March 3-5, 2017
San Francisco, CA

Pinay Powerhouse Conference Written Materials


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Pinay Powerhouse Conference 2017 (Photo by Terrence Sims)

Registration Fee (includes the conference, welcome dinner, luncheon, and cocktail reception)

  • Early Bird – Affiliate Member (special pricing for paid members of NFALA-affiliate organizations until December 31, 2016): $100*
  • Affiliate Member (special pricing for paid members of NFALA-affiliate organizations until February 18, 2017): $125*
  • General Attorney: $150*
  • General Law Student (special pricing for law students and/or post-bar law graduates.  Contact us for volunteer opportunities to waive the registration fee at $75*

*Plus service fee upon checkout. 

UPDATE: WE ARE SOLD OUT of our conference and cocktail reception tickets! Thanks for your interest and support.  We have some seats left for our welcome dinner if you still want to attend.  Click here to register.

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Preview the Conference space here.

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Pre-Conference Welcome Dinner*

Sponsored by: Dolan Law Firm, P.C.FBANCHanson Bridgett LLPNFALAPerkins Coie, LLPSedgwick, LLP, and Zarate Dulany P.C.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Location: 1 Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94109

6:00 pm Welcome and Dinner (included in conference registration price; $75 if not registered)

7:30 pm Keynote Speaker: Dr. Robin Rodriguez, Activist & Filipino American/Asian American Studies Professor at UC Davis

8:30 pm Closing Remarks


Conference: Lift as You Climb – The Empowerment of Filipina Attorneys as Leaders in Law

Sponsored by: Dolan Law Firm, P.C.FBANCHanson Bridgett LLPNFALAPerkins Coie, LLPSedgwick, LLP, and Zarate Dulany P.C.

Click here to register.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Location: Perkins Coie, 505 Howard Street Suite 1000, San Francisco, California 94105

8:30 am – 9:30 am Registration

9:30 am – 10:50 am MCLE Panel 1* sponsored by Burnham Brown

Confronting Race & Gender Bias as a Pinay at the Top of Her Game

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Breakout Session 

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm Luncheon sponsored by Perkins Coie

Conference Keynote Address: Nani Coloretti, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Ms. Coloretti was the highest ranking Filipino American in the U.S. Federal Government during the Obama administration.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm MCLE Panel 2* sponsored by Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP

Lifting Our Community: The Issue of Labor Trafficking Within the Filipino Community

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Closing Plenary* sponsored by the Law Offices of Vanessa Candelaria

On the Backbone of Pinay Pioneers: Overcoming Challenges, Failures, Mistakes & Regrets

Followed by Closing Remarks by Gloria Megino Ochoa, first Filipina to graduate from King Hall (UC Davis Law School), first Filipina/o lawyer to serve as Counsel to the California Senate Judiciary Committee, first Filipina to run for a California Supervisorial seat (and win), and the first Filipino/a in California to be the nominee of the Democratic Party (or any major political party).

*MCLE credit pending approval

Post-Conference Cocktail Reception*

Sponsored by First Legal

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Location: Perkins Coie, 505 Howard Street Suite 1000, San Francisco, California 94105

6:00 pm Mix and mingle with our sister NFALA affiliate member leaders, attorneys and law students hailing from the East Coast to the West Coast!

To RSVP for the cocktail reception and/or to donate to our empowerment efforts, click here.

*Capacity will be limited at our Pre-Conference Welcome Dinner and Post-Conference Cocktail reception, so please RSVP!

Sunday Social

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Napa or Sonoma County (not included in registration fee).

Optional Wine Tasting in Wine Country at three to four wineries

  • each registrant has the option to pay for one additional guest

About Nani Coloretti

naniNani A. Coloretti is the Pinay Powerhouse Conference 2017 Keynote Speaker.  She was confirmed by the Senate in December 2014 as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  She was the second most senior official at HUD who managed the Department’s day-to-day operations, including a $45 billion annual budget and approximately 8,000 employees.

Prior to joining HUD, Ms. Coloretti spent two years as the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that role she oversaw all operational areas including the development and execution of the Department’s budget, performance and strategic planning processes, procurement, human resources, information technology, and the management of Treasury’s headquarters and bureaus. Ms. Coloretti also served as the Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget and helped create the Department’s quarterly performance and budget review process. In addition, she helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as its Acting Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to joining the Treasury Department in 2009, Ms. Coloretti spent four years as policy advisor and budget director for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Ms. Coloretti led the development and implementation of San Francisco’s $6 billion dollar annual budget and advised the Mayor on multiple policy areas. Ms. Coloretti also spent six years as the policy and budget director at the San Francisco agency that works to improve the lives of children, youth and families by investing in cross-cutting, evidence-based initiatives. Her prior experience includes budget analysis in the Clinton Administration’s Office of Management and Budget and for the State of Hawai‘i, as well as economic and financial consulting.

