FYLPRO announces inaugural board of directors, embarks on fundraising campaign

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FYLPRO announces its inaugural  board of directors after officially gaining its nonprofit 501(c)(3) status. Joining the board of directors are Chairperson Maria Katrina "Kit" Zulueta (Hawaii), Treasurer Rommel Deleon Clemente (California), together with Philippine Embassy Vice-Consul Darell Arates (District of Columbia), JR Calanoc (California), RJ Diokno (Washington D.C.), Ty J.K. Cullen (Hawaii), Melissa Medina (Washington D.C.), Lakhi Mangharam Siap (Chicago) and Mariana Zobel de Ayala (Philippines). FYLPRO President Bea Rico (Washington) also sits on the board as a non-voting member. 

Now on its fifth year, the organization soon will launch the application process for the 2016 Immersion Program, where 10 selected leaders will participate in a week-long program to meet with key officials in the Philippines to learn about its social, economic and political landscape. 

“We are grateful to our partners over the years for their continued support to the program,” Zulueta said. “We now want to reach out and invite generous individuals and entities to help us ensure this program continues.” 

Zulueta said supporting the program is an investment to Fil-Am youth and the future of the Filipino community. 

“Our board brings diverse talent, expertise, and energy to FYLPRO.” said Rico, who spearheaded the efforts of sustaining and institutionalizing FYLPRO as a non-profit. “I’m looking forward to the level of expertise we’re able to access with the board and continuing to strengthen our nonprofit organization.” 

FYLPRO board of directors hail from across the United States and the Philippines, and from both the private and public sectors, showing the organization’s diversity over the past years. 

In 2015, FYLPRO officially became a public charity 501(c)(3) with tax-exempt status. Contributions donated to FYLPRO are fully tax-deductible. 

The main objective of the board, in close coordination with the executive committee of FYLPRO, is to provide direction and financial support to allow the organization to continue to engage in its roster of activities that advocate for the Filipino American community. 

The 2016 Board of Directors are;

Darell Arates (Washington, DC) - Third Secretary and Vice Consul Darell Artates is the Public Diplomacy Officer of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., handling public relations and cultural diplomacy. Before her posting to the US, she was assigned to the Public Information and Services Unit of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. She majored in Political Science in college and received a Master's degree in International Studies from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

JR Calanoc (San Francisco, CA) - JR is currently CEO of Panalo, a San Francisco-based startup that looks to bridge the gap between Philippine technology companies and the global market. Since their January 2015 launch, Panalo has connected over 110 pre-qualified software development companies, creative & design teams, and business process support providers to the US market. JR has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the University of San Francisco. He spent eight years in the financial services industry with US Bank as the San Francisco AVP and Branch Manager. In 2005, JR founded ActiVentures Philippine Adventure Tours, promoting the beauty of the Philippines through scuba diving and other adventure sports. JR is a 2012 FYLPRO alumnus.

Rommel Deleon Clemente (San Jose, CA) - Rommel is a licensed CPA and M&A Transaction Services manager in Deloitte’s Silicon Valley office. He has experience and expertise in M&A financial due diligence, accounting advisory services (including IPO S-1 filings), and financial statement audits in the technology, manufacturing, and life sciences industries for start-ups, F1000 companies, and multi-billion dollar private equity firms. Originally from Seattle, he is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Washington. Rommel previously served as a financial educator through AmeriCorps and advises Nevada Fil-Am non-profits on tax and financial matters. Rommel is a 2015 FYLPRO alumnus.

Representative Ty J.K. Cullen (Honolulu, HI) - Hawaii State Representative Ty J. K. Cullen represents State House District 39, which includes the communities of Village Park, Royal Kunia, Waipahu, Makakilo, West Loch, Ewa and Honouliuli. Rep. Cullen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Political Science, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Water and Land.  He is also a member of the House Committees on Finance, Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs and Energy & Environmental Protection.  He has previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Public Safety & Military Affairs. Representative Cullen is a 2015 FYLPRO alumnus.

