Amidst the backdrop of power and electoral politics in Washington, DC, the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) gathered the "100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.™" at its 5th Annual Filipina Summit—"Pinay Power 2012: Filipina Voices Changing the Face of Power in America." The FWN100 were celebrated by their peers at a gala awards ceremony for their significant contributions to the emergence and recognition of Filipina women as influential power brokers in the U.S..

Ignited by an initiative of Filipina Power 2012—a result of the Filipina Summit’s Future Search in 2006—FWN launched a groundbreaking six-month search for remarkable Filipinawomen who have shifted the course of events in their own areas of influence through ideas, activities, and public interactions. In the one hundred years of Filipino immigration in America, the FWN100™ have moved beyond gender, race and power boundaries, affected change and inspired passion, gathered wisdom and roused compassion, and intuitively redefined how to spread influence in their careers and in the local and national communities in which they thrive.

A selection committee pored through hundreds of pages of letters of nomination, news articles, resumés, biographies, and archival videos and photos. Recognizing these women is a critical first step in changing public perceptions of Filipina women’s capacities to lead, innovate, and influence society and to create strong leadership in the Filipino American community by 2012.

The FWN100™ distinction is a working award. Awardees have pledged to "femtor" the next generation of leaders by forming a new circle of inter-generational women that will sustain the wealth of Filipino heritage and remarkable Pinay leadership for the next 100 years. The "Keepers of the Flame"—an esteemed group of Filipinas, was formed to ensure the Pinay Power 2012 goals are kept alive.

U.S. FWN100™ AWARDEES 2007



This award category recognizes Filipina women who may not have the big title or corner office, but is a driving force behind the success of her community organization's project or initiative; or her employer's organizational business unit or department.  Someone who has gone beyond the call of duty to devote time, energy, and resources to support the organization she represents or works for.

Asia Yulo-Blume
Advocate for bone marrow donor program in the Filipino American community
Aurora Cavosora Daly
Entrepreneur and mentor to young women in the Connecticut area
Cheely Ann Sy
Executive search consultant and community events organizer
Cora Basa Cortez Tomalinas
Community organizer, health advocate and gang task force member
Denielle Palomares
Diversity advocate and corporate link to Filipino American community partnerships
Edna Rodis
Two-term president of NorCAL Filipino Nurses Association and abortion survivors counselor community advocate
Flor Alcantara-Reyes
Corrections and prisons executive and cable producer for immigration network
Kai Delen-Briones
Junior Golf Champion, coach, and sports events producer
Laarni San Juan
Advocate nurse and coordinator of innovative programs for teen pregnancy prevention
Lolita Kintanar
Resource specialist and advocate for the elderly and homeless
Lorna Lardizabal Dietz
Community relations specialist and internet communication innovator
Maria Jocelyn Bernal
Leader, trainor and mentor for New York Junior Chamber of Commerce
Perla Gange Ibarrientos
Community worker and advocate for mental health care
Rosalinda Medina Rupel
Filipino American community coordinator for cultural heritage events
Susie Quesada
Negotiator for nationwide distribution of Filipino frozen foods
Vangie Canonizado-Buell
Author, folk singer, artist, educator and trustee for historical society


Builders have demonstrated exceptional business impact at a large workplace environment; displaying deep passion for a cause through collaborative initiatives at a nonprofit institution; demonstrates high potential and skill with measurable results at a government agency, or organization in any field.  “Buildership” is about building better organizations, leading broken organizations to adjust, repair, and re-align.  Emerging Leaders have powerful mindsets and skill sets that drive achievement for their organizations.

