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Hall of Fame 2017

001Dr. Marjerie Badilla is back in practice after a brief retirement. She has over 30 years of experience in both the civilian & military services. While in the Armed Forces, she was the chief of Acute Minor Clinic OP of Fort Belvoir Army Hospital in Virginia. From there, she trained in Dermatology at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C.
She enhanced her knowledge and experiences in Aesthetic Dermatology by further studies and hands on training into the advanced wide variety of procedures and technologies. She became Board Certified in the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and followed by further hard work a fellowship surgical training in Autologous Adult Stem Cells Therapies and Fat Transfer. Although Human Stem cell technology is still being researched, it appears to be a promising, revolutionary procedures in skin aging & hair loss.
Her office with her experienced medical staff offers new affordable anti-aging products & procedures, skin laser treatments & non surgical facelifts. All injectable procedures are done personally by Dr. Badilla. She treats every patient with her great compassion for people and with a special V.I.P. status.
Her special interests in Aesthetic Medicine now include Acne Scar revision using CROSS Chemical Remodeling of Scarred Skin), followed by PRP with Microneedling; and Hair Loss therapy, using PRP alone and or PRP with Autologous Stem Cells.
Her innate artistic confidence blended with application of the latest revolutionary, technologies will deliver the finest and optimal results which will be a life changer.
Dr. Badilla delivers her prowess in the artistic and scientific spectra to achieve the natural look without surgery.

(NOMINATOR: Veronica Leighton, VT Publisher, CPRTV Exec Producer)

002Ravi Baichwal co-anchors the ABC 7 Weekend News at 5 and 10 p.m., Chicago’s number one weekend newscasts, alongside Karen Jordan. He also reports for ABC 7’s daily newscasts. Baichwal joined ABC 7 Chicago in November 2006.
Prior to arriving in Chicago, Baichwal was an integral part of CTV News, Canada’s number one news organization. He hosted CTV Newsnet Morning on the service’s all-news channel, and reported for CTV National News. He also served as a substitute network anchor and host.
During his tenure, Baichwal gained a national reputation for seamless coverage of live, breaking news. He covered the fast changing world of politics and served as host of two award-winning election night specials. Other historically significant stories he has covered include the terrorist attacks on the London Underground system, the discovery of former Iraq president Saddam Hussein by U.S. soldiers and the death of Pope John Paul II. Most recently in 2009, Baichwal received an Emmy Award for his work on ABC 7’s Asian Influences: Dream America, a half-hour special focusing on immigration reform, and how it affects Asian Americans and their dream to live in this country with their families.
Baichwal was also a frequent guest host on one of Canada’s top radio stations, a regular guest on the country’s most irreverent sports talk show, and often hosted Canada’s pre-eminent business news channel, Report on Business Television.
Prior to joining CTV’s national news division in 2002, Baichwal worked as an anchor and reporter for the network local station CTV Vancouver. He was a principal anchor of the station’s evening newscast.
Baichwal began his journalism career with the CBC, starting as a researcher in Calgary. He then became an associate producer, reporter and anchor with business programs on CBC Newsworld.
Baichwal believes in community service and volunteers with various charities dedicated to childhood welfare, AIDS and health issues. Baichwal is married to award-winning broadcaster Sonja Nordahl. They have two children.

Find on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.baichwal
Twitter: @RaviBaichwal
(Nominator: Veronica Leighton)

003Marie was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce major in Accounting. Marie has two sons, Kyle, 29, and Jimmy, 27. She is a serial entrepreneur who owns and operates several successful companies:.. Arista Development, Inc., one of Arizona’s premier Residential and Commercial builders, Arizona Discount Flooring, a flooring, cabinet, countertop and custom door wholesaler, with three stores in the Phoenix, Mesa, and Surprise, Arizona areas, and Altair Realty, a 17-year-old real estate company with 22 active real estate agents. She is also co-owner of Mr. Boba restaurant franchise.

Marie is also very active in the National and Arizona Community service arena. She is the President of the National Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC). She is also a Board of Director for the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), and Vice Region Chair for NaFFAA Region 11. In the Arizona scene, Marie is the 2nd Vice District Governor for Lions District MD 21C.

Other community positions held by Marie are:
– Filipino American Business Chamber of
Commerce of Arizona , President
– Phoenix Barangay Lions Club, President
(4th time in 20 years)
– Asian American Association of Arizona
(AAAA) Director at Large
– Council Board Member – Council of Filipino
Organizations of Arizona (CFO)
– Asian American Republican Coalition –
Board Member representing Filipinos
– Pageant Chair ( Miss, Mrs, Ms Teen, Little
Miss Philippines Arizona Pageant)

-Outstanding Asian American Citizen 2006
awarded by US Senator Kyle
-International President’s Award for
Outstanding Lion 2010
-Former beauty queen and model.

