By Guam Business Magazine Staff
Eight businesswomen from Guam and Northern Mariana Islands were nominated for the 2015 First Hawaiian Bank and Guam Business Magazine Businesswoman of the Year title. This marks the 10th anniversary of the program, which honors the accomplishments, leadership and influence of businesswomen in the region.
Nominated by their colleagues and peers, the following seven women are leading representatives in their fields who have made a significant difference in their industries through their companies while also making contributions to their communities and displaying the best qualities of one in business.
The program also funds scholarships for students at the University of Guam, Guam Community College and Northern Marianas College through funds raised at the annual Businesswoman of the Year gala. This year’s gala was held Sept. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Guam honoring Joann G. Camacho, director of market development for T Galleria, as the 10th recipient of the title and the Maga’håga award. Since 2006, the program has awarded a total of $184,237 in scholarship money to students in the community.
Photos by Norman M. Taruc
Edith “Edi” V. Alvarez
Vice president and general manager
Patterson Enterprises, which does business as Suncare Distributors, Guam Self Storage and Guam Premium Chocolate
Edith “Edi” V. Alvarez is the vice president and general manager of Patterson Enterprises, which does business as Suncare Distributors, Guam Self Storage and Guam Premium Chocolate. Born in Guam, she attended the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and later earned a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology with a minor in social work from the University of Guam.
Following a career in social work and five years as owner and general manager of I Love Books bookstore, she joined Patterson, where she began in sales 18 years ago and three years later assumed her role as general manager. In the past year, Alvarez has assisted in the development, startup and opening of Guam Premium Chocolate and has assisted in the financing of cultural revitalization programs including the University of Guam Endowment Foundation’s Chamorro Language and Master Apprenticeship Program and the Guam International Film Festival.
She is married to Edward Alvarez, executive director of the Commission on Decolonization, and has two stepsons, Bryon, married to Laura, and Alan, married to Dana, and six grandchildren.
Grace C. Donaldson
Chief operating officer and general manager
Pacific Human Resource Services Inc.
Grace C. Donaldson is the chief operating officer and general manager of Pacific Human Resource Services Inc. Born in the Philippines, Donaldson later moved to Guam and graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam. She holds a degree in biochemistry from San Francisco State University. She is also taking classes at the University of Guam toward a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Donaldson launched the One on One Transition Program in collaboration with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which provides assessment, development, job placement and mentoring for individuals with disabilities. She is also the sole proprietor of SOLUTIONS: Human Resource Management & Recruiter. Donaldson has previously served as human resources manager of TakeCare Insurance Co., director of human resource services of Outrigger Guam Resort, Ohana Oceanview Guam, Ohana Bayview Guam and Palau Floating Hotel.
She has served as president of the Society for Human Resource Management Guam Chapter, on the workforce investment board, as a member of Guam Coalition against Sexual Abuse and Family Violence and as a member of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, among others.
She and her husband, Terry Donaldson, have been married for 27 years and have a daughter, Glynis, 21.
Kristine R. Lujan
Director of marketing
Triple J Enterprises Inc.
Kristine R. Lujan is the director of marketing for Triple J Enterprises Inc. A native of Guam, Lujan attended Inarajan High School and later studied mass communications, advertising and public relations, management and visual communications through McCann Erikson Worldwide McEd Training.
Since joining Triple J two years ago, Lujan has rebuilt the brand’s identity in conjunction with launching a mass marketing and advertising campaign on Guam and Saipan. She has also established key influential partnerships for the company and created large-scale events with record-breaking traffic and reach to corporate sponsors, such as Guam’s first-ever “Color Run” 5K.
Lujan serves as chairwoman of the Guam Chamber of Commerce’s Business Women’s Network, board member and Development Committee chair for Duk Duk Goose Inc. and board member and marketing and promotions chair for the Inetnon Gefpå’go Cultural Arts Program.
She is married to Manny Lujan, visual marketing director of Calvo’s Insurance, and the couple has a 16-year-old daughter, Nicole.
