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Empowering Through Leadership: Mary Anne’s Trail of Success

In a world where barriers often loom large, there are those whose unwavering spirit and determination carve paths where none existed before. Mary Anne Velayo stands tall among such individuals—a pillar of resilience, leadership, and service whose journey embodies the essence of Women’s Month.

Professional Achievements

Mary Anne’s journey into entrepreneurship began with a solid educational background in Human Relations and Organizational Development. Over two decades, from 1995 to 2015, she led a thriving sales and distribution company in the Philippines, steering it towards remarkable success. Through strategic alliances with leading telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies, Mary Anne transformed her business from modest beginnings to a powerhouse generating annual sales of PHP 500,000,000 (CAD 12.5M). Her leadership not only drove financial growth but also created employment opportunities for over 100 families, emphasizing her commitment to community impact alongside business success.

Moreover, Mary Anne’s entrepreneurial experience continued to flourish in Canada. In 2013, she spearheaded the sales and distribution of PLDT in Metro Vancouver, achieving a 30% growth in retail presence and sales within three years—a notable achievement in a competitive market.

Mary Anne’s leadership extends beyond the business realm. In 2019, she took on the role of President of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Mountainview. Her tenure coincided with the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020. Despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, Mary Anne demonstrated exceptional leadership, guiding her club through uncertain times with resilience and adaptability. Leveraging technology, she ensured that the club continued its Rotary activities seamlessly through virtual platforms like Zoom. In fact, under her presidency, the club not only maintained its operations but also expanded its reach by connecting with Rotary clubs in other countries, organizing joint community service projects, and fostering international collaborations—a testament to Mary Anne’s visionary leadership and commitment to service.

Challenges Overcome

Mary Anne’s ascent to success was not without its hurdles, particularly as a woman in male-dominated industries. In an era where gender bias was pervasive, she faced skepticism and resistance from multinational companies unwilling to grant her equal opportunities. Yet, armed with prayers, persistence, and unwavering faith in her abilities, Mary Anne broke through barriers, securing contracts with top corporations and earning the respect of her peers. As she reflects on her journey, one quote resonates deeply with her: “I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”—Oprah Winfrey. This quote encapsulates Mary Anne’s unwavering dedication to service and her belief in the transformative power of passion and purpose.

Impact on the Industry

Mary Anne’s influence extends far beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors. As the first Filipino Assistant Governor in Rotary District 5040, she has been a trailblazer, paving the way for greater diversity and representation within the organization. Through collaborative efforts and innovative projects, Mary Anne has fostered meaningful connections between Rotary clubs in Canada and the Philippines, empowering communities and changing lives. Her commitment to service and ethical leadership, guided by the principles of the Rotary 4-Way Test, serves as a beacon of inspiration for others striving to make a difference.

Mentorship, Advocacy, and Future Goals

Mary Anne’s journey is defined not only by her achievements but also by her dedication to mentorship and advocacy. Embracing the philosophy of service above self, she continues to empower women in entrepreneurship and leadership, inviting them to take the lead within Rotary and beyond. Through her mentorship initiatives and collaborative projects, Mary Anne seeks to inspire the next generation of female leaders to reach their full potential and make a meaningful impact in their communities. Looking ahead, Mary Anne envisions a world where women are empowered to lead and where communities thrive on principles of equity and inclusion. Her future goals include revitalizing a Rotary mini-forest in North Vancouver, establishing a women’s entrepreneurial club focused on social impact, and continuing to support former employees in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

In reflecting on Mary Anne’s journey, we are reminded of the transformative power of resilience, determination, and a steadfast commitment to making a difference. As we celebrate Women’s Month, let us honor her remarkable achievements and draw inspiration from her unwavering dedication to leadership, service, and empowerment.


1 thought on “Empowering Through Leadership: Mary Anne’s Trail of Success”

  1. I have worked with Mary- Anne and can attest to her remarkable impact in our Rotary District . Her commitment and dedication is unwavering and her determination against adversity is incredible.
    She managed to beat all the odds against her during the Pandemic and her resilience & determination allowed her to greater heights of success.
    I would consider Mary- Anne as a true woman of distinction !

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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

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Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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