The 25th president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Session (RCDS) for Rotary Year 2021-2022 was inducted into office last Feb. 23 at the Lafaayette Luxury Suites.
She is the exemplification of the refrain in a Helen Reddy song, “I’m a woman”: If I have to, I can do anything, I am strong, I am invincible, I am a woman!
Kat, as she is fondly called by family and friends, is a true Baguio lass. She was raised by her mother, Catherine Valle, and grandmother, Clarita, and since they were merchants at the Baguio City Public Market, the palengke became her playground where she enjoyed frolicking amidst the hustle and bustle of trading and haggling for produce.
As she grew older and probably wiser, she developed a knack for reading but instead of Huckleberry Finn or Adventure Island, at age 12, she was influenced by her father, Victor Quindara, who was “a million miles away,” to read stock market materials, ultimately paving her way to capital markets across continents.
Her days at the Girls High made her realize that she had talent for composing and writing, literary or otherwise, but tended to lean towards business literature.
Since then, she became a freelance and ghost writer. She never got to finish a degree because of poverty, young motherhood, and the collapse of pre-need companies, yet she travelled across 30 countries learning about economics and financial literacy around the world.
She has had conversations with finance ministers, economists, politicians, Central Bank governors, and people from different backgrounds about economic inclusion and investments. The exposure paved the way for her role as an independent portfolio manager, investor, and trader of stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, forex, commodities, and derivatives for over two decades now.
Her busy schedule did not stop her from falling head over heels with her knight in shining armor, Arch. Ryan, who held her hand in marriage. They raised four beautiful kids – Axel, Adlee, Athena, and Andy.
She is indeed God’s work in progress. In everything she does, she do so believing in a self-inflicted dictum: “Render myself obsolete every day.”
She went through life following a career path in business and from 2011 to 2019 became a financial literacy advocate. She became a “Million Dollar Round Table” member of AXA Philippines.
Along the way and to enhance her business acumen, she attended various trainings, seminars, and short courses including those sponsored by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund then became big-time when she attended a seminar on Economic Development Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. She was everywhere – United States; Taiwan; Dubai; Hong Kong; and Moscow, Russia.
Her private life and career were matched with her devotion to public service and civic work. She joined the RCDS upon the invitation of long-time friends, Jean and Jen, both past presidents of the club.
Instantly, she became a Paul Harris Fellow and two years ago, together with presidents Jen, Mike Limbo, Sonny Estabillo, Karl Gabaen, and myself, represented the RCDS in visiting our brother club in South Korea.
She learned speaking advocacies by becoming founding club mentor of the Cordillera Toastmasters Club and national trainer for District 75 of Toastmasters International. At the start of the Covid-19 scare, she co-founded Bayanihan Cordillera.
Since the pandemic, her civic works focused on serving the frontliners with a community kitchen through RCDS and Bayanihan Cordillera. For the first 200 days, more than 100,000 meals were served to over 500 frontliners.
Of course, the veggies for the mobile kitchen at the start were through the efforts of past president Doc Willie and Baguio Hangar Market vendors. Together with past president Kelwyn Tan, they spearheaded the distribution of 10,000 pieces of face shields from our friend Winny Gatchalian.
Busy as a bee, she found time to conduct financial literacy webinars entitled,“Lockdown Learning Sessions,” became president, and of late, joined the Philippine Air Force as a reservist.
She is indeed one lucky woman, in love, career, in life, and with all these gifts, she passionately asks herself in one FB post: “How can I not believe in a big God? How can you not? Do not limit your dreams. Let God surprise you. Today is a reminder that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for you, that’s how special you are. Never short change yourself because you are special, you are loved, and you are highly favored. It’s about time you believe in yourself too.”
Her dad who is now in the heavenly hunting grounds must be very proud of her and what she has achieved.
Now more than ever, Kat must remember his text message of Jan. 3, 2018 where he wrote, “Keep your humility and generosity and you will be blessed more abundantly.”
Following dad’s lead, she will undoubtedly lead her club on its 25th year to greater heights – RCDS President Katrina Victoria Quindara Gumaya.