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Like a father to me

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Four of the SGV 14: (L-R) Roman Felipe S. Reyes, Mildred R. Ramos, Melinda G. Manto and Protacio T. Tacandong, having lunch with Washington Z. SyCip.

By Roman Felipe S. Reyes

Chairman, Reyes Tacandong & Co.

When we were young partners, Mr. SyCip taught us the art of entertaining, business with pleasure, and this included who to invite and how to entertain at home. I have emulated that and to this day, I still apply it when entertaining business and personal guests at home.

Mr. SyCip also encouraged us to nurture our relationship with our clients beyond professional, that we foster friendship and to develop interest in what they felt passionate about, whether it is the arts, sports, culinary, etc.

He did not only want us to be highly skilled professionals only but also to become well-rounded individuals and accomplished in all aspects of our lives. In social gatherings, he discouraged us from mingling together and instead encouraged us to meet new people or seek out familiar faces to reconnect.

Mr. SyCip was like a father to me. During my earlier days as a manager just starting my career, I have made up my mind to leave SGV for what I thought then was a better opportunity. When Mr. SyCip learned that I was planning to leave SGV, he called me. I went to his office and he scolded me the way a father would do to his son. He tried to talk some sense into me and I can very well remember a Gypsy proverb that he told me which stuck to my mind and I quote: “It is better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion.”

Back then, he essentially already instilled in me the discipline to be the best that one can be — to be a leader in a less prestigious organization than a subordinate in a bigger and more prestigious one. He made me realize that an opportunity to be a leader is much more important than being part of an organization for its name and prestige.

There has been thousands of ‘graduates’ of SGV, those who at one time or another worked long days and nights at SGV. To this day, they are CPAs to reckon and contend with whose formative years in SGV moulded them to become leaders in accounting and auditing firms, and in companies across various industries. Some SGV alumni also assumed critical public service roles and have been instrumental in nation building. The rigor of working at SGV inculcated in us uncompromised work ethics that adheres to the standard of the profession, to become transformative communicators, and having the astuteness for details but with an eye to see the big picture as well.

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