Ms. Coloretti is a recipient of the National Public Service Award, the Public Policy and International Affairs Achievement Award, the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, and the Fed 100 Award.

Ms. Coloretti holds a B.A. in Economics and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Public Policy from University of California, Berkeley. She grew up in Honolulu and lives in Bethesda, MD with her husband and son.

Ms.Coloretti will be introduced by Rowena R. Manlapaz.

AL9A3585.jpgRowena R. Manlapaz is Principal Counsel for the Health Law Group, specializing in health care transactions. She joined the Office of the General Counsel in 2011 as Senior Counsel for the Business Transactions group. Before joining the University, Ms. Manlapaz was a Vice President and Associate Counsel at AMB Property Corporation, a real estate investment trust, and an associate attorney at the law firms of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Ms. Manlapaz is a graduate of Cornell University (B.A. 1993) and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall) (J.D. 1996). She also studied at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Moderators and Panelists

Welcome Dinner Speaker

dr-robyn-rodriguezDr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Activist & Filipino American/Asian American Studies Professor at the University of California.

The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez grew up Union City, California. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she majored in sociology and took classes in Asian American Studies. Professor Rodriguez then went on to earn her PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Rodriguez’s research is broadly concerned with understanding how processes of globalization, particularly international migration, impact the societies that migrants leave and the societies to which they move.  Her book, Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), won an Honorable Mention for Best Book in Social Science by the Association for Asian American Studies. Professor Rodriguez’s co-authored book, Asian America: Sociological and Interdisciplinary Approaches will be published by Polity Press in 2014. Currently, she is finishing a book entitled In Lady Liberty’s Shadow: Race and Immigration in Post-9/11 New Jersey to be published by Rutgers University Press in 2015.

Rodriguez’s background in Asian American studies informs her actions as an activist. Asian American studies emerged out of student movements that raised questions about access to institutions of higher learning and the politics of knowledge production. These movements, moreover, demanded education and scholarship that was relevant to communities that have been long left out of the university. Professor Rodriguez is very much inspired by that tradition. She uses the skills she has developed as a researcher to contribute to communities and is currently working closely on different projects with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.

For full details on Professor Rodriguez’s publications, teaching, and community work please see her website:

Dr. Rodriguez will be introduced by Carmelita Miller.

Carmelita Miller is Energy Counsel for the Greenlining Institute and she currently works on regulatory proceedings to ensure that all communities have equitable access to the benefits of California’s energy policies. She was born in the Philippines and grew up in South San Francisco, California.  She graduated from Sacramento State University where she earned a B.A. in History.  She attended UC Hastings College of the Law where she actively participated in various organizations including serving as the President of the Pilipino American Law Society and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal.  Inspired by her personal experiences, she dedicated her free time in law school to providing legal assistance to the low-income population by interning and volunteering at various community-based organizations. After a graduating from UC Hastings, she became a Greenlining Legal Fellow. When she is not working or fighting for justice, Carmelita, with her fiancé Adam, enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing with her two labrador retrievers named Maximus and Athena.


Sponsored by Burnham Brown


Ruthe Catolico Ashley, First Filipino to serve on CA State Bar Board of Governors/former President of NAPABA.  Ruthe, the Executive Director Emeritus of California LAW, incorporated this new non-profit as the foundational structure that will connect, collaborate, coordinate and communicate between the existing pipeline programs in the State of California.  California LAW supports the 17 existing high school law academies, 26 community colleges, 6 undergraduate institutions and 6 law schools who are partners in this project to diversify the legal profession in the State of California through the educational pipeline.  As former chair of the California Law Academy Support Council, she has dedicated the last decade to diversity in the legal profession. In 2010, under Ashley’s leadership, a collaborative effort of the State Bar of California and the California Department of Education created 6 new high school law academies in California under the California Partnership Academy Model. These law academies were the first “boots on the ground” program focused on diversifying the legal profession starting in 10th grade.  Ashley was responsible for overseeing the success of these law academies and continues to nurture and build new academies.  Seventeen law academies are now in existence with four more in planning. Ashley was elected to the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors in 2014 and is the first Filipina and 2nd Asian Pacific American women on the ABA’s board in its 138-year history.  She is a former Presidential appointee to the Committee on Public Education, co-chaired the Women of Color committee for the prestigious Commission on Women in the Profession and served as chair of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline.  She served on the State Bar of California’s Board of Trustees from 2004-2007 chairing the Diversity Pipeline Task Force and leading the BOT in forming the Council on Access and Fairness, one of today’s leaders in legal diversity. She is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association receiving its Trailblazer Award in 1998.  The recipient of numerous awards including a Special Diversity Award from the State Bar of California (2010) and the Francis Newell Carr Women Lawyers if Distinction Award from Women Lawyers of Sacramento (2011), she graduated from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1988 and practiced law for 15 years before returning to her alma mater as Assistant Dean of Career Services.  Now retired, she devotes her time to diversity in the legal profession by building the educational pipeline into the law.


