This is a shoutout to the women who have been the reason why many men in the business community thrive—to our lifetime partners who manage our homes even when they run their own businesses or are employed. These are our spouses who make that pivotal difference when it counts the most.
I am by no measure close to our many captains of industry in the success they have achieved. I have had the opportunity to work closely with them, though, as executive director of Makati Business Club, as one of the lead staffers of the Apec Business Advisory Council, as ExCom member of the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development, as executive director of Philippine Business for Education, as executive director of Amnesty International Pilipinas when we pursued our Business and Human Rights program and, today, as VP-director for public affairs of the Phinma Group of Companies. And, guess what? They never fail to acknowledge the essential significance of their spouses in achieving their dreams and in continuing to pursue their even higher aspirations.
Some of them even take calls in the middle of business meetings, telling their distinguished colleagues, “I need to take this. It’s my wife.”
Why do I want to do this shoutout now? Selfishly, because today marks 22 years with my wife, Cecil. Without her belief in me and all the major roles she has handled, often single-handedly, I probably would not have made it to where I am. Her sacrifices made it possible for me to make the most of the many opportunities that came my way. I want her to know that I, like how my many mentors and idols in business feel for their lifetime partners, am extremely grateful that she became part of my life.
In the larger, national, and even global scheme of things, these women are probably playing a most essential role yet again to keep many business leaders at an even keel in these challenging times of COVID-19. It was never easy for many of them to ensure that our homes and families were well-managed in normal times. Imagine the effort needed to do the same in these times? Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way saying that it is the women who have to manage our homes and families. What I am saying is that without them, our homes would probably fall apart, especially when crisis situations occur. Yes, men can be the strong foundations of a family, but even the biggest of men have been enlightened and set right by the women who stood beside them, inspiring them, motivating them, or even scolding them.
Many men “complain” that in working from home, they have discovered that they have become more busy. Methinks it is because men have to now contribute their share of work at home that they often took for granted because “mom” was there. Or, spending more time at home, they finally realized that there was so much work that they had been putting off because they were busy making more money or changing the world.
But what is the more important point here? Like many other essential truths thrust upon us by this pandemic that we have to better understand and act on, it is time to recognize the indispensable role played by women that make them probably a key resource in figuring out the way forward with what everyone is calling the new normal. I urge the men trying to navigate their respective ships through the COVID-19 storm to not look very far and consider what their wives/spouses/lifetime partners have to say, to recommend, to counter, and to offer. For example, one new normal is work from home. They have actually been doing that for a long time now and are way ahead of most of us. Work from home is peanuts for them, even while many of us are struggling just to cope with it.
Peter Angelo V. Perfecto is public affairs director of the Phinma Group and former executive director of Makati Business Club.
Business Matters is a project of Makati Business Club (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Posted on 25 April 2020 under Business Matters section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer