Nancy Harrington: Education, delivered.

Nancy Stowe Harrington’s philanthropy started at a very early age.  As a  child, she sold lemonade by the roadside to raise the funds to afford flowers to bring as gifts when she would visit old folks’ homes where she sang to the tenants. When she at a taught school for children in poverty in California, Nancy would spend her weekends escorting severely wounded teenage Vietnam War veterans around Fisherman’s Wharf. Years later, Nancy and her husband, Dan Harrington, would build a charitable organization, Books for the Barrios that would bring education to the farthest corners of the world, devastated by war and conflict. Together, they would bring literacy, hope, and peace, by way of books.

Nancy, greeted with a hero's welcome by schoolchildren in a Philippine public elementary school.
Nancy, greeted with a hero’s welcome by schoolchildren in a Philippine public elementary school.

All roads lead back to the Philippines. In 1981, upon becoming a U.S. Department of Defense schoolteacher at Subic Bay Naval Base, Nancy volunteered to create and lead an effort to reform and modernization of the Philippine Department of Education. She then traveled to devastated conflict areas throughout the remote, storm-tossed and war-torn provinces tirelessly – a calling that would eventually span  over three decades – to deliver advanced teacher training and build state-of-the-art libraries and schools that would change the lives of millions of impoverished children.

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CryWolffs: Inspiring Music Making

CryWolffs is an electric violinist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Innovating the sound of the violin through hip hop, electronica, and R&B, he has been featured on national television shows and has performed on stages around the country for and with Hollywood music icons.

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Angela Baraquio Grey: Miss America

Angela Baraquio Grey was crowned Miss America 2001, becoming the first Asian American, first Filipino American, and first teacher ever to win the pageant.  She participated in the pageant as Miss Hawaii 2000. As an educator, her platform as Miss America was character education. Since 2004, she has co-hosted the Hawai’i television show, “Living Local with the Baraquios.” Married to her high school sweetheart, musician Tinifuloa Grey,  they have four children and run their own business, Isle Entertainment.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am always inspired by my 3 little boys and my baby girl who just turned one year old. When preparing for speeches, I am inspired by the people with whom I come in contact and the little miracles that occur everyday like sunrises and sunsets or a beautiful rainbow. Selfless, generous people also inspire me. They make me want to be a better person.

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Ashley Paige White-Stern: Leap of Faith

Ashley and her father, Ronald Bruce White in Eastham, Cape Cod. Circa 1985.
Ashley and her father, Ronald Bruce White in Eastham, Cape Cod. Circa 1985.

Many people find themselves changing the course of their lives – sometimes because of self-rediscovery, and sometimes because life rediscovers them. In our 20s, 30s, 40s, or beyond, change can leave us in a catatonic state of mind, afraid that if we move (or don’t), we’ll face the biggest pain of regret. This story, borne of familial love, will inspire you to follow your heart. Ashley Paige White-Stern is a post-baccalaureate premedical student in New York City.  Originally from Boston, she went to Chicago for college, then UC Berkeley for graduate school.  In 2009, her father’s prostate cancer recurred. Overcome with the loss of motivation to pursue a career in the academia and a sentiment of responsibility as the eldest child, Ashley left a Ph.D. program and returned to Boston to be near her parents. Going home radically changed her professional trajectory and she is now on the path to becoming a physician, emboldened with a passion to innovate at the level of preventative medicine and to advocate for equity in healthcare. By the grace of God, her father is well and she tells the tale of how taking a leap of faith brought her towards happiness.

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Tessa Yutadco: Loving the Skin You’re In

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Tessa Yutadco is the founder of My Prime, a socially responsible skin care brand. Having immigrated to the U.S. when she was 16, Tessa went from working the early morning shift at a bakery in San Francisco and attending night school, to graduating at Georgetown University and becoming a lawyer, and now living her dream of owning her own business. When she’s not working or with her family, you will find Tessa blissfully wandering the local farmers markets, practicing yoga, having a cup of tea or bonding with girlfriends.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the strength and greatness of the human spirit. I regularly interact with or hear stories of people who are trying to overcome incredible challenges in their lives. Most recently, I heard of a mother of five young boys who was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer who continues to care for her family and work while getting treatment. The ability of people to find the will and courage to press on despite insurmountable difficulties is incredibly inspiring to me.

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Alexandra Jacob: Living the Ballerina Dream

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My name is Alexandra Jacob and I am a professional ballet dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. With the touring demands of my job, I have the exciting opportunity to travel the world. I am originally from Berkeley, California, and currently live with my fiancé in New York City. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from just about anything around me. It can range anywhere from a particular conversation, to a song, to even a sorrowful personal experience. In general, music has always driven me and has continuously been my main source of inspiration. Growing up with a musician father, I was exposed to everything from classical baroque, to orchestral jazz, to early American pop rock, funk, classic rock, punk, etc… I see different genres of music chronologically categorizing my life.

Alexandra, as featured in Dance Spirit Magazine. 2007.

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Cora Tellez: The Filipina CEO

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Cora Tellez founded Sterling Health Services Administration in 2004 and serves as company CEO. She has over 35 years of management experience in healthcare finance and delivery. Prior to founding Sterling, Cora was President of the health plans division of Health Net, Inc., an insurance provider that operated in seven states and achieved revenue of $8 billion from health plans. She has also served as President of Prudential`s western healthcare operations, CEO of Blue Shield of California, Bay Region, and Regional Manager for Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii. She is a national spokesperson for consumer directed healthcare initiatives and a driving force behind the adoption of health savings accounts.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
My parents and the unsung Filipina men and women who have struggled to overcome great adversity and succeeded!  I believe strongly that successful and inspirational stories are all around us, but we have to “see” them with an inner eye.  I can’t remember the source of this statement, but I feel very strongly that this is so:  to paraphrase, “Success is not about what you’ve been given.  It’s about what you’ve done with what you’ve been given.”  So my parents were given a tough life — poor families, struggled all their lives to do what was right for their children and their extended families.  Yet they used what they were given by way of brain power, tenacity, positive energy, to fashion an incredible life.

Cora's parents had five children. They survived the horrors of World War II, poverty, hardships, and at age 50, decide to move to the US to start another life. Her Inay told her that their  wedding finery could only be rented for 3 hours, so they had to hurry, get married and have the photo taken. Circa 1936.
Cora’s parents had five children. They survived the horrors of World War II, poverty, hardships, and at age 50, decide to move to the US to start another life. Her Inay told her that their wedding finery could only be rented for 3 hours, so they had to hurry, get married and have the photo taken! Circa 1936.
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