(Nominator: Ms. Cindy Flores, former CFAAHOF Woman of the Year)

004Janice is a passionate attorney dedicated to serving the Filipino community. She was born at Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City in the Philippines. Her family moved to Chicago when she was 2 years old and settled in the Northwest Side.
Janice attended the University of Chicago where she graduated with honors in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies.
Janice has a relentless work ethic. While working full-time at the City Colleges of Chicago, Janice attended DePaul University College of Law in the evenings. As a student at DePaul, she volunteered at the Special Education Advocacy clinic. She was also a board member for the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association at DePaul and served on the American Bar Association Law Student Division Board of Governors. In law school, she was recognized by the Consulate General of the Philippines for her DePaul Law Idol event, a karaoke contest that raised thousands of dollars for Typhoon Ondoy victims.
In her spare time, Janice is a wife and mother as well as an active member in a variety of organizations.
She currently serves on the Guerin Prep Alumni Board and the University of Chicago Alumni Association. She provides pro bono legal services to the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) and Wills for Heroes, an organization devoted to providing wills and power of attorney documents to first responders.
Janice is also an active member of a variety of bar associations: Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Chicago Bar Association (CBA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Asian American Bar Association (AABA), and the Filipino American Lawyer Association (FALA). (Nominator: Veronica Leighton)

005This lady whose community-consciousness and humanitarian heart is widespread in the Chicago Filipino American community of Chicago, is also known as a “beauty queen spotter,” as she is the person who knows one when she sees one. As a beauty queen herself during her younger days, she was voted “Miss UM (University of Manila) College of Law” as well as “Miss Basketball Team.” Beauty titles gained in her own province was as “Miss Tarlac” and “Miss Central Luzon.” When asked how she can inspire some ladies to join community’s beauty pageants, she says with a motherly smile, “I love to encourage the ladies to participate in our community events because these are humanitarian causes and I want them to be aware of helping the community. Also, I hope to see them lose some of their shyness and inhibitions, and gain self-confidence.”
People who give her due respect in the community, call her Tita, Manang, Ate or Madam Carlota. She is one lady who cannot say “No” when someone approaches her for help, particularly many community fundraisers around. Some of Carlota’s humanitarian support are: several churches in Chicagoland; the Philippine Independence Week Committee, the Lions Clubs, dance groups and several community/humanitarian fundraising events.
Born in Tarlac to a very prominent family, Carlota’s father, the late Mr. Eleazar Gruspe, was a Municipal Councilor. Nurtured in a political atmosphere, she enrolled in Law at the Manuel L. Quezon University, and transferred to the University of Manila in her sophomore year.
As a campus beauty at UM, she was voted “Miss UM College of Law” as well as “Miss Basketball Team.” Beauty titles gained in her own province was “Miss Tarlac” and “Miss Central Luzon”.
She worked at the Congress of the Philippines for Senator Jose Roy and Senator Cojuangco. She was groomed to run as Councilor in Tarlac that was cut short when her late husband, Dr. Antonio Domantay, took the whole family to Chicago where he practiced dentistry for many years.
Some of her community awards include: Outstanding Service award from Red Hot, Hall of Fame award by Fil-Am TV, Most Outstanding Senior from Philippine American Cultural Foundation, Juzz Danz Award, Outstanding Grandma from Pilipino American Social Service, PASS’s Golden Humanitarian Award, Golden Heart award from Chicago Philippine Lions Club, Mrs. Valentine’s from Joy Dance Club, Kalayaan’s Outstanding Service award, Outstanding Service from PIWC, Outstanding service as PRO of Chicago Filipino American Lions Club, and the list goes on.
Carlota and the late Dr. Tony Domantay are blessed with three loving children, namely: Antonio, Jr., married to Marion Mojica, parents of young Michael; Annabeth, married to Jesus Vargas, parents of two boys, Jacob and Joey, and one girl, Susana; and Roy, Dad to Arielle and Marissa.

(Nominator: Angie Francisco)

006A leader in her own right, Gemma was an active youth member in her community. She has led youth groups, university student councils and international youth organizations, such as the Rotaract International in her teens and early adult years. She believes in empowering people to action through active engagement and innovation.
Gemma has a well-rounded personality and has a great passion for the arts. She has directed stage shows in her college years and has directed and choreographed music videos as her way of motivating people into action at her workplace. She graduated college as a recipient of the Jose Maria Gepuela Scholarship Foundation. Being a scholar inspired her to keep on giving and making a difference. To this day, she continues to serve her hometown with philanthropic work through various scholarship programs.
She is currently the immediate past president and adviser of the Chicago Nightingales. CN is a 501 (C)(3) organization launched in February 2013- a voluntary, impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian organization with a mission to promote health and wellness in the community, and provide assistance to communities that are stricken with disasters or calamities locally, and in third world countries, primarily, the Philippines.
Gemma is connected with Presence Saint Mary and Saint Elizabeth Medical Center as the hospital’s Medical Stabilization Manager, House Manager and Performance Improvement Coordinator. As a registered nurse, Gemma is professionally trained and educated, both here in the US and the Philippines. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of San Agustin, Iloilo; completed the academic requirements for Master of Arts in Nursing from Central Philippine University, Iloilo; Master of Science in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis (Joliet, IL) in 2000; and Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix in 2012.
Despite her multiple roles in the organization, Gemma also leads the Pride Council at PSMEMC. The Pride Council is in charge of the hospital-wide associate engagement activities. The council under Gemma’s leadership has successfully launched initiatives unique to the organization, such as Walk the Block, Halloween Family Night, Employee Idol, and Multicultural Food Fair.
She was a recipient of the PNAA Leaders Scholarship Program, with her project proposal on “The Rice Project,” which was selected and presented at the PNAA National Convention held in Las Vegas, NV. In November, 2015, Gemma authored a performance improvement project that was submitted and selected by Press Ganey among hundreds of entries to be presented at the National Client Conference in Orlando, Florida. In 2016, Gemma and her team won the Press Ganey Success Story Award on their fall prevention initiative. She was invited at a national conference as a guest speaker for Press Ganey two years in a row.
Gemma is a dedicated mother and wife who strive to balance work and family at all times. It is a very challenging task but with the support and understanding of her family and friends, she is managing it just fine. A resident of Aurora, Illinois, she is married to Venu Kosanam, a software architect for AT&T. Gemma and Venu are blessed with one daughter who is a third-grader at Nancy Young Elementary School named Shyla. She is a native of Igbaras – a small town in the southern part of Iloilo. (Nominator: Ryan Tejero)

