2014 Officers' and Directors' Biographies

Nelle Strasheim - Running for President

Greetings to all my Kababayan!

My name is Nelle Obsenares Strasheim. My family resides in Los Arcos, Prosperidad, Agusan del sur and Butuan City, Agusan del Norte Mindanao, Philippines.  I was alone in Colorado and I was  searching a place that I could be with my fellow pinoy.  I was introduced to the FACC by Amanda Minoza who is the sister-in law of Mr. and Mrs. Nestor and Elnora Mercado.   The hospitality of the FACC members provided me the sense of family comfort and it became my home away from home. 

I have been an active member since 2002 and for several years I served on the FACC Board of Directors.  My experience has evolved immensely along with the cooperation and dedication of our members. 

Many of you may know that I am a candidate for the FACC President 2014-2015.  I currently serve at the FACC as the 2nd Vice President.  I am responsible for coordinating various programs including:  Education, Cultural, Youth, Maski Paps, volunteers for fundraising activities and Filipino Heritage Camp. 

My approach and goals are to work with the officers and the Board of Directors to ensure our members involvement, family functions, and outreach to other organizations.  I  intend to provide continuous support for our scholarship program (domestic and abroad), Cultural, Maski Paps, and strengthen our Mano Po (young at heart).  My hope and goals are to achieve and bring new direction, transparency, get involved, embrace our culture and heritage for the next generation. Most of all, I would love our members to enjoy the company of each other and grow together in the community.

I will see you all on November 16, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at the FACC for our Community Thanksgiving and Election of FACC Officers and Board of Directors for 2014. My hope is that you will vote for me as your next President and Fran Campbell  as your next  first Vice-President.

Maraming Salamat

Nelle Obsenares Strasheim

FACC 2nd Vice President

Donna Lavigne - Running for President

Dear FACC Members:

The Filipino-American Community of Colorado is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary next year … and that is a great accomplishment!  

On November 16, 2013, we are having elections for officers and directors to lead the Community starting from the Diamond year and beyond.  

I am running for president, because the FACC has a special place in my heart. My husband, Jay and I have been very active members of this organization for almost 30 years. We have worked/ran bingo operations to pay off the Bahay Kubo and then renovate it with the support of the whole Community.  We both have held positions from member of the Board to President.  

I have the time, the energy, and the experience to lead this organization once again.  Below are my involvement and major accomplishments in the many different organizations that I have been associated with:

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Board of Director 2008 to present

First Woman Honorary Chair

Co-Founder, Emerging Leaders Program

Mending Faces

Co-Founder and Secretary, 2010 to present

Helped changed the lives of hundreds of less fortunate children in the Philippines who are afflicted with cleft lips and palates.

Participated 16 years and counting of annual medical mission to the Philippines

National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA)

Charter member of the NaFFAA in Washington DC, 1997

Regional Chair, 2003-2007 & 2009-2011

Led the biggest fund raiser in the history of Colorado Fil-Am, which gave rise to the GK Colorado Village in Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines, home for 30 homeless families, who are the poorest of the poor victims of mudslide.

Started the “Filipiniana,” a vehicle to raise funds for victims of natural calamities in the Philippines.  It is an event that showcases Fil-Am talents.  The event also recognizes the accomplishments of Fil-Am leaders in Colorado and honors them.

Launched the Consular Outreach Mission in Colorado, a project that saves

Filipinos thousands of dollars by not missing work and not flying to San Francisco to obtain Consular services. 

Uplift Internationale

Vice President, Fund Raising and member of the Board 2000 - 2010

Helped expand mission sites in the Philippines, and ran fund raising events

City and County of Broomfield

Member, Health and Human Services Advisory Council, 2001-2005

Established Guidelines and Policies when the City became a City and County.

Member, Broomfield Cultural Affairs Advisory Council, 2006-2008

Established Guidelines and Policies for SCFD grants

Extended invitation to FACC to apply for grants and to perform at the first city celebration of the Asian American Heritage Month.

