1998: A Listserv Was Born
It was the decade of dial-up internet, Napster, Y2K, and a growing community of Filipino and Filipino-American professionals in the DMV. In 1998, an announcement board was created as a forum for these young professionals. After much debate of turning the listserv into a formal group, it was decided that a convenient platform to deliver community announcements would meet the needs of our community.
2000 – 2001: The Yahoo Group
The DMV had a great community of professional associations, regional organizations, student groups, and even youth arts groups, but where would 20 to 30 something Filipino-American professionals go to connect?
On a snow-covered day of January 2000, 32 people met on 18th and M at the Daily Grill. People who came that night moved to DC for work or school. There were also a good number of locals too. It was the first of many happy hours for a group of young professionals. On the spot, a sign-in sheet was created.
From that sign-in sheet, the FYP-WDC Yahoo group emerged. The mission of the listserv was to promote activities in the DC area, organize future socials, and share info (housing, restaurants, jobs, etc.). As word spread, the listserv grew to over 300 individuals! Folks in NYC, Philadelphia, and Virginia Beach were encouraged to start their own groups.
Early on there was a desire to formalize the Yahoo group and meetings were hosted by the Philippine Embassy. At that time, there were folks who supported the idea or incorporation but weren’t able to commit to the necessary time in which to accomplish the work. It wasn’t until a few years later, that a group of younger newly-graduated folks decided that they would be able to commit to working on formalizing the group.
2002: Transition Year
In 2002, Rafael (RJ) Diokno picked up the torch and continued to organize social and networking events. He became the “de facto” President of the group. His commitment to the group brought many new people into the “informal group” who would later become the drivers into making FYP-DC into a nonprofit.
2003-2005: Becoming a 501(c)7
While the FYP-DC listserv has become an increasingly popular forum for Filipino young professionals in the DC area, many believed that the organization should be restructured to reassess its direction. RJ Diokno, Anthony David and Therese “Wit” Lizardo had the initial discussion to form an organized group. In late 2003, those three with several volunteers voiced interest in expanding existing events and developing new programs to benefit the community on both a networking and professional level. In 2004, the first FYP-DC e-board was created (refer to Officer page for names and positions of prior e-boards). After the e-board’s hard work, FYP-DC became incorporated on November 2, 2005, and changed the FYP-WDC listserv to FYP-DC General Listservs (with over 500 subscribers) and created a member-only FYP-DC Member listserv.
2017-2019: FYP-DC Established as 501(c)3 and Annual Conferences
FYP-DC was reborn in 2017 and led by Ms. Christal Simanski. Christal led the 1st Annual Leadership Conference in September of 2017. Young Filipino professionals from all over DMV attended the conference with the theme of Unite, Magkaisa. This first conference paved the way for 2 more conferences in the years that followed.
After Christal stepped down from her position, Ms. Stephanie Wong took on the role of the Presidency and helped established FYP-DC’s 501(c)3 non-profit organization status. With the help of FYP-DC alumni and the current executive board, FYP-DC was officially a non-profit and a non-partisan organization. During Stephanie’s presidency, the 2nd Annual Leadership Conference was held in September of 2018 with the theme of Para Sa Kinabukasan, For The Future. The conference featured Mr. Randy Lizardo as one of the keynote speakers and also one of the past presidents of FYP-DC.
From 2018 to the summer of 2019, Stephanie continued to rebuild FYP-DC and establishing partnerships with other AAPI organizations in the DMV. Both Christal and Stephanie presidencies left legacies that are still remembered to this day. In 2019, Ms. Aggie Serrame was elected to the position of President and led the 3rd Annual Leadership Conference with the theme of Tagumpay Natin, Our Success. With over 100 attendees, sponsors, partners, and grant funding, this was the product of many FYP-DC legacies in its history. In that same year, the FYP-DC Mentorship Program was launched, led by Mr. J.P. Abon, and held the pilot program with five pairs of mentees and mentors.
2020: A New Decade
The programs launched in the previous years continued and FYP-DC successfully re-branded the organization to not only focus on social, networking, and professional events. At the beginning of 2020, FYP-DC established the FYP-DC Cultural Programs, led by Ms. Carolina Ramirez. The Cultural Programs aim to offer events relating to Filipino culture so that young professionals may learn Filipino culture in various ways such as cooking classes, dance classes, history lessons, etc. Within the same year, FYP-DC launched the Tagalog Language Program that aims to offer free Tagalog language classes to interested individuals.