HON. Cynthia Alcantara-Barker: Acceptance Speech on behalf of the Most Influential Filipina Women of the World 2017

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Brookmeadow, Elstree & Borehamwood Town Councillor and Hertsmere Borough Councillor Cynthia Alcantara Barker (Global FWN100™ 2017) delivers the Acceptance Speech on behalf of 2017's Most Influential Filipina Women of the World.

Below is the full text of her Acceptance Speech.

 

I am incredibly honoured to be here tonight, in the company of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the world.

Receiving this Filipina Women’s Network Award is extra special because it recognizes all of us, Filipina women, as leaders in our respective fields.

I am deeply humbled to have been tasked to deliver this Acceptance Speech on behalf of the 2017 batch of remarkable Filipina minds, personalities and achievers.

When I was asked to deliver the acceptance speech, Marily Mondejar gave me the challenge to keep to the theme of leading, inspiring and advocating. My first thoughts were - my goodness, what can I possibly share when I know you are all leading, inspiring and advocating on a daily basis. But then I thought about it, I realized we have another thing in common - that in our lifetime, we have a role model who inspired us to become who we are today.

Allow me take you back to my childhood.                                                                

I grew up in San Pablo City in the Philippines. I thought my life would be simple and idyllic growing up and growing old in the province.  But two people challenged my aspirations. I looked up to them, both school teachers – my parents, Inay at Tatay. 

When I was growing up in the 70’s, the pay for two full time school teachers was not enough to support a family of 5 children.  I was too young to understand how the decision was made but they decided that Inay would seek a better future for us by taking a giant leap into the unknown and find work opportunities in the United Kingdom.

My father agreed to look after us and to ensure we continue our education. And I would like to acknowledge that as a teacher, my father understood the value of education for women, not just for the boys.

I looked up to my parents because of an important life lesson they showed me and my siblings  - to value education and continuous self improvement. I learned that no matter what I do in the future, I should consistently keep moving.

Passed an exam? Keep moving.                                                                     

Made it through an interview? Keep moving.                                                       

Got your dream job? - keep moving.                                                                

Don’t waste the chance to do more.

Eventually, all 5 children migrated to foreign lands. We kept moving forward. But now as I look back, I can fully appreciate the fact that because my parents taught the value of moving forward, I have done some good in this world.                       

I am sharing this with you today to remind us to keep moving. 

But you know what, as we gather here tonight and as prestigious as this Award is, I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, saying keep moving.

Keep moving. I made it my mantra.  

If our stories can reach the ears of school girls in the Philippines, my hope is that they will say: “Wow, I can do that too!  

Our challenge goes beyond us adapting to the changing world.                             

It goes beyond simply teaching others how to do it.                                           

Our challenge is to encourage and lead them to take action!

We attended the Learning Journey and workshop yesterday where we acknowledged the importance of advocacy.  And we understood that advocacy cannot happen without excellent networking.  I hope we can channel these events - this year’s successes - into a positive networking force that can move others to change and inspire the world.  Only then can we truly say that we have made an impact.

So tonight, I am excited by the thought of 2018 and I look forward to welcoming all of you, to the London Summit, to celebrate 15 years of the Filipina Women’s Network, in preparation for the Pinay Power Reunion in Washington in 2020.

And as we congratulate ourselves, so we challenge ourselves.                           

Let us keep moving together.

Thank you, magandang gabi sa inyong lahat, mabuhay, salamat po.

Giannina Uy