Jerrilyn Malana, Chief Deputy/Special Advisor, San Diego District Attorney (former Partner at Littler Mendelson). She serves as Chief Deputy District Attorney/Special Advisor at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, where she advises on human resources matters and civil issues. Prior to joining the DA’s Office in April 2016, Jerri spent over 16 years as an employment law attorney and Shareholder with the global employment law firm of Littler Mendelson. At Littler, she represented Fortune 500 clients and local businesses in all types of employment-related litigation involving claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage & hour violations. Jerri also provided counseling and training to employers to avoid employment-related claims. She is a former Co-Chair of Littler’s national Diversity & Inclusion Council.  Jerri is a dynamic public speaker, and an effective and engaging trainer on employment law topics. Jerri also speaks on diversity and inclusion matters including the elimination of bias. In 2009, Jerri served as President of the San Diego County Bar Association, which is the region’s oldest and largest law-related organization with approximately 10,000 members. She also served on the State Bar of California’s Council on Access & Fairness, which is the Bar’s “think tank” on diversity and inclusion issues. Jerri is the immediate past President of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Alumni Association, which represents the interests of over 175,000 alumni around the globe. She presently serves as a Trustee on the UCSD Foundation.  Jerri was recognized on the list of The Best Lawyers in America from 2013 to 2016. She was recognized as a Super Lawyer for Employment & Labor Law each year from 2009 to 2016. She was named as one of the Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal in 2015. Jerri was also named a Top Attorney in Labor & Employment Law in 2011 & 2012 by the San Diego Daily Transcript newspaper. Over the course of her career, Jerri has consistently exhibited outstanding leadership, professional achievement, and unwavering commitment to the community. Jerri devotes a significant portion of her volunteer time on community and civic matters, and mentoring students and young professionals to help them to succeed.  Jerri has been recognized by multiple organizations for her work in the community including being named a Trailblazer by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Jerri received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from California Western School of Law in recognition for her service. She received the Community Legacy Award from Pacific Arts Movement, and was honored with a proclamation from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors designating November 7, 2015, as “Jerrilyn Malana Day” throughout the County.  She is a member of the California Civic Learning Partnership for San Diego County, which seeks to improve civic learning in grades K to 12. Jerri is a founding Advisory Board member for the Academy of Law at Crawford High School in San Diego. She serves on the Board of the Alliance for HOPE International. She is a Master with the American Inns of Court, William B. Enright Chapter. Jerri also serves on the Bench/Bar committee of the San Diego County Bar Association. She served as Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Employment & Labor Relations Law Committee for the Section of Litigation. Jerri also served on the Executive Committee of the Bench-Bar Coalition (BBC) with the Judicial Council of California. She is a past President of Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego, and past Board Member of several organizations including the San Diego Opera, Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC), Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego, and San Diego Asian Film Foundation. Jerri served on the Community Editorial Board of the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. She also served as a new graduate Trustee for California Western School of Law, and on its Alumni Board.

She has received additional accolades for her service including: Community Service Award, Lawyers Club of San Diego (2016); Service to Diversity Award, San Diego County Bar Association (2011); Outstanding Professional (TOP HAT) Award, PhilAmBID (2011); American Bar Association, Public Service Honor Roll Award, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and Law in Public Service Committee (2009-2010); Community Leadership Award for Diversity, South Asian Bar Association of San Diego (2010); Legal Affairs Award, Asian Heritage Society (2009); San Diego Business Journal Women Who Mean Business Award (2008); Metro Movers to Watch in 2008, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine; bizSanDiego Magazine – 20 Most Influential Businesswomen in San Diego (2008); President’s Award, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association (2008); Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (2007); Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (2007); and State Bar of California Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services (2005).

Jerri received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California San Diego (1986); M.B.A. from Chaminade University (1991); and J.D., magna cum laude, from California Western School of Law (1998). Prior to law, Jerri worked as a human resources professional.

