From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement


Jannelle So_So LAShe properly conquered the aggressive and normally-stress filled entire world of corporate America… but failed in what is perceived to be a most enjoyment and enjoyable period…retirement. That is how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, describes her qualified daily life.

“I had done a good run of company lifestyle,” mentioned Tellez who has had 25 several years of administration expertise in health care finance and shipping and delivery, getting labored for Wellness Net, Inc., Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my partner stated ‘You’re heading to push all of us mad, mainly because of all this electricity.’ He was right. I experienced retirement for two sizzling months. I flunked retirement,” mentioned Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a corporation she established in 2004.

But no matter if performing for other people and now functioning for herself, Tellez admits she has usually been concentrated on her vocation, which built her a really active spouse and mother to her two sons.

“My family is extremely significant to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a partner I’ve been married to for 38 many years,” she reported. “But I recall when I was functioning for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five a long time. I would go away my loved ones on Monday and occur again on Friday. My sons dealt with a corporate mother who was not often there. This was in advance of cellphones. They would fax around their homework so I could aid them.”

Tellez considers this to be just one of the most significant, if not the most important sacrifice she’s ever had to make, currently being absent from spouse and children. But she’s often really grateful that she experienced assist alongside the way.

“The magic formula is to have a great nanny,” she shared with me all through a food immediately after the job interview. “I was fortunate to locate a nanny who was more mature. She was motherly to my young children.” Tellez also points out that she specifically looked for an more mature sitter mainly because younger kinds could depart at any issue “if they find a husband or if they get a much better give or option even just after you have educated them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Apart from the nanny, when asked about people she thanks for her good results in existence, Tellez credits her mom: “My mom is a devout Catholic Filipina lady and she had her aspiration 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 human being. I really don’t tackle authority very well.”

Tellez came to The united states when she was 11. And however she did perfectly in school, she states she also observed other people who did superior, “I recognized I could find out from them mainly because they experienced particular attributes that produced them successful. I recognized I was relatively timid and fearful. I started off debating and general public talking aided me acquire confidence. Debating also helps you to be in a position to connect evidently to disagree without staying abrasive assume on your toes and have and protect your personal impression.”

She claimed that assisted her navigate the corporate jungle introducing that as shortly as she entered the company globe, she understood that “America doesn’t especially price timidity and humility. America values assertiveness. And which is what we must be, Due to the fact we’re good and there’s very little to be scared of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also thanks her father for her achievements, “My father usually claimed ladies want to achieve as much as adult males. In some conditions Filipinas have to battle internally actually challenging to be in a position to generate an image that is in consonance with our core values but will not minimize who we are.”

She remembers a certain discussion she had on a contact with a corporation in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, pleasant fellow. And in the course of the dialogue, he claimed: ‘This is seriously interesting but I actually want to discuss to your manager.’ My boss was a white male, so I said ‘Good for you. But my boss only arrives once a 12 months. So if you want to wait around, feel absolutely free. But if you want to do small business now, with me, I’m happy to do it with you. Appropriate now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, along the way. But she did not get it personally. “When you are youthful and susceptible, it’s effortless to get points individually, and believe it’s generally your fault. But at operate, you’ve bought to put on an academy award-profitable functionality all the time. The general public face is by no means damage. If you are hurt, cry in non-public. The community face exhibits ‘I am a solid individual, I can consider this.’”

And while she offers assistance to many others now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits a person who gave her what she considers a most important advice, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my business office in Hawaii and she worked tough. Like lots of of us, she had two positions. She previously place in a complete day’s career in McDonald’s at night time, she arrived to clean our offices,” mentioned Tellez who recalled what the kababayan told her when she got promoted just one day: “She reported to me, ‘You have to work quite really hard. You just cannot allow us down. There are extremely handful of who make it to the top rated. You have to be really watchful that you are a part model for many others and that you assist other people.’”

According to Tellez those people words designed it achievable for her to be grounded “to be mindful of exactly where I arrived from and it made me comprehend that I have an obligation. That’s why I constantly hold the door open to aspiring Filipino and Filipina girls. That is my way of giving back.”

As section of her giving back, Cora speaks nationwide, regardless of whether on matters of health care, or to share her inspiring tale. I first listened to her communicate at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the Entire world last Oct 2013. This coming October 25th 2014, Tellez is going to be a panelist at the “Impactful Leadership Conference” organized by the Intercontinental Modern society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For a lot more data, log on to:

For now, here’s one more information for all kababayans: “Be proud of currently being a Filipina. Be genuine to on your own. Be apparent and trustworthy about what you are sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Acquire care of on your own,” she reported, introducing that there’s a little something to be learned from the reminder vacationers get just before a plane take off, “Put on your mask to start with before encouraging other people with theirs.”

Above all, “work hard,” Tellez stated. “God allows those people who support them selves. Luck comes to individuals who are organized.”

Jannelle So is getting a break from 20-many years of print and broadcast journalism occupation that began in the Philippines and continued in this article in the US. Join to her on Fb ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or email her at [email protected].

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