Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy International Women's Day! Meet My Role Model: My Mom

Today has inspired me to reflect on one of my greatest role models in life: my mom.

My mom graduated from college as one of the three women in her accounting program in 1982. 

My mom’s career has been filled with ups and downs. She went off to work at a one of the biggest sugar cane companies in the Philippines after she graduated from college. After my parents got married, my mom moved to Los Angeles, CA. In LA, she worked for Farmers Insurance and health care company. As California’s economy took a dip in the early 1990s, both my parents lost their jobs. My family decided to move back to the Philippines for a few years. However, shortly after my sister was born, my parents decided to move back to the US to give my sister and I better lives.

We moved back to the US in November of 1997. One week after we moved, my mom started working in the kitchen of Northwest Airlines. A year later she came back in the accounting world as an accounts payable specialist/assistant to controller role at a retail company in Kent, WA. A few years later she faced a lay off again, she worked part time for the school district, battled breast cancer, worked another two jobs, and found her way to Providence Health & Services and has been there for the past decade.

My mom has always worked. Even as she battled breast cancer while I was in 8th grade, she worked part time for the school district. She was my first example of a woman balancing a career and family.

As I watched my mom do the grocery shopping every week, attend my sister and I’s gymnastics meets after work, cook for birthday parties, and more, she instilled with me 4 main life lessons that I’ve taken in my education, career, and passions:

1.     Aim High & Reach Your Goals:
I distinctly remember my mom raising me with this lesson. She always encouraged me to continue to dream and work to achieve those dreams. Whether it was in track, academics, or extra-curriculars, my mom told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. I think this was one of the best things she ever taught. I don’t know if I would have attended college, entered corporate America, or pursued my passions in blogging if my mom hadn’t instilled in me to dream big and work hard.

2.     Empathy:
Another lesson my mom taught me was the ability to relate to others on an emotional level. I believe my mom gave my sister and me a heightened sense of empathy. She taught my sister and I that even though we may have struggled as a family, there are always more families out there who face greater obstacles than we do.

She showed us to be aware and mindful of others situations. So today, I don’t need to be in a specific circumstance to understand the struggles a person faces. Being able to relate to people on an emotional level, has helped me understand peoples differing perspectives and opinions in my life.

3.       Resilience:
My mom has faced incredible adversity as she’s balanced a career and family. When I was in 8th grade she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our family was lucky they caught the breast cancer at stage one. I used to go with her to radiation treatments after work and after I got off of school. She continued to work part time to support our family even as she received treatments.

My mom was fine after two surgeries and radiation treatment. My family is thankful that the cancer also never came back. I honestly couldn’t imagine the fear my mom probably faced at that time. I was in middle school and my sister was in elementary school. She needed to still be a mom, bring in an income, and work to get better. My mom is incredibly resilient and I’m so thankful she taught my sister and I how to also be resilient in adversity.

4.       Sow the seeds today so you have something to harvest for the future:
My mom instilled in me that you have to actively do things today to set yourself up for the future. She encouraged me to excel in academics and was my biggest advocate for me to go to college.

My sophomore year of college I turned to my mom and expressed to her that I needed an internship. I was applying to the business school in spring quarter and I believed that an internship would help differentiate me as an applicant. My mom encouraged me to apply for an internship at one of the Providence Health & Services hospitals in West Seattle.

If it were not for her, I would not have known about and gotten my first internship as a Fundraising/Special Events intern. After that internship, my mom encouraged me to look for a corporate internship. She advised me to try to figure out a way to be an intern for the Boeing Company. After joining INROADS and completing my first internship fall of sophomore year, I landed my first paid summer internship with Boeing. I ended up being admitted to the Foster School of business later that year.

My mom has been an incredible example of how to be a mom and how to empower other women in their careers. She was my first person to extend a hand to me in the professional world. 

She encouraged me to dream, raised me to be empathetic, demonstrated resilience, and instilled with me the idea to work hard today so I can benefit in the future.

Thank you mom for all of your love, support, and kindness. 

Happy International Women’s Day!



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