Maria was born in the US but bred and educated in the Philippines. This was due to her father being scouted and commissioned by the late Senator Gil Puyat to build and manage the marketing of one of Puyat’s group of companies, specifically Loyola Life Plan, Memorial Chapels and Philippine Caskets., which he served as President and General Manager for.
The family moved to Manila and there, Maria was educated along with her brothers and sister. Maria earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and majored in Commercial Arts at her mother’s alma mater – The Philippine Women’s University, College of Fine Arts, now named School of Fine Arts and Design.
Upon graduation and her father’s retirement, the family moved back to the US. Maria started her first job as an industrial artist for an aerospace firm. Later work experiences include working as an analyst with one of the world’s largest hardware, software and electronics distributor,, program management in the auto industry, account management with one of the nation’s largest workers’ compensation medical bill review company, and a program and business development manager in the staffing and recruiting industry, but no matter where she’s worked, her deepest passion has always been in support of nonprofit business and charitable organizations.
Maria has served as president and board member of organizations, such as the Asian Business Association of Orange County, Fil-Am Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, Asian Women Entrepreneurs – Orange County, and she is also a co-founder and current board member of the Pacific Trade and Culture Alliance and the Fil-Am Influential Leaders and Mentors.
Maria started independently with Kure It Cancer Research (kureit.org) in 2019 as an Event Coordinator/Development Consultant and is now Kure It’s Development Specialist and works with their Medical Advisory Board in coordinating grants that Kure It focuses on raising funds for, for underfunded cancer research projects granted to leading NIH-designated comprehensive cancer centers. Maria also keeps a close relationship with other community -based organizations such as Alzheimer’s Orange County and the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders to name a few.