Breakthrough: The ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Awarding Ceremony

Last November 18, the best of the best in the world of Finance converged at the Hyundai Hall of The Arete, Ateneo de Manila University, for the awarding ceremony of the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year.

Mylene Kasiban with RRHI CEO Robina Gokongwei-Pe

The recipient of the award was Mylene Kasiban, Chief Financial Officer of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. (RRHI). She is the second female to win the award in its 14-year-run, celebrating the creme dela creme of the Finance industry.

The Board of Judges
The award was given by a prestigious Board of Judges after stringent screening, along with inputs from the Finance industry.

I think it was apparent that her various contributions made a relatively larger impact on the health and welfare of her firm. She was resolute in these initiatives,” said ING Philippines Country Manager Hans Sicat, who believed that Mylene demonstrated a very agile approach to the issues RRHI was facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For FINEX President Jose Jerome Pascual III, Mylene’s close relationship with CEO Robina Gokongwei-Pe was also key, making her a trusted advisor. “She developed a very strong partnership with her CEO looking at future scenarios, opportunities, and recovery strategies,” he said.

Mr. Domingo Go, Liaison Director, ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Award Committee,
formally introduced the members of the Board of Judges (which included Messrs Sicat and Pascual):

  • Hon. Emilio B. Aquino (Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao (Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Institute of Corporate Directors)
  • Dr. Rosalind L. Wee (Vice Chair, W Group of Companies)
  • Fr. Roberto C. Yap, SJ (President, Ateneo de Manila University)
  • Dr. Jikyeong Kang, Chairman of the Board of Judges and President and Dean at the

Asian Institute of Management, joined the event via video conference, to formally announce Mylene as the winner of this year’s award.

Mr. Enrique Victor Pampolina (Overall Chairman, CFO of the Year Award Committee; Partner, Risk Advisory, Navarro Amper & Co./Deloitte Philippines) and Atty. Alvin Geli
(Vice Chair of the Search Subcommittee), joined the awardee, Mr. Go, and the Board of Judges onstage.

Vice President Robredo
Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo was the keynote speaker. She delivered her message via video stream. “How do we remain hopeful during this time of unrest? How do we imagine a future where no man is left behind?” asked Vice President Robredo in her keynote message, where she then shared the different projects her office has been carrying out in order to help the country and the people.

Keep engaging. Keep moving with others. Every effort counts,” she said, highlighting the value of digital in the new normal. This was aligned with what CFO of the Year Mylene accomplished in RRHI when she shifted their system from manual to automated, arming the company with a sustainable process when the pandemic broke out.

Everlasting Light and Inspiration
A musical quartet from Viva Voce performed three songs for the audience before the award was unveiled. The trophy — named Everlasting Light — is a beautiful glass sculpture created by Ramon Orlina, a globally-acclaimed glass sculptor (known as the Father of Philippine Glass Sculpture) and a 2006 The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) awardee.

Before the actual awarding, a video featuring Mylene, Ms Gokongwei-Pe, and Mylene’s peers in RRHI was played. Featured were Stephen Yap (Chief Information Officer), Graciela Banatao (AVP-Treasurer), Rolly Salvador (Corporate Controller), Justiniano Gadia (Managing Director-Supermarket), Celina Chua (General Manager, Department Store and Toys), and Stanley Co (General Manager, DIY).

Her trust pushed me to be better at my job,” Banatao shared in the video. “And because of this, you don’t want to let her down.

Making a Difference
After having been formally given her ING-FINEX CFO of the Year award, Mylene gave her acceptance speech, and dedicated her achievement to RRHI, Mr. John Gokongwei, Mr. James Go, Mr. Lance Gokongwei, and Robina. “It is a joy going to the office everyday,” she said, “Knowing that you can make a difference and your voice can be heard.”

What followed were a number of photo opportunities with the judges, with her RRHI family, and with her Everlasting Light trophy. True to the tradition of Filipino gatherings, the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year award ceremony ended on a high note with a sumptuous luncheon at the Ubuntu open lobby area of the Areté.
It was a day that began with COVID-19 rapid testing, in a venue that — at first — felt too big for a small number of people who were attending.

But towards the end of the celebration — where onsite and remote VIPs were in
attendance — Hyundai Hall at The Areté was bursting with good vibes. It was full, alright: full of excitement, full of joy, and more importantly, full of hope.

The event was a first of its kind for ING-FINEX, and it certainly won’t be the last

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