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Ms. Donna Marcelo: Life Perspectives

by Rhea Santos and Jovit Caballero

From the way she sees things to the way she approaches life, Ms. Donna Marcelo – and all there is in her personal experience – is definitely a great addition to the company’s excellent leaders.

Being cool and colorful as her personality is, her high-school life had become more interesting when she won a scholarship to be an exchange student in Japan – which started her love for all things Japanese. She went back to the Philippines and took up AB Interdisciplinary Studies with tracks in Japanese Language and Japanese Studies at the Ateneo de Manila University. Her course taught her how to think of things from the view of multiple disciplines. In her senior year in college, she was awarded a teaching certificate for Japanese, and taught two classes per semester. She then received a scholarship in Japan for post graduate studies. But as much as she loved Japan, she still wanted to build her career in the Philippines.

Because of her Japanese language skills, her first job was at an insurance company handling their Japan desk. She then moved to El Nido Resorts handling sales for Japanese accounts at first, and then took over the Public Relations department where her communications journey begun. After a few years, she took up her master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management when she started her own small business. She then went back to the corporate world in successive positions as brand director of Shiseido cosmetics, VP for Brand Marketing and Public Relations at RCBC Savings Bank and VP for Public Relations at Citibank. Her last stint before NLEX was at AXA Philippines, where she served as the Director of Brand Marketing and Corporate Communications. At present, she is NLEX Corporation’s Vice President for Communications and Stakeholder Management (CSM).

Her first few weeks in NLEX Corporation had been very challenging as she was immediately faced with crisis meetings. According to her, it was an unusual welcome, but she sees it as an opportunity to know the people and the business much faster. She was also impressed at how open and kind the NLEX culture is.

But it is not all about the corporate world for our CSM Vice President, she is also eager when it comes to her personal life. In her younger years, she was a member of the dance clubs at school, from grade school to college. She was a scuba diving enthusiast, too. Currently, she enjoys the so-called “tita” game (as her children describe it) Candy Crush (all versions!), and became fond of the K-Drama series Crash Landing On You during the pandemic. But above all, reading books is her most favorite leisure activity. She is addicted to mystery and adventure / thriller books. For her, this is an escape from reality. Some of the books and authors she loves to read over and over again are Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Tom Clancy, Louise Penny, The Lord of the Rings, and even Harry Potter. This just proves that Ms. Donna is a certified bookworm!

As a wife and a mother, she is also in full support of her husband who owns a famous t-shirt company, and her two children, a daughter in Grade 9 and a son in Grade 6. Before the pandemic, they loved to travel both locally and abroad. But now, the family bonds during weekend movie nights, with some chips and popcorn. As she would say it, her happiness has become going home early to her loved ones.

When asked about her personal and career goals, she jokingly said, “To win the lottery!”. But kidding aside, she wants to spend the rest of her career at NLEX Corporation and be able to retire from here. Her vision for NLEX is to build a lot of goodwill towards the brand so that whatever crisis it may face, it will be able to withstand any negative backlash. She wants it to be true to its mission of being an instrumental part of the growth of the Philippines. As for her children, she wants them to become strong people who are independent and happy – good persons who she will be proud to leave in this world. Upon hearing all her experiences and life perspectives, true enough, Ms. Donna Marcelo is one remarkable woman!


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