FWN - Filipina Women's Network


The Filipina Women's Network (FWN) is a San Francisco based 501 (c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan international advocacy organization that seeks to increase the power and influence of Filipina women as leaders and policymakers at all levels in corporate, government, institutions and community organizations to achieve economic and social justice and women’s rights.
FWN provides the content, credibility and a worldwide network of Filipina women professionals to support the success of Filipina women in their businesses and careers. Currently in 28 countries.

FWN convenes programs and activities that enhance public perceptions of Filipina women's capacities to lead and to build the Filipina community's pipeline of qualified leaders, to increase the odds that some Filipina women will rise to the president position in the private and public sectors worldwide. 
FWN provides Filipina women with opportunities to share practical career and business experiences. This focus on actual career and business experiences, rather than theory, from practitioners, corporate managers, entrepreneurs, elected/appointed officials, nonprofit and community leaders, along with peer networking, are the distinguishing features of FWN meetings.

The idea of a Filipina Women's Network started with a lunch hosted by Cora Manase Tellez at the San Francisco City Club in 1996. Cora wanted to gather Filipina women in management positions for a support network of Filipina management rising stars. At that time Cora was herself a rising executive in the healthcare industry. 
Cora was Vice President and Regional Manager, Hawaii Region for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, culminating in Cora breaking the *glass ceiling* when she became the President and CEO of Health Net (NYSE:HNT) in 1998. She had P&L responsibility for health plan operations in California, Oregon, Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania serving 3.6 million members with revenues of $8 billion. Cora Manase Tellez became the first Filipina to break through the Fortune 500 "glass ceiling" in 1998.

*The “glass ceiling” refers to the barriers that confront women and minorities in reaching the upper echelons of corporate America. Because glass is clear, women and minorities might not, at first, even notice that a barrier is in place which separates them from higher levels. If they try to pass through, they will quickly learn that the ceiling prevents any such rise.

Virna S. Tintiangco, then a new college graduate, continued the group's networking "to provide a unique space for Filipina women to discuss concerns and issues related to their personal and professional lives". She operated under an informal structure with volunteers chairing ad hoc planning committees for each meeting.  They met occasionally for either lunch or dinner with invited guest speakers covering topics such as growing up Filipina in the 90s, work/life balance, spirituality, mother/daughter relationships, career development, peer mentoring, and a visit to the Asian Art Museum to view the Filipino art exhibit in celebration of the upcoming centennial of the Filipino migration to the United States.