Make It Count: Transforming Mindsets for 2020 and Beyond

August 15 – 18, 2019

2019 National Empowerment Conference

Detailed NEC Program

Click on the link to jump down to the day.

Thursday (8/15) – Leadership Development  |  Friday (8/16) – Civic Engagement  |  Saturday (8/17) – Advocacy

Thursday, August 15 – EPYC Leadership Institute

8a-5p Registration and Tabling Fair

8:00a-9a Breakfast
[Hall B]

9:00a- NaFFAA Welcome and EPYC Leadership Institute Kickoff
[Hall B]

9:30a State of the Alliances
[Hall B]
Panelists: Malea Capuno, Secretary of Events and Programs, NWFASA
Nathaniel Roque, Community Action and Dialogue Chairperson, NCPASA
De Alarik Quipuha Ojeda, Chairperson, SCPASA
Rio Villoria, Vice President External, MAFA
Janrei Villavicencio, National Chairperson, FIND
John Catral, Co-President, SIFA

East Coast Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND Inc.), Midwest Association of Filipino Americans (MAFA), Southern Intercollegiate Filipino Alliance (SIFA). Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance (NWFASA), Northern California Pilipinx American Student Alliance (CPASA), Southern California Pilipinx American Student Alliance (SCPASA) will share challenges and best practices with each other in hopes of taking what they’ve learned back to their respective communities.

10:45a WORKSHOP: An Approach to Self, Org and Community Leadership
[Hall A]
Presenter: Joel Jacinto

This is a brief overview of a proposed leadership framework and approach that can be used to facilitate culture-based leadership development in individuals, organization and throughout the Filipinx American diaspora in the United States. The core of a Filipinx-culture based leadership development model is its rootedness in the body of knowledge related to Filipino culture and its 3 core values that co-exist interdependently to comprise the “operating system” or OS of the Filipinx. This workshop session that will situate leadership development centered in the context of Filipinx core values and culture.

10:45a WORKSHOP Dream Big: A Guide to Self Accountability and Motivation
[Hall B]
Presenter: Brian Franada

In this workshop, participants will #Dream Big and practice planning, visualizing and achieving their own personal goals. WIth a community centered approach, this workshop aims to unpack each individual’s unique talents and perspectives in order to set new expectations for excellence in order to carve a new,  holistic view on success. 

10:45a Lessons Learned: EPYC Ambassador Experiences
[Hall C]
Presenters: Rafael Natividad and Natalie Nuesca

In this workshop, current and former members of NaFFAA’s Empowering Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Program, will describe the lessons learned during their tenure. They will speak about the connections they created as well as their individual capstone projects that allowed them to reach out to their respective communities.

2:00p Opening Session & Parade of Regions
[Jose Rizal Monument]
Emcee: Noel Omega, NaFFAA Greater Los Angeles Region Chair Welcome
Opening: Emraida Kiram, NaFFAA Vice Chair / NEC Conference Chair Welcome 

2:15p Parade of Regions & Opening Remarks
[Hall B]
Hon. Albert Robles, Mayor, City of Carson
Hon. Jim Dear, Councilmember & Former Mayor, City of Carson
Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, Consul General, Philippine Consulate Los Angeles 

2:30p State of Filipinos in America
[Hall B]
Brendan Flores, NaFFAA National Chairman

NaFFAA National Chairman Brendan Flores presents remarks of the state of Filipinos in the United States. 

3:30p Intergenerational Dialogue
[Hall B]
Moderator: Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (invited)

How can we transform mindsets? Included is the history or when the intergenerational dialogue started and why. 

5:00p Dinner Break
Visit for a listing of local restaurants. 

6:00p Presentation of NaFFAA Trailblazer Award
[Hall B]

6:30p The Foundation International Presents a Special Screening of “Yellow Rose,” A Film by Diane Paragas
[Hall B]
Ted Benito
Rey Cuerdo
Diane Paragas
Princess Punzalan

About the film: Rose, an undocumented 17 year old Filipina, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom suddenly gets picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new reality, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky tonk world of Austin, Texas. Watch trailer

NaFFAA will be presenting its Trailblazer Award to prior to the screening. A discussion featuring producer Rey Cuerdo, director Diane Paragas and actress Princess Punzalan immediately follows film viewing. 

This is a fundraiser for the Foundation International and NaFFAA.

Friday, August 16 – Civic Leadership

7a Registration and Tabling

7:30a Breakfast & NaFFAA Candidate Meet and Greet
[Hall A&B]

8:30a Breakfast Plenary: APIAVote – Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute Training
[Hall A&B]

Presented by Eric Salcedo, Field Director, APIAVote
Co-Facilitators: Marlan Maralit, Director, Asians for Civic Engagement (ACE) Collaborative, Virginia
Juanito Amor, NaFFAA West Coast Civic Engagement Coordinator 

The Norman Y. Mineta Leadership Institute (NYMLI) was launched in October 2006 in honor of Secretary Mineta’s lifetime achievements in exemplifying and promoting civic participation and public service. Normally a weekend long training in various cities across the country, the NYMLI at the NEC will focus on leadership training for nonprofit staff, community leaders and volunteers. With the upcoming 2020 Census, the NYMLI will provide Census basic definitions, myths, and the importance of diverse communities, practice various scenarios, and craft messaging around the Census to develop targeted outreach for the Filipino American community. 