007Hardworking, driven and fearless are words that appropriately describe Richard Felicelda, who is a teacher by profession and a businessman at heart. It was his dream to become a teacher, and he pursued this dream by working his way through college with a scholarship from the Catholic Church, and earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Language Teaching in Southern Leyte State University. He worked passionately as a university teacher, teaching both undergraduate and graduate levels for more than a decade. He has also taught in various universities in the Philippines, as well as in Poland and China. Immigrating to the United States in 2008 offered different challenges in life for Richard. Not only was he compelled to start over professionally, it also meant working different jobs, as is often the narrative of most immigrants here in America, the Land of Promise. He started working in healthcare, as a Phlebotomist, a disparity from his beloved teaching profession. But Richard was fearless to start over. Driven to succeed whatever circumstances he was in, he worked hard and earned the confidence and trust of the company he worked for. He learned, and he learned fast. Leadership quality is innate to him, and he found himself given the task of managing his employer’s business.
Gifted with strong determination and faith, he started his own business, Star Lab, which he incorporated in 2011. It started as a Phlebotomy company and he worked hard as the phlebotomist, the manager, the office receptionist, the janitor, all in one. Through sheer hardwork, perseverance, determination and faith, he overcame the challenges of running a business. Richard expanded the operation of Star Lab in 2013 to become anindependent clinical laboratory company. StarLab offers phlebotomy services as well as diagnostic specimen testing. The number of services the laboratory offered has steadily grown since then. Under Richard’s management, StarLab grew from renting a 250 sq. ft. room to purchasing a 5,000 sq. ft. building in Franklin Park, Illinois. The facility now hosts an array of state-of-the-art medical equipment for clinical diagnostics.
Richard is a recipient of a Federal program called Emerging Leaders, a Small Busines Administration (SBA) initiative in Illinois. He is also nominated in this year’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, the most prestigious award given by Better Business Bureau (BBB) to a business.
Richard is married to Vermily Patelona, DPT graduate from Silliman University,Dumaguete, Philippines. They have two children named Kayleigh who is in 4th grade and Kassidy who has just turned two this year. Man of the Year Richard Felicelda has always believed that change is inevitable and that growth is not only necessary, it is a must…This is his personal and business credo that guides him in the pursuit of his dreams.
(Nominator: Melody Dizon, VT Columnist & CPRTV Host)