Rafael Diokno (Washington, DC) - RJ serves as Project Lead at SGT, Inc. and currently supports an environmental satellite program at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland. In addition, he is involved with trade and investment in the Philippines and across APEC regions. His community involvement has spanned leadership and advisory positions with the Filipino Young Professionals (FYP) – DC, Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (PACC) – DC, and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC).  He also served as City Co-curator for NextDayBetter+DC's inaugural event in 2015 focused on change-makers from diaspora communities in Washington, DC. RJ has an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MS in Information Systems and BA in Psychology from George Washington University.

Melissa A. Medina (Washington, DC) - Melissa is the founder of appmyrep, a govtech start-up aimed at innovating the way elected officials connect with constituents. She is also the Congressional Affairs Director for the Congressional App Challenge, an initiative where Members of Congress promote STEM education by hosting app competitions. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley from the Haas School of Business undergraduate program, Melissa served as a policy staffer to Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She attended Women’s Campaign School at Yale. Equipped with knowledge of government operations, she now aims to improve government and civic engagement through technology. Melissa is a 2013 FYLPRO alumna.

Bea Rico (Seattle, WA) - Bea is a Strategic Initiatives Program Manager at the Port Seattle where she’s focused on developing and implementing the Strategic Long Range Plan for the Port. Before the Port, she worked in program management, strategy, supply chain, and business development at The Boeing Company and finance at Lockheed Martin. She also served as vice president of the Filipino Young Professionals in Washington, D.C. and interned at both the White House and California State Senator Betty Karnette. Bea is graduate of the George Washington University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Universidad de Zaragoza International Logistics & Supply Chain Program. Her interests also include hiking, golfing, eating, and agriculture. Bea is a 2013 FYLPRO alumna.

Lakhi Mangharam Siap (Chicago, IL) - Lakhi was born and raised in Cebu City Philippines to an Indian mother and a Filipino and Chinese father. He graduated from Philippine High School for the Arts on a 4-year theater scholarship. He immigrated to Chicago in 2006 and immediately became involved with the Asian American community and began volunteering for various non-for-profit organizations. He is the community relations manager of Ascene Chicago, a creative media outlet & events firm that promotes unity within Asian American scene and is a partner at Isla Pilipina Restaurant. Lakhi is a 2015 FYLPRO alumnus.

Mariana Zobel de Ayala (Manila, Philippines) - Mariana is currently a Corporate Strategy Associate with Ayala Corporation, second to Ayala Land. She began her career with J.P. Morgan’s Asset Management group in New York City, after graduating with a B.A. in Social Studies (interdisciplinary program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) from Harvard College in 2011. In her free time, she enjoys discovering new corners of Manila and other parts of the Philippines, which she left behind for ten years while living in the United States.

Maria Katrina "Kit" Zulueta (Maui, HI) - Kit is currently the Communication Director for the Maui County Council. She is former Deputy Chief of Staff for the County of Maui Office of the Mayor and was Executive Assistant to a Philippine Senator. Kit is the current president for the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce. She has worked for Hawaii Public Television and is the creative genius behind Kit Zulueta Productions. Her background is in film, graphic design and events management with Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Audio Visual Communications from the University of the Philippines. She was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to Hawaii in 2008. Kit is a 2012 FYLPRO alumna. 



FYLPRO is a nonprofit organization of high-performing, next-generation leaders that have a passion for advancing the Philippines and the Filipino people. FYLPRO was established in 2012 by Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America, Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. in cooperation with Ayala Foundation Inc. to provide delegates with invaluable community, business, and government insights and access to a distinguished network of captains of industry and government. For more information on FYLPRO, visit fylpro.org.

For those interested in becoming a FYLPRO partner or joining the board of directors, please contact Kit Zulueta at (808) 291-9407 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sponsorship packages are available upon request.