Editor’s note: As part of Mes CHamoru the Vibe team is writing profiles on CHamorus who have worked to improve the community.
Alice Taijeron, the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, began her career in politics at a young age. At 14, she led a successful campaign to become her grade’s homeroom president, and later became her school’s student council president as a senior.
These experiences in her adolescence, and later as an adult, drove her to pursue her life goal: bringing better opportunities for and to the people of Guam.
Taijeron had moved to Guam when she was 7, after her father Retired from the military. Her parents, Elias and Maria Taijeron, had always held Guam close to their hearts, even when distance had separated from the island, and they wanted their daughter to learn from and be exposed to life on Guam.
She ended up attending Notre Dame High School, where she strengthened her Catholic faith.
“I loved being a student at ND. At the time, the school was only for girls, so I was exposed to a lot of female empowerment. I felt so comfortable in my skin here and appreciated all that the Guam community had done for me in the little time that I had lived on the island. ”
She believed that it was important to show her Gratitude for the island. She took part in several beach cleanups, volunteered at Hospitals, and took part in projects that helped the less fortunate youth of Guam.
“I think my want to help others stemmed at ND. The Notre Dame Sisters have always encouraged us to think of others and spread love. ”
After graduating with honors, she attended the University of Guam, expecting to become a lawyer. “My dad, who has had a huge influence on who I am, Suggested that I become a lawyer to help those who needed my help. He would always tell me that I am who I am because of my family and my island.
“Later, though, I realized my passion for politics. I loved researching and analyzing methods to make communities better, ”she said.
She eventually graduated with a degree in political science, then went on to pursue her Master’s in organization arts from the University of Phoenix.
Afterward, she worked for former Sen. Judy Won Pat as a political analyst, then moved to the private sector. She was soon asked to do legislative work in Washington DC by former Rep. Robert Underwood for four years.
‘Appreciate my Elders’
She later met Lou Leon Guerrero, who was a Senator at the time, and became her political analyst and research writer.
“Working for Senator Leon Guerrero was a great experience. I would give recommendations for different bids. One bid that I’m really proud of was the Natasha Act, ”which prohibited smoking in all restaurants on Guam.
Taijeron is also proud of her work to improve the lives of senior citizens as a retirement counselor and director of Empower Retirement.
“My parents taught me to always appreciate my elders as they have endured so much and have been responsible for the island’s well-being.”
Chief of staff
In 2019, Taijeron was asked by the Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to work as the president of the Guam Housing Corp. The following year, she was offered the governor’s Deputy chief of staff position and she took it.
“I was so surprised and excited when the Governor had asked me to fill the role as chief of staff. I had been in the private sector for a long time, so I had to consider her proposition, but ultimately, I decided to accept. … I wanted to be on her team and help her as the best I could, ”Taijeron said.
She said that as a chief of staff, she “ensures that the decisions that are made are best for the island, given the position that we are in.”
As dedicated as she is to her political work, she is just devoted to her Catholic faith. “The ND Sisters showed me how important religion and God were to life. My faith has always been strong, and I feel that whenever I am in difficult circumstances, I can speak to God and find my way. ”
She joked, “I’m somewhat of a hermit, so God made my path lead to politics to ensure that I wouldn’t always be an introvert.”
Optimistic for the future
Taijeron added that she feels very confident in the future of Guam as more and more teens are facing unique circumstances that make them Stronger as individuals.
“I look at my nieces and nephews and I’m so proud of what they have accomplished. They, and many teens like them, have had to go to school during a Pandemic and are having to live on a hotter-than-ever-before planet. Teens today have lived through so much and yet, they are passionate about their future.
“I am Lucky to call Guam my home, and I am extremely excited to see that all future generations will have to offer the island.”