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Published in The MANILA-U.S. TIMES, May 6, 2005
By Johnny M. Pecayo
Imelda Roberts, known to her friends in the Philippines as Imee, was the Head of the Testing and Sourcing Unit, Human Resources Division-Recruitment Department of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the Philippines largest private corporation at the time she migrated in the US in 1984.

Following a stroke that left her dear father incapacitated and made their once flourishing family business bankrupt, Imelda was barely able to pay for miscellaneous fees of Fifty Pesos or an equivalent of less than a dollar per semester to complete her college education. Despite this personal struggle, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) in 1977 through a full scholarship culminating in an internship and a successful career in SMC. Her career with SMC enabled her to rise above homelessness and to live a rich full life while enjoying her last few years in the Philippines with her children before moving to the United States. She credited PLM, SMC, and those around her for giving her opportunities that transformed her life from poverty to a life filled with an amazing journey.

In a dramatic turn of events, she left her beloved Philippines in 1984 to create a new life for her family and two children -- Alberto and Andrea -- leaving behind her families, friends and an exciting career in SMC. She started in the US just like many immigrants determined to succeed in a foreign country not minding odd jobs and starting all over again. Against all odds, she quickly transformed her life and career into an inspirational story of faith, perseverance, and belief in one’s self and a purpose to make a difference. Driven to transform her life and those of her family, Imelda’s belief and abiding faith in God has led to a life she said – was filled with soul searching, challenges, opportunities and personal transformation. In return for a free public education and government scholarship she received with PLM that changed the course of her future, Imelda’s entire career in the US following SMC was focused in education and government. She considered these highlights in her life and career as a way of giving back to public educational institutions that nurtured her young life.

Today, Imelda is no longer at the mercy of government. Rather, she is a highly respected leader in several regional and national organizations serving governments. In contrast to her humble beginnings barely able to afford to go to public schools, she completed numerous training in various parts of the country, including advanced programs in prestigious universities including an Organization Development from the Georgetown University. She is a successful senior executive assuming critical roles in government in the world’s most powerful region in the world – the Washington, DC region.

In addition to her role as Director of Human Resources for a reputable regional council in Washington, DC Metropolitan area, she plays a leadership role in preparing future government leaders occupying the highest position as Chair of the Executive Council of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium, a national accreditation body comprised of 26 states, universities, the District of Columbia, USDA-Graduate Schools, and other government and nonprofit quasi-government agencies.

Recipient of Awards

A recipient of numerous awards from various employers such Arlington County Government, Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore City, regional and national organizations, she is considered an icon in human resources field serving states and local governments. Prior to her role as the President of the Local Government Personnel Association, she was bestowed the Jack Foster Executive Award, the highest honor from the association, for her contributions that positively affected over 40 local jurisdictions in the region. She was also one of only 12 honorees in the first HR Leadership Award in Greater Washington Baltimore Area sponsored by major corporations and institutions in the region. She was featured in several publications including the Washington Business Journal, Washington Times, Manila-US Times, Filipinas Magazine, and local newspapers and media for diverse contributions ranging from human resources, technology, and personal musical initiative honoring the September 11th heroes.

Prior to her regional and national roles, she was a Cabinet Official for the City of Frederick; the second largest city in Maryland. In this role, she was credited for numerous positive changes in human resources and migrating the entire city from DOS to Windows to fiber optics. As a result of her numerous achievements, former City Mayor Jim Grimes bestowed her with an Outstanding New Employee Award in just a few months of employment. During this time, she also received two of the three highest awards -- Personnel Management/Supervisory Award of the Year -- conferred upon her by the LGPA of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area Annual "Best and the Brightest" Awards.

An extraordinary person with extraordinary abilities, Imelda is known for her impressive and significant command in the technical arena. With these exceptional skills in her portfolio, she designed and implemented websites and streamlined processes through the use of online resources for her employers and several organizations in the country. She played key roles in technology and strategic planning process with the Enoch Pratt Free Library culminating in numerous funding for this high esteemed nonprofit educational institution in the City of Baltimore.

Imelda was also the first person to develop the State of Maryland Technology Showcase website. As a result of her volunteer contributions to the state, she was a recipient of three-year consecutive awards from former Governor Parris Glendening for her “Dedication to Technology in the State of Maryland.” She was also the first person to design the website for the Governor's Information Technology Board, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and other associations.

CD: “We Saw The Best In You”

Touched by the tragic events of September 11th and personally knowing many of the heroes involved in the Pentagon recovery efforts through her work with the Arlington County government and COG, she created the Gift of Light and Songs initiative. This volunteer effort honoring those who helped in the tragedy led to the creation and production of her first CD. With no music background, she was featured in several newspapers, radio and television for the creation of her first CD, entitled “We Saw The Best In You,” a musical tribute containing 15 songs she personally wrote and composed. With no product design and manufacturing experience, she also designed and produced a Twin Towers Light with a Pentagon base and map of Pennsylvania, which she said was to memorialize these historic events.

Her efforts did not go unnoticed receiving an Ambassador’s Award from Michael Rogers, former COG Executive Director, and letters from the United States President George W. Bush, Former First Lady Hilary Clinton, Governor Mark Schweiker, The Governor of Pennsylvania; Peter Madonia, Chief of Staff, The City of New York, and Ron Carlee, County Manager of Arlington County on behalf of the first respondents in the Pentagon recovery efforts.

Government HR Technology Initiative

With experience as an independent consultant with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, a published author of a nationally-placed employment book, and an excellent knack for technology, she envisioned building upon these talents as a platform for helping both the US and the Philippines.

In preparation for this challenging vision, she has assumed the President and CEO position with First Magnitude International, LLP. Through her own technology expertise, she has laid the infrastructure for government online solutions she expects to launch in 2006.

Love and Family

Suffice it to say that "my biggest accomplishment is coming to the US at a time of personal crisis and national turmoil in our country (the Philippines), and to be able to raise two wonderful children as a single parent, Alberto (27), and Andrea (26), who are now professionals working for companies in Maryland. They now live in their own home in Frederick, Maryland

Imelda has found a new love and a lifetime partner, Jeff Snively, who she considers her confidant and partner in her numerous exciting initiatives. Together, they own a 25-acre property in New Market, Maryland – a far cry from being almost homeless in the Philippines.