International Women’s Month Celebration


Award-ChampionsFor the first time, all American women from different communities (Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Bangladesh, Japanese, Hispanic, African American, Caucasian, and Arabic) in Arizona get together to celebrate the International Women’s Month on March 31, 2018 at Cfu Gourmet Restaurant, 2051 W. Warner Rd. #13, Chandler, AZ  85224.

International Women Month Celebration

The program:

  • Red Carpet Photo Opportunity
  • The Governor’s Proclamation
  • The Trung Sister’s Commemoration
  • Cultural Fashion Show by the Beauty Queens from all communities
  • Sisterhood Bridge of Peace Ceremony
  • Women of Distinction Award
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Live Entertainment with great talents from various communities
  • Food


A night to be fulfilled by cultural enrichment, inspiring stories, fun and meaningful activities.  The event is also helping a local artist who has been suffering from cancer.  Ticket cost $30/person including 5 course menu.

We are also honored to have Senator Kimberly Yee as the keynote speaker at this special event. Her great leadership and successful story will inspire many of us.

Keynote Speaker_Sen KimberlyYeeSenator Kimberly Yee, Arizona Senate Majority Leader

Candidate for Arizona State Treasurer

Arizona Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee is a candidate for Arizona State Treasurer.  She is the first Asian American woman elected to serve in the Arizona Legislature. She is the second woman elected to serve as Senate Majority Leader in Arizona's history, following U.S. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor when she served the position in 1973.  

Born and raised in Arizona, Kimberly Yee is a graduate of Pepperdine University where she earned Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Political Science. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University where she received the honored Scholar-Citizen Award.

Prior to elected office, Kimberly Yee served for nearly 20 years in federal, state and local government.  She served as Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a Policy Analyst for Governor Pete Wilson and on the executive team of Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin, where she promoted fiscal conservative principles to protect taxpayers.  She also served as a senior research analyst for the Arizona Senate Committee on Education.  She previously provided administrative services for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. At the federal level, she worked for the United States Department of Justice in the Fraud Section, Criminal Division in Washington, D.C.

In 2016, Senator Kimberly Yee was a featured speaker on stage during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 2014, she was recognized nationally as a "Rising Star" by the Republican National Committee at the RNC Winter Meeting.  Last year, she was named one of the nation's "25 Most Influential Women in State Politics" by Congressional Quarterly's Roll Call, the leading media organization covering Congress. 

Senator Kimberly Yee is currently one of 25 national women leaders selected to participate in the 2018 Women in Government Program.  She was a charter member of the National Pro-Life Women's Caucus with Susan B. Anthony List.  Senator Yee has been recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  She was recently featured to represent the State of Arizona in Lifetime Television Network's series "Her America: 50 Women, 50 States" which profiled one woman from every state on what moves them and what they want to share with the world.

Kimberly and her husband are blessed with two young children and they own a small business in the West Valley.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and volunteers in her church and community.  

As a candidate for State Treasurer, Kimberly Yee has been endorsed by current State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, four former Arizona State Treasurers, former Governor Jan Brewer, former Governor Jane Hull and many others.

Congratulation to 9 fabulous women for the Women of Distinction Award 2018.  Their inspiring personal stories and the works they have done made a big impact to our community and the worldwide.  These recipients are the faces representatives for all ethnic communities in AZ.  The list is in alphabetical order.

26841438_10156271896489111_3244983286740130289_oChristianne Stevens Acosta was born and raised in Arizona, graduated from the U of A International business management and marketing.  Christianne has been in banking over 20 years currently works at Bank of the West BNP Paribas global commercial banking industry.

She also owns and operates AZ Floral Designs since 1990.  The passion of creating floral ambience is one of her dreams come true.  Christianne states “It’s like the yin and yang.”

Corporate world and Creative side Christianne's passionate way to keep the balance in her life journey it makes her happy.

Christianne is known by her trusting friendly and honest personality always supporting the community, local charities, volunteering and paying it forward keeping it local. She is always supporting her community in so many different levels. She has been recognized by her leadership and achievements. In supporting several organizations within Arizona.

