In celebration of women’s contribution to nation-building, Security Bank and Zonta Club of Makati & Environs recognized exceptional individuals whose advocacies and contributions helped advance women empowerment in the country.
Started in 2015, the 8 Bravo Empowered Women Awards has opened a wider avenue for individuals to reach out to the community and build a better nation for everyone. Security Bank and Zonta Club of Makati & Environs have partnered in this advocacy to inspire and lead more women to transform Filipino society and create a lasting impact.
Women who break boundaries
Sr. Mary Placid C. Abejo, OSB, Bravo Woman for Arts, Culture & Heritage, now Retired Dean Emeritus, was the Dean of Music at St. Scholastica’s College for the past 32 years. Sister Placid has shown exemplary work in the field of musizarah-juanc education and has devoted decades of her life to championing young musicians.
Zarah Jane D. Juan, Bravo Woman for Business, is an independent bag maker with an eponymous brand that bringsliers to create pieces that genuinely showcase Filipino creative talent and expertise. She believes that young and aspiring entrepreneurs together local women artisans, weavers and supp should “create a positive impact that would change the society for the better”.
The Bravo Woman for Culinary Arts is Susana P. Guerrero, the first Certified Culinary Professional in the Philippines. She established the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA Manila), the country’s pioneer culinary arts school. She is the President of Zero-Waste Philippines, Inc., a non-government organization with a vision of promoting ecological awareness and zero waste lifestyle.
Elsie Maria M. Romano, Bravo Woman for Education, is the Division Head of the Early Childhood Care and Development Division Office of Naga. Her immense contribution to the city government’s goal in giving affordable but quality educational service has earned Naga recognitions including the “Most Child-Friendly City” award for three consecutive years.
The Bravo Woman for Science & Technology is Dr. Mary Beth Maningas, one of the most prolific scientists in the Philippines and Asia who is currently working on the detection of disease-causing microorganisms in aquacultured shrimps. “There are only a few scientists here in our country. When doing volunteer jobs, my susan-oplemindset is that I do this for the farmers, I do this for my country”, Maningas said.
Susan Ople, a member of the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, is the Bravo Woman for Social Services. Susan has helped in the rescue of thousands of OFWs who were victims of human trafficking and exploitation “Be the heroes of our heroes. We may be receiving awards tonight, but tomorrow our work continues,” Ople expressed.
Yvette K. Medalla, the first Asian to have swum the perilous Robben Island Crossing in South Africa, is the Bravo Woman for Sports. Through the Swimjunkie Challenge, she made the Philippines a bucket list destination for open water swimmers.
Completing the 8 Bravo honorees is the Bravo Woman for Media & Public Affairs, Sadhana “Nana” Buxani, an award-winning documentary photographer, filmmaker, and painter whose work sheds light on pressing social issues. “I want to be the voice of the voiceless,” she was quoted by her sister when asked what motivates her.
This year’s ceremony broke boundaries with the introduction of a special award. Adding to the roster of 8 Bravo women is Special Bravo Woman Awardee Jessie Lichauco, an inspiring 105-year old Cuban-born Filipino American recognized for her charitable works and unwavering service to the Filipino community. During World War II, she opened her home to internally displaced persons and war refugees. transforming it into a makeshift hospital that served at least 2,000 people.
The ‘Bravo Empowered Women Awards’ search is conducted every two years where winners are chosen after a stringent process of nominations and interviews. The awards program is known for recognizing unsung heroes who have never received any previous awards at the national level.