SAN DIEGO –  San Diego Superior Court Judge Rohanee Zapanta will receive the prestigious “Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World” award from the Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network. She will receive her award at a Gala Dinner Ceremony at the Lobkowicz Palace, a 16th-century palace, one of the most significant cultural sites in the Czech Republic in the Prague Castle complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Sit

The Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are changing the face of leadership in the global workplace. They have achieved outstanding work in their respective fields and are acknowledged for their contributions to society, femtorship, and legacy.

Zapanta was selected from an outstanding field of nominees from 10 countries this year for the Builder Award.

In setting the Building Award, the group stated: “Builders have demonstrated exceptional organizational impact in a large workplace environment, displaying a deep passion for a cause through collaborative initiatives or alliances with institutions, corporations, or nonprofit organizations on behalf of her own company. Builders demonstrate high potential and skill with measurable results at government agencies, higher education institutions, nonprofits, or corporations in the public and private sectors. “Buildership” is about developing better organizations, leading broken organizations to adjust, repair, and re-align, including journalistic views redefining traditional methods.

FWN launched the Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World Award (Global FWN100™) in 2006 in the United States and expanded its search globally in 2013. Awardees have reached the pinnacle of their careers, breaking “glass ceilings” in the public and private sectors:

·       First Filipino appointed by Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau to his cabinet, MP Rechie Valdez

·       Former California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye

·       First Filipino to become CEO of a Fortune100 company, HealthNet CEO and now Sterling CEO Cora Manase Tellez

·       Charles Schwab Investments CEO and now Commonwealth Club Board Chair Evelyn Dilsaver

·       Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Minerva Tantoco as New York City’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

·       Philippines former Vice President Leni Robredo

·       First Filipina woman elected Mayor of Manila, Dr. Honey Lacuna-Pangan

·       Cebu Governor and former Philippines House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia

·       Utah Valley University President Astrid S. Tuminez

·       Country Head of Legato Philippines and former Undersecretary of the Philippines Department of Trade Nora Terrado

·       Millennial CEO and co-founder of MFT Group, a private equity firm, Mica F. Tan

·       Teresita Batayola, Commissioner appointed by President Joe Biden to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), President and CEO Emerita, International Community Health Services

·       First woman White House Executive Chef, Cristeta Comerford

·       First Filipina elected President of the Oakland, California Board of Supervisors, Nikki Fortunato Bas

·       and four Admirals in the U.S. Navy:

o   First woman White House physician to two U.S. Presidents (GHW Bush and Clinton), Connie Mariano,

o   Vice Admiral Raquel Cruz Bono,

o   Rear Admiral Eleanor Valentin and

o   Rear Admiral Babette Bolivar

Not everyone is at the C-Suite level – Jessica Cox, the world’s first licensed armless pilot and Taekwondo black-belt, and Rowena Romulo, UK Restaurateur

“The Global FWN100™ awardees are innovators and thought leaders, dynamic entrepreneurs, rising stars under age 30, practitioners, and public service advocates, who have moved through the ranks in the public and private sectors. They are magnificent women doing extraordinary work trailblazing for the next generation leaders,” said Marily Mondejar, Founder and CEO of the Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network.

“Each nominee goes through a rigorous multi-stage vetting process by the Global FWN100™ Awards Selection Committee composed of global awardees,” explained Teresita Batayola, appointed by President Joe Biden to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), a selection committee member. The awardees are selected based on the size and scope of their influence in their industries, communities, board affiliations, and other leadership roles.”

The Global FWN100™ Award is a “working award” with a meaningful purpose: A Filipina woman leader in every sector of the global economy. The awardees re-invent themselves, pay forward, and develop their global imprint with their Global Pitch. This two-year short-term project benefits Filipina women where they live. They “pay forward” by femtoring (female mentoring) next-generation leaders and women re-entering the global workplace and sponsoring their attendance at the Filipina Summit.

“To be acknowledged by the Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network, the premiere women’s organization for the global Filipina, is a unique distinction. It is not just a trophy. It is a validation of my being empowered to rise above life challenges. It is a recognition that I have contributed, especially in my calling as a lawyer, to ensure that those who have less in life have more in law. The award I received in 2016 made me part of an extended global family- the FWN sisterhood. That, to me, is the value of the award. To be amongst strong, like-minded women who think wisely, feel passionate, love fiercely, dream endlessly, and laugh abundantly in between, is the true reward you receive as an awardee. To the 2023 Awardees- welcome to our sisterhood,” a ringing endorsement by Philippines-based Attorney Lorna Patajo-Kapunan, an advocate for the environment and the rights of women and children.”

‘Intersectionality: Filipina Women Changemakers’ is the theme of #FWNSummit 2023. Seeing all the awardees on stage at the awards ceremony assures me that the future of our young Filipina sisters is solid,” said Marla Rausch, Founder and CEO of Animation Vertigo, a motion-capture animation company. “Awardees share this inspiring evening with their moms, grandmothers, daughters, sons, spouses, partners, young women and men, co-workers, mentors, and bosses from their extended families and organizations. They all come on stage to celebrate her, which is a glorious sight.”

“We are proud to have Judge Zapanta as a valued member of our bench and welcome this recognition of her efforts within the court and the community,” said Hon. Michael T. Smyth, San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge. “Her dedication to mentoring future generations is most admirable.”