History of Fly Pinays

About Fly Pinays

Our Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit is a regional conference that engages ~150 Filipina women and girls in sisterhood, mentorship, and you guessed it — leadership. The Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit is held every March during Women’s Herstory Month.

Piqued by community requests and inspired within our membership, LEAD Filipino laid the ground work in late-2016 to fashion what would become our Annual Fly Pinays.

Since 2017, our Fly Pinays Leadership Summit has drawn audiences of nearly 200 women, girls, professionals, educators, creatives, and scholars to coalesce on shared values related to Fil Am identity, culture, sisterhood, and mentorship.

Past Summits

This section details our past Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summits’ themes, workshops, and guest speakers.

We’re so proud to play a part in coordinating and supporting the ongoing efforts of our Annual Fly Pinays. To be sure, this work is only accomplished through the collaborative leadership efforts of our volunteer organizers, students, and families.

2017 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
Saturday, March 11, 2017
School of Arts & Culture
San Jose, CA

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Robyn Rodriguez, UC Davis’ Bulosan Center of Filipino Studies and Chair of the Asian American Studies Department and Daly City Councilmember Juslyn Manalo
Panelists: Marie Millares, SJMADE; Gina Mariko-Rosales, Make It Mariko; Christine Sebastian, Treatbot; Row, 106.1 KMEL; Alex Bautista, Google; Christine Limpin-Ng, Facebook.
Performers: Astralogik

2018 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
Saturday, March 23, 2018
Mission College
Santa Clara, CA

Keynote Speakers: Genevieve Jopanda, CoS to California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, Professor, San Francisco State University
Panelists: Astralogik, Janet Sapigao, and Chef Charleen Caabay

2018 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit

2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
Saturday, March 22, 2019
Mission College
Santa Clara, CA
Official Event Photos

Keynote Speakers: Chef Chel Gilla, Founder of Tselogs and Micah “Noodles” Mahinay
Panelists: Lauren Garcia, Melanie “That Girl” Panergo, and Kate Dash

2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit | Keynote Speaker: Chef Chel Gilla,
Tselogs Founder
2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit
2019 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit | Closing Keynote: DJ Noodles

Background Story

LEAD Filipino first created its Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit and Mentorship Program after a series of interviews and conversations with local Pinay college students in late-2016.

From San Jose State University, De Anza College, Cal State University East Bay, and Santa Clara University, our volunteer organizing crew visited these campuses to learn more about the experiences and stories of local students.  

We asked young Pinays (ages 18-24) what social, cultural, and public issues concerned them. We asked what they felt faced the Filipin@ American community today.   As young women, we asked about their views on society, politics and culture, and furthermore, asked what type of infrastructure LEAD Filipino could offer, by way of strengthening their personal performance while also reinforcing the importance of a social [justice] lens. Following these interviews, we got straight to work

Each year since then, our Annual Fly Pinays organizing committee gathers to lead these purposeful focus groups and then make meaning from any trends, patterns, or resounding themes that result from these conversations.

Our guiding questions include asking what these responses mean? What could we suss out from the trends we saw? How might we develop a program (and future curriculum) that was both responsive and reflective to the needs of young Pinays in our community? That evening, we collectively defined how we envisioned a Fly Pinays Leadership Summit; an event organized and held in the South Bay, hoping to attract Pinay professionals to serve as Mentors, and furthermore, Pinay students from across the San Jose/Silicon Valley Area, to participate as Mentees. Our Organizing Team would lead outreach through social media, direct emailing, and by our personal networks to spread the word about our call for: “All Fly Pinays interested in Mentoring/Receiving A Professional Mentor”.  We would spread the word for 2 months and with the sign ups collected, would thoughtfully pair professionals and students, hence, Fly Pinay Mentors and Mentees. 

Core Team
11.14.16 — Hey, look at us! Our group of Fly Pinays Leadership Summit Organizers and Advisors at our first visioning and planning meeting. (Not pictured: Advisor Dr. Jen Briscoe and Organizer Angelo Monje)

Our Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit would intentionally take place in March.

The event would be themed around emboldening the pride and empowering the confidence of young Filipinas, that if they hadn’t already – could realize and actualize their potential. The Leadership Summit would take place during Women’s History Month and the girls would attend with a Fly Pinay Mentor.  The Mentors and Mentees would experience the Leadership Summit’s workshops, inspirational speakers, and activities.  The Leadership Summit would initiate the beginnings (of what we hope) of lifelong friendships bound by shared culture, vulnerable in experiences, and celebratory in Filipina pride. 

The problem we sought/seek to address?  The underrepresentation of Filipinas in executive, chief and senior leadership positions across all sectors. Our organizatinon’s action planA group of concerned volunteers and organizers vowing to create a pipeline pledged to Filipina success, cultural and personal pride, and visibility. Our collective response? Organizing a female empowerment program, dedicated to Pinays rising – and soaring – in their careers today. 

Our original goal was to have at least 25 Mentors and 50 Mentees registered and paired to participate in our March Leadership Summit.

Our actual number(s)? 38 Mentors and 72 Mentees, with students traveling from every college and university stretching as far South as Santa Cruz to as North as Sacramento – and everything in-between. We gathered Mentors from tech companies, public entities and nonprofit agencies, such as Google, Facebook, Genentech, SamTRANS, the City of San Jose, and Santa Clara County Public Health Department (to name only a few).

In other words: we KILLED it. We couldn’t believe how many sign ups we received and we were thrilled by the positive response to Fly Pinays!

We gradually saw how the community coalesced around the issue of Pinay empowerment and visibility, and the support from everyone involved, was both humbling and gratifying. The reception and anticipation from the public fueled and excited our work. 

In early February, our Fly Pinays Mentors and Mentees would be introduced through email and would have an opportunity to meet at our Mentor and Mentee Mixer at Facebook’s HQ (held 02.17.17), and if not there, would have ~3 weeks to connect in-person, ahead of the Leadership Summit. Many Mentors and Mentees would meet for lunch, coffee and a few Mentees even received tours of their Mentor’s workplace campuses!

02.17.17 – Our Fly Pinays Mentor and Mentee Mixer/Meet & Greet hosted at Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park by Filipinos @Facebook. We had 55 ladies and girls in the house that night!

After 5 months of planning, our inaugural 2017 Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit would be the culmination of our Organizing Team’s dedication, planning and vision. On Saturday, March 11th, we would host 100+ Fly Pinay Mentors and Mentees at a single-day conference, presenting cultural workshops, inspirational speakers and activities, bonding our Mentors and Mentees, and hopefully laying the foundation for long-lasting friendships.

03.11.17 – Daly City Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo delivered the Opening Keynote at our inaugural Fly Pinays Leadership Summit.

The beginnings of our Fly Pinays work represents the faith that our community holds in the value and importance of creating pipelines for female success. We can’t wait to continue building and developing this exciting work with all of you!


LEAD Filipino


Marissa Martinez
Program Director
2020 Annual Fly Pinays