‘Kidspirations’ for finance


LAST week, I was so proud of my aunt, Anabelle Lim Chua, who was awarded the 2021 ING-FINEX CFO of the Year. This award recognizes CFOs who possess the four major qualities as a strategist, catalyst, steward and operator. She serves as PLDT’s senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief risk management officer. She is also a director of Meralco and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

I remember when she topped the CPA exam when I was still a young girl, and she became such a huge inspiration to everyone in our family.  I used to stay a lot at their place because my Grand Aunt “Dikopo” was a teacher in Chiang Kai Shek, where I attended pre-nursery. I grew to admire her more through the years because she is so hardworking, kind, admired by many, and I always felt she broke through many norms in the field of finance. That is why when I learned about her award, I immediately forwarded it to my daughter, Meagan, who also admires her from all the stories she heard from me.

A few months back, I also had a good chat with a longtime friend of my daughter, Benedict Dizon, when he visited Meagan. I was amazed at how a 15-year-old boy could talk and ask so many questions about finance. I know how intimidating math and finance is for many kids so I was curious how Ben developed his interest.  I asked him if he could write about his inspirations. 

Below are his thoughts.

“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to become like my dad, Reinier Dizon. He is currently vice president of Business Strategy and Development at Republic Cement, and previously held the position as CFO and controller of companies in the Philippines and abroad. But when I was a kid, all I saw was a man who took care of his family with a smile on his face. Not only did my brother and I see what my dad does for a living, we also grew up sharing a genuine interest in his job. My brother is currently a student at DLSU taking up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. I grew up surrounded by people who are either interested in business or in the industry, and through them I myself have gained an interest in finance and business. This interest was fostered and especially inspired by my dad, a man who has taught me how numbers can change the world.

“My family comes from a long line of finance people and accountants, my dad being one of them.

He has a BS Accountancy degree from University of Santo Tomas, a Certified Public Accountant license, and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management. As I got older, I became more interested in what he does for a living and began to find out what exactly a finance person does. He told me that throughout all the companies and corporations he has worked for, he has been responsible for directing the company’s financial objectives and budgets in order to provide the best return to the company and its shareholders, which at the end of the day is the goal of every corporation. He also has to assess and manage associated risks that come with decisions made by the company as a whole, he leads cash flows management and looks after the balance sheet of the company. This, in a nutshell, is the job description of a CFO. Although this may seem boring to most people my age, I love to learn as much as I can about business and finance.

“As I met more and more of my dad’s friends and colleagues, or the parents of my friends, I would always ask them what they do for a living. There are three of them that I remember quite well. First of all, there is my ninong, Tito Romy, who is an executive of International Container Terminal Services Inc. Group. Essentially, he manages ports and cargo that carries various products. He has also been expatriated in a number of subsidiaries of ICTSI as general manager/CEO.  My other ninong, Tito Robert, is the CFO of McDonalds in the Philippines, who when I asked would tell us how successful a new product has been, specifically the BTS Meal. Finally, there is Tita Maye, who is the mother of my good friend, Meagan. Tita Maye, I believe, is the chief operating officer at Richwell Philippines Inc., a company that provides quality products that help enrich the lives of many families across the Philippines.

“All these people are seasoned professionals in finance and controlling, goal/results-oriented executives with strong skills in leadership, teamwork and organization building. They are competent in strategic planning, risk management, supply chain management, and commercial contracts review. What all these people have in common is that they love their jobs. I remember hearing somewhere that if you’re not making a difference in your job, it’s not a job worth having. On the contrary, these people not only are able to support their families and enjoy what they do, but their positions in their respective companies, whether as CFO, CEO or COO, allow them to make decisions in these big corporations that can create a difference in our world.”

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