Success Story: Carissa Villacorta

By Alpha Miguel-Sanford

Photo of Kirby Calvario (


Carissa Villacorta, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the United States in 2007, is also the first Filipino author to have a book launch and signing at a Borders bookstore inNew York City for her award-winning book, “Surreality”. In October 2006, when she launched her book in New York, there were a lot of people who came to admire her collection of essays about contemporary life from her own perspective. To this day, her book is still being talked about and is now considered a classic masterpiece.

Despite numerous international awards, including being an international presenter at the Mensa Society of Greater New York in 2007, she is true to herself and hopes to continue to inspire people through her work. Carissa who travels back and forth to New York and California as a publicist is a world-class Filipino.

Through a phone conversation in May 2012, Carissa remains humble and true to herself. She shared with me her perspective on growing older and her philosophy: Believe.Begin.Become!

This is her story:


AMS: Tell us about how you become involved in your current project and its mission?

Carissa: I do PR but it is Cause-PR.  Kinda like CSR PR. If you are doing something good, it’s good for people to know in case they may be inspired to also follow their dreams, help out and make a difference, whatever the case may be for each client. I like PhilDev (Philippine Development Foundation) because it finds and helps the less-privileged brilliant and deserving Filipino students and funds their studies (in science and engineering) so that reach their potential and eventually, contribute to the society and Philippine economy.  I think my Lola (grandmother), who passed away recently, but loves the rags to riches stories, philanthropy and helping the poor would be very happy to know that this is my work.

 AMS: What is your vision of these projects?

Carissa: I always want to give attendees and supporters a positive and memorable time when they attend our events. I also always try to make sure the event is publicized in a positive way so that more people can hear about the event and support the cause. Some may even become beneficiaries of the cause because they heard about it in the media. I see publicity as a way of helping people: Editors and producers get stories and access to subjects to feature, Clients get the publicity they need to grow their business or promote their cause, and readers / viewers learn something new which hopefully engages them and encourages them to participate and contribute.

AMS: Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?

Carissa: Loida Nicolas Lewis was my first client as a publicist and event planner. She believed in me and probably saw my potential as a writer, until eventually, doors opened for other/more clients and projects.  

AMS: What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?

Carissa: People would probably say it’s writing a book. I would say, it’s reaching people and being able to “talk” to them through the book. I love conversations and thankfully, though my book, I am able to meet them, and I am happy to hear about their stories too.

It was also fun to have organized top class events in theHamptonsand at the Lincoln Center in New York. These were Benefits, so there were always beneficiaries while giving attendees and supporters a good and memorable experience.

 AMS: Who are/were your motivators?

Carissa: My grandmother who loved life and was also a columnist. She was a brilliant writer.  She loved to laugh and always did. To her, everything was maganda (beautiful) and masarap (delicious), even the smallest flowers (for maganda) and airplane food (and masarap). She appreciated everything and never imposed anything or on anyone. She was so generous, always thinking on what and how she could give. She was a true role model on how to live your life, humbly and gratefully.

My clients who believe in me and my work. My family who give their support. People who’ve read my book and still talk about it with me and with others on how it’s changed their perspective, and sometimes, their lives. 

AMS: If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful in life- what are they?

Carissa: Prayer and positivity. There are a million reasons to be happy.

AMS: What are your next goals for yourself?

Carissa: I really want to write a second book, as a follow-up to Surreality. It’s going to be called love life. The verb, not the noun.

AMS: What is your definition of success?

Carissa: Success is when you’re happy every day with your personal and professional life. Mary Poppins said, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Sometimes people forget that, or they’re in the wrong job.



About the Author: Alpha Miguel-Sanford, is the founder and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed. She is also the author of the book “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.You can contact her at, follow and like her on Facebook Page AMSDaily and be friends with her on Twitter @identitysolved.