At a very young age, she won Miss Arizona and was granted a scholarship to attend the University of Arizona.  During that time of representing Arizona, Christianne realized that she wanted to support and empower women by creating a network of “women in leadership”.  A a result, in 1990, she founded “Influential Women in Arizona”.  The foundation focuses on education, diversity and leadership.   The organization has encouraged and educated the importance of reaching a woman’s personal goal as well as becoming a leader. 

Christianne, currently is the founder and CEO of Influential Women in Arizona and Influential Men In Arizona since 2007.  Christianne, continues to be a pillar within the community she is driven by her leadership, and is always pursuing her goals by igniting results.

29355202_10156271877674111_1068029910271015290_oInas Alawam (Miss Arab USA)

Inas Alawam is US citizen of Syrian origin, has been crowned Miss Arab USA on January 21st, 2018, Ambassador for Humanity and Goodwill. The official representative of the Arab American Women. Inas is the person who believes in giving back. She is a story of perseverance and braking the barriers.

Inas came to the US in 2006, enrolled in extensive language courses and passed the TOFEL within 3 months. Then enrolled in an undergraduate program for business administration, graduated Suma Cum Laude in 2010 with a bachelor degree in Marketing and Decision Science.  During her senior year, Inas worked as a student mentor for ESL programs, where she was teaching foreign freshmen students. Shortly after she went back to get her master’s degree in International Economics and Finance, she graduated in 2013 with distinctions.  During graduate school, Inas was a teaching assistant for Corporate Finance.  Inas has worked afterwards as an analyst for 3 years in Aramco Services Company, during that time Inas volunteered to be a Young Professional Chair person in Society of Professional Engineers New England Section.

She has the opportunity to travel around the world, she believes in giving back.  Inas has been involved in charity organizations such as Iraqi and Arab community, where she was a case manager who helped Iraqi refugees get medical care and adapt to the culture in the US.  Inas also volunteers in local events for feeding the hungry.  Inas is proud of her origins and volunteers in cultural events, and received two appreciation awards for her contributions to the success of cultural events.  Inas also was involved in many campaigns to collect help for the Syrian families effected by war, mainly widows and orphans. The extraordinary thing is the fact that Inas was able to accomplish all that being a single mother, but also with her mother’s encouragement and support; for that she was featured in the Boston Globe. She believes women can do extraordinary things if they had the right base and support. Inas is a professional singer who produces her own songs, which are popular in the Middle East.

Her other main hobby is yoga, she is a yoga instructor.   Inas has been shedding the light on women issues in the Middle East, because the society can’t move forward if half of it is held back. She wants to continue to work on building awareness and educating women to have them realize their potential, the extension of their actions, and the effect of the lack of action. Mainly to improve the main cell that builds society, the family. Being Miss Arab USA to the fullest, she is changing the world with her initiatives for sure.

29571257_10156271853914111_6551971050157029606_nMaryJane Barjose is a proud mother of 4 children, she has been living in Arizona for 30 years.  Besides her profession as the entrepreneur of Living Intentionally For Excellence (L.I.F.E), MJ has been actively involved in the community.  She is currently a GOP Committeeman at LD29, 1st VP and Leo Advisor of Phoenix Asian American Lions Club, Secretary of Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Arizona (PACCA), Board member of Filipino American Families Support Team of Arizona, and a committed volunteer of The 3000 Club (Market of On the Move).

She love spending time with her family and she enjoy anything outdoors.  Her passion is serving the community which what’s bringing her joy every time.  Her vision is to bring HOPE FOR THE UNDER-PRIVILEGE family especially the single mothers. She hopes in the near future is to build a resource center for single mothers and their children and provide them with the resources in the area they may need help such as personal development, Leadership development, training to advance their education, job opportunity, business opportunity and much more.

MJ believes that wherever you are at in life, we can make a difference and anything you can do for others, big or small they all matters as long we all stand up for each other for a greater cause.


29542901_597585813918032_8700270760529216010_nElizabeth Jenkins was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam.  At the age of 15, she escaped Vietnam in searching for a better life.   Like the stories of boat people, she had experienced many life threatening situations in the vast South China Sea including being robbed by the pirates, floating in the ocean for 5 days without food or water and then catching a lucky current only to crash on the shore of Malaysia to spend a year in a refugee camp.

