Alice Eduardo’s 5 keys to success

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Alice Eduardo�s 5 keys to success
With the Quezon Leadership awardees.
STAR/ File

The country’s “Woman of Steel” recently unlocked the secrets to success in her almost three decades in the construction industry.

“These are the keys to my success: Build yourself, Build your courage, Build your relationships, Build your faith and Build for others,” Alice Eduardo, president and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp., said before outstanding students of her alma mater, the University of Sto. Tomas, during the university’s Student Awards Day 2024 at the UST Quadracentennial Pavilion.

“Thirty-eight years ago, I was just like you, a fresh graduate with high hopes,” she recalled. She belonged to Batch ‘86 of UST’s College of Commerce and Business Administration. “Today, I want to share some keys to my success.”

Sta. Elena is a Triple A (meaning with capitalization of at least P1 billion) and large B (which qualifies her to bid for any billion-peso project) contractor. Alice is now building the groundwork for at least three big-ticket projects: a marina along Roxas Boulevard, a power plant and land development.

“Firstly, build yourself,” she exhorted the student leaders.

“Remember, success is not just about skill and talent, it’s about hard work, discipline, patience and the relentless pursuit of your dreams and visions. It’s about waking up every day with a determination to be better than you were yesterday.”

She also urged the students to “build your courage.”

“Along the way, you will surely face obstacles, setbacks and challenges but with enough courage you can overcome them. Courage gives you the strength and resilience to keep going, even when things get tough,” she pointed out.

Third, Alice, who has built four power plants, 17 SM Malls, expressways and Skyways, also exhorted the students to “build your relationships.”

“To succeed in life, it is important to build good relationships in your professional and personal life. Be open, positive, honest and sincere; help establish trust and rapport. Always stay humble and grateful,” she said.

Fourth, she urged the students to “build your faith.”

“Always be guided by our Catholic faith that emphasizes virtues like honesty, integrity, compassion, perseverance and humility, which are valuable qualities in achieving your goal. Our faith provides comfort during challenging times, resilience in the face of adversity and support through fellow members of our Catholic Church.”

And finally, she said, “Build for others.”

“Success only means something when it is shared. After you have made something for yourself, contribute to the community. Find causes that mean something to you. Help when you can. Be generous.”

She quoted Sir Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Alice donated the Hematology-Oncology Isolation Ward of the Philippine General Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics and funded the donation and reconstruction of PGH’s Bahay Silungan, a nurses’ home and halfway house for transient patients. She is also one of the prime movers of Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the underprivileged.

Alice also said that among her most cherished roles is mentoring undergraduates of her alma mater.

“One of my exciting new ventures is my ongoing mentorship of selected College of Commerce students who are running their own businesses. It is one of the first things I asked Dean Al Navarrete and Father Senen Ecleo during my homecoming. I see great value in mentorship, because through guidance, an impressive individual can achieve even greater accomplishments. There will always be an area of success that you may have overlooked and can only be seen through an outsider’s perspective.”

Alice was thrilled when one of the Quezon Leadership awardees, Mary Christ Pascua of the College of Commerce and Business Administration, told her, “I want to be the next Alice Eduardo.”

In closing, she said, “As you bask in the glory of this well-deserved honor, keep in mind, this is just the beginning. The road ahead is filled with opportunities and challenges waiting to be conquered. Stay curious, stay hungry for knowledge, and never lose sight of your passion.”

“You are the future leaders, innovators, nation builders and change-makers of tomorrow. Believe in yourselves, trust in your abilities, and always dream big.”

How Alice got into construction

Alice has always wanted to be an engineer, one who wore hard hats in dusty construction sites and built things from scratch.

“When I was a child, I would build a playhouse,” she remembers. “I would ask help from our pin boys and helpers in our bowling center.”

But Alice, who comes from a very traditional Filipino family, was discouraged by her mother Elisa, a certified public accountant, from going into construction. In the ’80s, engineering was thought of as a man’s job.

“My mother wanted me to become a doctor, or nurse,” recalls Alice.

As a compromise, Alice graduated with a degree in management from the University of Santo Tomas. Dutifully, she helped out in the family business, rice milling and garments manufacturing. She was a working student in her senior year.

After graduation, she and her sister Small (now a celebrity influencer with millions of followers) exported jogging sets, shirts and dresses for children to the US.

Alice then managed a rice mill owned by her parents. The winding road to her dream to be a builder opened up in 1995 when she was asked to supply steel to a construction project. For someone who always wanted to be in construction, it was an opportunity to realize her dreams. Alice gave her all.

And the rest, as they say, is history — etched in steel. *

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