Empow(her)ment: A Dialogue with Pinay Entrepreneurs

Click the link below to watch the Undiscovered SF video produced by Truth Be Told Productions x 5M

https://vimeo.com/354032912

During this time of uncertainty, communities have come together to lift each other up. The SoMa community in San Francisco has long exemplified this spirit of bayanihan and what it means to be there for one another, even when we can’t be together physically. As we began to shelter-in-place in March, many community events were cancelled, including 5M’s Empow(her)ment event. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the 5M team had planned to premiere a video highlighting local Pinay entrepreneurs followed by a panel discussion. As March turned into April, the future of public events became more unclear. Gina Mariko Rosales, one of the featured entrepreneurs, offered a great idea to Juslyn Manalo and the 5M team. Gina, the founder of Make it Mariko & Co-Founder of UNDISCOVERED SF, suggested moving Empow(her)ment to an online space. On April 22, 2020, the 5M team hosted its first virtual panel event featuring Pinay entrepreneurs sharing their stories, triumphs and insight into getting through this unprecedented time.

Empow(her)ment featured four incredible women whose work and dedication have offered resources, connection and hope to the SoMa community and beyond. Audience members had a virtual front row seat to real-time insights from Gina Mariko Rosales, Ruby Ibarra (Rapper and Music Producer), and Lily Prijoles & Golda Sargento (Co-Owners of Arkipelago Books). Juslyn Manalo, 5M’s Community Engagement Manager, seamlessly guided the conversation. It felt like listening to a favorite podcast: reassuring, encouraging and motivating. Echoing this sentiment, Gina highlights the video produced by Truth Be Told Productions in collaboration with 5M. The video celebrates these female leaders, empowers us to inspire one another and asks: What can we do together? What can we build?  

Lily shares that, while being an entrepreneur can be challenging, “The path was right when I had the right people around me.” With their mutual love for stories, Lily and Golda share common goals for Arkipelago Books. Based in SoMa, they are one of only two distributors of specialty books from the Philippines in the US. They believe in the value of connecting youth and their families with their culture. To them, success is libraries and schools buying their books and introducing Filipino culture and literature to a larger community. In reflection, Golda says, “Arkipelago was a no brainer. It’s definitely worth it. It’s like a positive risk with a lot of work and effort.”

On gaining confidence and taking next steps, Gina advises trusting your gut. As a proud Capricorn, when she comes up with an idea, she’s determined to make it happen. To transition into running her own business, she negotiated with her employer, Google, to work part time. She recommends, “Before you leave, you want to leverage all of your contacts at your current job. When I went part time, I reached out to everyone I ever met at Google and built on a network I already had.” Her business, Make it Mariko, creates curated events all around San Francisco. Fast forward to today, many of Gina’s clients are referrals, and she’s even a vendor for her previous employer, Google. She’s also a co-founder of UNDISCOVERED SF, which brings entrepreneurs together and raises awareness of the SoMa Pilipinas cultural district.

Throughout the event, members of the community, 5M team and even the panelists themselves filled the comments section with thoughtful questions and appreciation. When Ruby gave a live rap performance of “Here” and “Someday” from her debut album, CIRCA91, the audience rooted her on the whole time. Yesssss!! Even while watching from our own homes, the collective energy was there as if we were together in the same room.  

Ruby expressed her gratitude for being part of this conversation with other inspirational women. Knowing that younger Pinays are listening to her music, she emphasizes, “It’s very important that there’s more entrepreneurs that we’re cultivating and nurturing within our community because that’s how we move the community forward.” Immigrating from the Philippines when she was five-years-old, she grew up as a Pinay artist with a love for R&B. However, she didn’t see herself represented in the media. For her, empow(her)ment is mentoring and helping the next generation. She’d love to be a resource for young Pinays interested in the Hip Hop or creative industry.

Towards the end of the event, in a brief moment of technical difficulties, Juslyn’s image disappeared from the screen. Without missing a beat, she thanked the audience for going with the flow and continued. Behind the scenes, the 5M team cheered Juslyn on for keeping the event going so smoothly. In some ways, we’re navigating sheltering-in-place the same way. As we continue to face unexpected challenges, we’re finding moments to celebrate the small victories and empow(her) one another through it all. A big thank you to Gina, Lily, Golda, Ruby, Juslyn and the 5M team for capturing the importance of empow(her)ing one another.

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To learn more about how you can support these Pinay entrepreneurs, please check out their platforms below. Thank you for reading and for being part of the Empow(her)ment conversation and community.

Gina Mariko Rosales:

One of Gina’s current projects is her #HustleInPlace campaign on Instagram. Follow along and learn more about her work @ginamariko, @makeitmariko, @pinayista, and @undiscoveredsf.

Lily Prijoles & Golda Sargento:

While Arkipelago Books is currently closed to the public, you can purchase their books online at https://www.arkipelagobooks.com/

Ruby Ibarra:

Ruby has been connecting with her community by hosting live Q&As and performing on her Instagram @rubyibarra. Check out her website https://www.rubyibarra.com/ for more of her music and performances.

