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LEAF SPEAKER IN FOCUS: Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi

Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi
President, Center for Growing and Giving Foundation
Founder, Sunshine Farm Philippines

Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi is an internationally awarded advocate for diversity and inclusion, a global business leader, international speaker, and executive coach.

Among her many senior corporate roles, she was the first Global Vice President for Unilever in the Corporate Center in London, then the most senior Asian female to work with CEOs and Boards. More recently, she was SVP-Head of Unilab International business, and founded and built Unilab Foundation. For her life’s work, she received international recognition through the years: one of the Asian Women of Achievement in the UK in 2005, Outstanding Filipino in Singapore in 2009, Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan in 2012, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Trailblazer Award from Best Buddies International in 2015, First Place as Community Mentor at the 7th International Naturally Autistic Persons Award, World Ambassador by the Autistic Network of Community Achievers in Vancouver, Canada in 2016, and the 2017 SENIA Advocacy Award from the Special Education Network In Asia.

She is a sought after international speaker, and held senior advisor positions to causes and organizations like Asia Society’s Women Leaders of New Asia, the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation and Hidden Brain Drain Project, and as Senior Fellow of Human Capital at The Conference Board. She was also adviser to Singapore Ministry of Manpower’s Workplace Integration Program and has presented papers on Workplace Inclusion for the Korean Ministry of Labor and Japan Women’s Innovation Network. She is widely cited in international books such as Why Women Mean Business and On Ramps and Off Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success of the Harvard Business Review Press.

Rhodora has a BA in Mass Communications, Magna Cum Laude, and a Master in Management Degree, with Distinction.

Her professional and personal achievements are noteworthy, but her passion remains deeply rooted in changing the world from wherever she is at the moment. She would like to help build a world where every person, no matter what gender, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, ability, disability or any other uniqueness will be able to say: “I am valued. I belong. I make a difference.”

Current Advocacies
Rhodora is married to her husband and best friend, Jojo Fresnedi. They have built successful international careers as they lived expatriate lives with their three children. Coming home in 2011, “to help the Philippines in whatever way we can”, they have since established the Leadership Journey Institute which provides continuing development programs and coaching for health care leaders in the country.

They have also launched Project Diffabilities (Different Abilities) to enable persons with disability (PWDs) to secure equal opportunities in work and life. They founded Sunshine Farm Philippines, a PWD-operated sunflower farm in Tiaong, Quezon that helps redefine and revitalize agriculture and tourism. They do not hire PWDs to grow and sell sunflowers. They grow and sell sunflowers to hire PWDs. The purpose of Sunshine Farm is to plant seeds of hope and happiness. For PWDs, hope is a job.

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