Banca Monna: For Irene Andas

I had a brother who died of suicide years ago.

I’m a manic depressive frustrated writer and mother of three kids who is currently building a career in the insurance industry. Work revolves around creating promos like trip incentives, managing marketing/communication projects, and handling events like annual awards and kick-off to motivate salespeople. It may sound exciting but those in-the-know are aware it’s a highly stressful job that often takes a toll on personal and family time. Being ‘pamilyado’ in my 30s and stigmatized for my brothers’ and my own bouts with depression, it seemed like several ‘glass ceilings’ were placed on top of me. However, those glass ceilings were shattered when someone believed I can add value to others despite perceived shortcomings – that I can motivate others even if it seemed I couldn’t do so to myself. That someone is my boss Ms. Irene.

The universe probably conspired when we met three years ago during an interview. I walked in hoping for a second shot – that one, great opportunity to ‘reset’ and prove my worth in the industry especially to those in my former work who deemed me as negative and ‘not fit to become a Manager’. That day was lifechanging and from then on Ms. Irene has always been my beacon of hope. She believed in me when no one else did. She challenged and made me overcome my insecurities in public speaking and dealing with higher ups. She made me vulnerable enough to realize and admit immaturity, and yet strong enough to turn these challenges into shining moments. Most importantly, she’s a living example that whatever career or how high you get in the corporate ladder, it’s up to you to choose integrity and humility, to continue adding value to others and self, and of course to strike a balance between work and family. I’m a work in progress but it gets easier to accept my shortcomings, battle my demons and stay positive each day with Ms. Irene on my side (note: side like a mom, buddy and not some dictator boss type).

Maraming salamat sa pagiging blessing sa akin at sa pamilya ko, Ms. Irene!

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