From left, New York Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, Womensphere CEO Analisa Balares, Broadway performer Ali Ewoldt, CBS Correspondent Elaine Quijano with Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega.  (Photo by Boyet Loverita)

The Philippine Consulate General in New York honored outstanding Filipina-American achievers at its commemoration of International Women’s Month at the Philippine Center in New York on March 15, 2017.

The four honorees — Womensphere CEO Analisa Balares, Theater performer Ali Ewoldt, CBS Correspondent and CBSN Anchor Elaine Quijano, and New York Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer — shared their respective inspiring and moving professional and personal journeys with guests at the event.  

Each of the honorees, coming from different socioeconomic, educational and professional backgrounds, found common narrative threads in their being children of immigrants from the Philippines and being reared with distinctive Filipino values of hard work, sacrifice and perseverance.  

Ms. Balares, a scholar with humble roots from the Philippines, is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, UBS Global Visionary, a NASA Datanaut, and former financial analyst, spoke eloquently about her decision to leave the corporate world and focus on building communities that accelerate women and girls to create the future.  
Ms. Quijano, best-known for breaking media barriers by being the first Asian-American and the youngest media personality to moderate a national election debate when she served as moderator for the 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential debate, spoke about competing with oneself and never with others.  
For her part, Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer spoke of bringing lessons learned from her life experience to better serve the people of New York.

She had served previously as Head and CEO of the New York Economic Development Corporation and also as Chief of the NY Department of Small Business Services.

Aside from talking about the challenges for Filipino-Americans and Asian-Americans to break through in theater, Broadway performer Ali Ewoldt, the first Asian-American to play the iconic role of Christine Daee in “The Phantom of the Opera,” narrated how one should never give up even after successive disappointments.

Ms. Ewoldt also delighted the audience with a stirring rendition of “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.”



Audience members listen intently to the sharing of each of the honorees.  (Photo by Ryan Compendio)

Other highlights of the program included the presentation of a Proclamation for Women’s History Month to Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega by Ms. Nika Milburn, Assistant Director for Constituencies, Women, and African-American Affairs of the Office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  

Other special guests included the Honorable Patricia Cox, former Premier of Bermuda and Honorable Patrice Minors, former Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry of Bermuda.

In her remarks, de Vega thanked all the honorees for sharing their narratives, for giving voice to the struggles, challenges, and the ways women have faced all these squarely and positively.

She also called on Filipina-American women to play a more active role in various platforms and organizations to enable women shape their own history.

The audience had the opportunity to have an interactive session with the honorees with discussion questions ranging from professional challenges, growing up Filipino in the U.S., future goals, and urgent issues such as violence against women.

The 2017 Evening with Distinguished Women is part of the Philippine Consulate’s month-long commemoration of International Women’s Month.


Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega (left) with Ms. Nika Milbrun, Assistant Director for Constituencies, Women and African-American Affairs of the Office of the Governor of New York.  (Photo by Boyet Loverita)


From left, honored guests former Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry of Bermuda Patrice Minors; former Premier and Minister for Finance of Bermuda Patricia Cox; and Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega.  (Photo by Ryan Compendio)