The Norman Y. Mineta Institute trains participants on the foundations of non-partisan electoral campaigns, leadership skills needed to be a well rounded civic leader as well as provides participants with strategies specific to working with AAPI communities, fulfilling an unmet need in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

12:00p Lunch Plenary: 2020 Census
Moderator: Eric Salcedo, Field Director, APIA Vote
Panelists: Ivy Daulo, Partnerships Specialist, U.S. Census Bureau
Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles
Ditas Katague, Director, California Complete Count

Encompassing the NEC theme, Make It Count: Transforming Mindsets for 2020 and Beyond, the lunch plenary will give an overview of the importance of the 2020 Census, stressing why it’s important for Filipinos to participate. The plenary will give an overview of U.S. Census data statistics and explain the missions of the presenter’s organizations. 

[Various Rooms]

1:45p Workshop: Filipino Representation in Public Service
[Hall B]

Moderator: Jessica Caloza, Commissioner, Dept, of Public Works, City of Los Angeles
Panelists: Faith Bautista, Board Member, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Community Advisory Board, U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, Commissioner, Dept. of Building and Safety, City of Los Angeles
Susana Reyes, Commissioner, Dept. of Water and Power, City of Los Angeles

Want to serve your community and apply your experience to public service? Did you know that you could be appointed to a board or commission at the local, state, or federal level? This workshop focuses on understanding what appointed positions and commissions are, how to identify these opportunities, understand the process, and learn best practices from those currently serving at the federal, state, and local level.

1:45p Workshop: Meet the Funders: Fundraising 101 with Corporate/Philanthropic Leaders
[Hall A]
Jenny Delwood, Executive Vice President, Liberty Hill Foundation
Vera de Vera, Director, Leadership for Movements, Weingart Foundation

Learn from leaders of foundations and corporations on ways to improve grant proposals, strengthen funder relationships, and to align your non-profit with current philanthropic priorities. 

1:45p NYMLTI and Filipino American Vote National Strategy Session / Caucus Meetings
[Hall C]

Eric Salcedo, APIA Vote Field Director
Marlan Maralit, Asians for Civic Engagement
Juanito Amor, NaFFAA FilAm Vote Coordinator

As a continuation of the Norman Y Mineta Leadership Training Institute, National leaders and grassroots community organizers will have an opportunity to plan, ramp up communication channels, and set goals for registering voters and doing public outreach for the upcoming 2020 census. 

Are there other advocacy issues that were not covered at the NEC that you are passionate about? This plenary room is also an open space to caucus on issues you feel passionate about and that may not have been addressed.

3:15p Break

3:30p Afternoon Plenary: Elected Officials and Filipino American Empowerment, sponsored by Civic Leadership USA
[Hall B]

Moderator: Anthony Ng, Executive Director, CL USA
Panelists: Hon. Rob Bonta, State Assemblymember, State of California
Hon. Mark Pulido, Councilmember & Former Mayor, City of Cerritos, CA
Hon. Rachelle Arizmendi, Councilmember, City of Sierra Madre, CA
Hon. Ron Falconi, Mayor, City of Brunswick, OH

How can we increase representation and civic leadership in the Filipino American community? Join current and past Filipino elected officials share their journey on running for public office. 

4:30p Intergenerational Discussion: How can we increase representation and civic leadership in the Filipino American Community?
[Hall B]
Small Group Moderators: Hermie Sunga, Councilmember, City of Vallejo, CA
Melissa Ramoso, Councilmember, Artesia City Council, CA

This session hopes to provide an intimate space for delegates to have a thoughtful dialogue about Filipino American representation and advocating for the needs of the community with their local, state, and national representatives. Small group moderators will also be available to give their pointers on running for public office. 

5p Dinner Break
Enjoy and support local Los Angeles restaurants. 

6p Community Reception & NaFFAA’s Got Talent
[Hall B]

Presentation of the 1) Alex Esclamado Community Service Award Presentation sponsored by GMA, 2) NaFFAA’s Carabao Award, and the installation of the NaFFAA Greater Los Angeles Region. The evening ends with a NaFFAA tradition of various regional performances.

