Phil was recently on the Filipino Friday’s Podcast as a guest. Filipino Friday’s tells the stories of a new generation of Filipinos and their way through Canada.
We’re back with a remarkable episode featuring an emerging leader looking to bring science and diversity to Canadian politics. Phil is an award-winning scientist and clean technology innovator. A first-generation Filipino-Canadian, after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, Phil became the youngest-ever Director at the National Research Council of Canada. He is now running for office in the Toronto-St. Paul’s riding for a seat in the Canadian federal government. Phil’s mission is to bring more diversity to politics by representing as a young, Filipino-Canadian immigrant looking to lead a new generation of science-driven leaders that make policies based on evidence and data, not polls and rhetoric. With Filipinos being the 4th largest visible minority and nearly a million in population residing in Canada, there isn’t a single Filipino representative that is a member of Parliament. (not since the Honourable Rey Pagtakhan was elected in 1988 and retired in 2004).
We discussed about his goals for this election which is to create sustainable jobs where no one is left behind, solving the housing affordability crisis and an emphasis in supporting essential workers. We talked about his pursuit in a career in science along with how often he came across other Filipinos in graduate school, start-up tech and innovation. (You guessed it, never…) Taking a quote from Ursula Franklin, we talk about what it meant to be the first of the kind – to lead in becoming the leader we never saw growing up. Being the first of the kind means not being the only, which opens the doors for more Filipino representation in powerful decision making positions found in academia, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation and government.
We discuss in depth about the complex relationship between cultural identity and its correlation to professional success. As a person who was once ashamed to be Filipino, he even published an op-ed in the Toronto Star saying, “when I was young, all I wanted to be was white.” This was due to the lack of role models in senior management positions and the yearning to belong and not othered. We addressed when the shift in mindset happened and finally embracing his heritage and inspiring others along the way. We break down the roadblocks our community faces in making a stamp in society and Phil shares advice on how we can impact change without having to leave behind who we are as a Filipino. We close the show talking about the future and the coming of age for the Filipino community.
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Toronto-St. Paul’s is on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
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