Thelma Gumataotao Hechanova was born in Guam to Dem Linaja Hechanova and Ama Diaz Gumataotao (one of the twelve children of Leon and Josefina Diaz Gumataotao from Toto). She was raised in the village of Agana Heights until she was 12. In the years since then, she has returned to Guam several times—as a secondary teacher, the chairwoman to two subcommittees for the 1999 South Pacific Games, and as a flight attendant for Continental Micronesia.
In 2007, Thelma left her 16-year tenure with IBM to take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move back to her homeland to become senior adviser to the Governor of Guam in service to our island’s people. Her extensive community affiliations and exposure to key leaders in the public, private, military sectors and community-at-large in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands afforded her consulting positions not only with the Government of Guam but also with the United States Marine Corps and U.S.-based companies doing business in Guam. These experiences have been instrumental in better understanding the cultural, social, and environmental challenges the islands face AND in educating newcomers who come to the islands.
A consummate and passionate advocate of her native culture and island, Thelma continues to further the visibility of Guam through her affiliations and active memberships in Los Angeles and the largest stateside Chamorro community in San Diego. Her philanthropic work today includes being an advisor to Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHE’LU), a volunteer at the USO@ LAX, and lead facilitator to a networking group of professionals in work transition. A lifetime member of the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club, Thelma is also proud to be one of Guam’s goodwill ambassadors for life as Miss Guam International 1976.
Thelma Hechanova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.