Joy de Guzman-Torres, Director of Business & Legal Affairs at Netflix/former VP of Legal Affairs NBC Universal.  Joy practices entertainment law “in-house” as a Director of Business & Legal Affairs at Netflix. She is the lead legal executive for several scripted “Netflix Original Series” programs produced by third party studio partners – handling global license deals and a broad range of program-related business and legal matters.  Prior to Netflix, she was Vice President, Legal Affairs for the Cable Entertainment Legal Group at NBCUniversal where her path to become an entertainment lawyer started.  At NBCUniversal, she served as both “studio” and “network” counsel on both scripted and unscripted programs for NBC TV studios, digital platforms and cable entertainment networks (which includes USA Network, Bravo, E!, Syfy, Oxygen). She worked on a vast array of programming deals (e.g., network licenses, “above-the-line” talent, production agreements, rights agreements, acquisitions, etc.) and advised on financing and production legal matters.  Joy attended both Harvard Law School and U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).  To create a support network and enhance the pipeline for the handful of Filipino-American law students at Boalt, she co-founded PALS (Pilipino American Law Students) during her 1L year.  While in law school, she also externed for the Honorable Raymond C. Fisher in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  After receiving her J.D. degree from Boalt Hall, Joy practiced law in Los Angeles as an associate at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP (IP Litigation) and Latham & Watkins, LLP (IP, Media and Technology Transactions).  During her time in BIGLAW, she was actively involved in the diversity recruiting and mentoring initiatives.  Joy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology from the University of Southern California. She was born in Quezon City, Philippines but “grew up” bi-nationally in the Philippines and the United States throughout the 1980s spending her annual summer vacations in California. Her family permanently moved to Los Angeles when she was 14 years old.  She’s fluent in both English and Tagalog. She is happily married and proud mommy to her (almost) 6-year-old son.

Judge Janelle Factora Wipper has served as a Circuit Court Judge for the State of Oregon since July of 2011. Judge Wipper is Oregon’s first Filipino-American Judge. She has been the Chief Civil Judge for Washington County since January 2015 and is currently on general trial rotation handling civil, criminal and probate cases. Judge Wipper previously worked as the Associate Chief Counsel for the Civil Enforcement Division; Sr. Assistant Attorney General for the Oregon Department of Justice; and as a Deputy District Attorney in Washington County. She is currently the President-Elect of the Oregon Filipino Attorneys Association (OFALA) and a member of the Judicial Education and Leadership Committee. She has previously served as a board member for the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association and Executive Committee member for Washington County’s Domestic Violence Intervention Council. She is also a member of the Oregon Women Lawyers and the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association. Additionally, Judge Wipper was an officer and board member for the Washington County Bar Association. Judge Wipper received her J.D. degree from Willamette University College of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University. Wipper was born and raised in Hawaii where her first job was picking macadamia nuts.

Rosielyn Pulmano Thompson , Chief Consultant, California State Assembly Committee on Health.  Her policy areas of responsibility include Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, State Budget coordination, and other aspects of public health.  As Chief Consultant, she is the Assembly Health Committee Chair’s top aide on health policy, overseeing legislation relating to a wide array of health issues including health insurance, Covered California, Affordable Care Act, pharmaceuticals, community clinics, hospitals, and children’s health.  Prior to returning to the Assembly Health Committee, Ms. Pulmano Thompson was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as a Deputy Secretary of Business and Consumer Policy at the California Department of Business, Consumer Services & Housing Agency, which oversees state departments that include the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Business Oversight.  Ms. Pulmano Thompson has also served as consultant to the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee where she handled legislation, scope of practice, and sunset review of healing arts boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs.  Ms. Pulmano Thompson has over twelve years of experience in the California Legislature and has worked with Legislators, Department Directors, the Governor’s Office and stakeholders to develop, design and implement health care legislation and consumer protections.  Ms. Pulmano Thompson received a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from the University of the Pacific and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar.

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Sponsored by Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP


Valerie Francisco-Menchavez  is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Francisco-Menchavez received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at City University of New York, The Graduate Center. Her current book project explores the dynamics of gender and technology of care work in Filipino transnational families in the Philippines and the U.S. Through an examination of neoliberal immigration policies and market forces, Francisco-Menchavez contextualizes the shifts in the long-standing transnational family formation in the Philippines. Dr. Francisco-Menchavez’s research program includes a transnational study of Filipino migrant mothers in New York City and their families left behind in Manila and participatory action research with Filipino immigrants working as caregivers in the U.S.


Princess Bustos is one of the lead organizers for Migrante Northern California and a member of Migrante SoMa/Tenderloin. She’s organized with the students at San Francisco State University with the League of Filipino Students-SFSU, campaigned to the stop political killings in the Philippines through Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, and organized Filipino women around issues of U.S. militarization in the Philippines and violence against women with GABRIELA-SF. Princess is an immigrant, mother, and advocate in the Filipino community and firmly believes that we can only fight injustice through collective struggle.

Nilda Valmores has been Executive Director of My Sister’s House since 2004.  She is currently the only Filipino American Executive Director of the more than 100+ California’s domestic violence shelters. My Sister’s House is the Central Valley’s only shelter and organization that is focused upon providing culturally specific services for Asian/Pacific Islander victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. In March 2014, My Sister’s House opened My Sister’s Café in downtown Sacramento, to provide support for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Nilda also serves as a board member of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and co-leads the Sacramento Domestic Violence Prevention Collaborative.   Nilda received a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Loyola Marymount University. She also has a Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In between those degrees, she served as a California State Assembly Fellow.

