My passion for learning about people and cultures derives from my unique upbringing of being both Filipino and Persian raised in Bahrain. Growing up, I was immersed in cultural groups such as Arab, British, Persian, Hindu, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Irish, and Filipino. I have always valued being able to relate to different societies because it has opened the door to the world's most colorful experiences. To develop this skill and passion even further, I completed my Master's of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, with a focus on cultural studies.
I joined the U.S. Army in 2003, where I spent the next ten years on active duty. Since I was an immigrant when I enlisted, the Army only presented a few job options to choose from. I decided to become a cook and my first duty station was located in Mannheim, Germany. There I led a multicultural team of Germans and Americans and after 4 years of service, I earned my U.S. Citizenship. Having my U.S. citizenship allowed me to transition to a new role as a signals intelligence analyst at the National Security Agency in Hawaii (NSA-H).
My next challenge was within the U.S. Special Operations Command. I was selected to be part of the first group of women trained as Cultural Support Team leaders. An elite force solely assigned to Special Operations teams such as Rangers, Special Forces, and SEALs. I had the honor of serving and deploying with U.S. Navy SEALs during Operation Enduring Freedom.
My primary role was to cultivate a relationship with Afghani women and children. This was a great way for me to interact with third-world cultures in their true habitat. Having this responsibility forced me to solve this problem creatively. I decided to do so by introducing art into their lives. I would reveal the joy of coloring to children who had never seen crayons before. The women witnessed their positive reactions. Their eyes would widen, smiles were given and soft whispers of "magic." Being able to connect to the children reassured the women that I had compassion for their culture regardless of the immediate demographic separation.
I was released from active duty in June 2013 and immediately enrolled at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. After my first semester, I decided to apply for the Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship. It was the foundation's values and commitment to service that inspired me to submit my application. I am honored to say that I was selected to induct into the Class of 2014 Tillman Scholars as the first woman pursuing an undergraduate degree in fine arts. In December 2015 I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Design. Immediately after graduating from ODU, I was selected as the first and only female Special Operations Veteran into the Accelerate Exbellum Residency Program by Omnicom Group, for exuding cultural and leadership traits that executive leaders demand in their organization. I am currently working on the brand leadership team at a multicultural advertising agency.
With my upbringing, formal education, military, and professional experience, I knew I wanted to continue crafting my curiosity and passion into something greater. Combining my desire for diversity with the empathy that has been instilled in me since I was a child will continue to serve to enrich my goals throughout my life. From my unique upbringing, I've learned that diversity has positioned me to solve problems strategically and efficiently. The creativity accrued from exposure to multiple domains and then applying the best practices has led me to where I am today.
Having faced challenges head-on and solving problems creatively will allow me to apply a similar process to help others attain their goals. Unfortunately, I am currently fully engaged in assisting my clients with their social media strategies, but am available for hire in an influencer capacity.
Email me to learn more.
Army Veteran | Artist | Goal Crusher| Marketing Professional