Governor's Asian Pacific American Advisory Council

Founding Member and Member of the Board, 1999 –2004

Honorary Proclamation by Governor Bill Owens       

Aurora Asian/Pacific Community Partnership

Co-Chair, 1999

First Fil-Am Co-Chair

Helped launch the “Asian Film Festival,” as well as, the APA Scholarship Program

Filipino-American Community of Colorado

President, 1996-1997

Made the “Philippine Festival” an annual and signature event 

Established Grant Committee to secure funding from different sources, including SCFD grant to support the annual Festival.  We celebrated the 17th Philippine Festival last June.

Presented the biggest and most successful FACC cultural show “Pagdiriwang.”

Sponsored touring groups from the Philippines, including UP Concert Chorus, KontraGapi, etc.

Project Cure

Coordinator, 2009-2010

Coordinated and fund raised along with the FACC, NaFFAA, Rotary Clubs in North Metro Denver and Aklan, and the Aklan Provincial government, the first ever shipment of Project Cure of medical equipment and supplies to the Philippines worth $800,000.00 to four hospitals devastated by typhoon Frank.

I have been involved in community service leadership even before I immigrated to the USA.  I have a proven record of accomplishments as stated above.  I hope you will give me a chance to be your President again.

Thank you and warmest regards,

Donna B. LaVigne 

Fran Campbell - Running for 1st Vice President

Dear Valued FACC Members,

On November 16th, 2013 the Filipino-American Community of Colorado will be having the General Elections of Officers and Directors. I am one of two candidates for the 1st Vice President position and I’m writing to encourage you to support my candidacy. I have been a Member of the FACC all my life! My parents, Van and Fe Simsiman, were early Members of the Filipino Club of the Rockies (which was later renamed the Filipino-American Community of Colorado) when I was born. As a Junior Member then an Adult Member and now a Life Member, I have had extensive experience in every facet of the FACC. In 1986, I held my first official FACC position as Youth Director. Since that time through August 2011, I have been elected and served in the offices of Director, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President and three terms as President of the FACC. I have also served as temporary, interim Treasurer and PRO.

Although I have not served as an elected FACC official in the past two years, I have not been inactive! As a volunteer FACC Member, I have accomplished the following:

* Wrote Jefferson County Scientific & Cultural Facilities District grant for FACC award

o $4745.00 in 2012 which supported the FACC Philippine Festival and Cultural programs

o $5671.00 in 2013 which supported the FACC Philippine Festival and Cultural programs

o Attended SCFD workshops, Jefferson County public hearings and SCFD Awards Ceremonies

o Advised on 2012 and 2013 FACC Budgets based on SCFD audit

* 2012 and 2013 - Completed FACC Annual Periodic Report with Colorado Secretary of State

* 2012 and 2013 - Completed FACC Charitable Solicitations Registration Renewal with Colorado Secretary of State

* 2012 and 2013 – Secured authorization from JeffCo Public Health and Environment to hold Annual Philippine Festivals.

* 2012 and 2013 - FACC Contract Representative with Centerplate for Non-Profit Concession Fundraising at Bronco Games.

o Centerplate / FACC Liaison for volunteer trainings, statement settlement and contract adherence

o Completed 84+ hours volunteering for FACC at Non-Profit Concession at 2012 Bronco Season, contributing to $9800+ net FACC fundraising

o Coordinated 2012 Centerplate Volunteers Appreciation Event at Isle Casino

o Committed to 80+ hours volunteering for FACC at Non-Profit Concession for 2013 Bronco Season

* 2012 and 2013 - FACC Emcee for Colorado Dragon Boat Festival Performances

* 2012 and 2013 - FACC Volunteer Coordinator for Filipino Heritage Camp

* 2012 and 2013 - Inter-organizational liaison with outside APIA organizations and agencies, including Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families, Asian Pacific Development Center, Denver Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, Denver Asian Pacific American Commission, Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission, Denver Sheriff’s Department, Philippine American Society of Colorado, Uplift Internationale, Governor’s Asian Advisory Council.

