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Here’s How You Can Become A Leader In Your Workplace
Evelyn Chua-Ng, CFO, on how to improve your work ethic to lead by example
Mar 14, 2024

A boss manages employees; a leader inspires confidence and excellence in them. Meet Evelyn Chua-Ng, the Chief Financial Officer at Universal Robina Corporation, who embodies the latter.

Graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in BS Business Administration & Accountancy, she was a top-notcher on the CPA board exam, showcasing her intellectual prowess. With an attitude of grit and a leadership style built on the power of example, Evelyn became a high-value player in URC, with an ability to develop effective leaders like her.

Failing forward

Evelyn has an uncanny ability to flourish in challenging situations—a trait she attributes to her ability to reframe failure as a valuable learning experience. When she recalled failing her first accounting exam at UP, her attitude was refreshing: "For other people, that would have been a traumatic experience, but I found it exciting." 

Turning her failed exam into a challenge, the aspiring accountant stopped merely memorizing accounting formulas. With her professor’s help, she mastered the art of connecting numbers in financial statements to decipher “the story of the business that the numbers tell.”

The CPA board exam top-notcher learned the value of having a “growth mindset,” where challenges are opportunities to learn—a cornerstone of effective leadership.

Valuing a culture of learning

Evelyn understands that a company thrives when its people thrive. Seeing URC's company culture motivated her to join URC’s ranks in 2022.

"URC is a growth-focused company," she says, "and that bodes well for me. If the business is growing, then there are many opportunities for employees to grow along with it.”

She also prides herself in being part of a company that values excellence. “It’s a company I’m proud to work for. We’re usually number one or two in the category we play in because URC is very growth-focused… If you’re in a company that’s stagnant. What growth is there?” she adds.

Finding balance is about the long game

Work-life balance can be a tricky concept, especially for ambitious individuals. Evelyn acknowledges the struggle, particularly in the early stages of her career. Experience would teach her the importance of taking a long-term view of work-life balance.

“If you assess work-life balance over short periods, you’ll go crazy. It will never be balanced on a day-to-day basis. There are days when it’ll be 90% work and you won’t have much time for life. But there will be days when it’s the other way around.” Now, Evelyn assesses this balance over three, six, or nine-month stretches. If she feels she has achieved balance over this period, she feels at peace.

Evelyn also values her downtime, saying. “You can’t keep running, or you’ll burn out.” Outside work, she spends time with her family, traveling, watching movies at home, playing badminton, and eating out. She also spends time on her health by working out with a trainer.

Reframing stress and discomfort

Evelyn's attitude toward life and work inspires anyone aspiring to leadership. If there’s one thing she would advise aspiring leaders, it’s to “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

To reach the heights she’s achieved, Evelyn had to step outside her comfort zone and not shy away from challenges. On her rise to the top, Evelyn shared that she took on big jobs entrusted to her by her managers, who spotted her potential, even when she didn’t see it herself then. She shared that she circled back to her healthy view of failure. “When you’re uncomfortable, that means you’re taking on the risk of failure. That’s where you’ll grow.” 

She also reframes stress, viewing it as a sign that she’s pushing herself and maximizing her potential. “That’s why I tell my kids, stress is good. What’s bad is dealing with it unhealthily.” 

Evelyn Chua-Ng's story is a testament to the power of embracing challenges, learning from setbacks, and leading with confidence. It reminds us that the path to success is rarely linear and that true growth comes from stepping outside our comfort zones. It is also a story about how growth is a shared journey—that immersing ourselves in dynamic environments like URC can help leaders like Evelyn reach their full potential.

For more information on URC and its exciting opportunities, visit its official website and follow its Facebook page.  

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