From left, TFCU Program Host Romeo Marquez, Jr. asks the panelist Jhett Tolentino, Sarah Meier, Norman Dalager, Rich Tu their insights on visionary leadership.  (PCGNY photo)

Four young self-made Filipino-Americans spoke on their successful narratives at the East Coast launch of TFCU Talks, jointly hosted by the Philippine Consulate General in New York and The Filipino Channel (TFC) at the Philippine Center in New York on April 14, 2018.

Jhett Tolentino, three-time Tony Award and Grammy Award winning Broadway producer and Filipino-American Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) alumnus, retold his journey from growing up in the slums in Iloilo, seeking high school and college scholarships to sustain his studies, juggling multiple jobs to support his family, and being a multi-awarded producer in his field of passion.

He cited his self-determination and belief in his own skills that drove him to rise from poverty to be able to give back through his advocacies in education and performing arts.

She Talks Asia Founder Sarah Meier found that opportunities always just came to her without trying, early in her life — modeling, MTV VJ contract, even her position as the editor-at-large at Metro magazine, one of the leading lifestyle magazines in the Philippines.

She revealed that she would always be confronted with doubt, but she’d turned to her strengths and allow only positive encouragements to guide her life journey, which she wants to impart to the young audience.

Filipino-Swedish-American Norman Dalager advised the attendees to stay connected, which he has observed in his professional and personal life.

Since his early days as a journalist in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Bravo TV, and now as Executive Director in Bloomberg, he has remained in touch with his mentor whenever he found himself in a crossroads.

His strong family ties influenced him to explore more of his Filipino heritage.

He ran a supper club to celebrate his love for cooking and honor his Filipina mother with his adaptations of her recipes.

Rich Tu has been an artist at a young age.

He pursued his passion and completed his degree in Illustration and Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts’, which led him to land projects for Nike, Coca-cola, American Express, The New York Times, NPR, among others.

He encouraged the participants to keep themselves busy with their interests.

He shared that when he is not busy with his role as VP of Design at MTV, he still practices his skills, making sketches, and drawing studies for future designs.


The Kalayaan Hall saw a full capacity crowd during the launch of TFCU Talks at the Philippine Center in New York.  (PCGNY photo)

In her remarks, Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov expressed her gratitude in the partnership of TFC in the Consulate’s programs for the youth, beginning with the East Coast launch of TFCU Talks.

TFCU Talks serves as a follow up to the Leadership and Mentoring Seminar series held in New York, Connecticut, Boston and New Jersey three years ago.

Popov announced other programs for the youth for the quarter, namely the Philippine Graduation on June 9, and the Diskubre Tour in July.

Romeo Marquez, Program Manager of TFCU Talks, relayed that they aim to connect, inspire and empower millennials and young professionals by introducing them to successful industry leaders who share their stories and experiences to empower the next generation.

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