New York City – Laura Garcia, president of the Fiesta In America Community Partnerships is seeking an independent Board post in the upcoming elections of the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. on October 7.
Fiesta in America’s chief executive officer, Fernando Mendez appointed her into the position after two years of grooming Garcia, a nurse clinician by profession, as the president for Community Partnerships at the 19-year-old expo and cultural show. According to Mendez, who founded Fiesta In America in 1998 and who is also seeking a Board position at PIDCI, “Laura Garcia’s wealth of experience in alliance-building and nursing education is the missing piece in the growth puzzle as our nonprofit organization enters its second decade. After all, Fiesta In America is only as strong as the public and private connections it fosters.”
Dr. Garcia has been highly visible at Fil-Am civic and business functions during the past couple of years. “Since 2015,” according to the nurse educator, “Nanding has been introducing me to the leaders of key Fil-Am associations at numerous galas, forums and other events that we have attended. Last year, I was brought more actively into the official role of President for Community Partnerships as Nanding focuses on the full management and day-to-day operations of Fiesta In America.” Asked about the significance of the appointment, Dr. Garcia remarked that, “We have seen the importance of transforming Fiesta In America into more than an expo and cultural show, but a voice for Filipinos in the USA and around the world.”
Dr. Garcia is an Associate Professor at the Phillips School of Nursing at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel. A Butuan City native and Siliman University alumna, she will soon serve as Chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and sits on the board of other nonprofit groups. She completed her highest education degree (Doctor of Nursing Practice) in May this year, and received the Ulirang Guro (Exemplary Teacher) Award from the Association of Fil-Am Teachers of America. Dr. Garcia was one of the Fil-Am bachelor, master’s and doctorate degree-holders who were feted by Consul General Ma. Theresa Dizon de Vega on June 20 at the fifth Philippine Graduation (PGRAD) ceremony held at the Philippine Center New York’s Kalayaan Hall.
A crucial piece of Dr. Garcia’s preparation for her lead role in collaborations was joining Nanding Mendez, Consul General de Vega, and other community leaders for the July 2017 edition of the Ambassadors’ Tour of the Philippines. The annual tour, with swings across several cities and provinces, is an initiative of the Department of Tourism. President Rodrigo Duterte hosted a dinner for this year’s contingent during the Manila leg of the group’s visit.
“Laura will be responsible for initiating and nurturing nonprofit as well as for-profit coalitions in Fiesta In America’s geographic footprint, which stretches from Connecticut to Virginia, and even the Philippines,” said Mendez. “Her expertise in healthcare and education, as well as her winsome persona, will be crucial as we expand the expo and cultural show’s partnerships on Total Wellness in 2018 and beyond.” In addition, Mendez predicts that as Dr. Garcia’s partnership-building outreach grows, “her healthcare industry connections will enhance the ongoing efforts to make Philippine medical tourism a chief attraction at Fiesta In America 20th Anniversary on August 11-12 next summer.” (Photo and press release from Laura Garcia and Nanding Mendez; Visit www.fiestainamerica.com)