008Certain individuals unwittingly generate a brand for themselves simply by being true to their form. The Friases, Lain and Nell, are no exception. Their quiet and serene demeanor which gave them the natural ability to handle difficult customers and stressful situations (coping with deadlines being almost always a common trigger), earned them some great descriptive adjectives as gentle, composed and cool. Indeed, no couple deserves them more than Lain and Nell.
As owners of a printing company, Creative Impressions Plus, Lain and Nell are deeply entrenched in many Filipino organizations and are quite adept to the nuances of their business. In fact, their great attitude and personality are a perfect fit for a trade that is almost completely reliant on its community. Their service, though, far exceeds their business interests doing not for profit organizations’ souvenir programs and other printing needs for much less money than they would have charged other businesses and doing so with pleasure. Short of ‘giving away the store,’ Lain and Nell donate their time, money and effort to organizations, groups and programs whose missions and visions are closest to their hearts. As practicing Catholics, Lain and Nell’s volunteer work is first and foremost, faith-related. They religiously perform their Sunday duties at St. Isidore Catholic Church as Eucharistic Ministers with Nell additionally serving as lector. Both Lain and Nell are members of St. Isidore’s Filipino Community Simbang Gabi committee where Nell also serves as Vice Chairman.
Lain and Nell also donate their time and resources to various Filipino American organizations that host social events to raise funds for specific charitable causes. Lain and Nell have received the following awards: One of the Most Outstanding Couple from PACF, Hall of Fame Award in Business from the Fil-Am TV Show, and the Lingkod Kapwa Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Gintong Pamana Awards Foundation.
Lain holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts, major in Advertising from Far Eastern University. He worked at AdMasters and Speechpower in the Philippines. Nell on the other hand, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from St. Louis University in Baguio. After her graduation, while spending summer in Quezon City, Nell got reunited with her childhood friend Lain and the two got married shortly thereafter. Nell started as Math, Chemistry and English teacher before enrolling in computer classes at the Ateneo University. Soon she found herself teaching the same computer classes at the recommendation of her professors. She continued to teach at the university till it was time for her and her entire family to migrate to the United States. Here, Nell continued to be an educator, teaching Math, English and computer classes to nurses at the Northwestern Institute of Health & Technology. She co-owns and operates together with her husband, their printing business, Creative Impressions Plus.
Lain and Nell are blessed with 4 children, viz: Joseph, a High Performance Technology graduate from Northwestern University in Ohio, who now owns Creative Imprints Plus and co-owns Larlin, a nursing school. Joseph also works as service engineer with Sysmex; Rainel, a multi-awarded Army veteran graduated summa cum laude from Northern Illinois University with a major in Kineseology. He now works as IT with a private company and is married to Vanessa who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Benedictine University. She works in Quality Assurance at a Home Health Agency. Lorajoy and Sara are both majoring in Criminal Justice at the College of DuPage with the objective of serving in the police force. Lorenz, the youngest, served in the U.S. Navy. He now lives in Virginia and is working towards a degree in Physical Therapy while at the same time working at the YMCA as instructor; his girlfriend, Ashlee graduated cum laude with a BS Psychology degree from the Southern Illinois University and works as audiology specialist at an ENT clinic. Lain and Nell have 2 grandchildren: Caleb from Lorajoy and Sara and their sweet little bundle of joy, Landon, son of Rainel and Vanessa.
“Our family is a circle of strength and love; founded on faith; joined in love; kept by God; forever together” –

– by Yoly Tubalinal of Gintong Pamana Foundation

Nominator: Angie Franciso

009Chicago-based artist, Louis De Guzman, creates artwork that merges his past with his present. Using mixed media (black pens, pencils, a tablet and adobe illustrator), De Guzman blends together images and stories that evoke his family’s immigrant struggle, and his own experience as a second generation Filipino American. He is inspired by the art of the Baroque and Renaissance periods, and also takes inspiration from silk scarves from high end fashion brands like Chanel and Versace. He describes his work as “intricate conceptualization,” intertwining modern (sometimes iconic) symbols with those that embody the heart and resiliency of the Filipino people and his experiences as a child.
De Guzman’s work has been showcased throughout the Chicagoland area. His pieces have been auctioned off for charity by nonprofits such as Rashied Davis’ Saturday Place, and the Brandon Marshall Foundation. He had his first solo art exhibition at “Much To Do About Nothing,” an event presented by The Annex. His work has also been featured in the Art and Design sections of Complex.com, Suspend Magazine and SLAM Magazine Philippines. De Guzman continues to engage and give back to the community of Chicago by participating in programs to assist in driving positive outreach towards the city’s youth and for next generation of great creative thinkers.

(Nominator: Elaine Lehman, FACC Executive Director)

010Dr. Ben Inventor began his nursing career in the Philippines. After graduating from West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, he taught nursing students as clinical instructor. He continued his professional experience in the U.S. in a variety of settings including home health, long-term care and acute care. After obtaining a Master of Science in active clinical practice consulting with older adults in nursing homes.
He specializes in mental health and in management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. He received his PhD in Nursing Science from Rush University, Chicago, IL where he examined the impact of activities, social environment and psychotropic medications on neuropsychiatric symptoms of nursing home residents with dementia. Recognizing that poor management of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as agitation, aggression, anxiety and depression can have catastrophic consequences such as premature hospitalization, inappropriate use of psychotropic medications and use of physical restraints, he plans to develop a program of research that focuses on effective management of these symptoms, appropriate use of psychotropic medications and caregiver skill building to provide person-centered dementia care. He recently received training on clinical application of genetics from the National Institutes of Health and Nursing Research. He began to incorporate pharmacogenomic testing to optimize therapeutic response and increase safety of medications among older adults with depression and is now building a program of research in this emerging field of science. He has published and presented clinical papers nationally and internationally in the areas of older adults, dementia and caregiving.
Dr. Inventor is currently an assistant professor at Rush University, College of Nursing, where he teaches students in the Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. He is privileged to have a positive impact in healthcare through clinical practice, research and education.