She is the proud mother of a wonderful, smart and beautiful daughter, Niel Valmores, who is currently a 1L at USF Law School and a wonderful, smart and handsome son Taylor Valmores, who graduated from last summer from UC Riverside and has his first professional post college job with Arellano Associates.  For 30 years, and hopefully 30 more years, she has been married to a great man, Steve Valmores.

Jennifer Tse is the Regional Coordinator – Workplace Crimes for the Western Region in the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor in San Francisco, California.  Her region covers eight states and three U.S. territories, including Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.  In her position, she works with exploited and vulnerable immigrant workers and makes recommendations whether to certify applications for U and/or T Nonimmigrant Status on behalf of immigrant victims of labor related crimes and labor trafficking.

Prior to her position with the U.S. Department of Labor, Jennifer was an attorney at the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  She worked as an immigration attorney representing U and T visa applications on behalf of labor trafficking survivors, and in litigation primarily involving class-action labor trafficking, workers’ rights, and civil rights cases.

Jennifer has provided technical legal support and trainings related to immigration relief on behalf of survivors of labor trafficking to federal government officials, immigrant rights organizations, advocates, and attorneys.  She also currently serves as the Co-Lead of the Northern California Regional Network, which seeks to connect local AAPI communities to federal resources.  A California native, Jennifer received her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.  An avid hiker, runner and consumer of delicious food and caffeine, Jennifer hikes and runs mostly so that she can continue consuming.

Ruth Silver Taube is the Supervising Attorney of the Worker’s Rights Clinic at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara University School of Law that provides employment law advice and representation to low income, primarily immigrant clients and screens for human trafficking.  She is Special Counsel to Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center and an Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.  She collaborates with the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California to conduct clinics for monolingual Vietnamese American and Filipino clients at the Alexander Community Law Center that also screen for human trafficking.  Ruth is Legal Services Chair of the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking and an alternate delegate to the Santa Clara County’s Human Trafficking Commission. 

Ruth has conducted numerous trainings on civil litigation in human trafficking cases, assisted forced labor human trafficking clients seeking civil remedies, and worked collaboratively with victim service providers and immigration attorneys in the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking.  She is also Coordinator of the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition.  After law school, Ms. Silver Taube served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, worked as a Federal Mediator at the EEOC and as a panel mediator at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and was a partner at the Law Office of Silver and Taube where she specialized in employment law and employee benefits.  She received the Santa Clara County Bar’s Pro Bono Award in 2016.


Sponsored by the Law Offices of Vanessa Candelaria


Christine Start, Deputy Public Defender, Solano County Public Defender.  Christine Mari Palma Start is honored to be President of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California. She is a Deputy Public Defender with Solano County Alternate Public Defender where she proudly represents indigent individuals charged with crimes from arraignment through jury trial and appeal. Christine’s passion for public defense work sparked over ten years ago while working as a criminal defense investigator in Washington, D.C. Christine has been featured as a speaker and panelist at several “Know Your Rights” community forums and educational events, and also sits on the Racial Justice Committee where she works. Christine serves as Co-Chair of the Minority Bar Coalition of the Bay Area and Advisory Board Member of the University of San Francisco School of Law Public Interest Foundation.

Christine received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law where she was honored with the Pursuit of Justice Award in 2010. She also was the recipient of the Jung Foundation Public Interest Scholarship to the 2015 NAPABA Convention. Also, in 2015, Christine was honored with the Thurgood Marshall “Intricate Planner and Defender of the Poor” Award through Solano County Office of the Public Defender.

Christine has a side hustle as a Certified Life Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index – Master Practitioner called FireStarter Coaching. Christine practices yoga philosophy and meditation; she is on a mission to harmoniously integrate all of her life passions and to empower others to do the same.


Eleanor Nisperos, first Filipina-American attorney in California.  In 1947 Ms. Nisperos was born in Manila, Philippines.  In 1955 she boarded a ship with her family and immigrated to Honolulu Hawaii. In 1968 Ms. Nisperos graduated with Honors from the University of Hawaii (Manoa campus) with a BA degree in English.  Ms. Nisperos received her JD from Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley in June 1971.  She passed the California State Bar and was sworn in January 1972.  She began practicing law as a Legal Counsel/Administrative Law Judge for the Department of Social Services, State of California.  Ms. Nisperos continued her public service for the State of California as a Deputy Attorney General in San Francisco for 17 years, then as an Administrative Law Judge and then finally as a Presiding Administrative Law Judge for the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.  Her public service ended in May 2007 when she retired, after 36 years of employment.   Throughout her schooling, her marriage to another attorney (now also retired), raising a son and daughter (also attorneys), and her legal career, Ms. Nisperos volunteered when and where she could:  she was a reservist in the U.S. Navy, she was the first President of FBANC, she was a President of the Administrative Law Judges Association, she served on the Board of the Oakland YWCA, and she was a member of the CA Judicial Council Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the State Courts.  Ms. Nisperos came out of retirement in 2007 to serve as a Deputy Attorney General in Saipan for the CNMI Office of the Attorney General for approximately 2 years.   She again retired and became an inactive member of the California State Bar in 2011.

