Jillian was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. At 16, she and her four siblings moved to the United States to reunite with her parents in California. She is currently in her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley studying political economy.
Growing up, Jillian’s entrepreneurial father taught her the values of persistence, grit, and optimism at a young age. Through her family’s various business ventures, Jillian spent much of her happy childhood moving around the Philippines and studying and attending school intermittently. It was this spirit of building something out of nothing that propelled Jillian’s family to migrate to the United States.
In 2010, Jillian and her family’s life changed when their father passed away. She has since put into practice the values that her parents instilled in her. At 18, Jillian moved from California to New York City, challenged herself to pass the GED exam and to get her first job—all with the incredible support of community service centers in Chelsea. This transformative time exposed Jillian to the importance and impact of public service work, shaping her aspirations to serve low-income and immigrant communities in any way she can.
For her placement in DreamSF Fellowship, Jillian is excited to be placed in Mission Asset Fund. There, she will assist with the Immigration Loans Program as well as assist the development and implementation of a new initiative that supports immigrant entrepreneurs.
Jillian is a volunteer Certified Tax Preparer at the Lao Family Community Development, Inc. in Oakland, and has served as a student mentor for California community college students applying to transfer to UC Berkeley. In her free time, Jillian enjoys travelling and documenting her life through photos, journals, and playlists.