(Nominator: Richie Gil, CFAA Hall of Famer in Entertainment 2016)

011The name MAR LAPENA, a Haute Couture whose creative designs can transform “a hidden beauty” into a “Cinderella” is a byword among Filipino Americans in Chicagoland, not only among fashion aficionados but among folks involved in community fundraising activities to send help back home. Mar has always been a part of this community service. His artistic versatility includes his comedic staunch, like impersonating Hollywood singing Devas. Mar, perhaps, is the first Filipino haute couture to have done a live Fashion Show and interview, on a mainstream television in Chicago, at WLSTV Channel 7. His fashion designs were featured live last June 2014 and June 2017, featuring Filipiniana vintage ternos and sayas and modern gowns, modeled by the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) beauty queens. (The television segment is a personal annual Community Service of this writer, Elsie Sy-Niebar, to share a segment of our Philippine culture to the mainstream, as we celebrate Philippine Independence Day.)
Born in Manila, Philippines, Mar is the son of the late Mr. Mario P. Lapena, a school teacher, and the late Mrs. Erlinda Santos Lapena, a well-known Dressmaker, whose clients included fashion-conscious ladies in her time. “I have inherited my Mother’s fashion touch,” says Mar with nostalgia. As a youngster, instead of playing games just like young people do, I helped her create fashion designs which she appreciated so much,” says Mars. Mar studied at the Araneta University to become a high school teacher (B.S.E.), but he pursued his love in fashion designing instead. He went to Slim’s Fashion School and Madonna Fashion Design, two prestigious fashion schools in Manila then. Later, he put up his own Dress Fashion Shoppe.
In 1985, Mar got a contract to work in Saudi Arabia as a Managing Couturier of a famous Fashion Couture. For 15 years, Mar’s clientele included Saudi Arabian Royalties, Princesses and Diplomats. “The most common work in fashion designs in Saudi Arabia is meticulous and detailed beadwork, specialized by Filipinos. So, I was able to sponsor some Kababayans (country men/women) to work with me in Saudi. I felt so blessed helping others. Very true. Charity is always in Mar’s heart. Until today, he supports many relatives in the Philippines, including some charitable institutions there.
“My greatest joy is seeing my fashion clients very happy with my work. But deep down in my heart, my mission is not only to make them look beautiful as seen by the naked eye, but to bring out their beauty from their heart and soul,” he added.
“I feel so proud and happy when Ms. Veronica Leighton, Founder and Executive Producer of the CHICAGO FILIPINO ASIAN AMERICAN HALL OF FAME, informed me I qualified for this prestigious HOF award. Through this write up, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all my friends, especially Chaz Patron, who not only nominated me but coordinated all the requirements for me; to my dinner guests and advertisers, for their invaluable support. You are all so precious. I value your Friendship. May God continue to bless you always. I love you all! Enjoy the HOF evening.”
(By Elsie Sy-Niebar)

(Nominator: Chaz Patron, past Hall of Famer in Excellence in Entertainment 2015)

012Patricia Leonardo was born on August 26th 1997 in Manila, Philippines and raised in Carmel, Indiana. She is the oldest daughter of Robert and Angel Leonardo along with her two younger brothers, Paul and Marco. She currently attends Indiana University Bloomington and is studying biochemistry. At the young age of 18, Patricia began her soon-to-be empire in the makeup industry. With the love and guidance of her entrepreneur parents, and the collaboration and inspiration of her godmother/mentor, Nena Mondonedo, “Patricia Collection by NENA Cosmetics” was created. Being raised by a family with a background in business, she already had that entrepreneurial mindset planted in her head. She was inspired by the many young people who started their own business specifically Kylie Jenner who is the same age as her and launched her own cosmetic business. Patricia truly believes that success has no boundaries, so don’t limit yourself and with that she was motivated to create something the average 18-year-old couldn’t.
In 2015, Patricia graduated from Guerin Catholic High School where she received her Core 40 with Academic Honors Diploma. In high school, she participated on the Women’s Varsity Golf team where she found her life-long hobby. As a young entrepreneur and college student, Patricia is always willing to be better and always willing to learn. She attended Landmark Forum for Teens which focused on personal development. She was also a part of a Toastmaster’s group that she attended weekly over the summer to help her become comfortable with public speaking. Patricia is currently involved in the Greek community at IU as an active member of the sorority, Sigma Kappa. Within her sorority, she is part of the public relations committee. To get in touch with her roots, Patricia is a member of the Filipino American Association at IU and has connected with many people who she now considers family. Apart from academics and school activities she has a love for traveling, any chance she gets she will fly half way across the world to learn and expose herself to other cultures and environments. Although she is a science major, Patricia is also taking extra business classes at the prestigious Kelley School of Business. In the rapidly evolving world of marketing, Patricia likes to stay up to date and appeal to her age and target market. Social media marketing is her main strategy to promote the Patricia Collection by NENA. Patricia personally handles all the shipping and handling of the products and continues to promote the products by keeping up to date on social media. She is connected on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Tumblr. Her goal is to expand her brand internationally as well as expand her product line. Recently, the Patricia Collection by NENA was made available to customers in the Philippines through the popular online site, ZALORA. Patricia is very excited for the future of her business as it continues to expand.
While dipping her toes in the business world is giving her some valuable real-world experience, a career in business isn’t the end goal for her. She plans to attend optometry school after finishing up her undergraduate degree in biochemistry. But she still has two more years left at IU, which she hopes to spend getting to know as many people as she can and creating life-long connections. Being involved in her sorority and the Filipino American Association helps her achieve that goal. She wants to inspire her peers to realize that it’s never too early to pursue your passion and dreams of being a business owner.
(Nominator: Nena Mondonedo Perez, former CFAA Hall of Famer)

