From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement

ByLinda V. Selden

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Jannelle So_So LAShe properly conquered the aggressive and usually-tense globe of corporate America… but failed in what is perceived to be a most fun and soothing period…retirement. Which is how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, points out her experienced lifestyle.

“I had done a good run of corporate daily life,” explained Tellez who has had 25 decades of administration knowledge in healthcare finance and shipping, getting labored for Wellbeing Web, Inc., Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my husband stated ‘You’re likely to travel all of us insane, mainly because of all this electricity.’ He was ideal. I skilled retirement for two hot months. I flunked retirement,” stated Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a corporation she started in 2004.

But no matter whether working for many others and now doing work for herself, Tellez admits she has generally been concentrated on her profession, which created her a very busy wife and mother to her two sons.

“My loved ones is very significant to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a partner I’ve been married to for 38 a long time,” she said. “But I keep in mind when I was doing work for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five many years. I would depart my loved ones on Monday and arrive back on Friday. My sons dealt with a company mother who was not constantly there. This was prior to cellphones. They would fax above their research so I could assist them.”

Tellez considers this to be just one of the biggest, if not the major sacrifice she’s at any time had to make, becoming absent from spouse and children. But she’s often very thankful that she had assistance along the way.

“The mystery is to have a fantastic nanny,” she shared with me through a meal immediately after the job interview. “I was fortunate to discover a nanny who was older. She was motherly to my young children.” Tellez also points out that she particularly seemed for an older sitter because youthful types could depart at any point “if they uncover a partner or if they get a far better present or option even just after you have experienced them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Apart from the nanny, when questioned about men and women she thanks for her results in lifetime, Tellez credits her mother: “My mom is a devout Catholic Filipina lady and she experienced her aspiration 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 human being. I never handle authority really effectively.”

Tellez came to The united states when she was 11. And although she did very well in faculty, she claims she also observed others who did better, “I recognized I could study from them due to the fact they had sure attributes that designed them successful. I understood I was somewhat timid and scared. I started debating and public speaking assisted me build self esteem. Debating also helps you to be capable to talk evidently to disagree without having remaining abrasive consider on your toes and have and defend your possess opinion.”

She said that served her navigate the corporate jungle adding that as quickly as she entered the corporate planet, she recognized that “America doesn’t specially value timidity and humility. The united states values assertiveness. And that is what we must be, Mainly because we’re great and there is absolutely nothing to be frightened of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also thanks her father for her good results, “My father generally mentioned females need to achieve as significantly as males. In some scenarios Filipinas have to battle internally seriously difficult to be ready to make an impression that is in consonance with our main values but will not lower who we are.”

She recollects a distinct conversation she had on a connect with with a company in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, awesome fellow. And in the course of the conversation, he stated: ‘This is definitely attention-grabbing but I definitely require to talk to your boss.’ My manager was a white male, so I stated ‘Good for you. But my manager only will come the moment a yr. So if you want to wait, truly feel cost-free. But if you want to do business now, with me, I’m content to do it with you. Correct now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, together the way. But she did not take it personally. “When you’re younger and vulnerable, it’s uncomplicated to take matters personally, and imagine it’s normally your fault. But at operate, you have bought to put on an academy award-winning functionality all the time. The public deal with is never hurt. If you are damage, cry in personal. The community encounter displays ‘I am a powerful person, I can take this.’”

And although she presents advice to other individuals now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits one particular who gave her what she considers a most worthwhile assistance, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my workplace in Hawaii and she worked really hard. Like quite a few of us, she experienced two jobs. She by now place in a complete day’s task in McDonald’s at night time, she arrived to clean up our offices,” claimed Tellez who recalled what the kababayan instructed her when she received promoted one particular working day: “She stated to me, ‘You have to do the job quite challenging. You just cannot enable us down. There are pretty several who make it to the top rated. You have to be really mindful that you are a role design for others and that you assistance other people today.’”

According to Tellez individuals terms designed it doable for her to be grounded “to be conscious of in which I arrived from and it built me comprehend that I have an obligation. That’s why I usually maintain the door open to aspiring Filipino and Filipina females. Which is my way of giving back.”

As part of her supplying again, Cora speaks nationwide, no matter whether on matters of health and fitness treatment, or to share her inspiring story. I initial heard her talk at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the Entire world past Oct 2013. This coming Oct 25th 2014, Tellez is going to be a panelist at the “Impactful Leadership Conference” structured by the Intercontinental Modern society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For more information, log on to:

For now, here’s yet another assistance for all kababayans: “Be happy of getting a Filipina. Be genuine to on your own. Be very clear and truthful about what you are sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Acquire treatment of oneself,” she said, including that there’s something to be discovered from the reminder vacationers get in advance of a airplane consider off, “Put on your mask 1st prior to aiding many others with theirs.”

Earlier mentioned all, “work really hard,” Tellez explained. “God helps those people who help themselves. Luck comes to these who are ready.”

Jannelle So is using a split from 20-decades of print and broadcast journalism vocation that commenced in the Philippines and continued listed here in the US. Hook up to her on Facebook ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or e mail her at [email protected].