NEW YORK – With a strategic vision to develop Filipino American youth’s leadership skills and prepare them for community engagement, the Philippine Consulate General launched a Leadership and Mentoring Seminar (MLS) last September 6 at the Philippine Center with the theme “Empowerment for the Emerging Generation. This was an offshoot of last year’s successful leadership seminars for first-generation leaders.
In his opening remarks, Consul General Mario de Leon said it was time to “repurpose the Filipino organizations.” “we are looking at you, young Fil-Ams to transition leadership to; after all, you are the future of the Filipino community,” the ConGen said. He also noted the initiatives which student organizations and young professionals’ groups have already been accomplished in recent years, and expressed his enthusiasm in reaching out and working more closely with them.The attendees, mostly from New York and New Jersey Filipino student organizations, were given a whole day of enriching lessons from management experts and leaders in their respective fields.
Author of several books and educator Luis Francia presented a historical background on the Philippines and shared his insights on the Filipino immigrant story in the “Understanding the Filipino” session. His lecture framed the mindset of the young leaders on the situation of the Filipino community in the US and suggested that “it’s time to register ourselves as a cultural force.”
Management consultant and life coach Jeffrey Stern shared more transferrable skills to the students. He first gave a lesson on how to properly project oneself through “Effective Public Speaking” where some of the participants practiced their skills in delivering speeches.
Stern also imparted success strategies to the young ones, in his “Leadership and Motivation” session, where he shared techniques in target-setting and attaining one’s goals, some from personal experiences with his family, especially his national athlete children.
Certified Public Accountant and active community member from Connecticut Jocelyn Santiago spoke about accounting and bookkeeping for non-profit organization.
Restaurateur and innovator of Filipino food Nicole Ponseca provided valuable guidelines and planning secrets during the “Events Management” sesson, where she drew most of her tips from daily operations of Maharlika and Jeepney as well as the annual Evening in Manila and Balut-Eating Contest at the Hester Street Fair, both of which she organizes.
FYLPRO alum and NaFFAA State Chair Steve Raga moderated a panel discussion to get a feedback from the participants on their experience attending the seminar. Ms Iris Zalun, President of Pilipino Unity for Progress (UniPro); Mr Zultan Bermudez, President of JCI Philippines New York; and Mr Ner Martinez, Board Member of the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. all threw ideas on how to increase engagement of their members, and to reach out to the whole community through their organization’s activities. All of the panelists understood that young student leaders find it difficult to assimilate themselves into the community – except for their peers and other student boards – but also invited them to join the mainstream organizations.
To process and digest the lessons of the day, a panel discussion moderated by FYLPRO alum and NaFFAA State Chair Steve Raga followed. Ms Iris Zalun, President of Pilipino Unity for Progress (UniPro); Mr Zultan Bermudez, President of JCI Philippines New York; and Mr Ner Martinez, Board Member of the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. all threw ideas on how to increase engagement of their members, and to reach out to the whole community through their organization’s activities. All of the panelists understood that young student leaders find it difficult to assimilate themselves into the community – except for their peers and other student boards – but also invited them to join the mainstream organizations.
Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz, who inter-acts with second-generation Fil Ams, closed the seminar with a brief statement. She said, “Your involvement as Filipino-Americans do not end when you graduate college and leave your Filipino student clubs,” She encouraged the participants to find their interest and seek community organizations that will help them in their personal goals and increase their affiliation with their heritage.
Similar seminars are planned for other cities in the US Northeast with significant young Filipino-American populations.
EARLY BIRD: Consul General Mario De Leon poses with the morning participants of the LMS.
COLLAGE: Clockwise from top left: Participants from Filipino student organizations and young professional groups filled the Kalayaan Hall; A youth leader takes the stage during Effective Public Speaking as Jeffrey Stern looks on; a community mixer in the afternoon gave the participants the opportunity to network; Restaurateur Nicole Ponseca gives tips on planning awesome events. (Photos by Renie Tomas)