International Women's Day: 25 Filipina Power Women To Know
As the eldest among the third-generation Concepcions, Renna Hechanova-Angeles holds many responsibilities in the family’s businesses. she is the vice chairman of the board and treasurer of Concepcion Industrial Corporation (CIC), a company that has been established as one of the leading providers of air-conditioning and refrigerators. she is also the vice chairman and secretary of Concepcion Durables Inc (CDI), a subsidiary of CIC. Hechanova-Angeles serves as a director of Concepcion-Carrier Air Conditioning Company (CCAC) as well, which is another subsidiary of CiC and a joint venture between Concepcion Industries Inc (CII) and Carrier Corporation. In CII, she holds the title of executive vice president and corporate secretary.
Since 1993, Davila has made a mark in the field of news and public affairs for her no-nonsense approach to reporting. in February 2018, the British global affairs magazine Monocle cited her in its list of eight global media personalities who are shaping the news agenda due to the fearless way she called out the current administration on several issues, including the controversial drug war. IN PHILANTHROPY: This mother of two is an advocate for the welfare of people with special needs, children’s rights, government transparency, and ethics in journalism.
She co-founded the sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation with Lizzie Eder-Zobel in 1999, and reached out to public schools throughout the country to conduct teacher training and reading programmes. In 2012, the foundation transitioned into Teach for the philippines, as the local arm of the global Teach for All. Liboro-Delgado currently sits as Teach for the Philippines’ vice chairman. Teach for All’s founder believes that promising young leaders would choose to do work that is more meaningful when given the chance, and this idea is what guides the organisation’s Filipino equivalent as well. Apart from her work in Teach for the Philippines, Liboro-Delgado is also a board trustee of the International School of Manila and a director of UPS-Delbros express inc.
She broke the proverbial glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry as founder and president of Sta Elena Construction and Development Corporation, one of the Philippines’ leading building and real-estate companies. her company is a strong partner in nation-building as they are helping address the country’s energy shortfall by building power stations in key provinces using natural gas sourced from Malampaya.
She has always been passionate about the arts, especially dance. After her mother brought her to first ballet lesson, Zobel-Elizalde instantly fell in love with the art and has continued to pursue it all her life. she received training from the Elmhurst Ballet school in England, School of American Ballet in New York, and San Francisco Ballet School, and was a member of Ballet Philippines where she starred in several productions. These experiences made her more than equipped to have founded her own dance school, STEPS Dance Studio, a training ground for young dancers to hone their craft. She is also the director of STEPS’ scholarship foundation, which aids in funding gifted individuals. In the 24 years of its existence, her dance school has produced many professionals who perform both locally and abroad.
MARGARITA “GAITA” FORÉS
One of the most recognisable faces in Philippine gastronomy, Forés is the driving force behind the restaurants Alta, Grace Park, Lusso, and the popular chain Cibo which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. She has received numerous accolades including that of Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016, a victory won through her tireless advocacy of promoting Filipino food and locally-grown produce both at home and overseas. ON CAMERA: Last year, Forés launched Harvest, a four-part culinary travel series broadcast by CNN Philippines.
The daughter of one of the richest men in the country, Gokongwei-Pe is currently the president and COO of Robinsons Retail holdings inc, as well as a director on its board. In September 2017, she announced that the company would be moving more of its business online, tripling the number of supermarkets shipping orders made through online shopping portal honestbee within 2018.
DORIS MAGSAYSAY HO
She is the president and CEO of the Magsaysay Group of Companies whose diverse interests include shipping, logistics, human resources, maritime travel, and tourism. in 2017, GoNegosyo honoured her as one of its 25 inspiring Filipina entrepreneurs. she was also the first Filipino to win Ernst & Young’s Social Responsible Entrepreneur Award in 2004. HELPING HAND: Ho is also active in socio-civic and cultural entities such as the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Asia Society, and The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration.