Linda Cabatic, Retired Director & Chief Administrative Law Judge at California Office of Administrative Hearings.  Linda was appointed as Director of the Office of Administrative Hearings in April 2012. Prior to her current appointment, she was named Deputy Director for OAH in June 2008.  Prior to her appointment at OAH, she was the Chief Counsel and Deputy Director for the Office of Legal Services for DGS, where she advised the Director and Executive Staff on many legal issues. She was also successful in eliminating the Staff Counsel III ratios and was able to acquire and appoint the first Staff Counsel IV position for the Department.   Before coming to DGS, Linda served as the Chief Counsel for the Secretary of State’s Office; Senior Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary for former Governor Gray Davis; General Counsel for the Department of Education and Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Government Law Section at the Attorney General’s Office. Linda spent 18 years at the Attorney General’s Office and began her legal career at the Legislative Counsel Bureau.  Linda is involved in the Asian Bar Association of Sacramento and has received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence. She is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law, where she served as the Co-Editor-In-Chief of the International Law Review. She is also a graduate of the University of California Davis, where she served as a Senator on the ASUCD Student Senate; headed up various committees as a member of the Picnic Day Board; was a reporter for the Cal Aggie and worked as a London Bus conductor.

The Honorable Elena Gonzales, Executive Director and Chief Administrative Law Judge of California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.  Ms. Gonzales was appointed Chief Administrative Law Judge and Executive Director of the California Unemployment Appeals Board (CUIAB) in September 2013.  CUIAB hears unemployment insurance and disability appeals, as well as employer tax matters. Ms. Gonzales began in 2004 as an Administrative Law Judge, and also served as a Presiding Judge handling judicial complaints, ethical issues, operational standardization, and best practices. Ms. Gonzales graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1974. After graduating from UC Davis, King Hall School of Law in 1978, she first worked as a Deputy District Attorney for Riverside County. She next worked as a litigator in a small land use law firm in San Diego County, and later joined the litigation group of a major international law firm in Los Angeles, defending wrongful termination and insurance bad faith matters. Her next career move was as a Deputy Trial Counsel, and an Assistant Chief for the State Bar of California in Los Angeles, where she was responsible for the prosecution of attorneys for ethical misconduct.

Mimi Castillo, Castillo Law Offices/Mediation & Arbitration, Founder of Filipino Lawyers of Washington.  Mimi was born in Manila, Philippines, to Emilio & Dolly Castillo; brother, Gabe Castillo.  Her family came to the United States in the mid-60’s and settled in Bellevue & Seattle with the family.  She is a graduate of Seattle’s Roosevelt High School.  Attended the University of Washington, and graduated from Seattle University with a BA in Political Science.  Mimi is a 1984 Graduate of Seattle University School of Law, formerly University of Puget Sound School of Law.  Her professional experience include: Legislative Aide to former King County Councilmember, the late Ruby Chow, Attorney with the Washington State Senate Governmental Operations Committee, Judicial Law Clerk/Bailiff to the Honorable Warren Chan, Judge, Co-counsel with the Pierce County Juvenile Courts and Public Information Coordinator for the City of Kent.  She has been in private practice in Seattle since 1987.  Her legal background varied through the years with cases involving Bankruptcy, Family Law, Criminal, Wills/Estate and Probate, Personal Injury, Real Estate, Employment  and Immigration.  Presently, her practice includes Dispute Resolution such as private mediation and arbitration.  She is a Settlement Master with King County, and has settled many cases before trial.  Mimi has been appointed to arbitrate Mandatory Arbitration cases for the past 25 years.  She was also the past Commissioner of the City of Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (selected by the City Council).  She has done volunteer work for the United Way and ACLU.  Past pastoral council member of Assumption Catholic Church.  She is currently a board member of the Filipino Community of Seattle. She is a co-founder and past president of the Filipino Lawyers of Washington (FLOW); a co-founder of the largest Asian legal organization in the Northwest, the Asian Bar Association of Washington (ABAW); a co-founder of the largest Asian legal organization in the nation, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA); and a co-founder of the largest Filipino legal organization in the nation, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA).  Mimi is currently NAPABA’s Northwest Regional Governor, and she’s on its Board of Directors.  Last year, she received NAPABA’s highest award, the Daniel Inouye Trailblazer Award at its national convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is very proud of my experience in mentoring of students and new attorneys, as well as those in high school and college. Mimi has volunteered to assist law students in passing the Bar Exams, and one of those she assisted is now a judge.  She has volunteered at various civic and legal organizations to promote pro bono or low bono legal assistance.  She also encourages new attorneys to give back to their communities.