* July 2013 - Negotiated $1000 contract with Ameridia Inc. for Comcast Sponsorship

* October 2013 - Participated with FACC Cultural Group at Evergreen High School Diversity Days

Since 1996, I have written SCFD grants, foundation grants and corporate sponsorship requests for the FACC – for a total amount over $197,000. And in July 2011, I was awarded the Denver Foundation Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award, of which, the $2000 award I endowed to the FACC. I thoroughly appreciate that the main responsibility of the 1st Vice President is resource management. I intend to apply conservative and transparent fiscal management of all our FACC assets and resources, including our cultural center and volunteer availability. I will insist on full Board pre-approval of all operating, event and line-item budgets and plan on continuing the austerity measures put in place in 2012 and 2013. I will pursue the best fund raising opportunities that are based on broad volunteer participation to the benefit of our FACC mission statement and goals. As well, I will continue to seek foundation, corporate and government support.

Professionally, I’ve worked for 12 years as Sr. Clinical Support and Cultural & Linguistic Appropriate Services at Jefferson Center for Mental Health. I am also a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor specializing in trainings for ethnic and special communities.

I fully support an FACC Administration with Nelle Strasheim as President. I believe, as Nelle does, in a purposeful, compassionate fresh vision and direction as we move forward into our next 60 years!

It is important that you exercise your right as an FACC Member to vote for the next administration. Please attend – and vote at - the November 16, 2013 General Elections at the FACC Cultural Center at 6:00pm. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND BUT WOULD STILL LIKE TO CAST YOUR VOTE – please make a written/email request for an Absentee Ballot.

I hope that you will support me as your next 1st Vice President. Thank you!

Fran Campbell

Giselle Rushford - Running for 1st Vice President

My name is Giselle Rushford and I am running for First Vice President this coming November election. 

I am running because I would like to move FACC forward and improve on major areas:

• Fundraising—For many years, Bingo funded the Bahay Kubo and FACC’s programs. However, 

with the advent of the casinos a few miles away we all saw the downward spiral of funding from 

Bingo. During my administration in 2007, with my leadership and the support of the community, we 

applied and were approved to become one of Invesco’s nonprofit volunteer vendors. The move was 

fortuitous because Bingo’s income had depleted to almost zero. The Sports Authority Fundraising 

is still a viable fundraising but at a minimal level. While Scientific and Cultural Facilities District 

(SCFD) funding may still support some programs, we cannot bank the future of the Bahay Kubo 

on a sales tax supported funder—dependent on the whims of the voters. Therefore, we need to find 

other innovative ways such as corporate and major nonprofit organization grants to support the 

Bahay Kubo and FACC’s programs. 

• Youth Program—we need to mentor our Youth to become active participant and future leaders of our community.  We can only do that by engaging, training and finding them space to be themselves and bring out the creativity in our youth and millennials (twenty something)

• Senior Program—we need to engage more seniors to be active members of FACC and help fund their activities so they can enjoy their twilight years.

• Energize Membership—as a cohesive team and under Donna LaVigne’s leadership, we can be a family again: ready to tackle issues that come our way; identify hidden opportunities; plan our work and implement them well.  Running a well-established organization such as FACC requires cultural sensitivities in interacting with Asian, Latino, Black and mainstream communities. I acquired these sensitivities through my work with 

all cultures and family. For example, growing up in Manila my maternal and paternal grandmothers did not speak each other’s dialect or Tagalog, Lola Mating is Ilocano (Laoag) and Lola Maming is Cebuano 

(Argao), respectively. Therefore it behooved us grandchildren to learn the dialects and translate for 

them to enjoy peaceful family gatherings without any of it blowing up due to miscommunication fiasco. 

I emigrated from the Philippines over 40 years ago as a college dropout (studies got interrupted due to 

the family move) of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. However, I finished my undergraduate 

studies in Finance at the Golden Gate University in San Francisco and completed majority of my 

graduate studies in Management and Computer Information Systems at Regis University in Denver. 

Through the loving support of a very kind and hard working husband, I managed career, community 

work, household and graduate school while raising three children—two of whom are college graduates 

and successful business women, while one finishing his BS in English to become one of Colorado’s 

school teachers next Fall. I am an APAWLI (Asian Pacific Women's Leadership Institute) Fellow, a 

Loden Institute Certified Diversity Facilitator and a True Colors (Strategic Planning and Leadership) 

Facilitator III.

