NEW YORK – Delegates of the Filipino-American Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), which started in 2012 as a brainchild of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr, gathered in NYC this month and developed strategies that addressed key advocacies and legacy projects that promote development of the Filipino community in the US and the Philippines, FYLPRO President Bea Querido announced.
FYLPRO delegates from around the United States to include Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Maui, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C., among other cities, traveled to the Big Apple to partake in a series is various community events and an important strategic planning workshop led by FYLPRO delegate from Los Angeles Ryyn Chua, Director of Programming.
“The delegates all see the value of FYLPRO and we want to enhance it, become self-sustaining and create the community impact the Ambassador envisioned,” Chua said. “We are 40 strong now – each with significant projects and commitments to our respective communities – but the workshop further proved FYLPRO’s true potential.
FYLPRO delegates agreed on five core values to serve as guiding principles for the organization: integrity, innovation, collaboration, pride in being Filipino, and compassion.
To further explore the group’s mission, the group identified its core purposes:
Serve as a bridge to connect the Philippines to Filipino-Americans
Delegates of the program have been carefully picked for their academic, career and community-building excellence. Many delegates have initiated FYLPRO legacy projects, to give back and address issues of interest in the Philippines.
Examples include Michael Vea and Angela Cabellon’s Teach for the Philippines, modelled after Teach for America, a knowledge-process outsourcing IT company called Panalo, which bridges entities in the United States with top-talent personnel in the Philippines by JR Calanoc and a textile business borne to preserve the indigenous silk-weaving practices of Eri Silk Worm social enterprise by Jan Paul Ferrer.
Represent in numbers and credibility
FYLPRO aims to empower its delegates to ensure that they hold key leadership positions in government, boards and commissions, corporations and community groups.
Ryan Letada, founder of innovative program Next Day Better, cited how crucial it is to for the next generation of Fil-Am leaders to recognize the impact of “having a say” in community building. Several delegates also hold key positions in all levels of government influence, including White House Deputy Director of Asian-American affairs Jason Tengco to Kauai County Planning Director Mike Dahilig of Hawaii.
Enhance the Filipino brand by seeking to discover, design and define
During the summit, the delegates dove deep in reasons why their passion to make a difference in the Filipino community is adamant.
“What makes you angry,” Chua challenged the group.
Representation of Filipinos in mainstream media may be at its early stages, with the likes of esteemed boxer Manny Pacquiao gaining worldwide recognition, but there’s still significant stereotyping and non-recognition about the Filipino culture – in careers, music, food, fashion, despite being the second largest Asian-American population next to the Chinese in the United States.
Querido further described the group of FYLPRO delegates to consist of young leaders with the ability to creatively navigate the challenges of our global society.
“This group is edgy,” Querido added. “We all come from different backgrounds yet the stories are the same across the board.
“We all want to see the Filipino community become a highly-influential demographic in the U.S. and the world.”
The delegates also participated in the 117th Philippine Independence Day Parade along Madison Avenue, spreading awareness of the program as they waved the Philippine flag in the streets of New York.
The weekend also included a Welcome Dinner with local government officials and captains of business to include Mr. Roberto Llames, President of Enterprise Solutions, and FYLPro sponsor. Llames offers his reflection upon meeting the delegates, “It’s so refreshing to see the vibrancy of FYLPRO and the qualifications of all the delegates are very impressive. The leadership, energy, and enthusiasm the group exhibits towards civil engagement as well as entrepreneurship is so refreshing to see in a young and dynamic FilAm community. I sure wish we had a group similar to FYLPRO when I started my company a long time ago. Congratulations on a successful summit and for all the accomplishments of FYLPRO and I look forward to FYLPRO continuing to make a significant impact for the betterment of the FilAm community.”
They also met with community leader Mrs. Loida Nicolas Lewis in her Manhattan residence where they discussed the importance of the participation of the Filipinos in the United States in the 2016 Philippine elections. Lewis came away impressed by this group of leaders, “Bravo to FYLPRO – dynamic, ambitious, determined and compassionate. They are set to light their world on fire with their passion. Keep on, my young leaders!”
“We intend to do the FYLPRO summit annually to get an update from all delegates – who despite their busy careers and personal lives, continue to do legacy projects to give back to the community,” Querido said. “This is a worthwhile endeavor and I urge the support of the leaders before us, to reach out and collaborate.”
The new batch of ten FYLPRO delegates is scheduled to head to the Philippines in July for the annual FYLPRO leadership immersion.
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