Leaving the refugee camp, she immigrated to the US and had stayed many years in a Catholic Convent in America.  She earned her Business Management degree from Boise State University in Idaho.  In 2003, she moved to Phoenix where she met her husband and they were so blessed with their son, Jak. In 2013, she was inspired by her son to start Jak Cares Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity of which she is the founder and CEO.  This was the beginning of a new life of purpose for Elizabeth.

As a young child growing up in a poor family, she and her siblings never had enough food to eat and had always been suffering from hungry.  From her childhood experience, she made a promise to help children suffering from extreme poverty.  In 2012, she founded Jak Cares foundation, a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) with a purpose to help the underprivileged children living here in the United States and on other parts of the globe. 

Jak Cares made a full time commitment to help the poor children around the world.  Especially the orphans but also widows and families in need.  Jak Cares has assisted building a school in Uganda, provided bedding to orphans in Mexico, funds to flood victims in Texas and is building a school in central Vietnam.  Additionally, Jak Cares has been responsible for upgrading the lives of a number of severely handicapped orphans in Saigon by providing a physical therapy room, air conditioning and restrooms with showers. Recently, Jak Cares completed building an orphanage building with cafeteria, bedrooms, restrooms, and a community shelter for victims during the typhoon/flooding season in Central Vietnam, as well as a number of community wells for clean drinking water. This month, Jak Cares Foundation was helped building a bridge over a river connecting two villages in Southern part of Vietnam.

Elizabeth has been selected as president of the Vietnamese Phoenix American Asian Lions Club. The Lions Club and Jak Cares combined forces to distribute over 2000 eyeglasses in Vietnam to the children and the elderly. For her compassion and hard work in making a difference in many people’s lives, last Fall she received the ANI Award as the Woman of the Year by Creative Media. Now underway, she is taking on a project in rural Vietnam to assist those that are suffering from the dreadful disease of Leprosy.  Through compassion and commitment, Jak Cares has touched many lives and has made a big difference to many people around the world.



Pat Gillum is an Amazing Powerhouse!!!  As an Award-winning International Speaker, Best Selling Author and Certified Life and Business Empowerment Coach for Purpose Driven, High Achieving Women she is passionate about helping women become empowered to change their lives.  

She is the CEO of The Sisterhood Extravaganza, a 501(c3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to Empowering Women and Girls to Succeed through the Power of Women Working together through Advocacy and Education. Pat is passionate about helping women understand the power they possess by increasing their self-esteem and confidence to unlock their potential to be better sisters, friends, wives, partners, mothers and women in general by understanding the value they bring into their relationship with self and others.

As a bestselling author she wrote the book “The Sisterhood… lessons I learned along the way about women and friendships” which was the catalyst for starting the Sisterhood Movement and then she helped 17 women share their story and become authors in the Amazon #1 bestselling book “Empowering Women to Succeed.  Turning Tragedy into Triumph.”  Pat defines “True Sisterhood” as the ability to Love, Support and Celebrate the Women in Our lives which will help us bond to do great things together.


Nhu Holder was born and raised in Vietnam.  At age 20, she and her family immigrated to the US in 1989.  Her father, a well-known mathematics professor, taught her:  "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime. "   With that thought in mind, in 2015, she and her partner, Thaovan Pham, acquired Turning Point Beauty College in Casa Grande, Arizona.  In the third quarter of 2016, she opened a new location in Phoenix.  Turning Point Beauty College is the first Vietnamese-owned Beauty College in Arizona.

Dat Phan, The Original winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, joked "We spread over USA like fungus from the toe."   His statement indicated that the Vietnamese Community has gradually dominated the nail industry in the United States.  In Arizona alone, there are nearly 1500 Vietnamese-owned nail salons.  Therefore, there is a high demand for nail technicians and a beauty college to help provide training, certifying, and creating jobs for many people, majority are female new comers who have language barriers.  With the influence and expansion of Turning Point Beauty College in the community under Nhu’s leadership, the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology recognized the importance of allowing the testing to be provided in other languages besides English and Spanish.  If passed, Arizona will follow the current practice from the State of California.  As a result, in January 2017, the State Board of Arizona officially allowed second language tests in Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese.

