Brendan Flores and JT Mallonga Image Source:

[box type=”default” size=”large”] Flores is the first millennial elected as federation head [/box]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Noting that “we have made history” by electing a millennial to lead the organization, 31-year-old Brendan Flores of Jacksonville, Florida told the more than 300 delegates and guests, who witnessed his swearing-in as seventh national chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), that he will strive “to make positive change, to create hope, to build up our community and to bring us together.”

Flores was elected national chairman at NaFFAA’s empowerment conference held last Aug. 6 in Pennsylvania.

“Our common goal,” Flores asserted, is “to make sure the voices of four  million Filipinos living in the United States today carry significant weight. Imagine the impact we can make when we all come together with a drive to see that hope become reality.”

This goal was amplified throughout the three-day conference by speakers who urged delegates to educate themselves on the issues, help in voter registration drives in their localities and harness the community’s voting power in November.

Flores gave his inaugural remarks at the final evening of NaFFAA’s 12th National Empowerment Conference held on August 4-6 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He had served as NaFFAA national youth chair and national treasurer. His community involvement both locally and nationally led him to establish a series of networks, awards and scholarship opportunities for other driven individuals. He is a scholarship grantor for The Public Education Foundation of Las Vegas, and president of the Alumni Leadership Circle of the Academy of Finance.

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Currently the regional banking district manager and vice president at Wells Fargo in Florida, Flores is the president of Emerging Leaders United in Saint John’s county, Florida. He is a graduate of three internal and external leadership executive programs both in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“I am a true millennial by age with a Gen-X’s heart and passion, a work ethic like a baby-boomer and strong values similar to traditionalists,” he said, in describing himself. Having been with NaFFAA for over a decade, and chalking up 14 plus years at the bank, he continues to be active in his community, expanding his professional sphere and promoting personal growth.

Flores succeeds 64-year-old JT Mallonga, a New York immigration lawyer who served for two years. Preceding Mallonga was retired engineer Ed Navarra of Bloomfield, Michigan, who was 66 when he was elected to the top post in 2010. NaFFAA’s founding chairman, Alex Esclamado, was 85 when he led the first empowerment conference in 1997. He was followed by Philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis, Entrepreneur Alma Kern, and Publisher Greg Macabenta – all in their 60’s when they assumed the national chairmanship.

“It’s about time the baby boomers and the millennial generation hold the baton together moving forward,” Mallonga said of Flores’s election. “I am encouraged by the participation of many young people, coming from all over the country to make their presence felt in this conference.”

This year’s NaFFAA’s National Empowerment Conference culminated in a gala dinner graced by Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, who gave the keynote address. Robredo also swore in the following newly elected national officers:

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Brendan Flores of Jacksonville, Fl. as chair; Emraida Kiram of Milwaukee, WI, as vice chair; Mariella Fletcher of Seattle, WA, secretary; and Brad Baldia of Philadelphia, PA, treasurer. Also inducted into office were the following new members of the board of governors: Bing Branigin of Reston, VA; Marie Cunning of Phoeniz, AZ; Steven Raga of New York, NY; and Giselle Rushford of Denver, CO.

NaFFAA’s Board of Governors includes 16 members elected at large and the chairs of all 13 regions.