“My mom wants me to be a nurse, but I really want to tell her I love to dance.”

“Every time my tita visits our house, she always asks me if I’m getting married. It’s getting really annoying.”

“It’s so hard for me to say NO to my family because I feel like I owe them. But I really want to say No.”

Polite, Obedient, Respectful – This is what our parents taught us to be, and now we need to make in a forceful, direct, push-the-envelope society. How do we transition? Do we need to change? Dr. Abby will share her research on Filipino American psychology and provide insight that will help you realize your super power and get ready to break the bamboo ceiling.


Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/gcv_Pixlx0A


This panel is scheduled for:

Day 1:  Nov. 4,  7:30-9:00 p.m. ET  (Nov. 5,  7:30-9:00 a.m. Philippines)


Dr. Abby Hamilton

Who Am I?

I grew up in Tampa Florida, learning about life from my traditional Filipino parents and from the Filipino community and figuring out life in my American surroundings. I went to Stetson University and earned my degree in  communication studies, which led me into a variety of career settings including retail, non-profit, healthcare, and education. 

It was my 11 years teaching middle school students that gave me the handy tools for my parenting toolbox as I raised my three wonderful children. Watching them grow and analyzing their every move was my favorite hobby.

This might be why I decided to get my masters in management and eventually my PhD in industrial/organizational psychology (psychology of how people work). I love to ask, “Why do people feel the way they do and how do they communicate?” So many times, we don’t even realize why we do what we do.

In my role as the Director of Student Services at Everglades University, I get to help them find their best self to prepare for their future careers. Nothing can compare with the feeling of experiencing the joys and struggles of life with our students as well as the great solutions and opportunities that are available for them! 

I am excited about this new chapter of my life, where I get to tell everyone about what I discovered during my dissertation. It has totally changed my life, and I know it will change others! It turns out that so many people do not know how to be assertive, and this may be the reason they are not being promoted in the workplace. My study showed that Filipino Americans have low assertiveness when their Filipino cultural values are high. Many people have low assertiveness because of the values they were raised with. I want to open their eyes to see that they can be assertive without letting go of their values. I want them to realize that assertiveness allows them to be true to themselves, and without it, they cannot be their best self. I want to tell everyone to SHINE ALREADY.  This is my message, and I’m going to let it shine!


Jean Gavina is a Clinical Strategy Manager with a background in Health Administration and Nursing. Experience in strategy and operations, quality improvement and relationship development. Expertise with implementation of technology platforms and tools to support operations. Project management experience, program development and launch of new clinical programs.

Professional Business Resource Groups include BCBS’s Asian American Business Resource Group, In-Abled Resource Group, Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise, and Engaging Millennial Energy to Recognize Growth Enterprise wide . Community work involves Gawad Kalinga, LES-Live Every Second and Midwest Pilipino American Coalition.


Everett Icao is a 2016 graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in Psychology. An active volunteer in the Filipino-American community, Everett strongly believes and advocates for change in issues of social and economic injustice, community collaboration, and youth leadership engagement. He has served in several leadership capacities through organizations such as The Philippine-American Cultural Foundation, Filipino-American National Historical Society Chicago and Knights of Rizal just to name a few.

In his professional life, he is employed at Cooney & Conway, a plaintiff’s personal injury firm based in Chicago that proudly serves clients who seek assistance when finding themselves at the most vulnerable time of their lives. He continues to grow by aspiring to complete his legal education and one day represent those who need an advocate. Everett continually strives to build strong and positive relationships through his work in his professional and community organizing by involving people from different groups, ages, and backgrounds by emphasizing the importance of educating, engaging, and empowering so change can be met with action. In his free time, Everett enjoys spending his time outdoors and participating in various physically healthy activities.