In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are happy to bring you the following interview with staff member Flora Damian, who has been on our team for five years as a Business Development Manager. Interviews like these allow us not only to celebrate different cultures but also to learn more about our team members.

Here’s what Flora shared:

Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

I have two adult children and 5 beautiful grandbabies. I am a born and raised Army brat! I’m the 2nd oldest of 4 siblings:3 girls and one boy. My younger sister and I live here in WA State. My oldest and younger brother live in California. My mother passed away in 2007, and my father lives on the beautiful island of Guam.

Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.

I’m Chamorro from the beautiful island of Guam. The Chamorro people were the original settlers in Guam and have lived on the island for almost 4,000 years.

How do you teach others about your culture?

Since the 17th Century, Catholic Churches have been the major influence in each village’s activities. Even today, the Catholic Church is at the center of every village fiesta. Family groups still hold christening parties, and fandangos (weddings, novenas, funerals, and death- anniversary rosaries). However, the feast days of honoring the patron saint of each village is the most elaborate fiesta that the entire island is invited to attend.

In addition to the Catholic influence, Spanish rule of the island for over 200 years has shaped the island’s culture. No matter what is being celebrated, Spanish flavor is infused throughout each event.

Who has had the most influence in your life? 

My mother has been the most influential person in my life. She taught me almost everything I know. She taught me to cook with love and grace. Most importantly, she taught me the importance of family and that family comes first. I’m a loving and hardworking mother and grandmother because of her.

How did your family keep their culture alive here in Washington State?

Every year, nine days leading up to the new year, my family and I pray the Novena. A novena is made up of 9 consecutive days of prayer where we ask God for special prayer requests or petitions. It is a beautiful tradition that I hope stays alive for my family’s future generations.

What word best describes your culture?


What word best describes your family?

Cohesive. Whatever a family member needs, big or small, we all pitch in and stick together no matter what!

What’s your favorite tradition?

My family and I get together as much as possible and cook all our favorite Chamorro foods.

Are there any special facts about your family you want to share?

My sisters, myself, and my daughter all know how to dance hula. My granddaughters are next to learn.

How else would you like to dive into learning more about your culture?

I plan on taking my adult children and grandchildren to visit the island so they can see and learn the culture firsthand.

What are some generalizations that you would want to educate others on?

Guam is a US Territory. It is 30 miles long and 4 to 12 miles wide. It is the southernmost and largest island of the Marianas Islands, as well as the largest in Micronesia.

How would you want others who are not Asian American/Pacific Islander to celebrate this month?

Try some island food, attend a luau or fiesta, and make some fun memories doing it.