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I never want to depend on anyone else for my success or failure.

Whatever happens, I own it.

Embrace the UNEXPECTED

Growing up, my father had a vision for me—he saw me as a lawyer and politician, while I secretly wanted to become a nun. Expectations were set, but as it turns out, we were both wrong.

I did end up becoming a lawyer, however. But also a wife, mother, activist, general attorney for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, and CEO of TLC Beatrice. Mine is a story of having to constantly pivot and adapt. Was I ready to leave my comfortable life in the Philippines to start over in New York? Not really. What did I know about cooking my husband’s favorite dishes? Honestly, nothing. Was I completely prepared to take charge of a billion-dollar company? I had to find out. In coming face to face with these challenges and opportunities, there was one thing I stood by—live authentically. In doing so, I gave in to life's greatest experiences—love, adventure, the unknown, The Unexpected. A path that surprisingly turned out to be better than The Expected.

I don’t pay much attention to what others have to say about me. I know who I am. That’s enough. I work hard to reach my goals, whether that be to graduate as class valedictorian or pass the New York bar exam.

This work ethic and the ability to persevere is something that I apply in every aspect of my life—my education, marriage, family, career, and faith. I’m intelligent, capable, and always eager to learn. I know it. I know my worth, and I know what I deserve. We should all know our worth.

do the work

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There’s this notion that growing old is a privilege. I agree, not just because I wish it were a privilege extended to my beloved husband, Reginald, but also because it often comes with several perks—grandchildren, wisdom, and a sense of urgency to make the most of every day.

At the age of 57, when most people started planning their retirement, I enrolled in a management class at Harvard Business School. Why? I wanted to improve my management skills. But the other reason is that my husband, daughters, and two sons-in-law all have Harvard diplomas. The years have not dulled my competitive streak, in the least, and I wanted to have a Harvard certificate too.

These days, I’m busy as chairwoman for the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation and campaigning for leaders who I feel will make the world a better place. My days are almost as packed now as they were in my 20s. I also wrote my third book at the age of 80. Should there be days where I feel like I’m losing steam, I just think back to what my beloved, Reginald, used to say to push me on. “Babe, go on with your bad self!” he’d say with a grin. His words and God’s grace give me the strength to continue to do the things I still want to do.