of research focus around transnational communities, particularly in the areas of adolescents and families, immigration, community based practice models, and gender/diversity issues.

She is the Chair of the Community Organization, Planning Administration Concentration at USC and Chair of the MSW Foundation Behavior Sequence. She has worked with a number of community-based social service and women’s organizations, including Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, the Board of Directors of the Mariposa Center for Change, and the YWCA. 

As a Fulbright Fellow, she created global immersion programs in the Philippines, bringing together student learning, activism, and feminist empowerment. She earned her BA in Sociology, her Masters in Social Work, and her Ph. D. in Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

She dedicates her work to the strong women of her family—her mother, Eliza Enrile; her grandmother, Milagring Vicente; and her niece, Harley.


Julieta Gabiola, M.D.

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Educator for CARE Faculty at Stanford


Dr. “Jette” is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. Her clinical focus includes women’s health services, essential hypertension, diabetes, and global health.

Dr. Jette earned her BSN from Far Eastern University in the Philippines and her MD from Rush University. She completed her internship and residency at Stanford University, worked with Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, VA Medical Center, and ran a private practice in Utah.

Her awards recognized her academic excellence, outstanding contributions in teaching, and her volunteerism. 

She is passionate about community work and has done significant work mentoring and developing medical students including authoring a textbook for aspiring medical professionals. 

She is the Founder of ABC’s for Global Health, a nonprofit to develop community-centered solutions to prevent chronic diseases and promote healthy lifestyles—an outcome of years of medical mission trips she led in the Philippines.

Dr. Jette is a proud mother to two children. She reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and is an avid scuba diver.


Lirio Sobreviñas-Covey, Ph.D.

Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center;
Research Scientist VI
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA;
Founder and President
Association of Adults with Autism Philippines, Inc.


Lirio was class president and recipient of first academic honors each year starting in Grade 1. She was Student Council President in high school and college, and Treasurer of the National Union of Students. In 1964, she received a Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOS) award. 

Dr. Sobrevinas-Covey completed a B.S. in Commerce, Summa Cum Laude, from St. Theresa’s College, Manila. She has lived in New York since 1965, where she completed a M.A. degree, a Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology, and a post-doctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology.

She is also a licensed Psychologist. Since 1987 she has worked at the New York State Institute and led the Smoking Cessation Clinic at Columbia University.

Her areas of teaching and research include nicotine addiction, smoking cessation, major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, suicidal behavior, and research methods. She has extensive publications. She founded the Association for Adults with Autism Philippines (AAAP) in 2012 to focus on diagnostic, policy, and treatment issues affecting the lives of autism families.


The Editors

Editors Maya Ong Escudero (left) and Maria Beebe showing off FWN's first Filipina leadership book, "DISRUPT. Filipina Women. Loud. Proud. Leading Without A Doubt." The book launch and press conference was held at A_Space Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2014, during the 11th Filipina Leadership Global Summit. (Photo courtesy of Maria Beebe)

Editors Maya Ong Escudero (left) and Maria Beebe showing off FWN's first Filipina leadership book, "DISRUPT. Filipina Women. Loud. Proud. Leading Without A Doubt." The book launch and press conference was held at A_Space Manila, Philippines, October 6, 2014, during the 11th Filipina Leadership Global Summit. (Photo courtesy of Maria Beebe)


Maria Beebe, Ph.D.

Chief Editor;
Board Member
Filipina Women's Network

Maria is a sociolinguist interested in intercultural communication and has an M.A. in Anthropology and Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.

Her 25 years of global development work and research interests led her to launch Global Networks, a Portland, OR-based consulting, research, and education not-for-profit that works at the intersection of technology, content, and pedagogy.

Her research interests include critical discourse analysis, women’s leadership, and ICT for development.

She co-edited the book AfricaDotEdu: IT Opportunities and Higher Education in Africa. 

She read papers at international conferences; including a paper on MOOCs, m-Learning and ICT Smart Hubs at the World Summit on Information Society in Geneva in 2013. 

Maria had academic appointments at Washington State University and Oregon State University while working on international development programs. She is a visiting researcher at Portland State University.

Maria Beebe can be reached at mariab {at} ffwn {dot} org.

Maya Ong Escudero

Board Member
Filipina Women's Network

Maya Ong Escudero has over twenty years of experience in education and development, combined with community activism and fundraising. Maya continues to pursue her interests in intercultural networking and intergenerational relationships. She believes that these two aspects of social interaction foster greater understanding and more positive role-modeling between girls and women of different cultural experiences and economic backgrounds.

Maya has served on various boards including Filipina Women’s Network, Literacy Initiatives International Foundation, Association for Senior Day Health, Ayala Foundation USA, Youth Community Service, Vanguard Public Foundation, and United Way of Santa Clara.

Maya has a Master of Arts in English, with a minor in Education. She finished coursework in U.S.-Philippine Political and Economic Relations at Goddard College, Cambridge, MA.

She is a 2003 graduate of the Ambassador Program and a 2001 graduate of the Leadership Midpeninsula Program, both with the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Palo Alto, California.

Along with her husband Nick Selby, and children—Ben and Ruth, Maya is an active supporter of youth leadership training in sports, the arts, and in community activism.