Arlene "Bambi" Lorica, MD
Pediatrician, entrepreneur and community organizer
Bettina Santos Yap
Consultant, anti-domestic violence advocate
Claire Oliveros
Human rights advocate, Multicultural Center Coordinator, Portland Community College, Oregon.
Edna M.Casteel
Education mission organizer to the Philippines
Genevieve Jopanda
Founding Editor of FWN’s V-Diaries Resource Guide and advocate
Jennifer Briones Tjiong
Gold medalist in state, national and International martial arts competitions
Laura Izon Powell
Corporate lawyer, shareholder and advocate for women’s rights in the workplace
Laureen Dumadag Laglagaron
Filipino community and immigrant advocate and policy researcher
PS1 Lorna Mae DeVera, US Navy
Outreach advocate for Asian Pacific presence in the military
May Nazareno
Actor, playwright and creator of the bi-national artist exchange
Melinda Poliarco
Labor activist and facilitator of partnerships
Milagros "Mitos" G. Santisteban
Media executive, cultural trainer and political activist
Nieves Cortez
Award winning winemaker and entrepreneur
Captain Paz Gomez, US Navy
Service medalist, mentor to Filipina women in the military
Polly Cortez
Workplace advocate in the federal savings regulation community
Rebecca Samson
Service medalist in US Army Service, mentor to Filipina women in the military
Regina "Ging" E. Reyes
Creator of ABS-CBN’s "Balitang Amerika" and news bureau head
Rose-Ann K. Ubarra
Youth Program Director and youth empowerment advocate
Shirley Raguindin, Lt. Col. Az ANG
Service medalist in military service; award as Diversity Coordinator
Sonia T. Delen
Senior Vice President, Bank of America Leasing and anti-domestic violence advocate
Susan Afan
Corporate senior management in a Fortune 100 firm
Sylvia Lichauco
Real estate entrepreneur and migrant workers' activist

Thelma Boac
Principal, Silver Creek High School
Theresa Tantay Wilson
Founder of improv theatre and wellness activism instructor for Rutgers University in New Jersey
Zenei T. Cortez
First Filipina President of California Nurses Association and advocate for nurses

Founders & Pioneers

This award honors Filipina women in their capacities as the chief executive, president, executive director or founder of a company, community organization, non-profit, or business venture that they helped start, build or significantly grow. This award category is for the trailblazers who have marshaled resources and applied innovative practices, processes and/or technologies in a new and groundbreaking way to address a significant business or organizational opportunity.

Celia Ruiz-Tomlinson
CEO & President of her own engineering firm, Rhombus
Connie S. Uy, MD
Medical educator, Associate Dean of New Jersey Medical School
Cora Alisuag
Industrial tech start-up and CORANET smart media inventor
Ellen M. Abellera
Filipino PAC activist and Asian Pacific American Affairs advocate, Washington State
Erlinda Sayson Limcaco
Co-Founder of Phililippine Nurses’ Association and community organizer
Gloria T. Caoile
Community leader, health advocate and labor organizer
Joy Bruce
Founder and advocate for elderly and youth policies
Linda Maria Nietes-Little
Bookseller and entrepreneur; Filipina advocate for culture
Loida Nicolas Lewis
Businesswoman and entrepreneur; first Asian woman to pass the New York Bar
Ludy Payumo Corrales
Founder of a multi-state mortgage banking company and Filipino community advocate
Luzviminda Sapin Micabalo
Community organizer
Marietta Nagrampa Almazan MD
Author and founder of psychiatric treatment clinic; medical missioner
Mary Carmen Madrid-Crost
Lawyer; advocate for immigrant rights and migrant communities
Nimfa Yamsuan Gamez
Business woman and advocate for the developmentally disabled
Patricia Lim-Yusah
Creator of Iskwelahang Filipino of Boston and cultural preservationist
Rozita Villanueva Lee
Media creator and producer in Hawaii; community grassroots organizer
Sony Robles Florendo
Author, founder of the Foundation for Economic Aid
Virna S. Tintiangco
Started the founding roots that became the Filipina Women’s Network; CEO of Greenlight Titles

Innovators & Thought Leaders

This award recognizes women who have broken new ground in the marketplace, have delivered new and unique applications of emerging technology transforming the way people think, in the fields of sports, literature, the arts and pop culture, or have improved the lives of others by helping develop a product or service in the fields of science, engineering, technology, or medicine. This award category is also for someone who have either launched a new enterprise learning function or completely overhauled an existing development or community initiative.

