Pinning down this lady for a quiet lunch was no mean feat, as most of her time seems to be taken up by work. While I did manage to have lunch with Elvi, it certainly wasn’t quiet; it was boisterous and punctuated with laughter. With her quick wit and humor, Elvi is the life of every gathering – big or small. While she is candid, she is so hilarious no one takes offense; she always provides comic relief and leaves no one in her vicinity unaffected. Elvi does turn serious though, when she talks about work and family.
Asked to summarize her career, she said she has over 28 years of "progressive experience in the administrative function, acquiring a good sense of professional standards in the job by exercising the highest standards of ethics, confidentiality, discretion, professionalism and productivity". Preferring to arrive late and work way into the night when most everyone is already home and relaxing, Elvi thrives in the dynamic pace set by the fast growth of her company, SN Aboitiz Power Inc. where she has been working as Executive Assistant to dashing CEO Manny Rubio for the last 4 years. While the hours are long, she enjoys her work so much because she knows she is contributing in a major way to the growth of her company.
Previous to this, she worked at PT&T/Pocketbell where she started as Student Trainee when she was barely 18 years old and while studying at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, where she graduated with a degree of Bachelor in Office Administration. She learned the ropes at PT&T, but she credits her lady boss Ms. Marilyn Santiago, for her organizational skills and for most of what she learned, including speaking in public. Elvi said working for this lady boss for 13 years has made her tough. These qualities were what served Elvi in good stead when Ms. Santiago referred and endorsed her to work at SN Aboitiz.
In all, she worked for PT&T and its various subsidiary companies for a total of 24 years. It is significant to note that it was at PT&T where she met Larry, who later became her husband and with whom she has three children, now aged 22, 14 and 6. Larry currently works in the U.S. while Elvi leads a simple life in Antipolo with her children – her joy – to whom she wants to give a good life.
Elvi’s fondest dream in her younger days was to be a teacher. Since this was not the career path she took, she is now making up for it by mentoring — now her passion — those around her at work. Elvi generously shares her time and expertise to her colleagues and subordinates alike, believing that there is always an efficient way of doing everything. Elvi likewise engages in activities outside work and manages to find ways to pursue her passion.
Born Elvira Velayo Castro to a big family of six, life had not been easy. Elvi has been through difficult times, but she never gave up as she said it is not in her nature to, staunchly believing that there is a purpose for everything. Just as there were difficult times, there were triumphant and happy ones as well, one of which was when she was awarded the coveted title of Secretary of the Year for 2003 by the Philippine Association of Secretaries.
Elvi appreciates everything that she has been through in the past as she believes this is what brought her to where she is now, where she has found happiness and contentment in her career. Elvi acknowledges that she found happiness because of her sincerity and her love for her job; and this is a lesson she would like to pass on. Elvi is giving herself 2-3 years before she leaves the country and joins her beloved Larry in the States.
But before that, there are a few more things she would like to accomplish, and that includes being able to complete a 10K run and climbing Mt. Ugo. Then she can finally say, "I have done it all."
By Frances Peria