Celections 2017: FIN, Making Everything Count

Celections 2017: FIN, Making Everything Count

The Financial Affairs (FIN) Department is defined by its heavy focus towards the organization’s financial sustainability. It aims to promote financial responsibility through promoting and engaging in fundraising activities. The department is spearheaded by the VP of Financial Affairs, Irish Tolentino, alongside her two AVPs, Cindy Chua and Hazel Li, who try to ensure that every single peso counts for the betterment of the organization.

Irish Tolentino

Nathan Cotoco (NC): Can you kindly introduce yourself and your current position in Celadon?

Irish Tolentino (IT): I’m Irish Tolentino, the Vice President for Financial Affairs for Celadon. What I do is split into three main points. First is systems-based, I handle all the financial transactions and documentations. That includes all the reimbursements, checks and everything in between. Second is project-based, I handle four major fundraising projects; two bazaars, rose sale and merch. I also oversee the planning of other department’s fundraisers/projects. Third is the unspoken duty, HR-based; I make sure that the managers are able to learn what they have to and that the deputies are not mistreated. Basically, everyone in FIN feels like a family. You’re also the face of Fin so you have to be nice to everyone so they’ll be nice to your babies.

NC: Among the 3 points, what would be the hardest and easiest?

IT: Easiest would be system-based because that’s just paperwork, I don’t talk to anyone. I just find people and give them stuff. Projects would have to be the hardest. Everything that happens in the project is all dependent on you. If something goes wrong, your reputation is on the line. It’s also very stressful. For example, the two bazaars are more more reliant on external factors. Sometimes, a lot of misfortunes happen and it’s very labor-intensive. I also think the hardest part would have to be boosting the morale of people and fighting the temptation to do it yourself because I can’t interfere. You’re supposed to help people become leaders.

NC: Can you describe the feeling when you told yourself you wanted to be a part of the EB?

IT: The story of why I wanted to be EB was when I was the manager for the first bazaar of Celadon. After the project, I had a fulfilling insight. You’re the manager that raised the money throughout the whole year. You’re the one that helped the org for its future. From that feeling, I wanted other people to feel the same way. I thought to myself that I could be the one to help people, to get that same fulfilling feeling. That’s why I chose to go EB instead of JTA even if JTA was the reason I went into Ateneo in the first place. But I fell in love with the org and I sacrificed JTA for EB. It’s really that feeling as a leader, you no longer desire for your own success but the people under you.

NC: What was the greatest thing you learned out of failure?

IT: The most important lesson I learned from failure is to be patient to people. I realize that sometimes people don’t always meet my expectations. I thought to myself that everyone would work as if they were me because no one needed to check up on me when I was a manager. I realized that even if people don’t meet your expectations, you have to be kind and motivate them in a way that they themselves believe they’re the ones doing it alone even if you’re guiding them.

NC: What’s your day-to-day like as VP of Finance?

IT: At 8 A.M in the morning, I get Steph to sign all the documents. I go back and forth Accounting with OSA around early lunch then I do reimbursements in the afternoon and then at night, projects like making sure that they get to blast and the managers have everything checked. There’s a lot of walking by the way because when you meet people, you meet them in different places.  I hope I lost a few pounds walking to and from.

NC: What was the first and last thing you gave up for this org?

IT: First thing I gave up for this org, JTA. I didn’t know what to choose and the VP HR then, asked me to stay in Celadon and they will need you and you have more to offer. Goodbye JTA. The last thing I gave up for this org is my heart because when you become VP of FIN, you have to give all of you and not ask for anything in return. Amidst all the heartbreak and misfortune, I will always love this org.

NC: Was the Celadon journey all that you expected it to be?

IT: It was more than what I expected because when I was a Freshie, I really didn’t feel Celadon as a family. I only knew Aldwyn and he was just one person. I only realized now, I got sentimental when the discernment talk was released. I really didn’t expect that I’d miss these people. This is what it feels like to say goodbye to a family.

NC: What did you give FIN and what did FIN give back to you?

IT: I gave FIN more people, literally more people. One of FIN’s problems is that not a lot of people like FIN because you do fund-raising. This year was when I released the Deputies so they could know more about the department. What Fin gave to me was the memories. I cried a lot of tears. They wasted my gas a lot. Nabangga pa nga car ko last year for Rose Sale. FIN also gave me a new perspective when connecting to people, investing in people. You hope they will be able to learn something from you. When you leave, you hope that they will love FIN as much as you loved them. I really hope that when I leave that someone continues what I’ve done.

NC: What was your defining moment?

IT: I don’t think I have a defining moment because I’ve given my best and it’s still not enough for me. There are so many ways that I could have done better. They’re not regrets, but learnings that I wish I could have done better. You can quote me when I say that I wish I could have made more money for the org. I could have made more projects’ lives easier. These are really my sentiments.

NC: What would you tell your younger self?

IT: Eventually, you’re going to be a people person. You’re going to be so loud, even if you’re so quiet. That was my weak point when I started off as an EB. I didn’t know enough if I was going to be a people person. I think I’m doing ok. I think that my babies feel loved. I’m holding up the department well as the FIN mommy.


Cindy Chua

Nathan Cotoco (NC): Can you kindly introduce yourself and your current position in Celadon?