Angelita Castro-Kelly
First woman NASA Mission Operations Manager; developed and implemented mission operations
Carissa Villacorta
Author and public relations ingénue
Charmaine Clamor
Performer and creator of "Jazzipino" music genre
Connie Mariano
First Fil-Am Rear Admiral in US Naval history and former White House physician
Diana J. Galindo
Physician and recognized in the geriatric health community
Edith Mijares Ardiente
First Asian and second woman president of a global environmental entity
Elena Mangahas
Community activist, culture preservationist, and grassroots organizer
Elena Fe "Leny" Mendoza Strobel
Author, educator and anthologist of Filipino Babaylan traditions
Gemma Nemenzo
Author, columnist and editor
Jane Hofileña
Media expert for Latin American educational programming
Leila Benitez-McCollum
Retired television program host and media broadcaster
Lilia Villanueva
Author and Asian art and furniture gallery operator
Malu Rivera-Peoples
Award-winning dance instructor and creator of arts programs
Marisa Marquez
Actor, playwright and health advocate
Mutya San Agustin
Professor of pediatrics and founder of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association


This award honors Filipina women whose words, actions, and activism, inspire others to act and revolutionize society’s way of understanding traditional beliefs and customs thus leaving behind a Filipino global imprint. “Nicole,” who sparked an international dialogue about women’s rights, national sovereignty, and international law as she steadfastly pursued justice against her rapists, inspires this category.

M. Evelina Galang
Author and human rights activist

Policymakers and Visionaries

This award recognizes Filipina women leaders who have demonstrated exceptional business acumen combined with a forward-looking vision in the development or influencing of policies, campaigns or laws that impact business, industry, and society and who enrich the lives and careers of others by sharing the benefits of their wealth, experience, and knowledge.

Charmaine Manansala
Policy analyst, campaign staff and Asian and Pacific Islander advocate
Christina Baal
Community activist and immigration policy advocate
Eleonor G. Castillo
Educator and education policy advocate
Grace Walker
Educator and recipient of the National Principals Award in 1999
Gwen de Vera
Community organizer and local commissioner in New Jersey
Irene Bueno
Co-founder of political consulting firm; special assistant to former President Bill Clinton
Kris Valderrama
Delegate, District 26 Prince George’s County, Maryland
Kymberly Marcos Pine
Director of House of Representatives Minority Research Office; Hawaii Representative
Lillian Galedo
Director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action, an advocacy and social service institution in Oakland, California
Lourdes Tancinco
Lawyer, TV host and advocate for Veteran’s Equity campaign
Marissa Castro-Salvati
Community leader and commissioner in Los Angeles
Miriam B. Redmiller
Lawyer, author and immigration reform advocate
Mona Pasquil
Adviser in Asian Pacific Islander affairs and political consultant
Rida T. R. Cabanilla
Hawaii Representative, advocate and Lt. Colonel in US Army Reserves
Ruth Asmundson Uy
First Filipino Mayor (Davis, California), community leader and organizer of goodwill relations
Sonia Aranza
Consultant, master facilitator, keynote speaker and immigration advocate
Thelma Boac
First Filipina principal (San Jose, California), educator, mentor and education policy advocate
Vanessa Barcelona
Lawyer and immigrant rights leader
Velma Veloria
First Fil-Am in Washington State Legislature, labor rights activist and sponsored groundbreaking legislation on anti-domestic violence and human trafficking
Vida Benavides
Community activist for API civic engagements and youth mentor


Sustaining Pinay Power 2020 is quite daunting. As the excitement dies down and the reality of executing FWN's 2020 game plan sets in, many will drop out and others will pick up the torch. The Keepers of the Flame are the caretakers to ensure that the Vision 2020 is kept alive.

Arlene Marie "Bambi" Lorica, MD, FAAP
Holistic Pediatrician, Potomac, Maryland
Elena Mangahas
Co-Chair, Little Manila Foundation, Stockton, California
Genevieve Herreria
Executive Assistant, Levensohn Venture Partners, San Francisco, California.
Maria Roseni M. Alvero
Philippine Trade Commissioner for the US Western Region, Santa Clara, California
Marily Mondejar
President, Institute for Image Management; President, Filipina Women’s Network, San Francisco, California.
Maya Ong Escudero
President, Non-profit Projects Unlimited, Palo Alto, California.
Hon. Rowena Sanchez
Philippine Ambassador to Turkey
Shirley Saoit Raguindin
Lieutenant Colonel, State Diversity Coordinator, Arizona National Guard, Phoenix, Arizona
Sonia T. Delen
Senior Vice President, Bank of America Leasing and community advocate
Thelma Boac
Principal, Silver Creek High School