Board Member Spotlight: Tess Ferrer-Turner

This article features PAANC treasurer Tess Ferrer-Turner and continues our series that spotlights a different member each month. We hope you’ll be inspired by Tess’s story and want to volunteer with PAANC. If so, please contact

Q: What originally sparked your interest to volunteer with PAANC?

Tess: When I moved to Raleigh 30 years ago, I wanted to get involved. I found out about PAANC, and my first volunteer task was at the International Festival, which was held at the Civic Center at the time. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering and I was drawn to PAANC because of its mission and initiatives, which are in line with my beliefs and commitment to service.

Q: How long have you been a PAANC volunteer?

Tess: I’ve been involved with PAANC for 30 years. I also volunteer and am an active member at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Tess: I was born and raised in Lapu-Lapu City, Province of Cebu on the island of Mactan, Philippines.

Q: How did you end up living in North Carolina?

Tess: I moved to N.C. in 1990 when I joined the Clinical Research Team of Glaxo. I had to choose between Bristol Myers in CT, and Glaxo in N.C. I am glad I chose Glaxo over Bristol Myers.

Q: What is your education/work background?

Tess: I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and graduated in 1979. I worked as an operating room nurse in the Philippines before I migrated to the U.S. In Houston, TX, I worked as a medical surgical nurse, then I went on to specialize in clinical oncology starting with head and neck, thoracic, then hematologic malignancies, and later explored the area of oncology clinical research. After gaining clinical experience in clinical research as a research nurse/research coordinator, I pursued my career goal of working in a pharmaceutical/biotech organization. I did so to further expand my involvement in drug development specializing in oncology and infectious diseases. I’ve been engaged in this combined area of specialty for the past 30 years in increasing levels of responsibility until my retirement in 2019.

Q: What do you do in your spare time (hobbies, passions, etc.)?

Tess: I enjoy gardening, traveling, and recently, becoming more interested in birdwatching. I also enjoy cooking, baking, and dancing.

Q: What is your favorite board or card game and why?

Tess: My family has this favorite card game that we play and has become a tradition when we get together and it is called Jet Jet. It is a very fun, energetic, and interactive game and has given our family countless memories and tons of laughter. I also enjoy playing online the Word Game because it helps sharpen my mind and keeps me on my toes.

Q: When travel is safe again, where will you go first?

Tess: My husband and I would like to go the Holy Land, which was our scheduled trip last May, but just like everyone else, covid interrupted our travel plans. Our bucket list includes Australia, New Zealand, Rome, Italy, Japan, and the beautiful places within the Philippines.

Q: How have you grown as a result of COVID?

Tess: It made me appreciate the value of enjoying the moment and enjoying doing simple things. I also became more prayerful, closer to God, and more grateful for all of my blessings.

Q: What advice would you give to young people regarding the importance of volunteering?

Tess: I’ll share this one simple statement that I’ve always believed and lived through life: “It is in giving that we receive.”  Additionally, sharing one’s time and talent, and showing kindness makes a difference in someone else’s life.

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