LEADERSHIP & STAFF
Meet the activists, professionals, and amazing people leading FilExcellence.
Argentina Beltran is a corporate executive, turned entrepreneur, turned activist. She was born and raised in Pampanga, Philippines and moved to Canada as an adult.
Argentina has found much success in the industry in recent years through her partnerships with CEO’s, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands and her deep passion in community building.
Argentina is also a sought out speaker and has participated in hundreds of leadership, business and diversity panels. She brings with her a wealth of experience in helping organizations, businesses and individuals communicate their message authentically and effectively.
Argentina spearheaded a global hashtag campaign #filipiNOW that has gone viral. It aimed to push for representation, visibility and recognition for the contributions of Filipinos in the diaspora. Now it serves as a platform to amplify the great work of other Filipino organizations and support social justice causes that requires urgent attention.
She is also the founder or Filipino Canadian Professional Network, which is a professional networking group in Canada.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Director of Finance
Matthew Veland is a Filipino American financial planner and entrepreneur residing in the Washington, D.C., area. Before working in finance, he pursued careers in the marketing and non-profit sectors.
In the financial services industry, Matthew’s passion is helping people build confidence around their financial decisions. He primarily works with Asian American business owners and professionals across the country as they tend to share common concerns and cultural attitudes around money.
In addition to FilExcellence, Matthew also currently serves on the boards of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (DC Chapter) and the National Federation of Filipino American Organizations (Capital Region). His focus in serving in these organizations is helping to develop and encourage professional development, financial literacy, and representation for the Filipino American community.
While not at work, Matthew enjoys time at home in Arlington, VA with his wife, their two pets, and their many houseplants.
Director of Operations
Monica Blanco (she/her) is a proud second-generation Filipina American based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Monica creates Health and Fitness content as @asapmonny across multiple platforms. She worked as a Product Development Engineer for a biotech company in Chicago before becoming a certified trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She runs her business through Monny Moves, LLC where she coaches clients through the process of building a stronger body and mind.
Monica believes we all have a responsibility to create more inclusive and accessible spaces for every BODY. Activism and the devotion to the equitable treatment of all people isn’t one size fits all - there is a role and space for everybody, and the possibilities for the next generation of leaders are endless.
JOSHUA DE LEON
Director of Policy & Advocacy
Josh De Leon (he/him/his) is the proud son of Filipino American immigrants and an activist, community organizer, and diversity, equity & inclusion practitioner.
From youth education programs to grassroots organizing to the nonprofit sector, Josh has spent his career building bridges and coalitions in the pursuit of social justice and structural change. He has previously lived and worked in the Bay Area, Washington, DC, and Tokyo, Japan, but is now based in his hometown within Los Angeles county, and is involved in local politics as an elected 2021-23 Assembly District Delegate representing CA AD-70. He has an MA in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, with an emphasis on identity, art, and social movements.
Director of Communications
Gian Besana (she/her) is a proud first-generation Filipina American based in Denver, Colorado.
She is a Business Development Manager for Cisco Systems and has been in the tech industry for 3 years. In addition, she is a Travel and Lifestyle content creator behind @carryonbabe on Instagram inspiring people to travel while pulling from years of experience traveling to 34 countries, living in 5 countries, and adventures all over the US.
Gian has previously worked in diverse industries in Raleigh, NC including international development, nonprofits, finance, recruitment, proposal development, and university collaboration.
She has served in numerous panels about career development and diversity. She is passionate about lifting BIPOC women up, encouraging them to take up more space and set boundaries, while navigating through difficult challenges and hard conversations.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Ben Bulatao is 6x EMMY nominated TV Editor. He is a member of the Academy of Television and Arts and Sciences (ATAS), He is also a former Board Member of Media Action Network for Asian Americans.
Ben is on a mission to help uplift the Filipinx community by advocating for more BIPOC representation and helping aspiring editors.
Michael Thomas is the owner of Ugat clothing and is passionate about promoting Filipinx culture and participating in advocacies for the underrepresented.