Cindy Chua (CC): Hello! I’m Cindy Chua, 4 BS MIS, and I’m the AVP for Financial Affairs. I co-manage the 4 main fundraising projects of the Finance Department with my co-AVP, Hazel Li. What we do is that we look after 2 projects each, mine being the Celadon Merchandise and Santa’s Attic Christmas Bazaar, and Hazel’s being the Celadon Rose Sale and Ember Summer Bazaar, but even if we’re assigned to these individually, we still help each other out in this aspect, and show our managers that we’re both ready to help them. I also help Irish, the VP for Financial Affairs, with Celadon’s financial systems. Through the Finance Deputies of every project in Celadon, we are able to monitor and maintain every financial matter done by the project.

NC: Can you describe the feeling when you told yourself you wanted to be a part of the EB?

CC: It was a difficult decision, but a fulfilling one. I wanted to do something to cap off my last year in Celadon and give back to the org since I’ve been here for four years, and choosing to be part of the EB was a commitment I was more than willing to do.

NC: What was your defining moment?

CC: I had a little nudge and reminder that I had a position to fulfill when the projects began coming in all at once. They all happened simultaneously, and it definitely wasn’t a time to just slack off. It was when I saw how each project was busy and at their best and worst that I realized that I’m an AVP and I had a duty to the org and to my managers.

NC: Describe the experience of being AVP for Finance.

CC: It’s eye-opening because I’m in a department that doesn’t just focus on its own duties. As part of the Finance department, you get a dose of everything and every project since you’re involved in all of them, whether be it an expense or a fundraising initiative. As AVP for Finance, you get to see how a small fundraiser funds a project, and how your own 4 main fundraising projects fund the entire org, and I tell you, you get to learn more than what you really expect to.

NC: What was the greatest thing you learned out of failure?

CC: First of all, you shouldn’t show that you’ve failed and all you have to do is to get back up. For sure there will be problems in every project, and while you find a way to fix this, you have to keep your poise, and show that you have everything under control, even if you don’t sometimes. Panicking and giving up is the last thing you’ll need, and you always have to remember that there are people around you to help and you just have to take it step by step and solve it together.

NC: What was the first and last thing you gave up for this org?

CC: Definitely my time. As part of the EB, you have to be present in almost all of the meetings and projects, and staying late in school almost every day became like a regular thing for me ever since the school year started. Sacrifice is really necessary, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

NC: What have you given to FIN and what has FIN given back to you?

CC: I gave Fin my focus and dedication and in return, I got more learning experiences that I could ever imagine. As AVP, your duty is to help your managers out, but in the process you also end up learning a lot from them. One thing’s for sure is that in a span of less than a year, I’ve definitely grown together with my managers and fellow EB, both as a person and as a leader.

NC: Was the Celadon journey all that you expected it to be?

CC: It is and more since I got to experience a lot of things that I never would’ve thought I would. Four years ago, I joined this org not knowing what to expect and I never would’ve imagined myself holding this position and having such a commitment. If I were given a choice to relive this journey again, I definitely would, because it wasn’t just something that I got to grow from, but the people and relationships I got to form throughout the journey made it a hundred times more worthwhile.

NC: What would you tell your 12 year old self?

CC: Try your best to step out of your comfort zone and do things that will push you to be more than what you are, because most if not all of the time, it’s worth it. Doubting yourself will never get you anywhere, so as long as you believe, the famous saying “if there’s a will, there’s a way” really holds true, especially if you’re faced with something that holds true to your heart.


Hazel Li

Ervin Llobrera (EL): Can you kindly introduce yourself and your current position in Celadon?
Hazel Li (HL): Hi! I’m Hazel Li, Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs. I am currently a sophomore taking up BS Management Engineering. I am the other half of Cindy as AVPs and we focus on different aspects of the department. She is focused on the year-long projects + 1st semester, while I focus more on the second semester. We are both under the wing of our great FIN mommy, Irish, our ever competent VP for Financial Affairs!

EL: Can you describe the feeling when you told yourself you wanted to be a part of the EB?
HL: I wanted to step up to a bigger responsibility than just being a member and part of core teams. During first year, I joined a lot of projects, and coincidentally, I was Promos Core for all the Finance projects that year. Even though I was never a part of Finance Core, I thought that my position was just right because I can deal with both systems and be more creative when it comes to projects. I also loved seeing the bond of the previous EB and told myself that I wanted to be part of something like that in my stay in the Ateneo.

EL: What was your defining moment?
HL: My defining moment in choosing to be part of the EB was the encouragement of my upperclassmen. I had doubts, like anyone would, if I was right for the job, but because of their trust in me, I pushed through with running.

EL: Describe the experience of being AVP for Financial Affairs.
HL: Being AVP for Finance, like any other EB position, is no easy task. Sometimes you have to give up time for sleep, academics, and social life, but at the end of the day, if goals are reached and the org comes out better than it was, it’s all worth it!

EL: What was the greatest thing you learned out of failure?
HL: Life goes on and I can make better decisions if I choose to see failures as learning experiences.

EL: What was the first and last thing you gave up for this org?
HL: The first thing I gave up for this org is probably my chance to be very active in my home org when I chose to be part of the EB. If I had to choose between going to projects of Celadon or MEA, I have to choose Celadon’s because I am one of its representatives. I never regretted any of it, though, because Celadon is my family in college. The last thing I gave for this org is probably more time to explore my hobbies.

EL: What have you given to FIN and what has FIN given back to you?
HL: I’ve given my loyalty to FIN and FIN has given me a sense of belongingness.

EL: Was the Celadon journey all that you expected it to be?
HL: Yes! I found a family in the org and I feel like I can be myself here.

EL: What would you tell your 12 year old self?
HL: Just keep pushing for your goals, one day it will all make sense.

For other articles on the executive board, check this out:

Written by Nathan Cotoco and Ervin Llobera.

Photos by Tinoley Digital Studio.

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