From conquering corporate America to flunking retirement

ByTommie C. Curtis

Mar 25, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jannelle So_So LAShe productively conquered the competitive and frequently-stressful planet of company America… but failed in what is perceived to be a most exciting and stress-free period…retirement. That’s how influential Filipina Cora Tellez, describes her skilled life.

“I had concluded a terrific operate of company lifestyle,” stated Tellez who has had 25 decades of administration encounter in healthcare finance and shipping, possessing worked for Well being Web, Inc., Blue Defend of California, Kaiser Permanente. “When I retired, my partner said ‘You’re going to travel all of us ridiculous, since of all this electricity.’ He was proper. I expert retirement for two incredibly hot months. I flunked retirement,” said Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA, a organization she launched in 2004.

But whether performing for other folks and now performing for herself, Tellez admits she has always been focused on her career, which produced her a quite occupied spouse and mom to her two sons.

“My household is very critical to me. I’m a lola now, to two grandchildren, two sons and a partner I’ve been married to for 38 several years,” she claimed. “But I try to remember when I was doing work for Kaiser. I commuted to and from Hawaii for five yrs. I would depart my household on Monday and occur back on Friday. My sons dealt with a company mom who wasn’t often there. This was prior to cellphones. They would fax about their homework so I could enable them.”

Tellez considers this to be one of the most important, if not the major sacrifice she’s at any time experienced to make, becoming away from relatives. But she’s usually quite thankful that she had aid together the way.

“The top secret is to have a wonderful nanny,” she shared with me throughout a meal soon after the interview. “I was blessed to obtain a nanny who was older. She was motherly to my young children.” Tellez also points out that she specially looked for an more mature sitter since younger ones could leave at any place “if they obtain a husband or if they get a much better present or prospect even immediately after you have properly trained them.”

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Cora Tellez, President and CEO of Sterling HSA

Apart from the nanny, when asked about folks she many thanks for her good results in lifestyle, Tellez credits her mom: “My mom is a devout Catholic Filipina woman 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 individual. I never handle authority quite effectively.”

Tellez came to America when she was 11. And while she did properly in school, she claims she also noticed other people who did improved, “I realized I could learn from them because they had specific features that created them profitable. I understood I was fairly timid and scared. I started out debating and general public talking aided me produce self esteem. Debating also helps you to be capable to connect obviously to disagree with out becoming abrasive feel on your feet and have and defend your personal impression.”

She claimed that helped her navigate the corporate jungle incorporating that as soon as she entered the company environment, she recognized that “America doesn’t particularly worth timidity and humility. The united states values assertiveness. And that is what we must be, Simply because we’re fantastic and there’s very little to be afraid of or ashamed about.”

Tellez also many thanks her father for her achievements, “My father often claimed women have to have to attain as considerably as men. In some situations Filipinas have to fight internally definitely tricky to be able to generate an graphic that is in consonance with our main values but will not limit who we are.”

She remembers a particular conversation she had on a call with a company in Hawaii: “I was chatting with the CEO, good fellow. And for the duration of the dialogue, he claimed: ‘This is genuinely exciting but I actually require to discuss to your manager.’ My boss was a white male, so I claimed ‘Good for you. But my boss only arrives at the time a 12 months. So if you want to wait, sense cost-free. But if you want to do business enterprise now, with me, I’m satisfied to do it with you. Suitable now.’”

Tellez admits she dealt with some prejudices like this, together the way. But she didn’t consider it individually. “When you are younger and susceptible, it’s uncomplicated to just take things individually, and think it’s constantly your fault. But at function, you have obtained to set on an academy award-successful functionality all the time. The community face is never harm. If you are damage, cry in non-public. The community experience exhibits ‘I am a potent individual, I can take this.’”

And though she provides tips to some others now and generously shares her learnings, Tellez also gratefully credits 1 who gave her what she considers a most useful guidance, a Filipina janitor whom she encountered in Hawaii: “She cleaned my place of work in Hawaii and she worked really hard. Like many of us, she experienced two positions. She already set in a whole day’s task in McDonald’s at night time, she came to cleanse our offices,” mentioned Tellez who recalled what the kababayan explained to her when she obtained promoted one particular working day: “She claimed to me, ‘You have to get the job done really difficult. You simply cannot allow us down. There are extremely couple who make it to the prime. You have to be extremely cautious that you are a purpose design for many others and that you assistance other individuals.’”

According to Tellez all those words designed it doable for her to be grounded “to be aware of exactly where I came from and it manufactured me understand that I have an obligation. That is why I generally keep the door open to aspiring Filipino and Filipina females. That’s my way of supplying again.”

As portion of her supplying back, Cora speaks nationwide, whether on matters of health treatment, or to share her inspiring story. I initially read her converse at the awarding of 100 Most Influential Filipina in the Planet very last October 2013. This coming October 25th 2014, Tellez is heading to be a panelist at the “Impactful Management Conference” structured by the Global Modern society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA.) For more facts, log on to:

For now, here’s an additional tips for all kababayans: “Be very pleased of becoming a Filipina. Be real to on your own. Be crystal clear and truthful about what you are sacrificing for. Have the guts to say no. Just take care of oneself,” she said, adding that there is one thing to be figured out from the reminder tourists get right before a airplane get off, “Put on your mask first right before encouraging other people with theirs.”

Above all, “work really hard,” Tellez reported. “God can help those people who assistance them selves. Luck will come to those who are organized.”

Jannelle So is taking a break from 20-decades of print and broadcast journalism profession that commenced in the Philippines and ongoing listed here in the US. Hook up to her on Facebook ( Twitter( and Instagram ( or e mail her at