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Women at the Top

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The Philippines has the highest number of women in senior leadership positions, according to Grant Thornton International which surveyed women in 32 countries in its recently released 2020 Women in Business Report.

This is no surprise as the country is teeming with exemplary role models of women executives holding senior management positions. Among them is Ma. Victoria "Marivic" Españo, the current chairperson and CEO of P&A Grant Thornton, the local affiliate of Grant Thornton International Ltd., one of the world’s leading independent assurance, tax and advisory firms.

Known for her expertise in organizational management and taxation, Marivic has occupied high-ranking roles in various firms in the industry. She was also the president of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) in 2018 and a former director of the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice (ACPAPP).

However, Marivic admits that her climb up the corporate ladder hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park.

In fact, it took her six years and 12 organizations later before taking the helm at P&A Grant Thornton in 1997, the height of the Asian financial crisis and a very challenging time to be a tax manager. She relied on her grit and accumulated years of experience — from working as a legislative liaison specialist at the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) during the 1980s financial crisis, to working at the Department of Finance to help formulate politically charged tax legislations — to survive the trying times.

Marivic encourages women to take on leadership roles despite society’s pressures to take care of their families. “If we let those fears dictate our feelings, then we can never take on leadership roles,” she said. 

She believes that the key to successfully climbing the corporate ladder is seizing every opportunity for growth — be it personal or professional — and making the most out of it. “Look at every opportunity as a chance to grow rather than merely something you need to do because it’s work. Get going and make things happen. Transform things now,” she stressed.


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