This week’s Success Story is one of my former classmates from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, who embodies fulfillment, content and passion in every aspect of her life. I can easily call her a “wholistic” person since her interests range from law, philosophy, psychology to tarot cards, Madonna’s music and emerging fashion trends! She knows so much about everything that when we first met, I know exactly that we will never run out of anything to talk about whenever I am seated next to her.
One of the very first topics we talked about was about girl scouting and about this “cute” guy from the College of Engineering who used to drive a red car with a Chinese surname, who apparently was also the “crush ng bayan” of all the girls from the College of Eng’g (mind you though, both of us weren’t into him but we both have friends who were really going gaga over this guy). Then, we moved on to talk and share about our other interests such as Wiccan beliefs, paranormal observations, Brahma Kumaris yoga, moutain climbing and teen magazines.
That was not the end of our acquiantance – in fact, that was the start of our friendship!
The next semester, we were both classmates again! This time at the College of Psych, where she majored in. We weren’t seatmates anymore, but we shared some group work every now and then. After that, we would only see each other along the AS Hall or at the nearby food stands. Occassionally, we would bump into each other in front of the College of Psych, since I always go through this building before I’d go back to the College of Education.
When we graduated college, Friendster was our only way of communication. She went on to Law School, took the bar exam and became a lawyer immediately after her first bar examination! She would sometimes update her blog “Nica ‘d Great” where she used to share her journey of the law school, the bar review then the bar examinations. But, one thing that she never fails to do is to surprise me with her fashion statement and her close relationship in the Philippine Fashion Circle, especially as a contributing writer to MEG magazine.
Our Saturday Success Story Six is one whom I look up to. Relatively young, yet accomplished – I believe, she inspires me as much as you will – when you’ll read her story.
Below is MS. VERONICA INOTURAN, sharing her story:
1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living and where is your current location?
Answer: My name is Veronica Inoturan. I am thirty (30) years old. I work as a lawyer with the rank of Associate Solicitor III in the largest law firm in the Philippines. (Office of the Solicitor General). I represent the Republic of the Philippines in litigation cases (trial). In the OSG, there are seventeen (17) divisions. I belong to the first (1st) division, which I entered in June 2007, two (2) months after passing the Bar Exams.
Before I became a lawyer in April 2006 (after passing the Bar Exams taken— for the first and the last time— on September 2005), I had my hands full as a contributor for MEG Magazine. I was one (1) of the girls invited by the first editor-in-chief of MEG Magazine to plan the very first issue in a “pioneer” focus group back in April 1998. I was just sixteen (16) years old then and a fresh graduate from high school. From the very start of “conceiving” MEG, I had very high hopes for this magazine which was aimed for the “urbane” (stylish yet socially aware) Filipina youth. Last June 2011, MEG celebrated its thirteenth (13th) anniversary and I am so proud what my personal dream has turned out to be. My baby is now a lady! MEG is like my own child already. I write about fashion, trends, social issues, self-help, books, music and sports… practically everything of interest to our target audience.
I describe myself (in 3 words) as: PASSIONATE. CREATIVE. INTENSE. That pretty much sums me and my entire life up!
2. What brought you to where you are now? Who are your inspirations in life? What motivated you to become who you are today?
Answer: I believe in what an anonymous author once wrote (which I read back in college): “Success comes before work ONLY in the dictionary.”
3. Did you have a mentor or a teacher or somebody in your family who has given you some words of wisdom? Can you tell us about this person and how he/she impacted you?
