On the heels of Filipino American Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually in October in the US, four Filipino-Canadian trailblazers have joined the ranks of recipients for the prestigious “Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World” AwardTM from the Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network. The women were selected from an outstanding field of nominees from 10 countries this year, and have been extended individual invitations to the Gala Awards Ceremony at the 18th Filipina Leadership Global Summit on October 30 – November 2, 2022, in Lisbon, Portugal. A total of 13 Filipina-Canadian women have been recipients since the awards were founded in the United States in 2006, and went global in 2013.
After a year that had seen a shocking spike in Anti-Asian violence across Canada, news of the award winners speaks volumes to the incredible impact the Filipino community has had on several key industries.
- Rechie Valdez, a Member of Parliament for the riding of Mississauga—Streetsville, and the first Filipino woman elected as a Member of Parliament in Canada;
- Joycelyn David, CEO of AV Communications, a leading multicultural marketing agency and the only Filipina-owned firm of its kind in Canada;
- Anna Patrizio, a pharmacist, and Owner of Schomberg Village Pharmacy.
- Eileen de Villa, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto
“It’s an honour to receive this recognition knowing the instrumental role that Filipinos continue to play here in Canada,” said Valdez. “Massive shifts continue to take place globally since the pandemic, technology continues to expand our boundaries exponentially, and the world is evolving every day. But the one thing that has remained constant is the power of hope. My wish is that organizations like FWN and award ceremonies like this, will serve as an inspiration to generations of Filipinos, especially for women and youth. We must continue to dream big and imagine more of what is possible.”
De Villa, who has led Toronto Public Health since 2017, shared similar sentiments. She was raised in a household where the expectation was to give back to the community and she has carried this principle throughout her life and work. Her goals are to address social inequality and improve the health of the people of Toronto, one of the most diverse cities in the world. Her award is an important step in establishing a legacy for Filipino-Canadian women in medicine and public service. “It’s important that our youth see people who look like them shattering the ‘glass ceiling’ and taking leadership positions in order to positively impact our community,” she said.
By being more inclusive of multiculturalism, businesses can tap into new markets and better understand the needs of their customers. Additionally, a multicultural workforce brings with it a wealth of talent and perspectives that can drive innovation.A study by consulting firm McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
The Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are changing the face of leadership in the global workplace; women who have done outstanding work in their respective fields and are acknowledged for their contributions to society, femtorship, and legacy. Estimated at nearly one million Filipinos are the third largest ethnic group in Canada, with the majority of them residing in Ontario.