Several factors made this book possible. First, the idea for the book originated with the work Maya and I did on the final phases of FEMtorMatch™. We started to look for reading materials, including inspirational stories about Filipina women.
Instead of results about Filipina leadership, our Google search results included “filipinakisses.com” and “We Don’t Sleep around like White Girls Do” along with information about family culture, working as maids, moving from working as registered nurses to working as registered nannies. Sometimes—Filipina Women’s Network would pop up. But, there were no results about Filipina leadership.
Second, at the Global FWN100 October 2013 summit in San Francisco, Lucille Tenazas, who designed the book cover, and I facilitated a panel called “Filipina Global Leaders: Pinay, Pinay, saan ka pupunta? Nandito na ako!” Before, during, and after the panel, the buzz about gathering these stories about global leadership became louder.
Third, the Society for Applied Anthropology and the International Leadership Association, professional organizations of which I have been longstanding members, increased their interest in topics relating to intercultural leadership and gender and leadership. Both organizations sponsored sessions at their conferences on these topics that led to published articles. This scholarship demonstrated the relevance of the leadership experience of global Filipina women and provided an academic context for an analysis of their experience.
The global Filipina women who have been recognized by FWN as leaders provided first-person stories about their leadership journeys. These stories would also significantly improve the implementation of our FEMtorMatch™ program and could provide lessons learned for our next generation leaders.
Since I was wrapping up my work in Afghanistan, I volunteered at one of the FWN board meetings to spearhead the book project as part of my VP for Special Interest Groups and Projects portfolio. In addition to Maya, I tapped Betty Ann Quirino and Prosy dela Cruz for general, all-purpose, editorial help.
We spent November and December brainstorming a call for abstracts and decided on the following criteria for selection of abstracts:
- Is the story about a Filipina who is considered a success in her field? A leader? An FWN honoree?
- Is the story about a woman for others? A Filipina who is caring, kind, and compassionate? Is the story about a Filipina who has shown commitment to a common good or has given back to the community?
- Does the story highlight Filipina positive values and are these values shown not only in her work but also in other aspects of her life?
- Is the story about a global woman who has successfully dealt with complexity associated with the nature of her international responsibilitiescross-cultural leadership?
- Is the story about a Filipina who has spanned cultures, in the sense that she has spent time and effort in other cultures/subcultures that differ from the Philippines?
- Can the story impact, influence, and inspire the next generation to learn about Filipino(a) values?
In February, both Betty Ann and Prosy bowed out of the book project due to other more pressing work commitments. The first drafts started to come in March. Maya took the lead in forming an FWN editorial board, many of whom agreed to do peer reviews of three chapters each.
We requested Dr. Madanmohan Rao who serves as a research advisor at the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Dr. James Beebe who had just retired as a Professor from the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, and Dr. Penelope Flores, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University to serve as our external reviewers. All three of the external reviewers have published extensively, including authoring books.
Attending the Women and Leadership Colloquium on Advancing Theories of Leadership of Women and Leadership in May 2014 exposed me to scholarship that in many cases has not yet been published and proved useful in pulling together a synthesis. These studies were helpful in gathering themes from our 35 Filipina authors and in writing the book’s synthesis.