In her third term as a Philippine senator, Legarda leads the national delegation to the ongoing 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), which is negotiating the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Last year, she was named an “adaptation champion” of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. She recently finished her Command General Staff Course, the highest military career course of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College, which gives her the rank of full colonel. OUT OF THE OFFICE: She is a patron of Philippine art and culture, and has paved the way for artists and architects to showcase their work in international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale.
45 years after being named Miss Universe, Margie Moran-Floirendo maintains the grace and poise that won her the crown. For a number of years, she has been known as the president of Ballet Philippines, the premier dance company of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines; but she now moves on, and up, as she was recently elected Chairman of the Board of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines. Apart from these artistic endeavours, Moran is also focused on philanthropic activities. She has worked closely with habitat for humanity and has been an advocate for women’s rights in Mindanao.
Formerly a woman of Wall Street (she was the first female vice president of investment banking at Merrill Lynch), Natori is the brains behind her eponymous fashion label, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. It began as a lingerie line but now offers womenswear and even home décor. Her products highlight the finest of Filipino craftsmanship through complex embroidery and beadwork, most of which is done in her factory in Metro Manila. ON RETIREMENT: “That’s a dirty word.”
A native of Sorsogon, Nicolas-Lewis earned a law degree from the University of the Philippines. She eventually married Reginald Lewis, a corporate lawyer and Wall Street investor. Upon her husband’s passing, Nicolas-Lewis helmed his business, TLC Beatrice LLC, TLC Beatrice based in China, and TLC Beatrice Foods in the Philippines. She has also been hailed as the Filipino-American community leader in the States, and is sought after for her opinions on various local issues. She has a number of significant philanthropic endeavours, including the Reginald Lewis Foundation which perpetuates the memory of her husband. As a paean to her birthplace, she founded The Lewis College (TLC), which provides students education from kindergarten through college.
For more than two decades, Alexandra “Sandy” Prieto-Romualdez has led the Philippine Daily Inquirer as its president and chief executive officer. She has directed the company’s operations, and is credited for the successes the newspaper has gained, as well as the respect it has earned. She is also highly involved in the other companies the Inquirer Group has under its name, such as Hinge Inquirer and Inquirer Publications Inc. Apart from her work in the publishing industry, Prieto-Romualdez is also focused on the philanthropic causes she supports. For one, she founded the Gifts and Graces Fair Trade Foundation Inc, which helps small livelihood groups around the Philippines get better access to potential customers. Her philanthropic work merited her the Most Charitable Force award from Philippine Tatler during its 9th annual ball.
With more than 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism, Maria Ressa is familiar with the responsibilities and obstacles that beset her profession. She has experienced working in CNN as a bureau chief in Manila and then Jakarta, and was also the lead investigative reporter on terrorism in Southeast Asia. Ressa has authored two books: Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Years of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism. She was also head of ABS-CBN’s News and Current Affairs Division for six years. Currently, she is the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, a social news network that combines traditional journalism with modern technology.
She is a refreshing figure in what is perceived to be the dreary bureacracy. But her work in government service has not gone unnoticed as this outstanding Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture was recently appointed as the new Tourism Secretary. The new position, while definitely a step-up for Romulo-Puyat, comes with new challenges in light of current issues affecting the sector. However, with her success in linking Filipino farmers to the market, both locally and internationally, she could very wield the same marketing magic in the tourism sector. A plus factor is her being a staunch advocate of sustainability and the slow-food movement.
This native Cebuana launched a charitable foundation in her name on her 40th birthday in 1992. The Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung (MSY) Foundation was created to set up medical centres all around Cebu, providing locals with affordable health services, as well as relief aid and education. The MSY Foundation eventually linked up with the US-based Operation Smile to help children with cleft lip or palate receive surgical care. Apart from this, the foundation that Salimbangon-Yeung chairs also hosts scholarships and other activities. She also co-chairs the Cebu Beautiful Movement Foundation inc, which spearheaded the beautification of the streets along Osmeña Boulevard and Jones Avenue. She also received the Dame of the Order of St Sylvester for her charitable works for the Church.