Closing Remarks

20151118-gloGloria Megino Ochoa, first Filipina to graduate from King Hall (UC Davis Law School), first Filipina/o lawyer to serve as Counsel to the California Senate Judiciary Committee, first Filipina to run for a California Supervisorial seat (and win), and the first Filipino/a in California to be the nominee of the Democratic Party (or any major political party).

Born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines, Gloria came to the US as a college student in 1963, graduating in 1966 from UC Davis with a major in Chemistry. She worked for 7 years as a chemist for the Department of Environmental Toxicology, where she conducted extensive research on the deleterious environmental effects of pesticides on the brain functions of mammals and monkeys.

In 1973 she decided to attend UC Davis Law School, graduated in 1976, and took her first job as Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She left the Senate in 1979, when she was appointed by then Governor Brown as Assistant Secretary for Housing in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She was later appointed Public Advisor to the California Energy Commission for a three-year term. When her term ended, Gloria returned to Santa Barbara to raise her children and open a small private practice. Not satisfied with her many community activities, however, in 1987 Gloria decided to run for the Board of Supervisors of Santa Barbara County, won, and represented the First District, consisting of the cities of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and the community of Montecito. In 1992, she entered the race for the then US Congressional District 22, won the primary but lost the general election to a very wealthy opponent from Montecito.

The Clinton administration then recruited Gloria to Washington D.C. where she served as Senior Adviser for International Affairs to the Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Department of Energy. She returned to Santa Barbara in semi-retirement and a small private boutique practice in international trade and energy, but in 1999 was again called to Sacramento to serve then Governor Gray Davis. However, she was lured back to work for the Senate Judiciary Committee by its then Chair, Senator, now US Congressman, Adam Schiff of Pasadena. Gloria served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Committee until she retired in 2010.

Since then, Gloria has worked as a Pro Tem Administrative Law Judge, and has maintained an active consulting position with various international businesses. Her main community work in the last 17 years has focused on My Sister’s House, a nonprofit organization providing shelter, food, training, and other services to women and children of Asian/Pacific Island descent who are victims or survivors of domestic violence.

Gloria is a recipient of numerous community/public service awards, including those from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (now Asian Americans Advancing Justice), the Philippine American Bar Association of Los Angeles, and the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento. She has three grown sons, three daughters in law, seven grandchildren, and a big family in the East Bay.

Ms. Megino Ochoa will be introduced by Mari Bandoma Callado.


Mari is an associate attorney at Dolan Law Firm PC. Her practice focuses on plaintiff-side employment litigation, including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. She also represents individuals injured and families of loved ones who have died due to the fault of others, including in elder abuse and neglect lawsuits.

Prior to joining the Dolan Law Firm, Mari represented employees in significant class action lawsuits involving minimum wage pay violations, improper denial of overtime pay and meal and rest breaks, and misclassification of employees as exempt and non-exempt. She also worked as a research attorney for the Honorable Judge Stuart Hing in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.

A graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Mari was recognized for her Pro Bono work and served on the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. During law school, Mari interned with administrative law judges at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Labor. She also volunteered at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center’s Workers’ Rights Clinic and was President of the Employment and Labor Law Students Association and the Pilipino American Law Society.

A member of the Board of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California since 2013, Mari serves as its Secretary for 2016-2017.


Courtyard Marriott 299 2nd St. San Francisco Downtown

FBANC has reserved 15 rooms at a discounted block rate of $179/night  (not including local and state tax).

To book:

  • Book online; or
  • Call 1-800-321-2211 or 415-947-0700 and reference M-7XO95BE (Filipino Bar Association Room Block) when booking.

Deadline: Must book by February 1, 2017.

Are you interested in splitting hotel costs by sharing accommodations?

Contact for assistance with finding a roommate and additional information.


