Who’s That Girl?

Since Ligaya was founded, in 2012, the same captivating photo of a smiling Filipina with a bright smile, and a perfect deep tan, has graced the banner. Many of our readers have reached out to us, throughout the years, asking about that photo.

Interestingly, the photographer, Alfred Castino, is a retired technology executive from San Francisco who established a successful second career as a professional portrait photographer. Castino doesn’t do it for money. He charges nothing. However, the subjects of his photographs have to be very interesting people.

What about the model? Who is the woman behind the face that represents the Modern Filipino Americans of Ligaya Magazine?

Arabella Santiago is an East Coast girl, who graduated from Rutgers University, in New Jersey, with a degree in communication. During the startup boom, she relocated to San Francisco, where she currently lives the life of a media entrepreneur ― launching several companies, advising entrepreneurs, and immersing herself in the tech culture of Silicon Valley.

I met Arabella when I was covering TechWeek ― an annual conference for technology entrepreneurs. Arabella had been hired, in 2012, as TechWeek’s Executive Director. Her presence, let alone, her hiring, was anomaly in the tech culture, where roughly only five-percent of financially funded entrepreneurs are women. What made her more interesting to us, however, was that she was Filipino American.

In her work for TechWeek, Arabella managed a team of marketers, secured well-known speakers, hired vendors, and negotiated extensive contracts. After a year of planning, she and her team launched a successful TechWeek conference at the iconic Merchandise Mart in Chicago, the city where the founders of the conference had been based.

Here, Arabella reveals her unique personality during an interview on Bootstrapping In America ― a Chicago-based show featuring startup entrepreneurs.

Today, you can find TechWeek conferences in several cities. While Arabella has moved on, from TechWeek, she certainly remains one of the women whose talents and connections have made her an established figure in today’s startup economy. ✿

1 Comment

  • Ting Joven says:

    What an inspiring story behind the beautiful face of Ligaya! Thank you for finally uncovering the mystery and introducing Arabella Santiago to your readers. We hope to read more stories like hers on Ligaya Magazine. Thumbs up to the modern Filipina!

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