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Imelda Mhel Pechera — a shining example in management, entrepreneurship and civic work

Do this with all your heart and not for mere recognition.   Learn to cooperate with and support your leaders and peers. Remember that this is voluntary and everyone is giving their heart, time and resources to a cause that they believe in.

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A graduate of the John Robert Powers School, Mhel is always invited to talk about executive style and personality development.

Now and then, we meet women who, despite the challenges they encounter, do not easily give up. They are, to me, among life’s biggest blessings,  as they inspire us to go on with our lives and, as the expression goes, live them to the fullest.

Imelda “Mhel” Pechera had always worked hand in hand with her Japanese husband, Atsushi Yamada. Together, they founded the Iship Logipack Incorporated.

Although  she did not finish a four-year degree, Mhel worked at becoming a better person and woman. Her best education, though, came from Atsushi who  generously shared with her the so-called secrets of running a successful business. Needless to say, what he imparted to her was first class business management acumen, used as he was to the Japanese way of doing things.

Photographs courtesy of IMELDA MHEL PECHERA
Mhel is an outstanding leader of the Lions International.

If they prospered in their enterprise, they were even more blessed in their family life. Together, they raised a happy family consisting of their eldest son, Karl Nikko, second son Mersy and their youngest child, their only daughter Meiko.

All that peace, happiness and good fortune would come to an end for this model family when Atsushi fell sick and passed on.

Mhel imparts good values to her children, Karl Nikko, Mersy and Meiko.

It would have been the end for everything that the couple worked and prayed hard for, but Mhel was not to be discouraged. She saw that she now had a bigger role to play and all that she learned from her husband, she vowed, would not go to waste. Moreover, she had equipped herself further by attending personality and management courses. Expensive as they were, she saw them as the best investment she could gift herself with.

Today, as the  president and CEO of  Iship Logipack Incorporated, a manufacturing company and the Philippines’ first Manufacturer of Corrugated Plastic sheets, Mhel is one great success that our young Filipinas, especially those aspiring to pursue a career in business and management, can look up to as a shining example.

Allow me to share with you our conversation with Mhel who stands tall for her accomplishments as a business CEO, club leader and, most importantly, a dedicated mother.

One of the Philippines’ Best Dressed, Mhel is an elegant sight in formal Filipiniana.

Quality first

Daily Tribune (DT): What is your management style?
Imelda Pechera (IP): I am a hands-on president. I personally check the problems of our factory with the help of my general manager and the department managers. I do delegate but I usually sit down with them and tackle the strategies, plans and problems that arise in the manufacturing and trade functions of our company.
DT: What is your key strategy to ensure the success of your company?
IP: If there is one guideline that I emphasize to my managers and staff, it is never to sacrifice quality over anything. Customers are not stupid and they will know if we compromise quality against cost and profit.

DT: What are the uses of corrugated plastic sheets?
IP: Corrugated plastic sheets are used as  stronger and durable alternatives for corrugated cartons. They originated in Japan and are known as “PLADAN,” which  means Pla for Plastic and Dan (danbol) or corrugated carton. Plastic Danbol Is therefore corrugated plastic.
Pladans are commonly used for plastic boxes, dividers for boxes and  plastic pads but they are  not limited to packaging. They are also used for advertising and anything where corrugated cartons may be used.

Mhel cuts an elegant figure in a designer gown.

DT: Tell me a little history about the company.
IP: My husband and I started the company as a trading firm. We imported products from Japan and sold them mostly to Japanese companies. We founded Iship Logipack when we ventured into  manufacturing in 2004. We manufactured corrugated plastic sheets and converted them into boxes and other products.

DT: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What were your interests and passions as a little girl and later as a teenager?
IP: I was born in Naga City but I grew up in Manila. I am just a simple girl who loves dressing up. I did not finish a full college degree but that did not deter me from improving myself and my life. I learned the ropes of managing the company when my husband was still alive. Even then I did hands-on training on manufacturing by manually operating our factory machines, which helped me greatly when I eventually managed the business. I joined many seminars in and out of the factory and improved myself by enrolling at John Robert Powers where I attended the executive program and the personality development class.

photographs courtesy of IMELDA MHEL PECHERA
Smiling sweetly is second nature to this mother, entrepreneur and civic leader.

Independent and strong

DT: How would you describe your late husband?
IP: He was a loving husband and a great father. He always thought ahead and trained me so that I could run the company someday. He wanted me to become independent and strong. He trained me on our manufacturing floor hands on from the start of the process to its end. That time I did not understand why I had to undergo all of those because we were supposed to be running the company together. Then he left me and my children. He was only 39. He had bone cancer. I was devastated because our children were still young but I had to be strong. I juggled my time between running the company and attending to the needs of my children.

DT: You have been recognized as a model mom. What principles do you follow in raising your children?
IP: I do what other moms do. I love my children and treat them equally but they are all individual persons and I have to adjust to their individual traits. I always strive to give quality time and attention to them as much as I can, notwithstanding my busy schedule. This was especially true when they were younger. Even now that they have grown up, I do my best to be with them whenever they need me. I believe I shouldk always be there for them. My family is everything to me and I have worked hard to give them the best that typical parents would give their children.
As a mother, I support my children in their plans and goals in life. I raised them to be independent, but if they need my advice and guidance, I drop everything to be beside them.