Thank you to our sponsors:

Dolan Law Firm, P.C., Platinum

Filipino Bar Assocation of Northern California FBANC, Platinum

Gonzales Gonzales & Gonzales Immigration Law Offices, Platinum

Hanson Bridgett LLP, Platinum

National Filipino American Lawyers Assocation NFALA, Platinum

Perkins Coie, LLP, Platinum

Sedgwick, LLP, Platinum

Zarate Dulany P.C., Platinum

First Legal , Gold

Burnham Brown, Silver

Law Offices of Vanessa Candelaria, Silver

Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP, Silver

Advanced Discovery , Bronze

Asian Law Alliance, Bronze

Emerge Law Group, Bronze

Esquire Deposition Services, Bronze

Filipino Lawyers of Washgington (FLOW), Bronze

Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association (HFLA), Bronze

Hwang Law Group, LLP,  Bronze

Law Offices of Audra Ibarra, Bronze

Paul Ambrosio, Bronze

Pineapple Ind, Bronze

Sponsorship Opportunities:

FBANC invites you and your firm or company to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities for this inaugural conference.  Your generous sponsorship provides vital support to the empowerment of the Filipino community while also providing increased visibility to your firm or company to Northern California’s legal community as well as the National Filipino legal community.

This year, FBANC will be offering the following sponsorship levels:

  • Platinum ($1,000)
    • Your business or firm logo featured as a Platinum Sponsor on the Pinay Powerhouse website;
    • Prominent advertisement, signage, and printed materials during all of the conference events: Welcome Dinner, Conference, and Cocktail Reception;
    • Exclusive advertisement on Conference gift bag giveaways;
    • Ability to distribute promotional materials in all conference attendees gift bags; and
    • Two (2) complimentary registrations to the Conference
  • Gold ($750)
    • Your business or firm name featured as a Gold Sponsor on the Pinay Powerhouse website;
    • Premiere advertisement as the Gold Sponsor for the Welcome Dinner or Cocktail Reception;
    • Prominent advertisement, signage, and printed materials during the Conference;
    • Ability to distribute promotional materials in all conference attendees gift bags; and
    • One (1) complimentary registration to the Conference
  • Silver ($500)
    • Your business or firm name featured as a Silver Sponsor on the Pinay Powerhouse website;
    • Premiere advertisement as the Silver Sponsor for one of two MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) Conference Panel Sessions focusing on human trafficking and/or confronting bias;
    • Prominent advertisement and printed materials during the Conference; and
    • Ability to distribute promotional materials in all conference attendees gift bags
  • Bronze ($250)
    • Your business or firm name featured as a Bronze Sponsor on the Pinay Powerhouse website;
    • Prominent advertisement during the Conference and special Bronze Sponsor recognition on Conference printed materials;
    • Table top exhibit (6’) during the Conference; and
    • Ability to distribute promotional materials in all conference attendees gift bags
  • Print Sponsor
    • Please contact Mari Bandoma Callado directly at if you are interested in sponsoring by way of printing all written and poster board materials.

To take advantage of these sponsorship opportunities or for any other inquiries, please feel free to email us at We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support and look forward to seeing you at our conference.  Thank you very much.

Brought to you by


Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC)

Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego (FALSD)

Filipino-American Lawyers of Orange County (FLOC)

Filipino Lawyers of Washington (FLOW) 

Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association (HFLA) 

National Filipino American Lawyers Association (NFALA) 

Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association (OFALA)

Philippine American Bar Association (PABA)

Planning Committees

To join a committee, contact Christine Start

MCLE Panel Sessions

Committee Lead: Christine Start, FBANC

Committee Members:

Vanessa Leonardo, FBANC

Jeanne Grove, FBANC

Jennifer Sta. Ana, FBANC

Carmelita Miller, FBANC

Group Breakout Sessions

Committee Lead: Christine Start, FBANC

Committee Members:

Vanessa Leonardo, FBANC

Erica Chu, FBANC

Jency Butler, FBANC

Jeri Gonzales Abrams, FLOW/NFALA

Katherine Zarate Dulany, FBANC


Committee Lead: Laurie Rose Lubiano, FBANC/NFALA

Committee Members:

Jamie Juni, FBANC

Erica Chu, FBANC

Angelica Leonardo, FBANC

Rena Sera, FBANC

Lynette Baclig, FBANC

Stephanie Davidson, OFALA

Melissa De Leon, FALSD

Rozelle Agag, HFLA

Communications and Marketing

Committee Lead: Mari Bandoma Callado, FBANC

Committee Members:

Katrina Romero, FBANC

Jency Butler, FBANC

Rena Sera, FBANC

Isabelle Tan, FBANC

Jeri Abrams Gonzales, FLOW/NFALA

Welcome Dinner/Happy Hour

Committee Lead: Lorna Garcia De Guzman, FBANC

Committee Members:

Vanessa Candelaria, FBANC/NFALA

Carmelita Miller, FBANC

Laurie Rose Lubiano, FBANC

Katrina Romero, FBANC

Lynette Baclig, FBANC

Christine Gonong, PABA

Ira Perez, PABA

Accommodations/Sunday Social

Committee Lead: Lorna Garcia De Guzman, FBANC

Committee Members:

Vanessa Candelaria, FBANC/NFALA

Yunah Rha, FBANC

Jamie Juni, FBANC

Rozelle Agag, HFLA