I project managed multimillion-dollar accounts for Fortune 500 companies. After the 9/11 attack, 

I was instrumental in the disaster recovery of my clients’ communications infrastructure. I am a 

results oriented professional with over 40 years of in-depth experience in business, telecommunication, 

computers, management and people development. I created and managed diversity programs, projects 

and processes. Some of the programs included a national Diversity Council that managed the activities, 

training and development of council members including; workshops; newsletter, website, diversity 

video, and recognition program for those who promote and support diversity. I mentored and coached 

coworkers in career and personal development, team building, verbal and written communication skills 

and cross-functional relationships.

I support for-profit and nonprofit organizations in developing their strategic and long term planning as 

well as team building processes. Below are my latest accomplishments:

• I created and facilitated the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) 

2013 Strategic Planning Summit in Las Vegas. The Summit set the tone and strategic direction 

of NaFFAA moving forward. The attendees were NaFFAA National Officers, Region Chairs and 

national leaders from various parts of the country. 

• Since joining FACC in 1990, I was an active Officer from Auditor to President. I became a Life 

Member in 2002. During this period through my networks, I obtained almost $50k in corporate 

donations from AT&T and US West. 

• I continue to promote collaborative efforts among non-profit organizations and support disaster relief 

efforts as well as medical missions to the Philippines.

• I co-founded various nonprofit organizations that mentor and support individuals attain their 

goals: two employee resource groups at AT&T to help Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) 

professionals integrate and develop as productive contributing members and volunteers of the 

community in San Francisco and Denver, and co-founded with Donna LaVigne and others the 

National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region V and is a charter 

member of this service organization.

• Through my efforts and networks, AT&T sponsored many Filipino American projects and the first 

four Dragon Boat Festivals, thus encouraging other Fortune 500 companies to also sponsor this

Denver APIA anchor annual event.

• I served as the President of the Filipino American Community of Colorado (FACC-2000-2001 

and 2006-2007) with a budget of over $250K. Currently, I am the NaFFAA Region V Chair and a 

Member of the National Board.

Therefore, I ask you to vote for Donna LaVigne and me to lead FACC to a more focused and strategic 




Georgette Johnson - Running for 1 of 6 Director positions

Born in New York.  Moved to Colorado in the early 1980's after serving in the Philippines, Occidental Mindoro as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1975-1979. 


I am a FACC Life Member.  Been active since I arrived here.  I have served on the FACC board for many years as Secretary, Youth & Cultural Director & 2nd Vice President.  I have been a member of the dance group for many years.   Fund Raising activities include the Bolder Boulder race & Dragon Boat Festival.  I assisted the talented, dedicated & hard working members who renonvated the Bahay Kubo during Jay LaVigne's presidency.  I have also volunteered at many Bronco games.


I am grateful to this community & have always felt connected to the Filipino culture.  I think about Ate Babes alot.  She was a tremendous asset to our Bahay Kubo & there are times I feel her spirit telling me to come back.  So here I am, wanting to be on the board again.


I appreciate being nominated this year & with the help of other dedicated members, the Bahay Kubo will continue to thrive in a positive way!  Sige Na!!


Maraming Salamat


Georgette Johnson  (Gee)

Rose Morrison - Running for 1 of 6 Director positions

Who are you? (Name, where you're from, your professional experience, etc.)

Rosalie (Rose) Morrison

     Originally from Mindanao, moved to US in 2004. Worked as a seamstress in the PI for ~15 years, and working as seamstress in CO for past 2 yrs.  Love to cook, bake, dance and sing.

What is your association with the FACC?

     Member of FACC for two years. One year after moving to CO, searched online for filipino/american communities in CO, found the FACC Facebook page, then attended next meeting.

Why would you like to become an FACC Officer or Director?

     Our family loves the FACC community! They have become part of our family. We want our children to be a part of and learn about the Philippine culture, and they enjoy learning the traditional dances. I want the community to continue to be strong and grow for future generations, and to help our family and others stay connected with our culture.

Scott Morrison - Running for 1 of 6 Director positions

Where are you from?

