Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Property Woman of the Year


Everybody knows Josephine Gotianun-Yap or JGY, the woman at the helm of Gotianun Group.

She is the president and CEO of Filinvest Development Corp. and CEO of Filinvest Land Inc.

Recently, she was named FIABCI’s first Property Woman of the Year.

This is a historic win for JGY who last year became the first woman to receive the Real Estate Personality of the Year award at the Philippines Property Awards by PropertyGuru.

She shared with Property Report her thoughts and experience as a woman leader:

Property Report: What does it mean to be a woman executive in the Philippines?

JGY: As an executive, I generally do not like to define myself in gender terms. There is no difference between what is demanded of a woman executive from her male counterparts.

The presence of many women in high levels of organizations demonstrates that women in the Philippines have been breaking the glass ceiling for some time now.

The economy has grown, and with it, many new businesses in the BPO and digital space have provided so many more opportunities for those who are well skilled and those who continue to learn and expand their knowledge.

Businesses continue to be more competitive and complex given the new disruptions in business models; as such, the business person needs to transform and rise to these challenges.

What is the advantage of being a woman in the property sector?

JGY: It is best for any organization to have representation from different genders, ages, and backgrounds.

A female perspective provides another viewpoint in both consumer preferences and talent management. In the property industry, a large portion of both the development and the sales workforce are women.

I believe that having a woman in the team can help understand individual needs and issues related to being working mothers and wives.

Property is the topmost investment of the Filipino family and I believe the decision is shared by the man and woman of the household.

Therefore, it is good to be able to relate to both, as well as to the equally large market of single women in the workforce who are making early investments in property.

What does it mean to be a Filipina in today’s society?

JGY: Filipinas are exceptionally fortunate as the Philippines has consistently ranked in the Top 20 countries worldwide in terms of gender equality and is second in our region of East Asia and the Pacific.

We have had two Filipina presidents, which is a clear signal that our society has less gender biases than even the largest economies of the world.

Filipino women participate in decision making as 61.5 percent of professionals and technical workers and 50.5 percent of legislators, senior officials and managers are women (Global Gender Gap report 2021).

I often joke that the real charm of a Filipina wife is that she makes her husband feel that he made the decision. However, with these opportunities come greater challenges in balancing one’s roles at work and at home.

Even if women carry a significant share of the financial load, we are always expected to continue our role as a loving wife, a caring mother, and a dutiful daughter.

It is a lucky woman to have a role-sharing partner in many aspects of family life.

How do you celebrate being a woman?

JGY: We provide equal opportunities for women in Filinvest.

In 2021, Filinvest was among the top 10 companies in the world run by a female CEO that had the largest number of women in executive roles and in our board of directors.

We have many women presidents in Filinvest companies but we are definitely not biased against men either. We are a gender-blind organization.

I come from a family where there is only one female child in each family line (I am also an unica hija), but all the women are given equal opportunities in education and have earned their Master’s degrees.

Education is the most important gift one can give to their daughters, and it is their birthright.

I come from a long line of female entrepreneurs. My grandmother ran a drugstore during WWII, and my mother, Mercedes Gotianun, was the first woman president of a Philippine Universal Bank.

My daughter was recently named a Young Global Leader, a forum initiated by the World Economic Forum. I am also hoping one day to have a granddaughter who will make her mark in this world.