013Rose is the Chief Operations Officer for Asian American Community Exchange (AACE), a market research company focused on helping organizations penetrate the Asian American market. She brings over 20 years of work experience in a variety of industries. Rose is also the current President of NAAAP-Chicago, a leadership organization focused on helping Asian American Professionals become better leaders.
Rose is passionate and actively involved in the Asian American community. She is the longest running President for the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) and was the first woman elected as Board Chair to the National Board in 2013. During her tenure as Chicago Chapter President, Rose established Asian American Group Leaders, a peer program that has brought together over 40 Asian Employee/Business Resource Groups as well as established a Women in Leadership Program now recognized as a national program within NAAAP. She has also served as Chairwoman to the Chicago Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and was recognized for her contributions to the Asian Community by the National Federation of Filipino American Association’s Circle of Empowered Women in the Midwest.

Contact: rose@aacexchange.com / (773) 236-2227

Nominator: Jovie Calma

014Dr. Maria Lourdes Geraldine Banaad-Omiotek is a Family Practitioner and has been practicing in the Chicago area since 2004. She was born in Quezon City, Philippines to Minera B. Dichoso, a piano teacher and Juanito S. Banaad, an engineer. The older of two children, she went to school at St. Paul Pasig and graduated high school from St. Paul Quezon City. She then majored in Biology at Ateneo de Manila University and completed her medical studies at University of the East (UERM). She continued with her post graduate internship at Cardinal Santos Medical Center and completed a residency in Internal Medicine in the same institution and served as chief resident in her final year. She is currently board certified in Internal Medicine in the Philippines. She practiced briefly in the Philippines before she decided to pursue further training in the US.
Upon coming to Chicago, Dr. Omiotek worked as a research assistant at RUSH University Department of Hepatology for over a year. She then proceeded to complete a Family Medicine residency at Swedish Covenant Hospital, finishing as chief resident and resident of the year in 2004. She then joined a private practice and has been still the same group for fourteen years. She is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
She is currently working as one of two busy primary care physicians at Family Doctors/Family Healthcare, based in Chicago and affiliated with Swedish Covenant Hospital.
Dr. Omiotek has been happily married for 17 years to Chester Omiotek, a computer programmer, and has two sons, 12- year-old Nicholas and 10-year-old Alexander. As a family, they love to travel and see and experience new things and cultures. As St. Augustine said, ” The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. ”
Outside doctoring, Gina, as she is known to family and friends, spends whatever free time she has training in Seido Karate and currently holds a first-degree black belt. She considers training as very helpful in keeping both physical and mental fitness. It helps calm the nerves and nurtures the soul. It definitely relieves a lot of stress and anxiety. Karate is also an activity she shares with her two sons who also both hold black belts of their own.
Gina is also part of Ateneans USA which is an alumni organization of Ateneo graduates in the US that is active with financing scholars in the Philippines to help them benefit from a Jesuit education. She is forever grateful to the Jesuit education she received during her pre-med years and considers it a guiding light in her career as a physician.

(Nominator: Dr. Rodrigo Farrales, Founder of Ateneans USA)

015Rita Gomez Sanders is currently the Mayor for the City of Bellevue, Nebraska – home of Offutt Air Force Base. Elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Rita was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, her father of Filipino descent and her mother of German descent. As a teenager, Rita moved to Germany for 5 years, then to Livermore California. In 1983, Rita moved to Bellevue Nebraska where she started a family (2 boys now ages 33 and 34). Rita and her husband are commercial real-estate developers and their current project is a Senior Living Retirement Campus in the heart of Bellevue.
Rita’s education interest is in Global Studies and she continues to make education part of her lifestyle. She continues to take classes at Bellevue University. “It is as a way to keep in touch with the next generation, their thoughts, desires, passion and how they see life. Rita’s involvement in her community has been very active. She lives by the motto “if you’re going to complain, be part of the solution”.
She is a past president and Founder of the Bellevue Garden Club and The Braided River Quilters. Past Chairman of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, member of the Offutt Advisory Council, graduate of the Bellevue Police Citizen’s Academy, past president of the Bellevue Senior Citizen Center, Former Nebraska Commissioner on the Status of Women, Member of the 57th National Security Forum- Air University, current Commissioner of the Nebraska Crime Commission, and the Nebraska Commission on Military and Veterans affairs.
She is currently Chairman of the Metro Area Planning Agency for the Omaha metro area and a Nebraska Diplomat. In 1994 Rita won the AKSARBEN Good Neighbor Citation. In 2005 Rita won the Bellevue Ambassador of the Year Award, 2009 the Omaha World Herald Worthy Women of Distinction, The Bellevue Mayor’s Jewel of Bellevue Award for the Bellevue Garden Club 2007. In 2005 Rita, along with her husband Rick, were awarded the Status of Offutt AFB Wingman. In 2005 they received the Small Business of Excellence Award. The Silver Arrow Award in 2007 and last year they were inducted in the Business Hall of Fame.
Rita fully appreciates and understands the importance of the 1.3-Billion-dollar economic impact Offutt AFB has on our community, but more importantly she appreciates all the men and women who serve our country and the sacrifices they make. She has participated in lobbying the Federal Delegation to support the Levees and the Runway Improvements and traveled to Washington DC numerous times to support potential new missions to Offutt AFB. 2016 she received the Governor’s Outstanding Nebraska Community of the Year Award.
After all of these efforts, Mayor Sanders still finds time to stay involved in many clubs and organizations that help promote the betterment of Bellevue and the surrounding communities. You might also catch her enjoying her favorite hobbies of running and rock climbing and she enjoys traveling to participate in a variety of races.