      Originally from Alabama, moved to CO in 2011. I'm retired Air Force, served for 24 years in several states and around the world. Mechanic for 16 yrs, changed careers in 2003, software developer for the past 10 yrs. Love anything IT related, working outside, spending time with the kids, and SEC football!

What is your association with the FACC?

     Member of FACC for two years. One year after moving to CO, searched online for filipino/american communities in CO, found the FACC Facebook page. My wife attended a few meetings, got the kids involved, and then I started attending. Immediately felt a connection, wonderful people, felt like extended family.

Why would you like to become an FACC Officer or Director?

     Our family loves the FACC community! They have become part of our family. We want our children to be a part of and learn about the Philippine culture, and they enjoy learning the traditional dances. I want the community to continue to be strong and grow for future generations, and to help our family and others stay connected with our culture.

Dr./Prof./ Dir. ERLINDA ROJAS - SANTOS - Running for 1 of 6 Director positions

RESIDENCE: Downtown Denver since 1993.  Moved from Stanford

University, Palo Alto, California.  Other USA family places:  Chicago,

Illinois ;  Beckley, West Virginia ;  San Francisco and Los Angeles, California

and Atlanta, Georgia

Born in Ilocos Sur; Luzon, Philippines; Childhood in Cotabato and Zamboanga in Mindanao; Settled in Malabon City and Quezon City, MetroManila. 

INVOLVEMENT WITH FACC:  Attendance and participation in the FACC Bahay Kubo

activities since my arrival in Denver in 1993 through parties, classes, festivals, programs,  plus the other events held in different venues such as Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan Lake,

Wells Fargo Auditorium for Asian Heritage Month,  Casino Trips,  CAHEP Health

Fairs,  Denver Performing Arts Complex for some concerts, King Auditorium at 

Auraria Campus for fundraising events,  Broomfield Auditorium for COW,  Denver hotels for Rizal Night-New Year's Party,etc.

Various means of participation were as accompanist for musical numbers on the

piano, keyboard or accordion, and as co-organizer for seminars, classes and as

contributor for donations, or food or program number, and as hostess for guests to

any  FACC event.( including welcome for visiting Philippine personalities : Sen Edgardo

Angara, Cong. Sonny Angara, Sen. Nikki Coseteng, Mrs. Virginia Davide, others)

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND::  Pharmacist - Educator - Researcher.(Retired)

Professorial Chair Holder in Pharmacy.  Lecturer. Laboratory Instructor. 

University professor at College of Pharmacy and at Graduate School; Director for

Pharmacy Program;  Director for Natural Sciences Research Laboratory; Senior

Science Researcher at Office of Vice President for Planning and Development;

Science Coordinator;  Coordinator for Pharmacy Internship Program; Member of

Pharmacy Advisory Board;  Faculty Adviser for Pharmacy Student Body; Faculty

Adviser for International Students Association; Faculty Adviser for Editorial Board,

Editor-in-Chief of PAUW Newsletter; Associate Editor of PAUW Journal;  Compounding Pharmacist;  Pharmacy Staffer - Dispensing Pharmacist; Managing -Proprietress Pharmacist. Publisher " Board Reviewer for Pharmacy " ,  Author-Publisher " Manual in  Latin for Pharmacy Students"; Associate Editor "UPDATE" Newsletter.

EDUCATION and TRAINING:  Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.   Master of Science in Pharmacy; Master of Arts in Education;   Doctor of Philosophy - Doctor of Education ;  Certificate in Teaching Competency,  EQ Certificate,  Numerous Certificates  of Continuing Education in Pharmacy ;  Certificates in Computer Training Courses .  Numerous Certificates of Faculty Development ; Certificate in Chemical Laboratory Techniques. Physical Methods of Analysis, Elucidation of Natural Products/ Structures; Typing and Stenography, Piano-Violin-Electone Organ Studies,  Audio-Visual Materials and Methods,etc


 Filipino American Community of Colorado/FACC;   Philippine American Society of Colorado / PASCO;  NaFFAA Region V -State Representative for Colorado and

