Janne Irina Camille de Guzman CEO and co-founder Ronin Group

“I have to make sure that the share of women investors is properly represented. Otherwise, women entrepreneurs will have less access to funds, which will lead to lost or missed opportunities.”

Despite the global women’s movement that has gradually challenged gender norms, the glass ceiling still exists in many industries in many countries. In the Philippines, for example, wives are still assigned the gendered role of keeping the house and looking after the children, while the husband is the breadwinner and sole provider.

As a young mother, Janne Irina Camille “Yani” de Guzman felt limited by this idea as she sought to make a name for herself using the skills she had developed, first as a nurse. , then as a food business owner and finally as a financial planner. Today, as CEO and co-founder of The Ronin Group, she helps inspire and empower other women to chart their own path as a contributor to gender equality.

Yani, who describes herself as a “forward-thinking entrepreneur”, grew up rather sheltered in a conservative family, where money matters were best left to parents. “My sisters and I gave our mother all the money we were given as gifts. We brought packaged food to school and took a school bus, so we never had any money. I haven’t had a chance to try being an entrepreneur either. My parents would be offended if I walked around the school selling stuff.”

In high school, she took a summer job at a video rental store without telling her parents. “I kept it a secret. My dad was the first to know and it upset him. He told me he was worried our neighbors would think he couldn’t afford to support us financially. I resigned immediately.”

Yani de Guzman (front row seated right) with her Ronin Group partners.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Yani de Guzman (front row seated right) with her Ronin Group partners. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Although she grew up with her grandparents, it was also her father who influenced her choice of a university course. “When I was 11, I wanted to be a superhero. My teacher then encouraged me to consider a less fantastic profession. Years later, my mother told me that my father would pay my tuition if I took a Bachelor of Science in Nursing So, being idealistic in the sense of service and realistic in the sense of tuition, I decided that I would use my future health care skills to join the Red Cross, be sent to remote places and saving people.”

Nurturing role

As a student, her mindset was determined to find a job and work. “As soon as I passed the board exam, I started working at St. Luke’s Medical Center the following week. That’s where I met my husband. He was a doctor in training at the time. It was he who influenced my perspective on things beyond my sheltered upbringing. It was through him that I developed a love for the country and decided to stay in the Philippines in order to to be able to contribute to its improvement despite my mother’s wish that all her children migrate abroad.

To get better credentials in the health care industry, she completed a Master of Arts in Nursing at the University of Our Lady of Fatima and started working as a clinical nursing teacher at the same institution. She says she loved teaching and was proud that many of her students had succeeded in different countries while bringing the Filipino culture of care and empathy.

When she thought she would make teaching her career, motherhood changed her plans. Her second child was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum and Yani decided to stay home to care for her. “I completely took a step back from my career and took care of my family as expected. I was hailed as a good mother and an even better wife. I tried to find contentment in my life.”

CHASING EVADERS National Capital Region West Division Social Security System (SSS) officials launch Run Against Contribution Evaders (RACE), a campaign against employers who do not pay employee contributions on Friday, April 1, 2022 PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

CHASING EVADERS National Capital Region West Division Social Security System (SSS) officials launch Run Against Contribution Evaders (RACE), a campaign against employers who do not pay employee contributions on Friday, April 1, 2022 PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

“To be completely honest, I stuck with the routine for as long as I could. It doesn’t take away from the amazing full-time mums and wives. I just think a career is another flavor of life. life, and an experience that I am willing to participate in,” she says.

Something snapped when her daughter was asked what her parents did for a living. His daughter proudly replied that her father was a doctor, then told friends that her mother cooked and cleaned. “I gathered my courage, approached my husband and brought up the idea of ​​me working again.” In response, her husband started a food business for her. Coffee and baking would keep him busy while having time for himself and the kids. Yani had previously taken formal baking lessons and soon took to delivering baked goods to schools, offices and hospitals. She also took orders for birthday and wedding cakes.