(Nominator: Consul General Generoso Calonge)

016The love of music has a way of gluing people together. Since 1990, most of us were members of The Lofradez Chorale. After this group disbanded, a small group of friends continued to sing even without a director. At the death anniversary of Ines Millare in 1994, the Silayan Singers were born.
Susing Flores, Didi Saguin-Becker, Cindy Sunga, Alice Parenas were among those who accompanied the group at various functions in the Filipino communities: Laguna Association, St. Paul College Alumni Association of the Midwest & the De Ocampo Nursing Alumni Association. We also started venturing out to sing at religious occasions: Easter Mass at the University of Chicago, Simbang Gabi at several churches including St. John Brebeuf in Niles, St. Hubert’s at Hoffman Estates, St. Margaret Mary’s. St. Gregory’s and St. Matthias’ in Chicago, as well at weddings, funerals, wakes and Nursing Homes.
In 1997, we forged a union with Ed Dimangondayao who provided excellent musical leadership, inspiring the Silayan Singers to pursue greater heights in musical performance. In 1998, this journey led to Navy Pier- the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence, where we blended our voices with many others to pay tribute to those who birthed our nation. This experience spurred us on to pursue the recording of our maiden album, “Silayan”, and its launching at our first concert in 2000. This was an expression of who we are, what we’ve been through and what we will continue to aspire for. It represented many years of friendship.
In conjunction with Nila Dimangondayao as our movement director and conductor, through hard work and tremendous commitment, yearly concerts ensued and subsequent recordings followed: “Salamat Musika”, ”Love in all of its Splendor” and “A Moment in Time to Love”, each year providing the needed assistance to the deprived and less fortunate.
In 2002, Silayan Association in Illinois had become a non-profit organization (501(c)3), promoting music as a universal language giving praise and glory to God and using our gifts and talents to raise community awareness and charity.
Through World Vision, we supported Project Pangkaunlarn and sponsored a Filipino child’s health, education and well being. Through ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Foundation, we supported GAWAD KALINGA in the creation of safe communities by providing housing, education and the basic necessities for the homeless. Through Food for the Poor, Inc., we helped ease the hunger problems in the US.
Past charitable endeavors also included raising funds for St. Matthias Catholic Church in Chicago and New Hope Baptist Church in Alsip, Illinois. We sent medical equipment and supplies to the Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Among the projects we co-sponsored was the medical-dental mission in different Barangas in Dumaguete where not only medical attention was given but also food. We had served as a fiscal agent for the St Paul University Dumaguete Alumni Association of North America’s fundraising for community projects benefiting the poor in Dumaguete.
We performed at the 100-yr Anniversary of the Rotary International Convention in Chicago and along with other pastoral musicians, we participated at the 28th Annual Convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians at St. Michael’s Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In partnership with the Village of Morton Grove, we conducted a Community Health Fair in Morton Grove. To this date, we continue to provide music at the Christmas Eve mass at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home in Chicago. Through the years, other beneficiaries included the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (2x) towards the construction of a school for the poor in the slums of Fairview, Quezon City Philippines; for the abandoned and neglected at the Hospicio de San Jose Orphanage (2x) in Manila, Philippines; for victims of intense flooding in the Philippines, and the mudslide in Guinsaugon, Southern Leyte, Philippines; the Good News Hospital in Banaue, Philippines, a non-government organization offering medical/surgical services to the underprivileged in its vicinity; and the Bagong Pag-aalaga Child Center, Barcelona Evangelical Church, in Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines.
What started as a semblance of an impossible dream has now become a reality. And we do not intend to stop here. We plan to extend the borders of our musical endeavors to embrace others willing to dream and work with us. From this moment on… with Luis Galvez as our musical director, we aspire to reach greater heights of musical expression as the language of the soul, through song and dance. It is our intention to spread hope, love, peace and joy to all.
Silayan… our story, We will continue to tell it and we will continue to live it. Hopefully, there will be others who will pick up the story and tell it and live it…and tell it and live it…and tell it and live it…

(Nominator: Lou Maningas Cabalona)

