FOR this installment, I pay tribute to some women leaders in the business of business.
These ladies have been at the helm of WomenBizPH and BPW Makati, two organizations I belong to. The first, Women’s Business Council of the Philippines or what we now call WomenBizPH was established in 1997 by then President Fidel Ramos to be a policy advisory group. My chairman (as I am the president) is Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia, financial guru and investment expert.
The second group, Business and Professional Women (BPW) Makati is composed of exactly what it name says. Just established a little over a year ago, BPW Makati is headed by Jeannie Javelosa and chaired by the indefatigable Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert.
And the third lady is a public servant who many still do not know as she works quietly but with an unseen power or force. This is Undersecretary Noya Terrado of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Consider it done” must be her motto in life. Ever the most organized to the point of being jokingly called “OC-OC” (a colloquial term for OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Boots gets things done as she says they will be. She learned most of these skills during her longest stint at SGV & Co. and in her own financial investment firm.
She and I first met in the year 2000 when I headed the all-Filipino franchise association (known as AFFI) as she wanted to know more about the Franchising sector. After those times I made her sit through seminars and made her meet many franchisers and franchisees, she probably knew what kind of organizer I was.
To this day, we work like Mutt and Jeff or Batman and Robin. I cover for her when she is out of town as she does for me in many regional events and meetings we have to attend. She is an example of someone who looks “scary” to many but is the sweetest person behind that corporate stance. And what she always advocates is good governance and transparency. And I like the fact that she sits in a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) as an independent director.
Boots may be known as an accountant and finance professional but she has embraced the advocacy of Women Empowerment and has championed our many projects in WomenBizPH. For example she started a line with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) so women owners of businesses can easily avail of financial assistance from the state-owned bank. This is called ILAW or Inclusive Lending for Aspiring Women.
And she is also one of the most active in the Steering Committee of the APEC Women and Economy event set in September here in Manila.
“I can introduce you to someone I know who can help you” is Jeannie’s mantra. Ever the networker, Jeannie has indeed connected many women leaders and entrepreneurs to each other.
At first, she just wanted to be an observer, being an artist, a painter and a curator. Business networking was farthest from her mind until the time when through the encouragement of Ambassador Delia Albert, she organized BPW Makati.
Her life took a 180 degree turn and she is now planning events, regional conferences while staying close to home through the work she does at ECHOsi Foundation. Her pet project is the Great Women Brand and platform that is now going regional as a “replicable example” of how women move up the value chain.
Jeannie can get very intense and she keeps the ropes tight in leading the very young group of BPW, which is composed of young professionals and entrepreneurs. These women who are there to connect while living the Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) of UN Women meet regularly and have now partnered with many companies like PLDT Smart, IBM and more to come.
Jeannie is a busy body who keeps the reigns while keeping her work at ECHOsi focused also on women artisans moving up the value chain. She, for example, has taken weaves of IP women to places like New York and has gotten the attention of many international buyers.
“I never was sociable,” she says. Quite an understatement for someone whose day is full of meetings and socials. And for someone leading a very active group like the BPW.
Usec. Nora ‘Noya’ Terrado
I hope I do not make a mistake while paying tribute to this busy woman. Having had the chance to work with her in DTI and APEC Steering Committee for over a year now, I can just say she is a “doer” and a “no nonsense” boss.
I have seen her take over meetings gently when she finds the pace too slow, or too dragging. I have seen her sashay into bilateral meetings with grace while keeping her agenda in check.
I wish and hope all public servants could be as focused as she is. She, by the way, also came from SGV & Co. before going into the IT sector having led Headstrong before she got recruited into public service.
I think she is on the right track in bringing her “no nonsense” private sector style in a bureaucracy that we know has to observe a lot of protocols. And she is quite effective in doing so.
There you have it. Two women who lead business organizations and a third who heads an agency’s agenda for APEC Women and Economy 2015.
With them at the helm we will surely make a mark in the history of APEC Women and Economy. And we should not forget that Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert started this all in 1996. And we look up to her for history, protocol and a lot of APEC experience.
The APEC Women and Economy 2015 will be held from September 16 to18, 2015 at the PICC. For more information, you can write the DTI-APEC Committee at APECWE2015@dti.gov.ph or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at email@example.com