However, she felt overwhelmed by all the family responsibilities that awaited her after her 19 hours in the kitchen. To top it all off, a fire destroyed their house during the last months of her third pregnancy, which came a few months after she opened her business. It was then that she realized the importance of financial preparation. She sold her business and became a certified financial consultant.

Despite the earning potential in her new industry, she wasn’t sure if this was the path she wanted to take for the next 30 years. It was then that she met her business partner Malaya Laraya at a fundraising event and learned about tech startups and their value in sectors such as finance, healthcare, media and entertainment. and e-commerce.

She co-created a Hong Kong-registered holding company that houses the local corporate entities of the Ronin Group. “We serve two sectors: the financial sector and the startup community. Since its launch in 2018, the Ronin group has organized training programs for financial companies. We launched our financial application which has become one of the best applications financial services from the Apple Playstore. We have created the Ronin Dojo Learning Management System (LMS) which provides an online training place for financial professionals.”

Women’s empowerment

Her company is deeply involved in the startup industry, where she serves on the selection committee of the nation’s largest organized network of angel investors, and that’s when she noticed that the weakest link pitches is often the financial structure of startups and direction. “One of my most active businesses is basically an outsourced CFO takes more than basic accounting to identify the value of your startup, build your financial roadmap, and know profitable exits. We show startups the value from analyzing their data in valuing their business and tracking their marketing and sales efforts.”

Startups are changing the face of industries at a pace no one expected, especially during a pandemic, she says. “So far, my team has created the financial design for various startups, such as a travel and tourism startup focused on environmentally responsible diving for foreign tourists, an entertainment booking app for performers , a med-tech startup aiming to make vaccination more accessible and recently, a startup with a gaming app. New opportunities in the startup ecosystem are abundant.”

The company encourages businesses to go digital and has partnered with an LGU in Makati by leading a project called RISE – Resiliency Innovation Sustainability and Entrepreneurship – a certified program open to all innovators in the Philippines. “Through RISE, a sustainable and scalable pipeline will be created that will democratize the startup process and enable innovative ideas from all levels of society to be accelerated and placed in front of qualified investors.”

“I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to dip my toes into an industry that I have come to appreciate and love. Especially since women are rare in private equity and venture capital. I have to make sure that the share of women investors is properly represented, otherwise women entrepreneurs will have less access to funds, which will lead to lost or missed opportunities,” she says.Studies have shown that women invest almost twice as many as men in female-led startups (International Finance Corp., 2019). “This is vital for growing the ecosystem, as the same study showed that in emerging markets with senior teams balanced between sexes, net returns were then 10% to 2% higher.”

Yani (fifth from left) attending a recent event organized by the Manila Angel Investors Network.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Yani (fifth from left) attending a recent event organized by the Manila Angel Investors Network. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Yani says there is a need to encourage more women to become angel investors. “One solution is to highlight the existing pool of female investors. However, it is also important to recognize the diversity of these women. It is important to highlight our differences in backgrounds and professional backgrounds. I hope that more women will realize that it’s never too early or too late to change careers or start over.”

About me

Model

I gravitate around women like Simone de Beauvoir or Virginia Woolf. While their philosophies have been debated over the years, the courage to speak them out at a time when outspoken women were frowned upon still amazes me today.

Goals

Our work culture and the treatment of women in the workforce and in leadership still needs to improve considerably. I want women to have more choices and structures in place to support their success in those choices.

First paid job

I was employed at a video rental store.

morning ritual

My phone rings at 6 a.m. when I spend an hour and 30 minutes every day working out, while listening to an audiobook. Afterwards, I drink a cup of coffee, while listening to the news of the world and taking care of my garden.

Special Skills

I have great interpersonal skills. My experiences as a health care provider, teacher, and mother have honed this skill.

Time spent on social networks

My social networks are in silent mode 23 hours a day. I only give myself a few minutes to greet people and post updates on the work I’m doing.