017Born and raised in the southern part of Philippines, Ms. Olivia S. Trinquand is a SINGING special education teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication at the Holy Cross of Davao College; a degree in Bachelor of Elementary Education at the Holy Child Colleges, and a Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Southeastern Philippines. She taught preschool & elementary at the beginning of her teaching career and later became a college professor at the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku, a Japanese international school. She was a resource person of many seminar-workshops in different colleges and non-profit organizations and helped organize developmental games for special needs children between 2005 – 2013. She migrated in the US in 2014 and is now married to Cesar A. Agustin, a veterinarian by profession and a Kangen Hydrogen Water global distributor. Olivia also works with her husband to grow their Kangen business, and she dedicates her time to saving people in the truest meaning of the water value.
Olivia’s love for music started at a very young age, she became a national winner in singing at a national noon-time show, LUNCHDATE, at the age of 15. She bloomed and became a recording artist of Quantum Music Corporation, Philippines. She has performed in several five-star hotel lounges and events, and hosted entertainment venues in U.S. and in different Asian countries. Hotel Sofitel Shanghai, Shang-rila Golden Flower Xian, Sheraton Hotel Xian, Peoples Republic of China were included in the list of her gigs.
Olivia simply loves diversity. She was also Radio Co-Host for UM Broadcasting Network in Davao and became an owner-manager of Galleon Restaurant.
Recently, Olivia was the only official guest singer of Mr. Nick Vera Perez, a Warner Music Philippines rising artist, during his Philippine album tour “I Am Ready.” She opened almost all of his major shows. “Ms. Olivia ST,” as commonly known to all, belts when needed and can whisper on command during performances, a delight for all the audience to see, regardless of race, age, and sex. A true entertainer in her blood, Ms. Olivia ST, is a talent to watch!
Ms. Olivia loves to make people happy, laugh to almost all situations and cares for all her circles. Holding a Twister position under Chicago One World Centennial Lions Club, Ms. Olivia ST remains humble to her roots, to her family, fans and friends worldwide. Ms. Olivia Trinquand is very much honored to receive Excellence in Entertainment 2017, Chicago Filipino-Asian American Hall of Fame Awards!

(Nominator: Nick Vera Perez, 2013 Hall of Famer, Excellence in Entertainment)

018Larry Ventresca is a financial consultant, author, and adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. He is responsible for developing a personal approach to managing wealth. Larry states wealth management is more than just investment advice. Wealth management encompasses all parts of a person’s financial life cycle.
Larry Ventresca attained Million Dollar Round Table status in 2008 and was fortunate enough to be awarded with the Who’s Who of American Business People. In addition to managing his client’s portfolios with his company VFG Group, Inc., Larry travels on the weekends to our nation’s capital in order to continue the “Jesuit” ideals and training at Georgetown University where he himself earned an MBA in Finance. The courses Larry teaches are in portfolio management, entrepreneurship, financial analysis, business and management.
Larry has been a professor for over 18 years, including his tenure as faculty at Triton College in River Grove, Il. Throughout his tenure at Triton College he developed the Financial Service Certificate Program.
This program encompassed financial strategies, incubating new business models, and building out financial planning platforms for students.
Embracing the core values of integrity, and fiduciary responsibility, Larry achieved the coveted Client Acquisition Leader Award multiple years with over 100 new clients annually.
Included in his many satisfied clients is the Ateneans College Funding Portfolio for the purpose of sending deserving young people to the University in Ateneo colleges in the Philippines. He was invited and spoke on the importance of financial planning at the 12th Annual Ateneo Alumni Convention.
Larry has earned many awards and designations in his fields of expertise, including authoring “Call Up Put Down” a beginner’s guide to investing, which can be purchased as an e-book on all the major online distributors.
He currently resides in Norridge, Il and has his son and father working at his firm. Three generations of knowledge and experience.

(Nominator: Dr. Rodrigo Farrales)

019Michael Encarnacion Vianzon was born in Quezon City, Philippines and studied elementary school in Brunei Darussalam. Michael immigrated to the United States with his father, Henry; mother, Rosario; and sister, Frances Anne. He grew up in the small town of Lockport, IL and received his bachelor in engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.
Michael is a principal project manager at the local electrical utility Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon company. He manages and executes large capital projects in transmission and substation areas. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Illinois and California. Michael is a certified project management professional with over 12 years in heavy industry project management.
Michael is the executive board secretary for the Asian American Resource Group at ComEd / Exelon. This resource group strives to support the diversity and inclusive goals of the company by being a supporting organization for employees and by planning signature and networking events, recently at the Field Museum and Zhou Brothers Art museum.
group strives to support the diversity and nclusive goals of the company by being a supntly at the Field Museum and Zhou Brothporting organization for employees and by planning signature and networking events, receers Art museum.
Michael also plans volunteer events, lunch and learns, and Taste of Asia events throughout the year to showcase and be as impactful as he can be as a leader for diversity and inclusion in the work place.
Michael enjoys his time traveling the world with his wife Melanie and their two children Alex and Nicholas. Their travels have landed them in Taiwan, China, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, Martinique, and many more. Michael looks forward to watching his kids grow up and to continue traveling with them enjoying everything and everywhere life leads them.

(Nominator: Josey Nieto, CFAA Hall of Famer, Excellence in Engineering 2016)

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