Immediate past Regional Vice Chair ; UP Alumni Assoc in America Inc. Vice President 2013-2015 and  Immediate past National Secretary , Liaison for Midwest, Liaison for West ; UPAAA-Colorado Founding President - President 1998-2006, Director, Acting President ; Univ of the Phils. Pharmacy Alumni Association in America Founding Member ;CSHSP Colorado Society of Health Systems Pharmacists - Education Committee Member ;  Denver Area Pharmacists Association;  Soroptimist International of the Americas -Denver Branch Director ;  American Association of University Women -Denver Branch;   American Pharmacists Association; American Association of Pharmacy

Technicians ;  Denver General Hospital Volunteers Association;  University of Colorado Hospital Volunteers Association; St. Anthony Hospitals Volunteer Association;  Asian American Pacific Women's Networking of Colorado ; National Research Council of the Philippines Regular Member; Women in Science and Technology;  Women Inventors Association of the Philippines Inc.; UP Pharmacy Alum Association Exec Board Member- director / PRO ; Philippine Association of Colleges of Pharmacy/PACOP -Faculty Member,  Philippine Association of University Women-PWU Chapter President, Catholic Women's League - Malabon Council. Founding Member;  Catholic Youth Organization - Cotabato President; Philippine Pharmacists Association Committee on Scientific Matters member ; Cotabato Pharmaceutical Association President and past Secretary, UP Alumni

Council Ex-Officio Member . Philippine Techno Scholars Society. Silaw ti San Vicente treasurer

As a student: Elected officer of various UP, PWU  and NDC campus organizations  

I have occupied all the different positions from President. VP, Treas, Sec, PRO except 

Auditor, including as an adviser  during my years as a student and as a professional.

VOLUNTEER WORK:  Denver General Hospital In Patient Pharmacy volunteer;  University

of Colorado Hospital In Patient Pharmacy volunteer;  St Anthony Hospital In-Patient

Pharmacy volunteer;   Health Fair Volunteer;  Volunteers of America music volunteer;

Holy Ghost Church Parish volunteer; Tamai Tower Evening of Music Volunteer,  AARP

Senior Volunteer . Philippine Red Cross Volunteer;DARE volunteer, Fundraising for Philippine disaster causes , as  Solo Piano concertist for Cathedral fund,  UPAAA fundraising for Scholarships and Professorial Chair,  UPPhAA fundraising for UPCP lab and conference hall,  CYO donations for Cotabato prisoners and Cotabato Leprosarium , fundraising for SV town plaza improvements, etc.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:  UPAAA 2005 Convention "Scholars Panel " Town and Country Convention Center, San Diego;  International Conference of Women Leaders -Catholic University of America; Washington DC   Triennial Conference of International Federation of University Women /IFUW - Stanford University; Palo Alto, CA ;  General Assembly of American Association of University Women - Denver Branch, Swallow Hill Music School, Denver; General Assembly of Soroptimist International of the Americas-Denver Branch,  University Blvd;  Baker Middle School Career Day, Denver ;  Regional Conference, Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations, PICC, Manila;  Regional Conference, University Women of Asia/UWA Bangladesh;  Regional Conference, UWA, Hongkong;  Philippine Association of University Women Anniversary Convention, Rotary Club General Meeting, Soroptimist Assembly, Rojas High School Commencement, Vice

Rectora in Cursillos in Christianity,  Speaker at Honors Convocations,etc.

Numerous Lectures as Professorial Chair Holder in Pharmacy

Numerous Paper Presentations as Researcher and Research Lab Director 

Numerous Lecture-Demonstrations on Herbal Medicine and Technology 

COMMITTEE WORK :  Overall Chairperson, UP Pharmacy Alum Assoc General Reunion, March 1981, Club Filipino, Greenhills, MM ;  UPAAA 2013 Chairperson  Committee on Jubilarians ;   UPAAA 2013 Chairperson Committee on Evaluation. UPAAA 2005 Chair Committee on Evaluation.  PACOP Committee on Accreditation of Pharmacy Program , Commencement Committee, Committee on Textbooks, Fellowship Committee, Recognition Committee, etc.  ---Numerous