From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement


Jannelle So_So LAShe properly conquered the aggressive and generally-demanding world of company America… but failed in what is perceived to be a most enjoyable and relaxing period…retirement. That’s how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, describes her professional lifestyle.

“I had completed a fantastic operate of company existence,” claimed Tellez who has had 25 a long time of management experience in healthcare finance and shipping, getting worked for Well being Net, Inc., Blue Defend of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my spouse mentioned ‘You’re heading to drive all of us crazy, due to the fact of all this energy.’ He was correct. I skilled retirement for two scorching months. I flunked retirement,” explained Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a enterprise she founded in 2004.

But irrespective of whether doing the job for some others and now functioning for herself, Tellez admits she has constantly been centered on her profession, which created her a really hectic wife and mom to her two sons.

“My relatives is really crucial to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a spouse I have been married to for 38 yrs,” she claimed. “But I remember when I was functioning for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five decades. I would go away my loved ones on Monday and come again on Friday. My sons dealt with a company mother who was not often there. This was prior to cellphones. They would fax more than their research so I could enable them.”

Tellez considers this to be one of the greatest, if not the biggest sacrifice she’s ever experienced to make, staying absent from family members. But she’s generally extremely thankful that she had assist alongside the way.

“The mystery is to have a excellent nanny,” she shared with me for the duration of a meal just after the interview. “I was lucky to obtain a nanny who was more mature. She was motherly to my little ones.” Tellez also details out that she particularly seemed for an more mature sitter because younger ones could leave at any stage “if they come across a partner or if they get a far better provide or option even right after you have skilled them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Aside from the nanny, when requested about folks she thanks for her results in lifetime, Tellez credits her mom: “My mother is a devout Catholic Filipina woman and she had her desire 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 don’t cope with authority incredibly properly.”

Tellez came to The usa when she was 11. And however she did perfectly in school, she states she also noticed others who did improved, “I recognized I could master from them mainly because they had specified attributes that designed them productive. I realized I was alternatively timid and concerned. I started debating and community talking aided me develop self-assurance. Debating also can help you to be in a position to communicate plainly to disagree with out staying abrasive feel on your feet and have and defend your personal view.”

She said that aided her navigate the company jungle incorporating that as soon as she entered the corporate earth, she recognized that “America doesn’t notably value timidity and humility. The united states values assertiveness. And which is what we should really be, For the reason that we’re very good and there is almost nothing to be afraid of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also thanks her father for her good results, “My father constantly stated girls will need to reach as much as guys. In some scenarios Filipinas have to combat internally really challenging to be equipped to create an impression that is in consonance with our core values but will not decrease who we are.”

She recalls a certain dialogue she experienced on a contact with a enterprise in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, pleasant fellow. And in the course of the discussion, he stated: ‘This is really exciting but I genuinely will need to discuss to your boss.’ My manager was a white male, so I reported ‘Good for you. But my manager only arrives once a year. So if you want to hold out, really feel cost-free. But if you want to do company now, with me, I’m satisfied to do it with you. Ideal now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, along the way. But she did not acquire it personally. “When you are youthful and vulnerable, it’s uncomplicated to get things personally, and consider it’s usually your fault. But at do the job, you’ve received to set on an academy award-winning general performance all the time. The public confront is by no means harm. If you are damage, cry in private. The community deal with demonstrates ‘I am a robust particular person, I can choose this.’”

And though she gives suggestions to other folks now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits 1 who gave her what she considers a most beneficial guidance, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my place of work in Hawaii and she labored challenging. Like several of us, she had two positions. She now put in a full day’s work in McDonald’s at night time, she arrived to cleanse our places of work,” mentioned Tellez who recalled what the kababayan told her when she bought promoted 1 working day: “She mentioned to me, ‘You have to do the job incredibly challenging. You just cannot enable us down. There are really couple of who make it to the best. You have to be very mindful that you are a job model for some others and that you enable other persons.’”

According to Tellez all those terms designed it possible for her to be grounded “to be conscious of the place I arrived from and it built me know that I have an obligation. Which is why I usually hold the doorway open up to aspiring Filipino and Filipina girls. That is my way of supplying back.”

As part of her offering again, Cora speaks nationwide, whether on subjects of overall health treatment, or to share her inspiring story. I very first read her speak at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the World very last October 2013. This coming Oct 25th 2014, Tellez is likely to be a panelist at the “Impactful Management Conference” structured by the Intercontinental Modern society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For additional details, log on to:

For now, here’s one more advice for all kababayans: “Be very pleased of getting a Filipina. Be correct to yourself. Be obvious and sincere about what you’re sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Choose treatment of your self,” she explained, including that there is something to be acquired from the reminder tourists get in advance of a plane acquire off, “Put on your mask to start with before assisting others with theirs.”

Earlier mentioned all, “work challenging,” Tellez claimed. “God can help individuals who aid by themselves. Luck will come to these who are well prepared.”

Jannelle So is taking a crack from 20-a long time of print and broadcast journalism profession that started in the Philippines and ongoing here in the US. Hook up to her on Fb ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or electronic mail her at [email protected]


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