The multi-awarded singer and actress is best known as the original breakout star of the musical Miss Saigon as she played Kim in its debut runs both in london’s West End and on Broadway. Her stellar performance won her the coveted Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical along with a slew of other honours. She remains active in the profession, having performed in the poignant true-to-life musical Allegiance from 2015 to 2016, and taking on the role of Erzulie in the most recent Broadway revival of Once On This Island in 2017. she has also served as coach and judge on the television talent show The Voice of the Philippines.
Successfully making the transition from performing in front of the camera to working in the boardroom, this veteran actress made waves when she became president of broadcast giant ABS-CBn in 2008 and took on the mantle as its CEO in 2012. Though she retired from both positions in 2016, she remains the network’s Chief Content Officer. STILL ACTIVE: Santos-Concio has also proven she can still work the camera, as she continues to host Maalaala Mo Kaya, one of the country’s longest-running primetime television drama shows.
She is vice-chair of SM Investments, one of the country’s largest publicly traded holding companies, and chair of BDO Unibank, its largest universal bank. She is a member of the Philippines’ three-person delegation to the Asean Business Advisory Council, which works towards regional economic integration. She was recently named “Management Man of the Year” by the Management Association of the Philippines—perhaps that award should be renamed Woman of the Year.
ZENAIDA “NEDY” TANTOCO
She carries on the notable legacy of her parents in the luxury retail industry as chairman of the Rustan Commercial Corporation and of the board of Stores Specialists Inc (SSI) which has brought a number of leading global brands to the country. MOVED BY MUSIC: Tantoco has long been passionate about music and the arts, and supports institutions like the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.
To say that Crespo-Villanueva is a big player in the technology industry may be an understatement. After graduating from the Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley, she returned to the Philippines, enticed by the potential she felt her home country had. Despite the many hurdles she had to face at the time (post People Power Revolution), she was blessed with big breaks that were a result of her resilience and hard work. Crespo-Villanueva co-founded Novare Technologies, of which she is managing director. She is also the founder and chairman of MDI Group, a leading systems integrator in the country.
Elected to the Philippine Senate in the 2013 midterm elections, Villar is no stranger to politics as she was born into a political family and served as congresswoman of Las Piñas from 2001 to 2010. A brilliant senator, she chairs several senate committees: on environment and natural resources, food and agriculture, and agrarian reform. IN PHILANTHROPY: Outside of the Senate, Villar is also the managing director of Villar SIPAG, an organisation geared towards poverty alleviation and the plight of OFWs.
As chairman of Convergys Philippines Services Co, Zamora has significantly contributed to the rise of the business process outsourcing industry in the Philippines. Prior to being chairman, she was the managing director of Convergys Corporation for Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. As a woman who rose from the ranks, she is a staunch advocate of female empowerment in the corporate setting. In 2013, the Filipina Women’s Network named her as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the world. Zamora was also elected president of the Management Association of the Philippines in 2017, and was the third woman to head the organisation since its inception.
MERCEDES 'DEDES' ZOBEL
She is known for the many advocacies she supports, and was given a philanthropy award in 2016 by Philippine Tatler during its annual ball. She is highly involved with the Enrique Zobel Foundation as a member of its board of trustees. The foundation is committed to helping improve the public-school system and promoting a sense of self-sufficiency and productivity among members of the society. She has also worked with international organisations such as the UK’s Purple Community Fund and Women for Women International. Together with her brother Iñigo, she founded Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc, which currently is San Miguel Corporation’s largest shareholder.
Elizabeth Eder-Zobel, better known as Lizzie, keeps herself busy with her many philanthropic endeavours. She is the chairman and a co-founder of Teach for the Philippines, a non-profit organisation that works towards providing Filipino children with relevant and quality education. Teach for the Philippines enlists young leaders to teach for two years in public schools throughout the Philippines, to aid in transforming the local public-school system into its best. Eder-Zobel also sits on the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society’s board of governors, as well as the board of trustees of the Forum for Family Planning and Development and the Friendly Care Foundation Inc, an organisation that aims to provide affordable quality healthcare, which she helped establish.