A very special happy birthday to my Mom, Ching de la Cruz!
August 29 is my Mom’s birthday. She is the reason and inspiration for starting this company and has been the catalyst for all of the successes and blessings I have experienced over my entire life. So Mom, if you’re reading this maybe I’ve never told you that explicitly, but I’m doing it now! Thank you and I love you very much! Also, your second present is in the mail.
Sharing My Mom’s Story
My Mom’s philosophy on career management permeates every facet of how we advise our clients on personal branding, resume creation, networking, and influence. She is our company’s true creator and her wisdom formed the foundation on which we realized this dream – and to help others reach theirs.
I’ve always wanted to share her story (at least, a son’s interpretation of it!) so here it is:
My Mom started her career in 1970’s Manila, at Bank of America. There were very few women in the banking industry at that time, and my Mom was one of them. How did she do it? No differently than how successful people make it to where they want to go today, which is by striving for and achieving excellence in every endeavor, no matter how small, to build an outstanding body of work that then translates to impeccable credentials and an outstanding brand.
My Mom was a very good student and even better employee as she rose up the ranks of BofA’s accounting department to an executive-level role. The lessons she learned navigating her way through her years at there still resonate with me – your boss is your number one client, focus on great results, and control your emotions.
Moving to the U.S.
After about 10 years in finance and with a young family (and right about the time she had me) my Mom helped my Dad run several ventures, which included starting a private equity firm and then opening a restaurant. My parents then made the life-altering decision to immigrate to the U.S., settling down in San Francisco in 1985 to raise my two sisters and me in the Bay Area.
Mom took a break from her career to concentrate on us and I would say did a pretty decent job. Three kids, three Ivy League schools (Columbia, Yale, Harvard), one valedictorian, one NCAA athlete, and later one New York Times best-selling author. My Mom is objectively amazing!
The Anti-Tiger Tiger Mom
When I was a kid people assumed that my Mom was a super-strict Tiger mom (we were Filipino, not Chinese!). Anyway. Nope. Mom was the complete opposite of a Tiger Mom – so a Lion Mom? I don’t know.
I do know that Mom’s parenting philosophy, which is still hard for me to explain in few words, worked out pretty well for me. Mom loved, Mom encouraged, Mom suggested, and Mom unconditionally supported. That’s really all it took.
A Highly Successful Career
My Mom went back to work when I was in high school. At that point, my sisters were both in their mid-20’s. It’s now almost been twenty years since Mom has been with the American Heart Association, first joining them in their Burlingame, CA office as an administrative assistant to build her career from the ground up.
Over her first few months and then after just two years, she would become so valued by the head of that office, that when he got promoted to the head of the entire Western States region in downtown Los Angeles, he made Mom an offer she couldn’t refuse and my parents moved down to Southern California, never looking back.
Mom rose up the ranks again and is now a senior executive herself and one of the AHA’s proudest advocates. Below are photos of her at a fundraiser rubbing elbows with local California celebrities that include a pretty important alum from the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl-winning teams. Mom is living proof to all women that yes, you can re-start and have a fabulous and fabulously rewarding career after raising a family full-time.
Why My Mom is My Hero
My Mom is the strongest person I know. Five years ago, we lost my dad to a 7-year battle with cancer. Instead of allowing the disease to devastate her, Mom made sure to celebrate each and every day she and we had with my dad up until the minute he passed. When things were terrible, especially in those last months, and I was a wreck, Mom kept it and us (my sisters, their husbands, my wife) together and focused on the good. And when there was no good (or it seemed that way), there was Mom, and Mom was good. Mom had full license to simply let everything go and take out her grief, pain, and devastation on us for many years, but she never did. Mom was and is just pure love. The purest manifestation of pure love. That’s why she’s my hero.
Happy Birthday, Mom.