Nurse educator Laura Garcia is new president as Fiesta rebrands into a health & wellness expo

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‘Her expertise in healthcare and winsome persona will be crucial.’ Photo by Boyet Loverita

‘Her expertise in healthcare and winsome persona will be crucial.’ Photo by Boyet Loverita

Fiesta In America has announced the appointment of Dr. Laura Garcia as president for Community Partnerships at the 19-year-old expo and cultural show.

“Laura’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,” said Fernando “Nanding” Mendez, CEO of Fiesta. “After all, Fiesta In America is only as strong as the public and private connections it fosters.” Mendez co-founded Fiesta in 1998 with his now deceased wife Mila.

Garcia said she is pleased to be given an important role in Fiesta as the multicultural show seeks to evolve to become “a voice for Filipinos in the USA and around the world.”

“Since 2015,” according to the nurse educator, “Nanding has been introducing me to the leaders of key FilAm 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.”

As president for Community Partnerships, Garcia told The FilAm she will “initiate coalitions that enhance the Fiesta brand, and that contribute to the themes of Total Wellness, tourism and trade promotion, and cultural diversity.”

She is also to serve as “external spokesperson” to represent Fiesta before the media, at important government and business functions, and other community activities that require high-level presence.

With Fiesta In America CEO Fernando ‘Nanding’ Mendez

With Fiesta In America CEO Fernando ‘Nanding’ Mendez

Garcia is an associate professor at the Phillips School of Nursing at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel. A Butuan City native and Silliman University alumna, she will soon serve as chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and sit on the board of other nonprofit groups. She completed her highest education degree, Doctor of Nursing Practice, in May, and received the Ulirang Guro (Exemplary Teacher) Award from the Association of Fil-Am Teachers of America.

Garcia was one of the FilAm 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 ceremony held at the Philippine Center New York’s Kalayaan Hall.

Incidentally, Garcia is a candidate for an open position on the board of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc.

“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 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.”

© 2017 The FilAm

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