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For Laela

 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill


Some weeks ago, I was nominated for an award.  It was the first time in my New York City career that I was nominated for anything.  I’ve only been awarded with hugs and kisses from kids in various countries.

How was I supposed to win?  Click LIKE on Facebook.  Easy.  I am horribly competitive though.

As I perused the nominees, I discovered Esperanza Garcia.  Her name means “Hope” in Spanish.  Young, brilliant, Columbia University grad, speaker, amazing woman whose cause was addressing Climate Change.



Her main competition was a large group and I thought… That’s not fair.

I firmly clicked “Like“,  inserted my FB comment of congrats, and kept a close eye on her campaign.

Finally, the night before close of voting, I saw that determined Esperanza had over 2000 votes.  I was proud.

To get more votes, Esperanza created a Facebook page.  Her description looked like a 5000-word Congressional proposal.  I thought, “No one is going to read this.”  I skimmed to the very bottom of her lengthy bio and achievements to discover the one most important word:  M O M.

“You’re a mom?”  I asked?  “Why didn’t you say this in the first place?  Send me a picture of your daughter, we’re doing this for her.”




The Renegade Campaign Manager

With Esperanza’s trust, I took her page hostage.  I changed wording, slapped pictures, annoyed the crap out of my friends to vote for Laela’s mom.  I appointed myself Facebook Campaign Manager.

When we broke 3000, the competition had a 100-vote lead.  Esperanza was relentless, but she started to waiver.

The Lecture

“Are you throwing in the towel?  You have 3 hours.  You just have to be creative that’s all…. If you give up on Facebook, it means you give up on other things too.  This is David and Goliath…. You have now 2 hours and 58 minutes.  A lot of things can happen.

But if you give up….just give up now.”

Pulling Out the Stops

Esperanza got creative and brought in the boyfriend.


Hermann, the Boyfriend who risks his happiness if she lost

I pulled out the sad puppy.


Sad puppy

I even put up the ultimate Weapon of Mass Seduction –> Ryan Gosling.


Weapon of Mass Seduction


I started to lose steam her competition was ahead by almost 200 votes.  I shut down my laptop, put my phone away, started working on a mailing, and Patricia my sidekick campaign guru messaged me, “COME BACK.”

One hour before midnight… there was a tie.

Off to Battle

The Sisterhood had formed.  Women from various Facebook groups from around the country were voting for “Esperanza.”


When midnight struck, the Facebook page shutdown.  We waited anxiously for the results.  When the page refreshed, we discovered:

3913 votes for Esperanza

She won by 60 votes.

A shocked Esperanza messaged: “Thank you. WE WON! Because of you!!!”

I responded, “I told you, don’t give up on me.  I did it for your daughter.”

With hope, Esperanza, and Maya’s Hope, we did it together for a little girl named Laela.

After Esperanza won, a little girl in the Philippines named Laela received a call that her mother won an award in New York… and it was all because of her.


 The Outstanding Filipino of New York Award Ceremony will be held on October 26th, 2013 at Carnegie Hall. 


Oh and yes, I forgot to include, I won too, with just 470 votes.




If you believe in working together, we can come together to start building an orphanage for little girls in the Philippines… Laela is lucky because she has the best mother in the world.  But there are many little girls that will never know what it feels like to be loved by a mother…. so let’s work together.


Do you believe in a little girl’s dreams?  You can start right HERE.


Submitted by Maya Rowencak.



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