International Women’s Day 2018
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Whether the order of the day is to save your sanity from bullies or to make a billion-dollar company afloat, four Filipino women in New York have shown that the art of persistence is the way to succeed.
Today, 2018 International Women’s Day, we look at these strong, compassionate women: Laura Garcia, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Cecile Licad, and Lumen Castaneda, who have made a mark in the Big Apple and have, to date, continuously led inspiring lives as a nurse, CEO, pianist, and teacher.
Their inspiring words were culled from previous interviews by OSM!.
Laura Garcia: Nurse Clinician, Community Leader
Have you had instances when you were bullied and how did you deal with it?
There is no one best formula to deal with bullying, as there are many forms of bullying. I think detection is the key – whether you’re a victim of the bully or your friend or colleague is a victim of the bully – detection is important to base your plan of action. Not everybody will like you. No amount of “being nice” will make you win everyone’s hearts. Sometimes, people just don’t like the way you breathe. Most of the time, it’s not even your fault that you are bullied.
If I sense that I am being “attacked” (by a bully), I make it known to the person how I feel, and that I will not tolerate such disrespect. When I first came to America, we had a manager who was a bully. She would micromanage us in the clinical area, closely watch our break time, and speak to us in a loud and aggressive voice in front of patients and doctors.
One day I pulled my boss aside and spoke to her letting her know how I felt and that I don’t appreciate being disrespected. I was ready to be fired that moment. But after our “chat,” we became best of friends. Not all things work together for good. There will be times when we need help or people need our help.
I think the worst thing about bullying is ignoring that it exists, whether in the workplace or anywhere else; and that you or your colleagues are victims. Bullying is not only my fight, or your fight, or your colleague’s fight. It is our fight. We should all work together to stop bullying.
Loida Nicolas Lewis, CEO TLC Beatrice, wife to the late Reginald Lewis, touted to be the first black billion $ deal maker
As his wife, what had been your role in building his empire?
As his wife, I gave him my support and understanding. He would come home with bad temper. I understand, he’d been fighting monsters out there in American society, which was racist, and still is. So our home was his refuge, an oasis.
When he is angry, I would just keep quiet, but in my mind I did not agree with him. Then he asks, what is that Loida? He calls it aggressive silence. (Laughs). I was in the background. He did all the work for the business.
When I took over the company, I already into zen practice. Fifteen minutes quiet time for God’s guidance, wisdom and discernment.
What people don’t know is that I am lawyer and I come from an entrepreneurial family. I am not an accountant, but I know when a company is earning or not. And I have a good sense of people.
When I took over, I met with my managers four times a year. I visited companies every month. I practically lived in Europe I kept close watch on my managers and the financial statements. If there was a company that was not returning, I closed it or changed manager. There was no second thoughts about it.
My husband had 2 billion in sales. In order to pay the debt of 1 billion, my husband paid the debt of 750 million. So we only had about 300 million in debt. What I did, I liquidated the company. I sold out companies, one by one, piece by piece. We got 1 billion in surplus.
Was I daunted? Yes. But I also knew I could do it.
Cecile Licad: World-acclaimed international pianist
Any tips for success for aspiring international pianists?
It takes a lot of patience, I guess, and ‘stubborness’? And persistence in the way you develop.
I work every day and find out how my fingers can play the piece. And so it is not just my fingers, but my whole body to (interpret) the music. I practice every day. Practice is important as having breakfast, or it’s like when people have to go to work every day. Practice is my way of life.
Don’t make people tell you what to do. You have to find your own personal (expression).
Lumen Castaneda, teacher, founder of UNIFFIED teacher’s organization, and TV personality
Is there a particular style to be an effective teacher?
Teaching has to have a variety of styles if you want to be successful. Definitely, there is no particular style to do in the classroom. One day you are tough as a lion, the next day or moment you are quiet as a lamb. One day you are singing and reciting poems, next day you are all over the place dancing, prancing, jumping and rocking.
There are times you are sitting with the students, reading a story to them and the next second you are rolling on the mat with everybody following you. What interests the students is also when you are in costumes of about anything.
To be an effective teacher, you must love what you are doing and must be interested in making a difference in your students. I realized this on my last year of teaching before I retired. My principal told me that some of my students were going to her to ask her not to let me retire. She said that my students have learned to love me so they want me to stay some more. That was an inspiration for me.
It is especially joyful, when after so many years, you will be called on the street and greeted by a student you had many years ago and will be told that he/she is now a professional: an accountant, a nurse, a doctor and will tell you that he/she remembers what you said to them to be serious of their studies.
It is the legacy that you leave in their minds and hearts that lives forever and brings joy to you as a teacher. I am always reminded of an author, who said, “What legacy did you leave for others to grow?”