Meet the 2016 Businesswoman of the Year nominees


By Ashley Sablan

Photos by Norman M. Taruc

Accessories by Forever 21

Seven businesswomen from Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were nominated for the 2016 First Hawaiian Bank and Guam Business Magazine Businesswoman of the Year title. In its 11th year, the program honors the accomplishments, leadership and influence of businesswomen in the region.

Nominated by their colleagues and peers, the following six women are leading representatives in their fields who have made a significant difference in their industries while also making contributions to their communities and displaying the best qualities of one in business.

Sophia Chu Wigsten, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Guam, was named the 11th recipient of the title and the Maga’håga award at the annual Businesswoman of the Year gala held April 30 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. The gala raises funds for scholarships for students at the University of Guam, Guam Community College and Northern Marianas College. Since 2006, the program has awarded a total of $207,377.50 in scholarships to 111 deserving students in Guam and the NMI.

Premier sponsors of the event are BMW, Hyatt Regency Guam and United Airlines. Elite sponsors are Docomo Pacific and Triple J Enterprises Inc.


Jessica M. Barrett


Barrett Enterprises Inc., which does business as Barrett Plumbing


Jessica M. Barrett is the president of Barrett Enterprises Inc., which does business as Barrett Plumbing. Born in Guam, she is a graduate of the Academy of Our Lady of Guam. She received her bachelor’s in business management from the University of Guam in 1985.

Barrett first took over the family business in 1998. Today, she is a certified plumber running the operations of the oldest plumbing company on Guam. Under her leadership, the business has more than doubled in size and expanded operations to include water and sewer tapping for new developments.

The company does work for Habitat for Humanity, Alee Shelter and Guam Animals in Need. Barrett Plumbing is also a U.S. Department of Labor Apprentice Sponsor. This has allowed the business to provide training and job opportunities to local hires — many of whom have gone on to work for the government, both local and federal, become supervisors and manage their own businesses.

Barrett is also a founding member and the president of the National Association of Women in Construction Guam Chapter, which aims to promote the success of women in the construction industry by empowering them through education and training. She was also named the 2016 Women in Business Champion of the Year at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual Small Business Awards.

Barrett has two sons: Alexander, 7, and Luis, 8.



Transcends LLC, which does business as Naked Fish Bar & Grill


Eleanor Tudela Cabrera is the president of Transcends LLC, which does business as Naked Fish Bar & Grill in Saipan. Born in Saipan, Cabrera attended Mount Carmel School until she moved to Washington just before college. There, she graduated from Pullman High School and later earned a double bachelor’s in sociology with a certificate in social casework and women studies and social science from Washington State University. She then went on to attend the University of Washington, where she obtained her master’s in social work in administration and leadership.

In the last five years, Cabrera has shifted her focus from social work to building her company, which includes a wholesale operation since 2010 that supplies wines, olive oil, coffees and gourmet products and her newest venture as of 2014, ownership of the Naked Fish Bar & Grill. The company also did business as handbags etc., a boutique retail operation supplying fashion accessories, wine and gifts from 2010 to 2014.

Cabrera serves on the board of directors for the Micronesian Islands Nature Alliance and the Guam/NMI Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cabrera and her company also support and fundraise for the Northern Marianas Coalition of Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Commonwealth Cancer Association, Mount Carmel School’s Save the Stage campaign, and the Marianas Young Professionals.

She and her husband, Joe C. Guerrero, have two sons: Christian, 11, and Ruben, 9.

Wendi S. Herring

General manager

Asia Pacific Hotels Inc., which does business as Kanoa Resort Saipan


Wendi S. Herring is the general manager of Asia Pacific Hotels Inc., which does business as Kanoa Resort Saipan. She was born in Van Nuys, Calif., and received a bachelor’s in education from the University of California Berkeley. She later completed the General Managers Program at Cornell University.

Herring spent five years as resident manager of Pacific Islands Club Guam and five years as general manager of Pacific Islands Club Saipan, among other roles in her 25-year career in hospitality and resort management.

Through her work as general manager of Kanoa Resort, a role she has held since February 2015, Herring has focused on raising the service standards and improving the facilities at Kanoa Resort. Following Typhoon Soudelor in 2015, Herring is now directing $5 million in capital improvement projects for the hotel. She has also led the hotel’s participation in Latte Training Academy and Island Training Solution’s job shadowing program.

Kanoa Resort is also involved in local community programs, such as Soroptimist International of the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan Cares for Animals and the Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Highway programs.

Herring is a member of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Mariana Islands Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.

She has one daughter, Alexandra Lee-Sang, 16.

Dr. Jitka Lom


President and medical director

ExpressCare Health & Skin Center Inc.


Dr. Jitka Lom is the president and chief medical physician at ExpressCare Health & Skin Center Inc. Originally from Prague, Czechoslovakia, Lom moved to Canada where she received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto in 1992. There she also completed her postgraduate year in Anesthesiology for Family Practice in 1993 before finishing her two-year residency at St. Joseph’s Health Center Toronto.

Lom has been practicing medicine on Guam for 18 years, and within the last nine, has opened three ExpressCare clinics in Guam through which she has brought dermatological services that were previously unavailable on the island. Her newest location opened in March 2015 in the Camacho Plaza in Tamuning.

ExpressCare donates about 10% of its profits annually. Local beneficiaries include the Guam Salvation Army, Sanctuary, initiatives put forth by the Guam Medical Society, the Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteers, Zumba for the Susu, the Guam Wings Soccer League and the Little Dodgers Baseball Team. ExpressCare has also made donations to Doctors without Borders and Kiva, a micro-lending organization that has provided loans to small entrepreneurs in more than 27 countries.

Lom has six children: Adam, 19; Leila, 17; Arya, 15; Saron, 15; Ruth, 13; and Ashenafi, 8.


Polly D. Masga

General manager

Marianas Medical Center Saipan


Polly D. Masga is the general manager of Marianas Medical Center in Saipan. Born in Guam, Masga graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1994. She then attended Northern Marianas College in Saipan, where she received her associate’s in business and liberal arts.

Masga’s position as general manager was preceded by 16 year of human resources experience.

In the wake of Typhoon Soudelor, Marianas Medical Center continued to offer its services despite multiple setbacks left by storm. Masga has also donated her time to giving presentations on employment readiness to students at the local college.

Masga is involved with the Society for Human Resource Management NMI Chapter, American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, Saipan Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.

She is married to Floyd R. Masga.

Donna R. Muña Quinata


Senior vice president

Guam AutoSpot


Donna R. Muña Quinata is the senior vice president of Guam AutoSpot. A native of Guam, Quinata graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam in 1980. She then attended the University of Guam for two years until she entered the auto industry, in which she has now worked for 33 years.

Quinata first joined Guam AutoSpot in 2014. Each year since then, the business — of which her son, Derrick Muña Quinata, is president — has seen 100% growth both in sales and employment. By the end of 2015, Guam AutoSpot Mitsubishi had provided full-time positions with benefits to about 100 employees — 50 of which were taken on that same year. Fueling that growth, the dealership also recently added Buick GMC to their line of model choices.

Quinata is an active member of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association, the Tourism Education Council, the Guam Workforce Development Council, the Development Committee for Duk Duk Goose Inc., the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation, the Bill Muña Foundation and the Women’s Legacy of Guam.

She is married to John M. Quinata. They have four children: Derrick, 35; Nicole, 21; Raymond, 41; and Tiffany, 35.

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