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3 nominees for Saipan Young Professional of the Year Award

(Press Release) — The Saipan Young Professionals Committee has named three nominees for the 2017 Saipan Young Professional of the Year award.

The nominees were announced at SYP’s monthly meeting, Nov. 21. The award will be made to the winning nominees at the annual SYP holiday party “Santa’s Workshop,” a theme inspired by SYP’s signature project: Toys 4 Tots. The event will take place on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Latte Stone Room of Kanoa Resort.

Each nominee is a member of the Saipan Young Professionals Committee of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce; has demonstrated community involvement and contributions through volunteer work and outreach; has been an active participating member in the committee by attending events, meeting, and programs; and embodies the SYP goals and mission as stated in the chamber by-laws.

The following individuals were nominated by SYP members and mentors: Janel Pangelinan, Lester F. Babauta, Kristal Ann Johnson.

Janel PangelinanJanel Pangelinan

• Janel Pangelinan is a mother to four beautiful daughters and blessed with the full support of her entire family, she is determined to balance motherhood and profession.

While attending Northern Marianas College from 2009 to 2011, she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. The following semester, she was nominated and later sworn in as an officer. Helping coordinate and volunteer, she devoted her free time to community events such as beautification projects and youth affairs. For the duration of her studies at NMC, she worked at the Adult Basic Education department tutoring individuals dedicated to receiving their diploma in order to start their journey to a successful career path.

In 2011, she was blessed to be a part of a new family and where she consider her second home, Pacifica Insurance Underwriters Inc. She started as an underwriter, became head of the broker department, assisted with marketing and networking, and currently a claims examiner. In addition, she has conducted presentations for many government agencies introducing their health insurance plan, as well as career presentations and class observations in relation to the insurance industry. She has devoted time giving back to the community

She feels lucky in this chapter of her professional life because she gets to experience different jobs with wildly different skill sets. But at the end of the day, with hard work and discipline, it is the motivation and desire to achieve the goals she’s set for herself, one step at a time until she can reach her highest.  

She is also co-chair of the Events Committee of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce that oversees major Chamber events such as the annual Corporate Challenge, Golf tournament, and installation dinner. She was recently nominated as a candidate for the 2017-2018 chamber board of directors and received the 2016 Saipan Young Professional of the Year Award.

Lester BabautaLester Babauta

• Lester Babauta is a father of two. He is a former Navy sailor who was stationed on the USS Paul Hamilton DDG 60 from 2006 to 2009 where he was a logistics specialist which deals with supplies and finances of his ship. Upon the completion of his tour, he resided in Hawaii for another eight years as a partner for “Lani Beach by Mireille” a retail business owned by his wife. The business expanded into Guam in 2014. In 2016, he moved back home to Saipan and worked as a project coordinator under N15 Architects.

His passion for small business and entrepreneurship attracted him to the Saipan Young Professionals. He hopes to open a food truck business in Saipan. He also sits as a member of the Events Committee of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce where he regularly volunteers for some of the chamber’s largest fundraising events. In 2016, he was named SYP Rookie of the Year and has since dedicated his spare time to SYP.

• Kristal Ann Johnson is currently a 5th grade teacher at Koblerville Elementary School. She studied at Chaminade University of Honolulu where she graduated with her bachelor of science degree in elementary education with a Minor in Hawaiian/Pacific dtudies. Johnson is a highly qualified and Praxis certified teacher in the CNMI. She holds certifications to teach grades K-8 as well as high school English. She has been working with the CNMI Public School System for five years. Johnson enjoys teaching in the primary grades because she feels that the love of learning is fostered at a young age. She hopes that by nurturing their curiosity in the primary grades, students will continue to want to be life-long learners and successful members of the community.

Kristal Ann JohnsonKristal Ann Johnson

Aside from her day job, Johnson runs an online business with her husband: Zshop, known for its amazing health and beauty care products. In 2016, she was named “Teacher of the Year” for Koblerville Elementary School. Her passion and expertise in both education and entrepreneurship has made her an amazing asset to SYP.

To find out who will receive the 2017 Saipan Young Professional of the Year award, join us at “Santa’s Workshop.” To purchase a ticket or for more information please contact the Saipan Chamber of Commerce office at 234-7150 or visit Marianas Business Plaza, 3rd Floor, Suite 315.

For the latest information on the SYP Committee, visit its Facebook page at

The SYP, an official committee of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, is a group of young professionals with a common goal to network and engage our peers and to make a positive difference. We recognize the need to develop young professionals throughout Saipan to be involved, to recognize important issues and to discuss solutions that will benefit the island we call home. We also strive to promote community involvement and opportunities that will empower our young professionals to become leaders. If you are interested in joining the SYP committee or for more information, call 234-7150 or email