Ligaya Humbert Leans In

Posted on 02/25/20

Ligaya Humbert is on the move. The retired volunteer’s home office has ceiling to floor notes and documents from her various activities and she says she often works 60-80 hours a week.

And now she has stepped up to become the new chair of AARP Oregon’s Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) that supports the organization in recruiting and retaining a diverse volunteer base and connect AARP to diverse communities.

“I thought when I retired I’d sit around and read books and do crafts,” she said. But that literally made her sick. When she began to volunteer and to serve others, she enjoyed life more and her health improved as well. “People need to stay active after they retire. It’s a good time to refocus and find your purpose and passion in life that will keep you healthy and happy.”

Happiness is something Ligaya brings into every room she enters. She has enthusiasm and an easy style that puts people at ease. “I like working with people and figuring out ways to encourage them to make a difference,” she said.

Born in 1945 and growing up in Manila, Ligaya came to Oregon in 1986 and worked for various departments in the State of Oregon. Having worked in the private sector for 20 years which includes a 3-1/2 year stint with Black and Decker Middle East in Dubai, she thought of government service as a way of giving back to the community. Her last job in the public sector was as Finance Manager of Clackamas Community College in 2010. An accounting degree from the University of the East in Manila and an MBA degree from George Fox University in Newberg helped her excel in her various tasks.

She originally joined the Diversity Council four years ago at the urging of AARP staff. “Sometimes people join because they are asked,” said AARP State Director Ruby Haughton-Pitts. “And we’re so glad she joined with us. She brings so much enthusiasm and knowledge with her, and will be a great team builder for our DAC volunteers.”

Ligaya is hoping her leadership style will encourage more people to get involved. “I believe in talking to people face to face to learn about their background and interests,” she said. Developing rapport puts people at ease and energizes them to get involved.

Among her goals as Chair of AARP Oregon’s Diversity Advisory Council is to help foster intercultural communication among various diverse older adults. “AARP is giving me the opportunity to connect diverse groups together and also to celebrate the unique contributions of the Filipino Community.”

For example, in 2019 Ligaya worked with AARP to bring General Antonio Taguba to Oregon for a series of events. Taguba is only the second American citizen born in the Philippines to be promoted to the rank of general in the U.S. Army. Through his personal experiences and leadership role, Taguba speaks poignantly about the role of family caregivers.

Ligaya’s enthusiasm carries over to her personal life as well. She recruited her husband, Ken Humbert, to become an AARP volunteer as well and notes that she’s able to do more because he happily serves as her “official driver.” But it’s not just Ken that she has pulled in. “I’m always recruiting whether it’s for AARP Oregon, the DAC or Tax Aide or the Filipino Association” she said with a smile. After that, she was off to her next meeting.

Editor’s note: Ligaya Humbert has been a volunteer with AARP Oregon about four years and an AARP Foundation Tax Aide volunteer for about 10 years. In addition to her volunteer roles at AARP Oregon, she is also the Chair of the Filipino Association of Portland and Vicinity and volunteers for the Oregon Filipino Historical Society helping to document the history of the Filipino community in Oregon.

This story is provided by AARP Oregon. Visit the AARP Oregon page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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