From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement

Lyle Ellerbee

Jannelle So_So LAShe efficiently conquered the competitive and normally-nerve-racking earth of corporate America… but unsuccessful in what is perceived to be a most enjoyment and stress-free period…retirement. That’s how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, describes her specialist life.

“I experienced concluded a fantastic run of corporate lifetime,” reported Tellez who has had 25 many years of administration expertise in healthcare finance and supply, obtaining labored for Health and fitness Web, Inc., Blue Defend of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my partner stated ‘You’re going to push all of us mad, due to the fact of all this electrical power.’ He was suitable. I expert retirement for two incredibly hot months. I flunked retirement,” reported Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a enterprise she founded in 2004.

But no matter if functioning for other individuals and now functioning for herself, Tellez admits she has always been centered on her vocation, which produced her a extremely fast paced wife and mom to her two sons.

“My loved ones is pretty important to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a husband I have been married to for 38 a long time,” she reported. “But I try to remember when I was working for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five yrs. I would depart my spouse and children on Monday and arrive back again on Friday. My sons dealt with a company mother who was not normally there. This was just before cellphones. They would fax over their research so I could aid them.”

Tellez considers this to be a single of the greatest, if not the most significant sacrifice she’s ever experienced to make, staying away from loved ones. But she’s usually quite thankful that she experienced aid along the way.

“The solution is to have a excellent nanny,” she shared with me all through a meal soon after the job interview. “I was lucky to find a nanny who was more mature. She was motherly to my kids.” Tellez also factors out that she particularly seemed for an more mature sitter due to the fact young types could depart at any level “if they locate a husband or if they get a much better offer or chance even soon after you’ve properly trained them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Aside from the nanny, when asked about persons she many thanks for her accomplishment in lifetime, Tellez credits her mom: “My mother is a devout Catholic Filipina woman and she had her dream for me which was to be a nun. She even had a convent picked out for me. But it turned out that I’m not a terribly obedient individual. I don’t tackle authority incredibly properly.”

Tellez arrived to The us when she was 11. And while she did perfectly in university, she claims she also noticed others who did superior, “I understood I could learn from them simply because they had specified characteristics that created them productive. I understood I was relatively timid and worried. I commenced debating and general public talking aided me establish assurance. Debating also helps you to be equipped to converse clearly to disagree without currently being abrasive believe on your toes and have and protect your own impression.”

She mentioned that helped her navigate the company jungle introducing that as quickly as she entered the company earth, she realized that “America does not notably price timidity and humility. The usa values assertiveness. And that is what we must be, Due to the fact we’re very good and there is practically nothing to be concerned of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also thanks her father for her achievement, “My father always mentioned girls have to have to obtain as a lot as adult men. In some cases Filipinas have to battle internally seriously tough to be capable to develop an image that is in consonance with our main values but will not limit who we are.”

She recalls a unique dialogue she had on a contact with a company in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, pleasant fellow. And all through the conversation, he stated: ‘This is definitely intriguing but I actually have to have to speak to your manager.’ My manager was a white male, so I stated ‘Good for you. But my boss only comes when a 12 months. So if you want to hold out, sense absolutely free. But if you want to do organization now, with me, I’m content to do it with you. Appropriate now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, along the way. But she did not take it individually. “When you are young and susceptible, it’s easy to just take items personally, and consider it’s normally your fault. But at do the job, you have received to place on an academy award-winning efficiency all the time. The general public face is hardly ever hurt. If you are hurt, cry in non-public. The community confront reveals ‘I am a potent human being, I can acquire this.’”

And whilst she gives tips to some others now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits a single who gave her what she considers a most worthwhile suggestions, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my workplace in Hawaii and she labored challenging. Like a lot of of us, she had two employment. She by now place in a full day’s task in McDonald’s at night, she came to clear our offices,” explained Tellez who recalled what the kababayan explained to her when she received promoted a person working day: “She mentioned to me, ‘You have to do the job very difficult. You simply cannot enable us down. There are incredibly handful of who make it to the top rated. You have to be really mindful that you are a position product for some others and that you aid other people today.’”

According to Tellez individuals words built it attainable for her to be grounded “to be aware of where by I came from and it made me realize that I have an obligation. That is why I often maintain the doorway open up to aspiring Filipino and Filipina girls. That is my way of offering back again.”

As aspect of her providing back, Cora speaks nationwide, irrespective of whether on matters of health and fitness care, or to share her inspiring story. I initially listened to her communicate at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the Entire world previous October 2013. This coming October 25th 2014, Tellez is heading to be a panelist at the “Impactful Management Conference” structured by the Global Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For extra information, log on to:

For now, here’s one more assistance for all kababayans: “Be very pleased of getting a Filipina. Be real to oneself. Be obvious and genuine about what you’re sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Acquire treatment of by yourself,” she reported, including that there is something to be discovered from the reminder travelers get prior to a plane get off, “Put on your mask very first just before aiding some others with theirs.”

Above all, “work hard,” Tellez explained. “God allows people who support them selves. Luck arrives to those who are well prepared.”

Jannelle So is having a crack from 20-many years of print and broadcast journalism vocation that began in the Philippines and continued here in the US. Hook up to her on Fb ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or electronic mail her at [email protected].

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