By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — Minerva Tantoco, currently Mayor de Blasio’s Chief Technology Officer, says that the Big Apple is run by women leaders, accounting for 58 percent of the city government’s senior leadership.
In her brief acceptance speech in the event Celebrating Women Leaders in Our Communities in celebration of the International Women’s Month, Tantoco said: “Fifty-eight percent of the mayor’s administration is run by women leaders. So we can say New York is run by women. In a male-dominated environment of science and technology, you do not always see a face of a woman but I get my strength from my Filipino roots.”
Together with 11 other women, Tantoco was recognized as a woman leader at the Bohemian National Hall by the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York, the biggest foreign diplomatic organization in the world, with 115 countries represented. For this year, the Consulate General of Czech Republic sponsored the event.
Tantoco acknowledged her mother who taught her discipline and focus that help her achieve the things she dreamed of. In her watch, she makes the city government become in tune with advancement of the digital world for efficient services by putting in place a coordinated city-wide strategy on technology and innovation.
Tantoco’s work and her past experiences of more than 25 years in the field of online marketing, ecommerce, virtualization, and mobile applications make her a gem in the Big Apple. Her department encourages collaboration across agencies through a wider New York City technology ecosystem.
Tantoco holds four US patents on intelligent workflow and is a speaker and author on mobile, security, big data, and innovation. In the early 2000s, she pioneered in mobile enterprise solutions which helped pave the path in mobile technology, deploying some of the world’s earliest mobile applications.
She was chief architect at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch and led the redesign and implementation of the company’s investment banking data warehouse.
Tantoco was born in the Philippines and her family moved to the US when she was a child. She grew up in Flushing, Queens and attended the Bronx Science High School. She later moved to Silicon Valley where she co-founded technology startup, Manageware Inc. which was successfully sold five years later.
Deputy Consul General in New York Ms. Kira Danganan Azucena introduced Tantoco to the public and was given her citation plaque by the SFC president and Slovak Consul General Amb. Jana Trnovcova.
There were three scientists who were given recognition that night which included Dr. Hakima Amri, a biochemist and physiologist specializing in cancer cure researches at Georgetown University. She was born in Algeria. Dr. Zulfiya Orynbayeva from Kazakhstan, a research assistant professor at the Drexel University in Philadelphia was also honored for her work on cancer metabolism and state of the art technologies on biological processes. Dr. Ivica Labuda of the Slovak Republic was recognized for her researches on food biotechnology.
Medical doctors were honored too. Dr. Velma Scantlebury was recognized for her work in kidney transplantation and as the first African American woman in the field of transplantation surgery. Dr. Millicent Comrie, of Jamaican descent, was cited for founding the Center for Women’s Health in Maimonedes Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Hani White, an Indonesian by birth, was honored for her work supporting immigrants and minorities in Philadelphia.
Three artists were recognized: Ildiko Nagy, director of the New York Hungarian House which promotes Hungarian cultures and education; Polish fashion designer Alexandra Borowczak for establishing the Polish-American Fashion Foundation and helping out abused women and children; and St. Petersburg-born jewelry designer Valentina Kova.
For her volunteerism work for 56 years, Rosa Lechner Schupbach was recognized that evening. She is a Swiss national who came to New York at age 31, armed with a degree in Languages and Business Administration.
Ozlenen Eser Kalav, former president and CEO of the Turkish Philanthropy Funds was cited for her work, raising $23M for various projects in Turkey. “It can be done. If everybody gets to participate and share,” she said.
The event, now on its 5th year, was initiated by the Consulate General of Kazakhstan in 2011. It has now become a tradition that is participated by the different consulates in New York. After the awarding ceremonies, the reception was vibrant and congenial as the consulates offered select native foods and drinks, which was a cultural and gastronomic experience for everyone.