‘Toast to generations of successful women’
BE STRONG-WILLED and independent, but also caring and loving.
So did Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), counsel women during a forum titled “Raising a toast to generations of successful women” on Tuesday.
The forum, hosted by Citibank to celebrate International Women’s Day, also had as speakers PDI chair Marixi Prieto and her daughter, PDI columnist Tessa Prieto-Valdes.
Romualdez credited her mother for being “very supportive and loving,” and never backing down even in the most difficult times.
The PDI president said her pursuit of community development was “a testimony to [her] mom’s big support and belief that [one] should be allowed to pursue whatever [one wants].”
“She has lived by the value that if you take on something, then even when [things get] difficult, you pursue that,” she added.
The independent spirit was something that the Prieto matriarch herself pursued in the 1960s.
While her classmates “either got married, traveled or did domestic chores” when she graduated in 1960, she decided to go into business instead, she said.
Her decision had a lot to do with her father who would often ask her to attend business functions in her first job, the matriarch added.
“For my first job, I worked at a paper company in Chinatown. I used to drive to work, contending with jeepneys. I enjoyed my work,” she said.
Prieto recounted how, by the time she was 30 and had children, juggling work and family had become “difficult.”
“But for me, it was family first,” the mother of five said, adding that despite her busy schedule, the family enjoyed “fixed days of being together.”
Once a week, they would eat out, with her children choosing where to go, Prieto said. “They were raised to be independent, to have their own choices but to be responsible for whatever they choose.”
Valdes recalled growing up “in an environment where there was woman power.”
She remembered how her mom was always in the office, but still managed to teach her “everything about how a perfect mother should be.”
She never swore, Romualdez said of her mom, but she would only frown when this daughter was “sort of going a certain direction.”
“When she’s disappointed, you just know. It’s never direct,” Romualdez said.
Confrontation was never her style when it came to her children, Prieto agreed, adding that she wanted to let them learn on their own terms.
“I never tell them, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that … .’ One will not always be there. They have to be brave to face their decisions and take responsibility for them,” she said.
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