Mario Pacursa Marcos, whose life’s success in business and industry could only be equaled by his heart for charity, is a man on a mission. It is in the middle of this global health and economic crisis that he has been moved to establish Grand Smart Holding Corporation, a health products and services firm, as a proactive response to the pandemic.
From humble beginnings as a mechanic in Nueva Vizcaya, Marcos trained himself to be a quick-witted businessman, breaking into the export market, acquiring lands, and developing other businesses throughout the country. Few would have guessed he was once a working student who supported himself to an associate degree in Automotive Engineering at the Northern Luzon Technical Institute.
Having known a life vastly different from the success he enjoys now, Marcos’s big dreams coexisted with his passion to help the less fortunate. He started with a foundation that assisted his kababayans in Nueva Vizcaya and then expanded its operations to provide relief to far-flung areas of the archipelago where it is most needed, especially in times of typhoons and other calamities.
His mission couldn’t have been more challenged in 2020, in the face of a pandemic that has brought entire nations, including the Philippines, to their knees. Unfazed, Marcos put up GSHC. to get involved in the search, development, and testing of a vaccine for COVID-19 and ultimately contribute in halting the spread of the coronavirus.
Marcos understands that saving humanity is a goal above and beyond just making a difference, so he required a select group of service-oriented professionals like himself to lead GSHC. Their commitment is to expand the holding company beyond healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and later provide products, services, and solutions that contribute to the improvement of the lives of the Filipino people through smart and secure investments.
Simultaneously, this company that Marcos envisioned will work to cement its future by creating a global platform for Filipino-made initiatives and break into the international market for projects and investments.
Clarissa Versoza de Leon quotes Paul Harris, founder of the Rotary Club in 1905, as if his words were her life’s anthem: “Perhaps dreaming is not so bad, if one dreams good dreams and makes them come true.”
De Leon’s dedication, though, is to fulfilling the dreams of others. From donating school supplies to young learners coming barefoot to class, she has made bigger dreams come true by providing scholarships to underprivileged but deserving students.
For her feat, she has been conferred with the Paul Harris Award, the highest accord given to a Rotarian.
Perhaps, her heart of gold traces back to a well-loved matron in the nation’s history in her father’s lineage – former First Lady of the Philippines, Doña Trining de Leon-Roxas.
A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Tourism, De Leon had joined the Rotary Club 3810 to find that in her line of work, there was more to the sights and sounds of a beautiful country – that of opening one’s heart to the stories and dreams of Filipinos in the grassroots of society.
By these merits, she now serves as the treasurer of Grand Smart Holding Corporation, where “dreaming good” begins with managing solid investments; and fulfilling them, becomes a united goal towards meaningful social development for Filipino families.
Rhodora “Doray” P. Morales is a class act in business. Empress of her own companies, she has reaped success in consultancy, land development, logistics, pharmaceuticals, travel and tours, and entertainment productions, among others.
But her genuine passion is in nurturing the human spirit. And so she has gone the opposite way of business and profit, dealing a charitable hand to worthy causes, funding scholarships, throwing support to the arts, and helping brilliant Filipinos shine on the global stage.
She has contributed to producing young professionals out of college and sending Filipinos of various disciplines to compete in contests and championships abroad, among them a long line of A-lister beauty queens.
And in her words, she inspires: “I believe in people who showcase their talents. They may be poor, but never too young or afraid to sing or act before an audience. We help them bring their act abroad to compete for the Philippines. Anywhere in the world, they know of the Filipinos’ indomitable spirit. That’s what I believe in and that’s why we win.”
Philanthropy is a commitment Morales embraces in her inmost being and, as such, drives her to deepening her well of resources to keep the cycle going.
Today, she continues to seek new talent and brilliant minds together with Grand Smart Holding Corporation. Their missions intertwine, so the products, services, and solutions they provide are purposely meant to contribute to uplifting the lives of Filipinos and even communities abroad.
Florita Santos calls herself a “mom-preneur.” In reality, she’s a model citizen in a world ruled by women.
She’s a Certified Public Accountant and managing partner of SVS and Associates. She founded a school in Guam and, on the side, she runs several other businesses.
Still, Santos wears her mom-preneur title with greatest pride for in it, she is able to push her advocacy of empowering fellow mothers. She believes that whatever becomes of children in any generation depend on their parents, especially the mother.
Her faith in the mother-child relationship is borne out of having raised three kids on her own after being widowed at the age of 32. One of her children, singer LA Santos, was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. If at all, the difficulty and loneliness of her struggle was relieved by the help of – who else? – her own mother.
But she’s no stranger to hard work, being the youngest of five siblings. In college, she had to maintain her scholarship to finish her education. She graduated cum laude. In 2010, she earned her master’s degree in Australia; then soon after, her doctorate degree in the Philippines. Santos has also found love again with her current partner of 10 years.
As a testament to her advocacy, her children came to be scholars, too, at the University of Santo Tomas. Funds that would have gone to their tuition were used instead to support less privileged students in Payatas, with over 700 students coming to her for aid every week.
Now, Santos brings her many years of experience in serving and empowering communities to Grand Smart Holding Corporation. In joining the firm, she says: “I want to show my fellow moms who are also busy that we need to have time for our children. At kung ano ang nararamdaman ng nanay, nararamdaman din ng anak. We can’t just help children – we need to help the mothers, the parents, as well.”
Chairman and Founder of the Paragon Group of Companies (PGC), Leandro “Ditoy” R. Atayde, Jr. heads a wide array of big investments.
His journey began at Mobil Oil Philippines, Inc. where he served as regional manager for Visayas and Mindanao in 1983. Five years later, Atayde and his friends put up a brokerage firm specializing in handling sensitive products and shipments. As its President, the company expanded into a surveying business, and ventured into power plant engineering, pharmaceuticals, business consultancy, logistics management and travel and tours.
A graduate of De La Salle University, Atayde holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering. But he owes his success largely to teamwork and team effort. He also does not shy away from making mistakes, because he believes this is a fundamental part of success.
His words exemplify the wisdom from his triumphs: “In order to grow, we must find work as cherished passion rather than obligation. One must be a reflection of an accomplished man and must find enjoyment in sharing his competence so that companies will expand and people will grow.”
Atayde is now dedicating his business acuity to Grand Smart Holding Corporation in its investments for products, services, and solutions to address market needs and demands of communities.