Sandra H. McKeever
Asia Pacific Financial Management Group
Sandra H. McKeever is president of the Asia Pacific Financial Management Group. Born in Seoul, Korea, she is a graduate of Simon A. Sanchez High School. She received her bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Guam in 1999. As president of Asia Pacific Financial Management Group, McKeever spearheaded the development of a service model that includes providing complimentary education and analysis for businesses on Guam and Micronesia. The revenue in this division increased more than 30%.
McKeever is active in the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Business Women’s Network, Guam Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Guam Young Professionals and Rotary and Rotaract. She and her firm are also the “The Stock Market Game” main sponsor and coordinator and a member of the Guam Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and Guam Adventist Academy Volunteer Group. Asia Pacific Financial Management Group supports Guam Animals In Need, Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteers and the University of Guam Alumni Association.
McKeever and her husband, Dwight A. McKeever, have four children: Roy, 25; Amber, 20; Alana, 9; and Keira, 4.
Josephine DLG Mesta
Director of human resources
Hyatt Regency Saipan
Josephine DLG Mesta is the director of human resources at Hyatt Regency Saipan. Born on Saipan, Mesta attended high school in California and later earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Hawaii Pacific College and a master’s in special education from the University of Hawaii.
Mesta played a role in changing the employment atmosphere on Saipan toward the employment of local residents and away from the reliance on foreign workers and was involved in helping more than 100 individuals prepare for success.
As a board member of and instructor at the Northern Marianas Trades Institute, she has helped to develop individuals for careers in various trades. Mesta also supports the Society for Human Resource Management, Saipan Chamber of Commerce and Northern Marianas College.
She and her husband, Victor A. Mesta, have two children: Dion, 33, and Christine, 28.
Rosario “Chet” M.B. Neri
International sales manager
Leo Palace Resort Guam
Rosario “Chet” M.B. Neri has been the local sales and marketing manager at Leo Palace Resort Guam since 2013 and was named international sales manager this year, continuing a long career of working in the hospitality industry. Originally hailing from the Philippines, Neri received her high school diploma from the University of the Visayas in Cebu, but after spending some time in college decided she would be happier pursuing a career rather than a degree. Her choice has paid dividends, with Neri and her department recently receiving a recognition award for Top Sales from Leopalace 21 Corp. for bringing military sales and new business opportunities to Leo Palace Resort Guam.
An active member of the community, Neri is a member of Soroptimist International Guam, the Federation of Asia-Pacific Women’s Association, the Beauty World Guam Organization, the Guam Women’s Club, the International Women’s Club, the Guam Council of Women’s Clubs, the Filipino Ladies Association of Guam, the Filipino Community of Guam, the Filipino-American Presidents Club of Guam, the Metro Manila Association of Guam and the Rigalu Foundation.
She has been married to husband Ted S. Neri for 43 years and has two children, Stephanie Ann Zivanovic, 42, and Ross Neri, 38. She also has three grandchildren by her daughter: Stefan, 15; Maya, 13; and Mathew, 6.
Chen-Yi “Jenny” Yang
Owner and managing director
Globest LLC, which does business as GNC
Chen-Yi “Jenny” Yang is the owner and managing director of Globest LLC, which does business as GNC. She is a native of Tainan, Taiwan. She holds a 1994 bachelor’s in journalism from Chinese Culture University (Taiwan) and a 2002 master’s in international management from Loughborough University (UK).
Under her management, GNC relocated its Hagåtña location to the Micronesia Mall in the past year. In addition, Yang also opened a third shop, Love Vitamin, offering organic and natural brands, in the Hilton Resort & Spa and has expanded the business to Saipan, where four locations offer GNC products.
Yang is president of the International Women’s Club of Guam and a member of the Guam Council of Women’s Clubs, Guam Women’s Club and Taiwanese Business Association of Guam.
Yang is married to Ping-Yuan “Edward” Lu, chief nutritionist of GNC.