Filipina is named one of ‘RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2019’

/ 01:41 AM June 29, 2019

Gelaine Santiago speaking at the Fair Trade Fashion event in the Philippines two years ago. CAMBIO & CO. WEBSITE

TORONTO, Ontario — Gelaine Santiago, Filipina founder of Cambio & Co., was named one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2019. Santiago received the prestigious award at a ceremony at One King West Hotel on June 25.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards is a people’s choice awards program that recognizes inspirational immigrants who have made a positive impact on their communities since arriving in Canada.

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As the first Canadian national award program, the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards recognizes the achievements of all immigrants including community advocates, volunteers, successful entrepreneurs, and cultural icons.

“These awards not only showcase the richness and diversity that newcomers add to the fabric of our communities but also the important role they play in making Canada the success it is today and will continue to do so in the future,” said Ivy Chiu, Senior Director, Newcomer Strategy, RBC.

Gelaine Santiago sharing her knowledge of Filipino heritage and craftsmanship with the younger generation of Filipino Canadians during Toronto’s Filipinoesque pop-up. KEVIN RAMOS

Santiago was born in Bulacan, Philippines and moved to Toronto, Canada when she was three years old. In 2015, Gelaine and her partner Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer founded Cambio & Co., an ethical retailer that specializes in “conscious fashion” designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by talented Filipino artisans.

Their aim is threefold: to connect Filipino entrepreneurs and artisans to the global market; to give consumers the opportunity to make an impact through their purchases; to create a space for Filipinos in the diaspora to reconnect with their roots by learning about Filipino traditions and history through contemporary, ethical fashion.

Gelaine and her partner Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer with Filipino artisans whose crafts they retail. GERALD GLOTON

Cambio & Co. has grown to include 2,000 customers in the U.S., Canada, and internationally with 10,000 social advocates across the world. It amplifies the work of 12 partners in the Philippines, across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“I’m thankful to receive this award, not only on behalf of my parents who made the courageous decision to pursue a life in Canada, but also on behalf of the larger Filipino community,” says Santiago. “With Canada’s first ever Filipino Heritage Month, I’m proud to be one of the many Filipinos who are sharing our heritage and culture loudly, fiercely, and unapologetically.”

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TAGS: Cambio & Co., conscious fashion, ethical retailing, Gelaine Santiago, RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2019, Small Business
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