THE Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) and its Most Influential Filipina Women in the World(tm) awardees and authors “DISRUPTed” California State University, Northridge (CSUN), a university in Los Angeles, last May 2, 2019, when it launched its groundbreaking DISRUPT book series on Filipina leadership.
The FWN book reading event was held at CSUN’s Oviatt Library, which was an excellent complement to the library’s celebration of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month as it featured Filipinas in diaspora that have made significant and influential contributions to society.
The event was opened by Dr. Editha Tijamo Winterhalter (Global FWN100(tm)2017), associate vice president for Strategic Business Operations at CSUN, and former chair of the International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting) who welcomed students, faculty, staff, and community members.
Marily Mondejar (founder and CEO of Filipina Women’s Network, as well as president of the Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure of San Francisco) provided information about FWN, and Susie Quesada (US FWN100(tm) 2007, president of Filipina Women’s Network, and president of Ramar Foods International) announced the 16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit to be held in Paris, France on October 28 to November 2, 2019.
Claire Espina (Global FWN100(tm) 2017 and Attorney & Counselor at Law, Espina Lawyers) introduced the DISRUPT Filipina Leadership Series, a “ground-breaking book series that documents the leadership stories about victories over poverty, domestic violence, incarceration, discrimination and harassment which shaped their world view, leader identity, life purpose, power and influence” (https://www.filipinaleadership.org/).
The following FWN authors were present to read their personal stories: Benel Se-Liban (US FWN100(tm) 2011, managing partner of JBC Group LLC and founding president of the International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting), Dr. Edith Winterhalter, Janet Nepales (US FWN100(tm) 2012, Global FWN100(tm) 2013, and Journalist for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), Johanna Melissa Disini Orquiza (Global FWN100(tm) 2015 and Composer/Musician of Turtle Wave Music Inc., a contractor of Walt Disney Studios), Marily Mondejar, Rocio Nuyda (US FWN100(tm) 2012, Global FWN100(tm) 2016, community organizer, and owner of Grace Events), Susie Quesada, and Vina Lustado (Global FWN100(tm) 2015 and founder of Sol Haus Design).
Commissioner Jessica M. Caloza of Los Angeles Board of Public Works gave the keynote address and honored the FWN authors with official recognition from Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The event was hosted and moderated by Jannelle So (US FWN100(tm) 2012, owner of Jannelle So Productions and TV Host/Executive Producer of Jannelle So Productions x The Filipino Channel).
The Filipino American students who attended the event were inspired to meet many successful Filipinas who met similar challenges of economic uncertainty, discrimination, cultural and gender bias, and finding one’s self-identity in a foreign land and not only overcame those challenges, but used those experiences as platforms to help their communities thus turning
their successes into significance. As one student said, “I didn’t know there are many Titas who ‘made it’ here in the US and to meet many of them in this one event is beyond exciting!”