Melissa Remulla-Briones is a Philippine lawyer, a budding entrepreneur, financial guru and the editor of the first nationwide Filipino-Canadian newspaper. She continues to teach individuals about financial literacy through her personal finance blog, You Want To Be Rich. She currently lives inVancouver, British Columbia (Canada) with her children and her husband, Danvic.
This is her story:
AMS: Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.
Melissa: I am a Philippine lawyer. I graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines and passed the Philippine bar in 2006. I am also a Registered Financial Planner and online publisher of the personal finance website, www.YouWanttoBeRich.com.
When we left thePhilippines in December 2011 to immigrate to Canada, I was a lawyer for ABS-CBN Corporation.
Currently, I am the editor of Philippine Canadian Inquirer, the first and only nationwide Filipino-Canadian newspaper. On the legal side and pending recognition of my credentials here in Canada, I am a volunteer for Access Pro Bono, an organization that strives to increase access to justice for individuals and non-profit organizations of limited means throughout British Columbia. I also recently completed Building Bridges, a training program from Pacific Immigrant Resources Societyfor the development of the skills and confidence of immigrant women so they can act as community leaders and cultural ambassadors in the community.
AMS: Tell us about how you become involved in your current projects and its mission?
Melissa: I am involved in several:
1) Newspaper – Philippine Canadian Inquirer. InCanada, the first hurdle immigrants face is their lack of Canadian experience. I was able to overcome this by arguing (true to form) that my lack of experience – or lack of bias – would be good for the paper. I explained to my would-be-employers that I did not know anyone in the Filipino-Canadian society and thus would be less inclined to favor anyone. This was my ticket to my Canadian experience, which, I am glad to say, I am enjoying immensely.
2) Rescue72 Corporation – My husband innovated an emergency preparedness vest that has receptacles for anything a person will need during an emergency (food, clothing, shelter – it has a tent), and it also floats so it would be really useful for floods, which are becoming more frequent. Preparedness, we think, is key to survival.
We are marketing the product in North America, while a partner is handling the Philippine market.
3) Website www.YouWanttobeRich.com and MoneyDoctors, Inc. - I was a fan ofOurAwesomePlanet.com’s Anton Diaz so when he offered a pilot blogging course, I took it. At the end of the course, we were required to put up a website of our own. At that time, I was heavy into Kiyosaki and T. Harv Eker and personal finance so I thought of putting uphttp://www.YouWanttoBeRich.com
This website is the repository of my illuminations and what I have learned and experienced through the years. Reading my former posts gives me pause, sometimes, because it makes me remember what I learned. What is wonderful about it is that other people tell me that they get inspired and that they are learning too.
My fascination with personal finance also gave birth to a partnership with our financial planners, which we called MoneyDoctors. Our product is financial literacy and our partners in thePhilippinesare currently handling the business.
AMS: What is your vision of these projects?
Melissa: They are all advocacies – emergency preparedness, information that would uplift and personal finance. I hope that through these advocacies, I will touch the lives of people positively, help more and inspire more.
AMS: Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?
Melissa: My dad, my husband, my children, books.
My father always believed in me and supported me in every endeavor – even when he left this world, I know that he was still helping me. My husband is my best friend – he taught me about being an entrepreneur and supported me throughout law school or in my other interests, no matter how silly or how he was uncomfortable with the idea. My children are the source of my happiness and inspiration and the reason why I strive to be better. Books spur me on and make me realize I could go to greater heights, and that my boundaries are only those that I set for myself.
AMS: What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?
Melissa: I attained a grade in the one percentile (1%) of those who passed the Philippine bar. I consider this an achievement because I went on a 4-year leave of absence before going back to law school. To have almost made it to the top 10 – when I was already working and a mother and after coming from a long leave– that was quite an achievement for me.
I also graduated cum laude in college, was a President’s Pin recipient, was in Anton Diaz’ most promising blogger list, got into the prestigious BlogHer network and editor of the first Filipino-Canadian newspaper distributed throughout Canada.
But of course, my greatest achievement would be my children, Chiarra and Rai.
AMS: Who are/were your motivators?
Melissa: My husband and books.
AMS: If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they?
Melissa: Belief in the self – you can be what you want to be, thinking-talking-doing positively, helping and giving back and being grateful – always – for what you have and what you know you will have.
AMS: What are your next goals for yourself?
Melissa: Being a lawyer inCanada.
AMS: What is your definition of success?
Melissa: It is achieving one’s fullest potential by striving to go to the next level through constant motion.
It cannot be measured by how others think you did. There is already too much noise in one’s head – and to consider what others think – that would not be fair on the self.
It is not dwelling too much in failures – or even successes – but moving on because that is just how life is – one goal after another, one learning after another, one great gesture – or an attempt at a great gesture – after another. It is a betterment of the self that knows no age, or incapacity, or excuses.
If I may say it again – it is achieving one’s fullest potential, because (every)one can.