As a compassionate person, Nhu has always helped many students with financial difficulties such as helping them apply for Financial Aid, giving them special discounts or allowing students to make payment arrangements for their tuition.  Although busy managing two schools and a newly acquired school in Pamona, California, Nhu has always been supporting the Vietnamese community as one of the main sponsors of cultural, educational, and health events…  Most recently, her school helped provide financial support for The Vietnamese Community in Arizona in successful fund-raising for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Not to mention, in the late 90’s, Ms. Holder and her husband, Curtis Holder, co-founded Triad Electronic Technologies, the first Vietnamese-owned Electronic Contract Manufacturing Firm in Phoenix, Arizona, which helped create jobs for many Vietnamese people, especially the new comers. 

Nhu’s goal is to continue expanding Turning Point Beauty College to new locations throughout the valley.  She fell in love with her job because through teaching, she can directly help train and improve students’ skills to help them succeed in the beauty industry.   Finally, Nhu is so happy and proud of herself for fulfilling her father’s wisdom:  “Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” 


29570321_597585900584690_7240402603658928567_nSalina Imam is the woman who never stop smiling and helping others. People know her as a super woman who works day and night. Either finding a doctor for a poor family in need, talking to a lawyer to help a woman who is victim of domestic violence, cooking food for needy families or organizing events, she is always busy!

Salina Imam Bangladeshi American. She was born and raised in Bangladesh. She is currently the director of ICNA Relief in Arizona and in charge of women’s shelter, two food pantries and free health fair. She is also the representative of Distressed Children and Infant (DCI) in AZ. She has a long track of helping children of Bangladesh, orphans, domestic violence victim, refugees, disaster relief, mental health counselling program and many more initiatives. She is one of the go to person in Bangladeshi community here. Every community event you will find her working hard and serving the community. She is living in this valley for last 23 years and never stopped helping people either in a personal level or from any organizational capacity. She led the Bangladeshi community association BAP as a director in the past. Owned and managed small businesses. Volunteered and collaborated with many other organizations. She found that her passion lies in improving people lives around her. She dedicated most of her time doing development works. She lives in Chandler with her Husband and her only son.



29541543_10156271851269111_444925935298165667_nConnie Sunday is a woman that knows how to get things done and believes the best gift in life is to empower others to take initiative and to provide opportunities for a hand up. She is a superstar activist and believes in collaborative work by demonstrating actions with integrity and honesty. She speaks and shares constructive methods of conflict resolution, solutions to problems and values peace. She recently returned from Northern Uganda where she was a distinguished speaker amongst some of the globes most well-known religious leaders, thought leaders and peace activists at the Inaugural E3 Africa Global Peace Convention. The 3-day summit of distinguished speakers and global peacemakers set out with the vision to form a peaceful society by educating and mentoring people of all ages. They provided methods of conflict resolution and focused on values of peace and respecting differences to live in a safe and peaceful community with opportunity through education and support from one another.

Connie is the Chairman of E3 Africa a local non-profit that provides sponsorship through scholarships for education in secondary school to orphaned, abandoned and impoverished children in Africa. In 2017 her team built the first phase of a secondary boarding school that will have the capacity to educate 800 + orphaned and impoverished children at full build-out of the boarding school. The USA Board of Directors with Connie’s leadership successfully completed the construction and commissioning of the multi-purpose hall at the college in 2017, and in January of 2018, Connie and her team commissioned two classroom blocks at the kick-off of the Global Peace Convention. On day two they laid bricks with community leaders and government officials in a groundbreaking ceremony for the boys and girls dormitories that will begin construction. 

