That’s A Wrap! 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit

2018 Fly Pinays Group Pic
03-24-2018: All our mentors, mentees, students, community partners, guest speakers, and organizers that put on the 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit at Mission College!

March 24, 2018

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, March 24th, our volunteer team of organizers, advisors and interns, had the honor of hosting ~130 community members in our 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit.

I always think that recaps are most substantive when a bit of background is provided.  Let me try to illustrate and retell the story of our Fly Pinays work this past season.

Intentionally held during Women’s History Month, our Fly Pinays initiative aims to engage Filipina women and college-aged girls in mentorship and sisterhood with educational themes in Filipino/a cultural identity, history and more broadly, our community’s leadership on issues ranging from career readiness, personal and professional development, and social activism.

Our work leading up to the 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit began in October 2017. While many of our many members of our organizing team volunteered to take on leadership roles for the planning and preparation of our 2nd Annual Fly Pinays, we needed more hands to lift this colossal effort. So in October, we began forming our “2018 Fly Pinays Planning Committee.” By November, we would have a team of 9 young leaders, ready to embark on the months-long process that is Fly Pinays. 


From November-January, our Fly Pinays Team conducted a series of 4 focus groups, targeting local South Bay colleges and universities to help inform our program’s content for the 2nd Annual Fly Pinays. By the end of January, we had met with young Pinays from Cal State East Bay, Santa Clara University, San Jose State and UC Santa Cruz. From these small group dialogues, we pulled out three emerging trends that were top of mind, concerning and relevant to young Pinays today:

1) Mental Health Education/Awareness
2) Cultural History and Identity
3) Personal and Professional Development.

With these three themes (Mental Health, Cultural History and Identity, and Personal and Professional Development) we got to work. Jenna Edra and Marissa Martinez, our 2018 Workshop Co-Directors, started inviting nonprofit service providers to present workshops on Mental Health; reached out to past Fly Pinay mentors to host workshops on Career Readiness, Growth and Professional Development; we coordinated with our grassroots partners to present workshops on lived experiences and real human rights issues that are impacting Filipino/a communities today. Lastly, our Committee voted upon a series of guest speakers – opening and closing keynotes – and panelists to reinforce and reverberate the messages that our attendees at the 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit would hear throughout the day, which we would later see come to life by our Program Director, Jaki Joanino’s work.

The integral piece in Fly Pinays is our women and girls.


At the beginning of the year, we began our outreach to Filipina professionals, led by Vanessa Carr, within/around the South Bay region to consider signing up to participate as a Fly Pinay Mentor. Simultaneously, Isabel Bagsik, our 2018 Mentee Manager, led outreach to 12 different schools and organizations, to help us spread the word on student/mentee sign ups.

When our Fly Pinays sign ups closed, we had over 100 women and girls to pair, in mentor-mentee relationships, based on a number of commonalities, like shared area of study, alma maters, career trajectories, and industries.

This brings us back to Saturday, March 24th, at our 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit, where all of our work came to fruition.

Our day consisted of inspirational words from our opening and closing keynote speakers – Chief of Staff to CA Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, Genevieve Jopanda and Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez an Assistant Professor of Sociology at SFSU – to an engaging speaker panel on “Pinay Creatives Changing The Game” – Chef Charleen Cabaay, Astralogik and Janice Labo Sapigao – to a host of workshops on issues related to Mental Health in the Filipino/a American community, Philippine Folk Dance and Martial Arts, to connecting our education to movements and justice issues in the Philippines, through learning of the Labor Export Program.

The goal of the 2nd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit was to create a space that resonated and reflected the narratives and experiences of Pinays today, and furthermore, to support those experiences through mentorship and sisterhood.


We hope that our new and returning Fly Pinay Mentors and Mentees will continue to stay in touch with our growing program, as our Fly Pinays group now has 200+ women and girls down to continue our pipeline building.

Remember the sacrifice and strength that runs through your veins, sisters!

Sulong mga Fly Pinays!

Angelica Cortez

Official 2nd Annual Fly Pinays attendee break-down: 

29 Mentors
44 Mentees
8 Community Member Attendees
11 Community Organizations/Workshop Presenters
5 Tabling Organizations
7 Guest Speakers
2 Co-Emcees
18 Organizers, Interns and Volunteers
4 Facilities Staff
2 Members of the Press

LEAD Filipino
LEAD Filipino

We are a nonprofit that organizes for FilAm civic participation, grassroots leadership and direct community action out of San Jose, California.

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