20 Filipinos to Watch

by: Elizabeth Cron and Kathleen Cerrer

Jackie Wild

Tell us about yourself (personal, business, and passions).

I’m a proud Manitoban, born and raised in Winnipeg’s inner city. I’ve spent my childhood years getting well acquainted with the West End community, which is one of the most culturally diverse and exciting places to be.

When I was young, I loved walking down Sargent Avenue and picking up some of my favourite Filipino treats, from carioca at Bueno Bros Supermarket to tosilog from Mryna’s Café. In some ways, I owe it to my upbringing in this neighbourhood to rationalize my deep love for food, and by extension, learning about and celebrating cultures.

Professionally, I graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications Program in 2013 and have since supported the development of communications, fundraising and marketing strategies for organizations in the non-profit, private and public sectors. Following my maternity leave in 2016, I was afforded an opportunity to lead a new provincial grant program with an organization I deeply admired. Since then, I’ve served as a Senior Community Investment Manager overseeing a collective grant funding portfolio of $1,000,000 between Manitoba and Calgary in support of many worthy charitable grassroots initiatives.

Outside the office, I’ve spent much of my free time volunteering on boards, councils and committees with organizations like the Manitoba 150 Host Committee, Manitoba Filipino Business Council, Manitoba Museum, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, United Way Winnipeg and Winnipeg Art Gallery. I’m on a mission to promote Manitoba’s giving spirit as one of the most generous provinces in our country!

What impact have you witnessed from your work?

I’ve found working in the community investment space exceptionally interesting and rewarding, and through my work I’ve had a number of opportunities to connect with newcomer organizations supporting many members in our Filipino community. The need for health, education and social service programming is so widespread, and I truly admire the work of our local charities ensuring newcomers who are moving here from places like the Philippines are connected with the right resources. These organizations are dedicated to helping their participants better understand our Canadian landscape, which is made up of systems that can often be difficult to navigate if you are coming from another country.

What excites you most about what you do?

Entrepreneurship runs deep in my family. Both my parents grew up working on family farms, and upon immigrating to Winnipeg in the 1970’s they started two businesses – one for residential cleaning services, and a second venture opening a neighbourhood corner store. Their entrepreneurial spirit is no different than that of many newcomers and second-generation Filipino children.

One of my greatest joys is advocating for Filipino business people who contribute to our society’s economic fabric through my role as Vice President at the Manitoba Filipino Business Council. Every chance I get to connect with our members, I’m reminded of the familiar story of many immigrants who continue to work tirelessly building a better life in a new country for their families.

Tell us a story about an obstacle you faced and conquered.

Although I grew up around many other children of immigrant families, I found myself often struggling with my cultural identity because I never felt like I was “Filipino” or “Canadian” enough. I attended a French Immersion school, and my principal suggested that my parents should only speak English in our household to prevent confusion between the different languages. As a result, being unable to fluently speak in or understand my parents’ native dialects was very alienating and I felt disconnected to my heritage. I also felt like the more obvious aspects of my Filipino identity such as the way I looked, the food I ate, and sometimes even the clothes I wore made me an outsider.

By participating in important discussions about racial inequity, I’m reminded of my unconscious biases and the belief systems I was raised on. As an adult, I’ve finally learned to fully embrace my cultural identity even though I’m not an expert in all things Filipino, and have separated myself from the shame of not feeling like I was enough or didn’t belong.

Jonato Dalayoan

Jonato Dalayoan is an award-winning graphic designer whose work is distinguished by a unique blend of street art and corporate sensibilities. Drawing inspiration from his family, heritage, faith and artistic interests, Jonato’s work has blessed canvases from sides of buildings to covers of annual reports – and all points in between. Armed with an education from Red River College’s acclaimed graphic design program, and sporting nearly two decades of experience in a number of leading agencies in the Prairies, he is currently the owner/operator of 4two Design Inc. Having started his professional journey as a freelance mural painter, Jonato’s selection for the 2019 Wall to Wall Festival and the Manitoba 150 Celebration pieces, brings him full circle to his artistic roots. Jonato’s mandate is simple… To do great work for great people and to contribute positively to society using his talent and skills.

What excites you most about what you do?

Working and collaborating with clients on projects that we’re all excited about and proud of. It’s a great feeling when a concept meets the goals set out and the project receives the response from the audience that we as a collective were hoping for. But what is also awesome and at the same time intimidating, is when I’m given creative freedom and clients put their faith and trust in me to come up with concepts/designs. It excites me to think of the possibilities of how far we can take a concept across different platforms, mediums and audiences.

What impact have you witnessed from your work?

I am conscious of what designs/concepts I put out into the world. Although it can be a challenge at times, I’ve tried my best to make sure my work contributes positively to our community even in the smallest way. When I see my work help bring awareness and support to charities, events, churches, businesses, human rights etc., and see those groups prosper, I know that I was part of their success. In a world where there are constant ads around us, designers have only seconds to grab someone’s attention. I also believe that part of success is built on the relationships we create. When I can contribute to a client’s or colleague’s life in a healthy way, it is just as impactful as any successful project. Tell us a story about an obstacle you faced and conquered. I’ve always loved art and design since I was young and when I decided to enroll in the Red River College Advertising Art project, which is now the Graphic Design Program. I thought I would do fine, but my lack of discipline led to me failing my first year. It was a very humbling experience and I had no one to blame but myself. So after years of being in denial, some self-reflection and thinking this career path was not for me, I decided to try again, because I knew that I loved design too much to give up on it. I also knew that it was a blessing to use my gift to make a living. So I enrolled once again and within three years of schooling, I ended up winning awards/ scholarships and had quite a few studios approach me to work with them. I also ended up working with one of the city’s up and coming studio’s right out of school. Looking back at it all I laugh, but what I learned is failure is sometimes part of the journey to success. If I can say anything to those thinking about pursuing this career path or any career in general is, stay humble, have a purpose, be resilient and do things with love. You might not always love what you do or are doing, but if you do it with love, it will help you find purpose.