Greetings Honored Guests and Dignitaries,
I am pleased to welcome you to the Global FWN100™ Gala Awards Dinner Ceremony at the 13th Filipina Leadership Global Summit.
Tonight we celebrate 100 women who have reached the heights of excellence in their respective fields. Some in corporate business, some in government, some in non-profit, all of whom have demonstrated impact, innovation, involvement, femtorship, professionalism, and sustainability in their respective areas of contribution. In making the awardee selection, the selection committee reviewed elements of leadership, challenge, and ownership across each of the candidates’ qualifications to make its selection. Those nominees who demonstrated the highest level of attainment across all of these elements are here with us tonight.
In attendance, we have those 100 of 2016's Most Influential Filipina Women around the globe. We have 10 countries represented including 5 awardees from Europe, 11 awardees from North America, 4 awardees from the Middle East, and 49 awardees from Asia, including 46 awardees from right here in the Philippines.
We also have dignitaries representing countries who have made a special commitment to be with us tonight. We are ever so grateful to these busy individuals for taking the time out of their hectic schedules to visibly demonstrate the importance of Filipina Women taking on leadership roles around the world and making a meaningful impact in their respective communities and greater societies.
I'd also like to take a moment to thank this year’s event sponsors. Our Ninang sponsors, Ramar Foods International and Wells Fargo, our Kababayan sponsors AT&T and Chevron, our Kasama sponsors, Seven Seven Corporate Group, The Filipino Channel, and the Golden State Warriors. And our many Kaibigan sponsors who have all helped to make this years Global Summit an outstanding success.
Of course, I want to welcome and thank the hundreds of friends, relatives, children, and spouses who are here (and not here) with us tonight to celebrate their mother’s, their daughter’s, their wives’, their sister’s, their friend’s, their colleague’s incredible achievement, not just this past year, but the years of dedication, painstaking work and effort to establish their careers and achieve the pinnacle of success in their respective endeavors. It is these family and friends who have accepted the sacrifice of time and distance while their family member or friend has pursued their dream. On behalf of the 100 awardees tonight, we thank you most of all.
Lastly, I'd like to recognize the young femtees in the audience. FWN is extremely dedicated to the development of young Filipinas, helping to support and guide you on your path to leadership roles and career and life success. We hope your time here tonight, in the presence of 100 women who have already accomplished what you may dream to someday achieve, in some small way, can help to inspire you on your desired path.
FWN began back in 2002 in San Francisco, California with the idea that one small group could make a real change in society, and particularly in the lives of Filipina women. 13 years later, Marily Mondejar, the founder and CEO of FWN and the countless others who have supported FWN and participated in its growth and development along the way, can certainly look back with great pride on what has already been accomplished to date, and can look forward with great anticipation to the road ahead. Next year's summit and gala celebration will take place in Toronto, Canada, 2018 in London, England, my personal favorite, 2019 in Hawaii, and the Pinay Power 2020 reunion in Washington DC, right in time for the next U.S. presidential election.
A brief personal aside: I first became aware of FWN last year, when I attended the 2015 Gala event in San Francisco and met an amazing group of female role models. Shortly thereafter, FWN provided me with an opportunity to fulfill a long sought dream. In my college days, I was a theater arts major. When I learned FWN was staging the Vagina Monologues in San Francisco in honor of the comfort women of WWII, I jumped at the opportunity. Fortunately, I still retained my theater arts skills, kept active over the past 10 years in the office of the CEO, where much of what we do as chief executives, is stage performance. Through the Vagina Monologues production, I was introduced to Marily and again, so many incredible women, each with a personal story to tell. My path of engagement with FWN was set.
But tonight is not about me, or even about Marily and the rest of the Filipina Summit steering committee, headed this year by Myrna Yao. Tonight is about this year’s 100 awardees. Tonight is about celebrating and savoring the fruits of your countless years of effort culminating in the collective celebration this evening.
In closing, I'd like to close as I do with all my presentations, with words of wisdom, from my wise-beyond-his-years, newly teenage son. His latest writing, a poem, is called Time is no Thief. In this poem, he writes that it is not “Time which wastes time, but only us.” Let us not waste this moment tonight to enjoy the company of each other and to take the moment to positively reflect upon the incredible accomplishments achieved by those in this room tonight. Please do not waste this chance.
Thank you and enjoy... congratulations to 2016’s 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World!