“Disrupting the Stereotype: Being You”

Janice Lao-Noche

Senior Manager, Sustainability at MTR Corporation Ltd
FWN100™ Global 2015

The purpose of this chapter is to inspire young Filipinas that they can succeed by doing whatever they are passionate about. They do not necessarily have to marry a foreigner, or enter an occupation that is a priority of the country to which they want to immigrate. My story demonstrates to young Filipinas that if they stay true to who they are, if they do what they love, and do it very well: they will succeed. I will reflect on my early years as a second generation Filipino-Chinese, how I dreamed of working internationally, my early dreams of making a difference in people’s lives, and how I remain committed to that dream. My first setback happened when I decided to apply for college in the US hoping to get a full scholarship. I received a half scholarship and because of the financial crisis in the Philippines. I was very disappointed and wanted to give up on my dream. Instead I picked myself up and graduated with honors. From Ateneo, I applied to the University of Oxford, got a full scholarship, and became the first Filipino to attend their Masters on Environmental Change and Management. Since then, I have encouraged and supported the applications of other Filipinos to attend the program at Oxford. Still aiming high, I became the first Filipino to reach senior levels in the sustainability field in Cathay Pacific, Swire Group, and the MTR Corporation. I have broken the glass ceiling and changed perceptions of what Filipinos and Filipinas can do, especially in Hong Kong where the stereotype has always been that Filipinas are domestic helpers or wives of rich foreigners. I am neither. As a mom, I want to inspire my own children to never give up and never believe the stereotypes others have of them. I am sharing my story because I want to be an inspiration to the younger generation. My message is that they can dream big, that the world is theirs for the taking. I also want the readers to realize that they cannot expect success without some failure, that they will need to ask help from others, and that they should give back to other Filipinas who need a helping hand.