PH diplomats honor 4 Fil-Am women achievers on IWD | Global News

PH diplomats honor 4 Fil-Am women achievers on IWD

/ 11:50 PM March 27, 2015


Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. of the Philippine Consulate General New York and Charge d’Affaires Susan Natividad of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations (second from right) honored The Distinguished Filipino Women 2015: Judge Lorna Schofield (second from left), Nicole Ponseca (third from left) and Dr. Connie Uy (fourth from right). Present during the occasion were Mrs. Eleanor de Leon (left) Ambassador Rosario Manalo (fourth from left) and Deputy Consul General Kira Danganan-Azucena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

NEW YORK CITY – The Philippine Consulate here and the Philippine Mission to the UN, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, honored four notable Filipino women whose personal and professional successes have increased the visibility of Filipino American in the US mainstream.

The “Distinguished Filipino Women in New York 2015” ceremony was held on 18 March 2015 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in New York


The four honorees were Venessa Manzano, who established the Filipino School of New York and New Jersey; Nicole Ponseca, whose restaurants, Maharlika and Jeepney, helped place Filipino food in New York’s mainstream culinary scene; Judge Lorna Schofield, District Judge for the Southern District of New York and the first Filipino American to serve as an Article III Federal Judge; and Dr. Connie Uy, a professor of pediatrics, vice chair of clinical affairs and director of pediatric nephrology at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.


“We seek women who continue to honor the Filipino heritage by giving back to the community by way of their talent, treasure or time,” Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. said of the occasion.

Ambassador Rosario G. Manalo, herself a distinguished Filipino diplomat, shared her own personal experience during her years with the Philippine foreign service and the milestones that the Philippine government has achieved in promoting the rights of women and closing the gender gap. Ambassador Manalo was in New York as member of the Philippine delegation to the 58th Session of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women.

Restaurateur Ponseca explained how the lack of presentable Filipino restaurants in New York City motivated her to get into the business despite the overwhelming odds in finding success in the restaurant industry.

She recalled the many obstacles that she faced along the way, the determination in surmounting these odds, and how her love of Filipino food–which she used to be ashamed of in grade school – that was nurtured by her father sustained her until her efforts were rewarded with success.

Ponseca has been ranked #6 in Zagat’s 204 Restaurant Power Player list, and has been invited by President Barack Obama to the White House to represent young leaders in the Filipino American community.

Judge Schofield recalled how her mother, a native of Batangas who immigrated to the United States after marrying an American, made sure to expose her to many opportunities, which enabled her to discover that she wanted to be a lawyer. She disclosed that she learned to embrace her Filipino heritage and identity only when she was appointed district judge.


After receiving the support of the Filipino-American community for her appointment, she vowed to use her position to advance the cause and interest of Filipino Americans who wish to make their mark in mainstream US society. Her appointment as district judge was eventually confirmed by a unanimous US Senate vote.

Dr. Connie Uy gave some practical tips on how to achieve balance in one’s personal and professional life, a topic she has much experience in as she juggles multiple roles as a parent, teacher, acting school dean, practicing physician and fellow in pediatric nephrology at the New Jersey Medical School.

Never bring home office work was among her tips. She also advised depending on one’s family and friends to help out in times of need. Uy was the first Filipino to serve as president of the Nephrology Society of New Jersey. She has also assumed many leadership roles in the Filipino American community, including founding of the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society of America New York/New Jersey. She was the Philippine honoree to the International Women Celebration organized by the Society of Foreign Consuls last March 8, during which 18 women from other countries were honored.

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The Philippine Consulate’s stated that it intends to make the Distinguished Filipino Women event an annual program to mark International Women’s Day, to honor Filipino women whose visibility in the US mainstream has served to inspire Filipino Americans to look beyond the confines of the Filipino community in making their mark.

TAGS: International Women’s Day, Judge Lorna Schofield, Philippine Consulate New York, Philippine Mission to the UN

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