Saturday, August 17 – Advocacy

7a Registration and Vendor Table Fair

7:30a Continental Breakfast Served
[Hall B]

8:30a  The Secrets of Success of Women in Business: “We are Breaking the Mold”
[Hall B]

Gina Lopez Alexander, CEO, Founder & Creator of Gina Alexander brand
Belina C. Nernberg, CEO & Founder, 1Heart Caregiver Services
Fiona Hilario, Managing Member, Lay Bare Waxing Salon, International Franchise Association
Ishka V. Tusjakova, CEO & Owner, Ishkaster Media
Anna Marie Cruz, Business Development Office for CDC Small Business Finance

Filipina American women entrepreneurs share their personal experiences, challenges, and secrets to success. 

9:15a Breakfast Plenary sponsored by VistaLand – Business Survival: It’s Challenges and Strategies for Economic Growth
[Hall B]
Moderator: Noel S. V. Omega

Understand how to develop your personal economic triangle, and deploying strategies to ensure Economic stability in multiple generations. Discussion includes changing the mindset of your economic prospects, in a way that empowers yourself and the Filipino community as a whole. 

10a – Break


10:15a – The Power of ‘We’: Shaping a Filipino American Immigration Narrative
[122 ABC]
Presenter: Aquilina Soriano, Executive Director, Pilipino Workers Center

The border wall issue does not impact the Filipino American community the same as other immigrant communities, but the anti-immigrant sentiments and policies that are embodied by the “Build the Wall” slogan are causing a lot of harm to Filipinos. The impact ranges from creating painful family separation to leaving workers more vulnerable to human trafficking. Join us for an interactive workshop that will weave the Filipino American immigration narrative with the lives of the participants and connect them to the most urgent immigration issues facing Filipinos today.

10:15a K-12 Education Advocacy in the Filipino Community
[Hall C]
Godfrey Plata, Co-founder, SoCal AANHPI Educators
Bianca Nepales, Middle School English Teacher, Ambassador School of Global Leadership
Denise Panaligan, Managing Director, Southern California Recruitment, Teach For America
Justin Tandingan, Director of Corps Member and Alumni Impact,Teach For America, Los Angeles 

Too many efforts for educational equity relegate their understanding of inequity to African-American and Latinx communities. While it is clearly important to stand in solidarity with other communities of color that face injustice, this narrow narrative and rhetoric erases the stories and data of our own community’s experiences with inequity in education, as students, parents, and educators. In this session, participants will walk away (a) with a broader understanding of what contributes to educational inequity in our communities, (b) more strategically able to target their advocacy efforts, and (c) plugged into people and efforts making change in education NOW. Whether you’re already leading advocacy work, or want to understand advocacy or educational inequity for the first time, this session is for you.

10:15a Achieving Whole Health & Diabetes in the Filipino Community
[Hall A]
Presenters: Rudy Asercion, NaFFAA Region 8 Chair
Krystle Canare, Georgetown University’s National Center for Cultural Competence
Joyce Javier, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC Keck School of Medicine
Dr. Melinda Sarmiento Bender, University of San Francisco School of Nursing
Danet Lapiz Bluhm, University of Texas Health, School of Nursing
Ester C. Aure, Health and Wellness Program Director, NaFFAA Northern California Region

What does achieving whole health look like for the Filipino community, its families, and individuals? NaFFAA leaders Rudy Asercion and Krystle Canare will be joined by national and local trailblazers and organizations in the fields of healthcare, community health, and mental health to help attendees identify steps they can take in transforming mindsets around health and well-being. In particular, this session will:

  1. Bring awareness to the crippling epidemic of diabetes in the Filipino community and how the [insert name here] developed a mobile phone-based Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle and social networking intervention to improve health outcomes.
  2. Provide important information on how parenting programs conducted by the Filipino Family Health Initiative prevent emotional and behavioral issues among Filipino youth and improve familial bonds & relationships.

11:45a Break

12p Lunch Plenary – ADVOCACY hosted by AARP
[Hall B]

Denny Chan, AAPI Hero Award 

1:15p Intergenerational Discussion: “Kollective Hustle” Power in Numbers
[Hall B]
Presenter: Romeo Marquez Jr.

NaFFAA in partnership with The Filipino Channel (TFCU) TFCU and NaFFAA come together to unite the emerging generation of Filipinos in transforming their ideas into action, passion into profession, creativity into careers, and to inspire a global culture of collaboration. This mindset-transforming intergeneral discussion stresses collaboration over competition and will review the overall objectives of the Kollective Hustle seeking to empower and unite the Filipino community. 

1:15p Closing Remarks / Introduction of New Executive Director
[Hall B]
Brendan Flores, Carissa Villacorta

3p Break / Voting Ends
Ballot Counting by COMELEC 

3p Executive Advisory Council Meeting
[DoubleTree Presidential Suite]

6p General Reception

6p VIP Reception

7p Gala Night
[Hall B]
Emcee: Janelle So (invited)
Keynote: Loida Lewis
Highlighted Performers: The Filharmonics

Introduction of Newly Elected NaFFAA Officers, performances, and a celebration of empowering the Filipino American community.