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Digital Transformation—Its impact on Doing Business Across Borders

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

ECONOMIC COOPERATION: With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been left with no choice but to undergo digital transformation to survive. Speakers in this panel are already successfully doing business in that space. They will talk about the immense business opportunities in the digital arena, whether in Hawaii, the Philippines or anywhere else in world.

Sharing Workforce across Borders—Its Impact on Hawaii Businesses

Bernice Parsons is the President and Co-Founder of Vertaccount and has overseen extensive outsourcing engagements of various complexities and size. Born and raised in the Philippines, she moved to Honolulu in 2002. In 2010, she was recognized by the Small Business Administration as the Financial Services Champion in Honolulu. In 2013, Bernice was named as a 40 Under 40 honoree by Pacific Business News. In the same year, she was also a finalist at the Hawaii State Junior Chamber of Commerce’s Ten Outstanding Young Person’s Award.

She has received her undergraduate degree from the Ateneo de Manila University and is a member of Entrepreneur’s Organization, finance committee for the YWCA of Oahu and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.

Pauline Suaco-Juan: From the worlds of broadcasting and publishing to government service and trade promotions, great storytelling has always been at the core of Pauline Suaco-Juan, the current Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the country’s export promotion agency under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

With Suaco-Juan at the helm, CITEM has taken great strides to keep up with present-day demands and challenges in the export sectors of home, fashion, lifestyle, food, creative talent, and sustainable solutions. She has been steering the agency toward digitalizing decades-old onsite trade shows, leading country participations in overseas hybrid trade fairs, applying technology to improve customer experience, and utilizing data to tap new markets.

Approaching trade promotions as a storyteller, Suaco-Juan has been leading CITEM in providing micro, small, and medium enterprises with online platforms and business solutions to promote their talent, artisanship, and ingenuity to markets old and new all year round. Under her leadership, the agency has launched multiple trade promotions platforms: FAME+, the online counterpart of long-running trade show Manila FAME and the country’s lead generation and promotions platform for the home, fashion, and lifestyle industries; IFEXConnect, which is the lead generation platform for the food sector and will enhance the IFEX Philippines experience;,, and Sustainability Solutions, which are promotions websites for the food, creative and sustainability sectors respectively.

Beyond the development of these platforms, Suaco-Juan brought CITEM’s signature shows online with the digital conference and expos of CREATEPhilippines, IFEX, ManilaFAME and SSX. In the international scene, she continues to push the country’s representation in foreign trade platforms and virtual events, including Maison & Objet and More, Saladplate, Gulfood, Biofach eSpecial, and FOODEX Japan. These events allow the expansion of the agency’s database of buyers both locally and abroad and have facilitated in generating export sales for participating MSMEs in 2021 despite the pandemic.

Intellectual and Creative Property as a Commodity in Economic Exchange

Jeff Orig owns the award winning, Honolulu-based, marketing and video production agency, Orig Media, a boutique production company in Honolulu that produces commercials, short films, web series, a local TV show, and feature films. He is building Orig Entertainment to offer short films, TV shows, feature films, and web series. His company just completed post-production on a feature film based on our award-winning hit web series, Waikiki PD. He also recently directed another feature film for Mission Houses Hawaii Museum. One of his YouTube channels has over 56,000 subscribers and counting and he has been honored with several awards for his commercial and creative work.

Transforming Objects into Cultural Icons the Digital Way

RITA NAZARENO is an Emmy-Award winning television creative producer whose shift to design is a product of passions and family ties. She is the creative director of ZACARIAS 1925, a brand of hand-woven bags and home accessories that places a contemporary thrust in the traditional craft of hand-weaving, referencing contemporary art, architecture and cinema. She is also Creative Director of Nazareno/Lichauco a collaboration with Gabby Lichauco that continue to work on design exhibits by CITEM/Design Philippines showcasing the best creative works of the Philippines in exhibitions in Paris and Milan.


Nelda Zulueta is the CEO and Principal Consultant, of CLEARVISION OUTSOURCING CONSULTANTS, a business solutions provider based in Metro Manila, Philippines, with a roster of veteran and young consultants in organizational development, encompassing various fields. Its services include digital media marketing, feasibility & business planning, and human capital & organizational development. Part of her advocacy and passion is to improve the workforce through the empowerment of the individual, based on the belief that improving the individual improves the team. She has applied this principle throughout the various projects handled by the organization in both the private and public sectors since her firm’s establishment in 2012.

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