Founder and chairperson, Move.org Foundation, Inc
What challenges and opportunities do you see for women in your sector today?
Women, in my opinion, are natural (and some of the best) multi-taskers and wear many hats no matter what stage of life they are in. Women can juggle several roles at once and can seamlessly transform from one phase of life to another. In the non-profit sector, a multitude of opportunities for women exists. One could choose to help an organisation that advocates for women, or one could choose to volunteer as part of the sector’s workforce. The bigger opportunity for women in my sector now, I believe is in the possibility of helping out from wherever they are, and in whatever capacity. In a world on the cusp of transformation and evolution, a lot of adjustments are being made to aid others, and this is a sector that accommodates all kinds of schedules and priorities and definitely does not discriminate. Every bit of help is accepted and goes a long way.
How do you balance responsibilities for work and life outside of work?
First, I always make it a point to carve out time for prayer in my day, as I do time for myself every week. I have always believed that for one to be able to give the best of themselves in what they do, one has to be at his/her best, and so self-care and time are a must. As old school as this sounds, I have an actual planner where I write in my agenda and colour code based on whether it is for work, personal, family, friends, or collaborations. I am a visual person, and colours allow me at a glance to see how I am spending my time and what part of my life needs more balance, focus or attention. In this way, even if one of my responsibilities needs to be sacrificed momentarily, I am instantly reminded that I need to give more time to it in the next day or week.
What is the most significant (gender-related or not) barrier you have encountered in your career?
I do not think I have encountered a gender-related barrier in my career, as I have people doubting me and my efforts at a young age. I started out at 15 years old as a volunteer in the non-profit world, and my involvement evolved from there to raising funds and then eventually, starting my own organisation with like-minded individuals to pay it forward. Perhaps because it was not the norm, people were wondering if I was in it out of ulterior motives. Whether it was to make my college application more appealing, or for political ambition—the assumptions never stopped. When I was much younger, I remember wondering why some people could not understand that I genuinely found satisfaction in helping others out. As the years went by, I got older, and I suppose my work also spoke for itself. I am now blessed to have found a lot of partners, collaborators and donors from different sectors, and to have built long and lasting friendships with some of those people as well.
Who has inspired you in your life/career and why?
It would have to be my grand-aunt, Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal. For a bit short of 18 years, she was a very influential figure in my life as I was growing up. It was through her that I saw what charity beginning at home really meant. She showed me that in order for help to be substantial, it needed to be consistent and done properly. She imparted in all of us that “with privilege comes responsibility” and though I miss her dearly, I know she continues to smile on us all from heaven. Her legacy lives on in the thousands of lives her foundation, the Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal Foundation (CCMF), has touched and continues to touch.
What advice will you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Follow your heart and your dreams, rationally, and always be kind. Today’s measure of success may not be tomorrow’s. If you are kind (which amounts to nothing), you are already a blessing, albeit unknowingly, in a world that can be ridden with so much competition and pessimism. Stand out because you are the positive change we need and seek. Be compassionate and empathetic to everyone you cross paths with. In my opinion, a female leader touches hearts and minds in a most positive way, believes in the capability of and respects her colleagues’
opinions because she is not afraid to learn from others, and makes an impact in her sector and beyond.