Bank of Guam vice president/CNMI regional manager Merced “Marcie” M. Tomokane bagged on Saturday night the Saipan Chamber of Commerce’s coveted 2013 Businessperson of the Year award, which honors businesspersons for their community involvement and contributions, business longevity, support for the local workforce, and participation in Chamber activities.
Tomokane, however, was off-island so she couldn’t personally accept the Chamber’s signature annual award that started in 1996.
Accepting the award on Tomokane’s behalf was one of the two recipients of the Chamber’s 2012 Businessperson of the Year award, Marcia E. Ayuyu of RJ Corp.
“I am very happy to accept the award on her behalf. I want to thank all of you for voting for her. She’s a great person. …I know she deserves to receive this award,” Ayuyu said of Tomokane at the awards ceremony held in the Hibiscus Hall of Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan.
The ceremony drew not only businesspersons but also government officials including Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Perry Tenorio, and Northern Marianas College president Sharon Hart, among others.
Tomokane has over 30 years of experience in banking operation and management, including commercial, real estate mortgage and consumer lending. She also has over 10 years of experience in government finance environment, inclusive of budgeting, accounting, investment and treasury.
She started her career in 1973 at Bank of America-Saipan, before working for the first time at Bank of Guam on Saipan in 1980. She worked at Commonwealth Bank in 1983.
From 1984 to 1994, Tomokane worked at the CNMI Department of Finance, starting as an executive/administrative assistant until she became the CNMI treasurer.
In 1994, she went back to Bank of Guam, this time as assistant vice president/branch operation manager. A year later, she became vice president/branch manager. In 2003, she became vice president/CNMI regional manager, a position she still holds today.
Tomokane bested four other 2013 nominees for the 2013 businessperson of the year award, including Nick Nishikawa of Hyatt Regency Saipan; John Baldwin of Bridge Capital LLC; Alex Youn of Stars Sands Plaza; and Guy Pudney of Marianas Pacific Distributors.
Three other nominees earlier declined nominations.
All the nominees were nominated by the Chamber’s general membership. Past businesspersons of the year—not the board of directors—select the winner.
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1976, is the largest private sector business organization in the CNMI. It works to promote and protect the business, economic and civic interests, and the general health and welfare, of the islands.