From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement

Jannelle So_So LAShe successfully conquered the competitive and usually-nerve-racking earth of corporate America… but failed in what is perceived to be a most exciting and soothing period…retirement. That is how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, describes her skilled lifestyle.

“I experienced finished a wonderful run of corporate existence,” said Tellez who has had 25 decades of management knowledge in healthcare finance and delivery, obtaining labored for Health and fitness Web, Inc., Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my partner explained ‘You’re likely to generate all of us nuts, for the reason that of all this strength.’ He was correct. I skilled retirement for two hot months. I flunked retirement,” stated Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a corporation she established in 2004.

But whether doing the job for others and now operating for herself, Tellez admits she has usually been centered on her vocation, which designed her a incredibly busy wife and mother to her two sons.

“My relatives is pretty crucial to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a spouse I have been married to for 38 years,” she explained. “But I try to remember when I was working for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five yrs. I would depart my family on Monday and appear back on Friday. My sons dealt with a company mother who wasn’t usually there. This was just before cellphones. They would fax over their homework so I could enable them.”

Tellez considers this to be just one of the largest, if not the biggest sacrifice she’s at any time experienced to make, being away from loved ones. But she’s generally quite grateful that she experienced assistance alongside the way.

“The mystery is to have a fantastic nanny,” she shared with me for the duration of a meal right after the interview. “I was lucky to uncover a nanny who was older. She was motherly to my youngsters.” Tellez also points out that she specially appeared for an more mature sitter due to the fact younger kinds could go away at any point “if they come across a partner or if they get a better offer you or opportunity even right after you’ve properly trained them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Apart from the nanny, when asked about men and women she many thanks for her results in daily life, Tellez credits her mother: “My mom is a devout Catholic Filipina lady and she experienced her desire for me which was to be a nun. She even experienced a convent picked out for me. But it turned out that I’m not a terribly obedient particular person. I do not cope with authority incredibly nicely.”

Tellez arrived to The united states when she was 11. And nevertheless she did nicely in university, she states she also observed many others who did much better, “I understood I could understand from them mainly because they had particular features that designed them profitable. I recognized I was somewhat timid and fearful. I commenced debating and general public talking aided me produce self-assurance. Debating also assists you to be capable to talk plainly to disagree without having staying abrasive feel on your ft and have and defend your personal viewpoint.”

She explained that helped her navigate the corporate jungle adding that as shortly as she entered the corporate entire world, she understood that “America does not notably worth timidity and humility. The us values assertiveness. And that’s what we need to be, For the reason that we’re superior and there’s almost nothing to be frightened of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also many thanks her father for her achievements, “My father always explained females need to achieve as considerably as males. In some situations Filipinas have to combat internally really tricky to be capable to build an impression that is in consonance with our core values but will not minimize who we are.”

She recalls a specific discussion she experienced on a phone with a enterprise in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, wonderful fellow. And during the conversation, he claimed: ‘This is truly exciting but I truly need to speak to your manager.’ My boss was a white male, so I said ‘Good for you. But my boss only arrives as soon as a 12 months. So if you want to hold out, sense free. But if you want to do enterprise now, with me, I’m joyful to do it with you. Ideal now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, together the way. But she did not consider it personally. “When you’re young and vulnerable, it’s simple to take items personally, and consider it’s generally your fault. But at do the job, you have got to put on an academy award-successful functionality all the time. The public experience is never hurt. If you are harm, cry in private. The community facial area demonstrates ‘I am a sturdy particular person, I can get this.’”

And whilst she offers advice to other individuals now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits a single who gave her what she considers a most beneficial suggestions, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my office in Hawaii and she labored challenging. Like lots of of us, she experienced two work opportunities. She already set in a entire day’s position in McDonald’s at night time, she came to clean our places of work,” explained Tellez who recalled what the kababayan instructed her when she obtained promoted one particular day: “She reported to me, ‘You have to get the job done extremely hard. You can not enable us down. There are really couple of who make it to the major. You have to be pretty mindful that you are a part product for others and that you enable other people.’”

In accordance to Tellez individuals text made it feasible for her to be grounded “to be conscious of the place I arrived from and it produced me comprehend that I have an obligation. Which is why I usually keep the doorway open to aspiring Filipino and Filipina ladies. That’s my way of giving back again.”

As portion of her giving again, Cora speaks nationwide, no matter whether on matters of health treatment, or to share her inspiring tale. I very first listened to her talk at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the Entire world past October 2013. This coming Oct 25th 2014, Tellez is likely to be a panelist at the “Impactful Management Conference” arranged by the Intercontinental Culture of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For much more information and facts, log on to:

For now, here’s yet another assistance for all kababayans: “Be happy of remaining a Filipina. Be true to your self. Be clear and genuine about what you’re sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Get treatment of you,” she reported, incorporating that there’s anything to be figured out from the reminder travelers get in advance of a plane acquire off, “Put on your mask initial ahead of assisting others with theirs.”

Previously mentioned all, “work really hard,” Tellez reported. “God will help people who aid on their own. Luck comes to people who are geared up.”

Jannelle So is having a break from 20-many years of print and broadcast journalism occupation that began in the Philippines and ongoing below in the US. Link to her on Facebook ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or email her at [email protected].

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