Click the link below to watch the Undiscovered SF video produced by Truth Be Told Productions x 5M

https://vimeo.com/354032912

During this time of uncertainty, communities have come together to lift each other up. The SoMa community in San Francisco has long exemplified this spirit of bayanihan and what it means to be there for one another, even when we can’t be together physically. As we began to shelter-in-place in March, many community events were cancelled, including 5M’s Empow(her)ment event. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the 5M team had planned to premiere a video highlighting local Pinay entrepreneurs followed by a panel discussion. As March turned into April, the future of public events became more unclear. Gina Mariko Rosales, one of the featured entrepreneurs, offered a great idea to Juslyn Manalo and the 5M team. Gina, the founder of Make it Mariko & Co-Founder of UNDISCOVERED SF, suggested moving Empow(her)ment to an online space. On April 22, 2020, the 5M team hosted its first virtual panel event featuring Pinay entrepreneurs sharing their stories, triumphs and insight into getting through this unprecedented time.

Empow(her)ment featured four incredible women whose work and dedication have offered resources, connection and hope to the SoMa community and beyond. Audience members had a virtual front row seat to real-time insights from Gina Mariko Rosales, Ruby Ibarra (Rapper and Music Producer), and Lily Prijoles & Golda Sargento (Co-Owners of Arkipelago Books). Juslyn Manalo, 5M’s Community Engagement Manager, seamlessly guided the conversation. It felt like listening to a favorite podcast: reassuring, encouraging and motivating. Echoing this sentiment, Gina highlights the video produced by Truth Be Told Productions in collaboration with 5M. The video celebrates these female leaders, empowers us to inspire one another and asks: What can we do together? What can we build?  

Lily shares that, while being an entrepreneur can be challenging, “The path was right when I had the right people around me.” With their mutual love for stories, Lily and Golda share common goals for Arkipelago Books. Based in SoMa, they are one of only two distributors of specialty books from the Philippines in the US. They believe in the value of connecting youth and their families with their culture. To them, success is libraries and schools buying their books and introducing Filipino culture and literature to a larger community. In reflection, Golda says, “Arkipelago was a no brainer. It’s definitely worth it. It’s like a positive risk with a lot of work and effort.”

On gaining confidence and taking next steps, Gina advises trusting your gut. As a proud Capricorn, when she comes up with an idea, she’s determined to make it happen. To transition into running her own business, she negotiated with her employer, Google, to work part time. She recommends, “Before you leave, you want to leverage all of your contacts at your current job. When I went part time, I reached out to everyone I ever met at Google and built on a network I already had.” Her business, Make it Mariko, creates curated events all around San Francisco. Fast forward to today, many of Gina’s clients are referrals, and she’s even a vendor for her previous employer, Google. She’s also a co-founder of UNDISCOVERED SF, which brings entrepreneurs together and raises awareness of the SoMa Pilipinas cultural district.

Throughout the event, members of the community, 5M team and even the panelists themselves filled the comments section with thoughtful questions and appreciation. When Ruby gave a live rap performance of “Here” and “Someday” from her debut album, CIRCA91, the audience rooted her on the whole time. Yesssss!! Even while watching from our own homes, the collective energy was there as if we were together in the same room.  

Ruby expressed her gratitude for being part of this conversation with other inspirational women. Knowing that younger Pinays are listening to her music, she emphasizes, “It’s very important that there’s more entrepreneurs that we’re cultivating and nurturing within our community because that’s how we move the community forward.” Immigrating from the Philippines when she was five-years-old, she grew up as a Pinay artist with a love for R&B. However, she didn’t see herself represented in the media. For her, empow(her)ment is mentoring and helping the next generation. She’d love to be a resource for young Pinays interested in the Hip Hop or creative industry.

Towards the end of the event, in a brief moment of technical difficulties, Juslyn’s image disappeared from the screen. Without missing a beat, she thanked the audience for going with the flow and continued. Behind the scenes, the 5M team cheered Juslyn on for keeping the event going so smoothly. In some ways, we’re navigating sheltering-in-place the same way. As we continue to face unexpected challenges, we’re finding moments to celebrate the small victories and empow(her) one another through it all. A big thank you to Gina, Lily, Golda, Ruby, Juslyn and the 5M team for capturing the importance of empow(her)ing one another.

---

To learn more about how you can support these Pinay entrepreneurs, please check out their platforms below. Thank you for reading and for being part of the Empow(her)ment conversation and community.

Gina Mariko Rosales:

One of Gina’s current projects is her #HustleInPlace campaign on Instagram. Follow along and learn more about her work @ginamariko, @makeitmariko, @pinayista, and @undiscoveredsf.

Lily Prijoles & Golda Sargento:

While Arkipelago Books is currently closed to the public, you can purchase their books online at https://www.arkipelagobooks.com/

Ruby Ibarra:

Ruby has been connecting with her community by hosting live Q&As and performing on her Instagram @rubyibarra. Check out her website https://www.rubyibarra.com/ for more of her music and performances.

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