Fit and statesque are two words that describe Mhel aptly.

DT: How do you bond with your family?
IP: When they were young it was easier because we could go on a family trip to the beach, amusement parks, malls, church and other areas where we could bond and share moments.
Now we try to do these together but they are grown up and they have their individual inclinations. If possible I join them in their hobbies or activities like biking, hiking, bowling, malling, playing golf, working out at the gym or eating at their favorite restaurants. I also cheer for them when they participate in basketball or volleyball tournaments. I support them when they compete in gymnastics or swimming. I am always behind their teams.
We also travel often so chances are I am with them on weekends.

DT: What have been your accomplishments as Ayala Amity Centennial Lions Club Charter President?
IP: I made sure to involve all our members in club planning before my term started. Throughout my term, we did our part in addressing global causes such as diabetes, child cancer and environmental awareness. We also donated a significant amount to the Melvin Jones Foundation. We were both a vibrant and competitive club.

DT: As the Rotary Club of Makati Century City Champion President for RY2019-2020, what were your accomplishments?
IP: We were the top one on per capita contribution. We completed all the seven areas of focus projects. We received 22 awards during the Rotary Year 2019-2020.

Morning prayer

DT: You are in the Best Dressed Lists of various organizations. Who are your favorite Filipino fashion designers for formal and casual wear? How about the international brands?
IP: When it comes to formal wear, I love Oliver Tolentino, Roulette Esmilla, Lloyd Arceo, JC Buendia, Amir Sali and Renee Salud, JC Buendiqa Peter Casidsid, Jhong Sudlon, JunJun Cambe and Vince Borja.
My favorite casual wear designers are Oliver Tolentino, Roulette Esmilla and Rye Baile.
The international fashion brands that I Love are Hermes, Dior, Gucci and Chanel.

DT: What are your morning rituals as soon as you wake up?
IP: I pray for at least a minute to start my day.

DT: How do you take care of your skin?
IP: Aside from my daily skin care routine, I drink lots of water and I sleep early.

DT: How do you keep fit?
IP: I eat a balanced diet. I love vegetables and fruits but I enjoy other foods also, but I always consume them in moderation.

DT: Do you cook? What are your specialties?
IP: I sometimes cook. My specialties are caldereta and white pasta.

Smile

DT: What is a must when you entertain at home?
IP: My smile.

DT:How do you relax?
IP: I go to the spa or salon to look fresh.

DT: What is your family’s favorite travel destination?
IP: Japan because my late husband was Japanese, making half of my children’s blood Japanese. Besides, my business partners are Japanese so I need to visit Japan from time to time. Japan is a beautiful country and they have not lost their identity and traditions.

DT: What is your advice to young people who are just starting to engage in civic work and involve themselves in club work?
IP: Do this with all your heart and not for mere recognition. Learn to cooperate with and support your leaders and peers. Remember that this is voluntary and everyone is giving their heart, time and resources to a cause that they believe in and they are equally passionate as you are in helping others based on their own capacity. We have the same goal and that is to help our fellowmen who are less fortunate.

Let us enjoy our freedom

DT: How will your family make up for the time lost during the pandemic?
IP: I believe that my family did not lose anything. We actually gained more during this pandemic. We have always been a close family but I think we became closer because of the time we spent together. The pandemic taught us to be strong and to rely on each other. I think my children became more mature and independent. They have learned to rely mostly on themselves and their family.

DT: What have you learned from the pandemic?
IP: Everything can change in an instant and what we hold dear to us would not be as important as we think. For example, your cars won’t mean anything if you could not go out or travel. Even money is worthless if you could not spend it.

DT: How did you help the less fortunate during the pandemic?
IP: Even before the pandemic and even before I was active in both the Lions and Rotary Clubs, we in our company, Iship Logipack, sponsored some school children in our community and helped in their feeding program. We also donated school supplies and whatever the students needed.

You should love yourself first before you could love anyone. So I started with my staff in my company and assured them that they would live through these lockdowns with minimal sacrifices. While some companies have shut down left and right, I ordered my management to keep our company operational to support our staff. Even with the uncertainty during those difficult times, I declared that even if we did not earn profits, at least our workers would still have their salaries so they could support their families without begging from our government for help.

It was business as usual even for our Lions and Rotary chapters. As long as we were permitted by law and the IATF rules, we continued to engage in missions to help our underprivileged countrymen.

Then I supported those who engaged direct selling and online selling. If someone I knew tried to sell me something, I usually ended up buying from them even if I did not really need their products. My GM asked me once why I bought all those things and ended up giving them away to our workers. My answer was simple. It was my means to help those new entrepreneurs during this pandemic. At least they were learning how to fish and not just begging to be given fish.

DT: What is your advice to other Lions and Rotarians as we have to deal with the new normal?
IP: We have worked all our lives in preparation for our future and our children’s future. But we should treat everyday as our future or live it day by day. Let us enjoy our freedom and the company of our families and friends.

DT: What is your wish for this country?
IP: I wish for peace, unity and prosperity for our country and our countrymen. Every Filipino deserves to be happy and to be able to provide for the needs of their family.

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