In addition, Connie partners and volunteers with local charities helping thousands of people around the state and world in collaborative work with organizations like Pipeline Worldwide where they installed a well in a remote area, and Project C.U.R.E currently scheduled to deliver a 20 ft. container this summer in Northern Uganda. The container will supply hospitals, clinics and the surrounding community with medical equipment and supplies in the amount of $250,000- $400,000.  She is a member of National Charity League, founder of a teenage youth club in the east valley that mentors youth in community service and political action. She volunteers with her family on holidays at St. Vincent de Paul feeding the homeless and has served and volunteered thousands of hours packing food for people in her community, in and out of state and around the world. She has a servant’s heart and is a philanthropist to many charities and has been a foster parent. Connie has a heart of gold.

Connie lives in Tempe, AZ and is Principal of her company Connie Sunday Consulting, LLC. She specializes in long-term contracts with Independent Investors in the USA. Her work includes Investment and Commercial Property Operations, HR, Code Enforcement, legal issues, audit, payroll, and management training.  She has an extensive background in securities management, estate planning and financial consulting, but what she enjoys most is her volunteer and community service work she does with her family and faith that never fails her.


28954263_10156271876329111_1454488517262290096_oElaine Wong is a cheerful person filled with energy and enthusiasm.  Elaine’s knowledge and commitment to success is truly a value to any event or organization she is part of. Her friendly personality and strength in communication skills generates enthusiasm in everyone she meets. 

Elaine has been involved in numerous community committees and organizations, all which have been made more successful due to her contributions.  She is a member of the GFWC Desert Jade Woman’s Club and served as president in 1996-98.  This Woman’s Club focuses on community service and donations to worthy causes, such as libraries, senior centers, and fire department rescue units.  Elaine was involved in the various committees that planned and worked on the fundraising projects, with notable fundraising efforts including annual high school scholarships and contributions to the Phoenix Art Museum, including the expansion of the Arts of Asia Gallery and Forbidden City Exhibit.

Elaine is active in the Phoenix Chinese American Citizens Alliance where she served as President and Advisor.  She is currently on the National Board of CACA as the National Assistant Secretary. The Phoenix CACA gives annual scholarships to High School seniors and sponsors the National CACA Essay Contest.   To raise funds, Elaine has planned and participated in Cooking Demonstrations and Bowl-a-Thons.   PCACA focuses on promoting citizenship, defending civil rights, and opposing racial discrimination and anti-immigration.  

Elaine has served as the President of the Phoenix Chinese Week organization since 2016.  Phoenix Chinese Week exists to unite communities in the promotion of cultural awareness, education, and diversity in the local community, and sponsors the annual Phoenix Chinese Week Culture & Cuisine Festival, that features the arts, food, dance, entertainment, history and heritage of China. Her leadership led to a very successful 3 day festival at Margaret Hance Park during the Chinese New Year season. Additionally, Elaine was vital in securing the support of numerous sponsorships, and organized 2 fundraising raffles and a silent auction, and planned the 10-course Chinese New Year Banquet. 

Through leadership, devotion, talents and compassion, these ladies truly are the Women of Distinction 2018.

This event is made possible and proudly presented by the following members of the organizing committee:

Event Chair:  

Thanh Mai Le, Vietnamese American, President of the Arizona Vietnamese Culture Club, Publisher of Viet Lifestyles Magazine and President of TNT AZ Radio.


Diana Ho, Chinese American, Director of Cultural and Arts Phoenix Chinese Week, Chinese Cultural Director of Arizona Asian American Association, and Art Director of North American Chinese Women Association.

Farhana Shifa, Bangladeshi American.  AZ Art Commissioner.  President of the Phoenix Lion Club.  Currently running for AZ House Representative District 18.

Rhia (Luz) Nkulu, Filipino-American, Women's Federation for World Peace Arizona-Chairwoman and  Buhay-Buhay Sa Amerika Radio Show host @ Entremujeres Radio.Filipino American, President of AZ Women's Federation for World Peace.
Keiko Conn, Japanese American, President of International Culture Women Club and Vice President of Arizona Asian American Association.
Irma O. Deihl, Hispanic American, Co-host Spanish Radio Show De Mujer a Mujer.
Dr. Phuong Nguyen, Vietnamese American, Vice President of The Vietnamese Community of Arizona.
Naye Olvera, Hispanic American, Co-host Spanish Radio Show De Mujer a Mujer.




Author: Admin

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