Answer: Aside from my family and relatives (many of whom are also in the legal profession like me), special mention goes to the following teachers/professors whom I would like to honor:
a. Ms. Marian Ledesma: Class adviser in Grade 5 and English (literature and grammar) teacher in Grade 6 who first took notice of my writing skill in English and encouraged me to hone it well.
b. Atty. Enrique dela Cruz: Teacher in Speech class during junior and senior year in high school who encouraged me to take up Law (rather than my previous plan, Medicine).
c. Mrs. Grace Jamon: Professor in Social Science 2 and Political Science 100 (where we were classmates back then, Alf!!) who piqued my interest further in the realm of legal matters. She also personally recommended me (in an official letter) to the faculty of Ateneo Law School.
d. Justice Jose Sabio, Jr.: Professor in Constitutional Law 1, Criminal Procedure and Remedial Law Review as well as Legal Ethics review lecturer. “Terror Teacher” personified, but it was because of him that I memorized important laws and legal concepts by heart (to this very day) and scored high in the Bar Exams in Remedial Law (the subject with the most weight, at twenty percent [20%]).
I would to also give special mention to the following persons at MEG: Editors-in-Chief Liza Ilarde (June ’98-June ’02), Pierra Calasanz-Labrador (July ’02-March ’07) n Peewee Reyes-Isidro (April ’07-Present. Past Associate Editors: Karen Vera, Mabel David-Pilar and Maris Stella Martel. Former Editorial Assistants Charlene Sawit, Shai Lagarde and Michelle Ancheta. Fellow Contributors/Writers Florian Cabuyao and Jackielyn Ched Telan. THANK YOU for giving me my big break into mass media, introducing me to the colorful world of fashion and most of all, for inspiring me to excel in writing, not just for myself, but for others.
4. When you were trying to achieve where you are right now, did you experience some disappointments and failures? What are they? Can you explain how you overcome these circumstances?
Answer: Definitely!!! So many disappointments. Mainly due to people who do not share your vision, so to speak. Back in MEG’s early days, I do remember many advertisers say that our magazine will be out of business in six (6) months. They said MEG can “never compete” with foreign titles like Teen Vogue, Seventeen and Y&M (Young & Modern). But today, guess what? Seventeen (Philippines edition) and Y&M (in the States) are both out of print already, while MEG is now a “teenager” (13 years and still going strong).
Also, back in law school, I had a professor back in first (1st) year who said that I’m “not going to last.” Well, guess what again?! I’m now a litigation attorney after graduating on-time passing the Bar exams in one (1) take.
Aside from the usual “hard work and diligence and prayers and sheer dumb luck” litany, I would like to believe that a lot of this has to do with GUTS. From an early age, I learned to develop a “thick skin.” I basically don’t care what others say or think about me because I realize now that somebody out there always has something negative to say about you. I keep in mind: “I owe you no explanation for my own dreams.”
5. What would be your next goal?
Answer: Professionally, I want to be promoted to State Solicitor I by next year and get a Masters degree, either in Clinical Psychology (my college course) or Law. Personally, I want to find “The One” before age 35!
6. Has anyone of your friends, relatives ever told you what qualities they admire about you? What are they?
Answer: I get the most praises for my intelligence and fashion sense. The latter I find quite ironic because I don’t really spend hours and hours getting made up or choosing what to wear. I usually just grab stuff from my closet first thing in the morning!
7. Can you share to us your philosophy in life and how this affected your success.
Answer: “LIVE & LET LIVE.” As long as I draw breath, I will keep on going… and going… and going… strong!!!
8. Do you have any advice to get better and be more successful in whatever we are doing?
Answer: FOCUS. Many people are afraid/hesitant to follow their dreams or do their own thing because of what others, even their family/friends/significant others will say or think about them. But remember, YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. You and you alone are responsible for how your life turns out to be. Stop the attitude of blaming and “what-if’s” and get on moving! Winston Churchill (an illegitimate child born to a poverty-stricken family) once said: “I CHOOSE to be a great person.”
9. Finally, what is your definition of success.
Answer: Success for me is being a BLESSING to and for others. You cannot give what you do not have. Many people make the mistake of showering others with praises and gifts, but inwardly curse or put themselves down. Others love themselves too much and are unable to empathize/sympathize with those around them. Neither extreme is healthy or admirable. Love yourself first— in the right way, of course— and the rest will follow.
Daily with you,