Imperial Pacific International launched its first ever award program last Friday, March 17, at the Pacific Islands Club to recognize five pioneering women in the Commonwealth.
The program, called R.I.S.E.: Women in History, recognized Paulette Sablan, Margarita Aldan, Maisie Tenorio, the late Dolores Marciano and the late Escolastica Cabrera.
The ceremony, launched by IPI’s Corporate Social Responsibility Department, honored women who positively impacted the CNMI in the areas of education, healthcare, arts and culture, business, and public service. It was held in celebration of Women’s Month. R.I.S.E. means “Respected, inspired, strengthened, empowered.”
Family members represented some of the honorees since they have already passed away, or could not make it to the event.
“Our CNMI was built upon the many contributions of women, empowered women, many generations before us, who gave so much toward improving our islands today,” said CSR chief Geralyn DelaCruz. “They rightfully deserve to be recognized and praised because with them, and those who stood next to them during their pursuits, paved the way for what we are today.”
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres expressed his gratitude to all the women of the CNMI. “We congratulate all of you, and thank you for all your contributions,” said Torres. “All you women are very important to us, we wouldn’t be where we are at without all of you.”
Felicidad Ogumoro, who chairs the 2017 CNMI Women’s Month, encouraged the public to acknowledge women and their achievements. “We should continue to promote women in our homes and in our workforce.”
Ogumoro also acknowledged the young women of today. “Young women today are confident, empowered and driven,” she said.
Sablan was honored in the category of education. She is currently the principal of San Vicente Elementary School. She served as principal since 2012, but before that, she served as vice principal for two years and the school counselor for three years before that. According to Sablan, working as an educator takes “commitment, patience, and compassion.”
Aldan was honored in the category of healthcare. She was not able to make it to the ceremony so her sister received the award on her behalf. In a video of Aldan, she said: “Work in my community is what gives me confidence in my leadership.”
Tenorio was honored in the category of public service. She, alongside her husband started the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in 2005. It is a non-profit organization that teaches women, children about sexual violence. “Public work is all about heart, compassion, time, learning about different cultures and serving everyone,” Tenorio said.
Marciano was honored in the category arts and culture. The children of Marciano shared a few memories of their mother in the recognition ceremony. “Our mother was very strict about performances,” said Marciano’s son. Under Marciano’s tutelage, the CNMI was recognized in the 80’s for its cultural dances.
Cabrera was recognized in the category business for being the first businesswoman in the CNMI. Cabrera’s children shared memories about their mother. “She first started with a tailoring shop, then a grocery store, to a bakery, a car rental, and then a snack mobile,” said Cabrera’s oldest daughter. “Our mother was a good businesswoman but she never got rich because of her big heart. She didn’t have a lot but she will always be remembered.”