Contributed by Christine Amour-Levar
DISRUPT 3.0. Filipina Women: Rising, a book about Filipina Women’s Leadership, published by the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), was officially launched on March 2 at the residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Singapore, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Del Mar Yap, and his wife, Mrs. Josephine Yap. As the only DISRUPT author based in Singapore, I co-hosted the event and invited the Philippine community of Singapore to attend and support this important initiative.
The book is the third in a series on leadership and part of FWN’s strategy to recognize Filipina woman leaders in every sector of the global environment. It celebrates Filipina women who have emerged as global leaders despite challenges, failures, and setbacks and combines Leadership stories of leaning in, daring greatly, channeling grit, fuelling fire, disrupting tradition and rising boldly ahead whilst embracing Filipina women’s relational virtues with family, heeding the call for service, and leading lives of commitment.
Friends and pillars of the Philippine community in Singapore were invited to join and to read sections of the book. Mrs. Josephine Yap gave the opening remarks and stressed the many achievements of Filipina women around the world today. Mrs. Yap is the President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC), the holding company of the Filinvest Group. Mrs. Yap holds concurrent positions as CEO of three FDC subsidiaries, namely, Filinvest Land Inc., Filinvest Alabang Inc. and FDC Hotels Corporation. She also holds directorships with EastWest Bank, FDC Utilities Inc., Cyberzone Properties Inc., Filinvest Asia Corporation and other Filinvest subsidiaries.
The guest readers included Margarita Locsin Chan, Pinky David, and Elizabeth Hernandez.
Margarita Locsin Chan is a former banker, and corporate warrior turned entrepreneur currently based in Singapore with her husband and two children. She read a section of Marily Mondejar’s chapter entitled “Rising,” as well as a section from Ana Bel Mayo’s chapter entitled “Five Dollars in My Pocket.” She also gave the closing remarks of the book launch where she spoke about surmounting adversity in the face of challenges.
Pinky David is a corporate executive working in the media and hospitality industries, based in Singapore and HK the past two decades. She is also a proud mother of two gifted daughters and now also an entrepreneur, leading her licensing sales and consulting agency called PinkTank in Asia. Pinky read a section of Dina Dela Paz Stalder’s chapter entitled “Blow. Fall. Bounce.” and a section from Mila Eustaquio-Syme’s chapter entitled “Success Amidst Adversities.”
Elizabeth Hernandez is the head of Government Affairs for Asia Pacific at Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont. In this capacity, she leads the company’s engagement with governments and other stakeholders in Asia Pacific and is based in Singapore with her husband and three children. Elizabeth read a section of Editha Tijamo Winterhalter’s chapter entitled “Sangandaan.” and a section from Rebecca Murry’s chapter entitled “Redefining Pathways.”
During the event, I discussed some of the of key objectives of FWN, which are to enhance the public perception of Filipina women’s capacities to lead and to build the Filipina community’s pipeline of qualified leaders and to increase the odds that some Filipina women will rise to the president position in the private and public sectors worldwide.
Additionally, I made a point to say that the book series fills a gap in the leadership literature. In the past, if one googled FILIPINA the only headlines that came up were “Filipina domestic helpers,” “dating agencies.” Today, thanks to FWN, a Google search shows many articles on the work of the network and several mentions of the DISRUPT leadership book series. The leadership book series document the leadership stories and victories over poverty, domestic violence, incarceration, discrimination, and harassment of so many Filipinas today.
The book launch was also a celebration and affirmation of the achievements of Filipina women leaders whose vision and impact go beyond the boundaries of the Philippines. The chapters of the book are inspirational personal stories that motivate and nurture not just Filipina women but non-Filipina women as well, whose success has been limited so far. These are women who have leadership responsibilities in cross-cultural and global situations and leadership positions in the diaspora. The explicit goal of the Disrupt book series is to teach leadership not only to inform but also to transform.
In closing, and to mention the theme of International Women’s Month, #balanceforbetter, I talked about the fact that women represent half of the population and are also growing in economic power and influence, yet continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles. Creating and sustaining a culture where everyone feels included and valued in the workforce is a major factor in achieving gender equality. Balance drives a better world and this is true not just in the workplace, but it many other areas. Ultimately, the Disrupt books are part of this bigger movement to encourage, promote, and support gender equality and empower more Filipina women to shine, succeed and change the world for the better.
A book signing and lunch at the residence followed the book reading. All proceeds from the book sales went to A Beautiful Refuge, an NGO that supports Filipina women who have been previously trafficked.