The Pacific Century Fellows-Marianas Chapter welcomed its fifth cycle of fellows in an opening retreat over the weekend, March 17-18, at the Kanoa Resort.
A total of 13 fellows from both the public and private sectors are in the 2018 roster of the Marianas chapter and they include Cody Ash (Bridge Capital LLC), Norman Del Rosario (IT&E), Christian Delos Santos (Marianas Visitors Authority), Maxine Laszlo (Commonwealth Advocates for Recovery Efforts), Katherine Mersai (William S. Reyes Elementary School), Ryan Meyerhoff (CNMI Law Revision Commission), Mark Rabago (Saipan Tribune), Charlie Rivera (Tropical Instant Press, Inc.), Melanie Santos (TakeCare Insurance), Jamika Taijeron (DFS Saipan Ltd.), Natashia Tomokane (IT&E), Joshua Wise (PHI Pharmacy), and Raymond Zapanta (Tan Siu Lin Foundation).
The fellows, who hurdled a selection process that included a panel interview, opened the weekend retreat last Saturday with a brief introduction from Alex Sablan, PCF-Marianas Chapter vice chairman.
Sablan talked about what is required of the fellows during the nine-month program, which includes off-island trips to Hawaii and Guam.
PCF-Marianas Chapter chair Jerry Tan also explained why he established the PCF-Marianas Chapter in 2014.
“Success of a country, a community, a company, a family, and even a sports team is always a result of having ‘strong leadership.’ Thus, the primary objective and mission of Pacific Century Fellows is to groom our young professionals to become future leaders of the CNMI,” he said.
Mufi Hannemann, former mayor of Honolulu and founder of Pacific Century Fellows of Hawaii, the program where PCF-Marianas was modeled after, also gave a presentation on “Mufi’s Maxims”—a set of ideals and everyday practices he applied in his responsibilities as mayor of Honolulu—and leadership tenets.
Hannemann said he’s proud of how PCF-Marianas has grown since 2014.
“It is extremely gratifying for me to witness the growth and development of the Pacific Century Fellows program in the Marianas. To see so many of the graduates of the last four classes go beyond their fellowship year and become contributing and productive members of the Commonwealth is a great indication of things to come in the future. Like our PCF experience in Hawaii where the program started, it has surpassed the expectations I had when we first embarked on this venture,” he said.
The PCF founder also had good words to say about the 2018 batch of fellows and wished them good luck for the next nine months.
“This latest PCF class of 2018 promises to be another outstanding group of talented young leaders. I was impressed with the desire, energy, and ideas that they brought forth at their opening retreat. Hats off to Jerry Tan and his hardworking staff for their excellent work in support of the PCF-Marianas Chapter,” he added.
The weekend retreat continued in the afternoon with the fellows selecting the topics for their once-a-month, whole-day sessions.
The topics selected were CNMI Government (April), Tourism and Gaming (May), Healthcare and Humanitarian Services (June), Infrastructure and Environment (August), Protecting our Homeland (September), and Education and Workforce Development (October). The fellows will go to Guam in July and Hawaii in November.
After dinner at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan’s Mai Restaurant, the fellows moseyed down to SandCastle Saipan where they were mesmerized by the Las Vegas-style magic show of illusionist Leon Etienne.
The second and last day of the retreat on Sunday had the 13 fellows motoring up to the island’s highest peak—Mount Tapochao—via a rough-and-tumble ride aboard Razrs UTVs courtesy of Let’s Go Tour Company.
The weekend retreat actually kicked off a day earlier on Friday with mixer at the Nami Lounge of Kanoa Resort that was attended by the 2018 fellows and some of the 58 members of the PCF-Marianas Chapter alumni.
During the event, Waikiki Improvement Association president Rick Egged talked about how community involvement helped make Waikiki one of the most popular travel and leisure destinations in the world.