Mrs. Jean Guasa-Espino
A heart to help others is what this woman from Bontoc, Southern Leyte, who is often thought to be strict, holds. And like other people who have been through many challenges, she makes it a point to live daily according to what the Lord wills.
Mrs. Jean Guasa-Espino, the Manager of the Food Services Department, has been through a lot of trials and waves of tribulation. But her faith and trust in God made her surpass them all.
Challenges are inevitable. Jean met one of her major trials during her senior year as Chemistry major in the University. She was able to complete all the subjects except one: Thesis Writing. This made her feel so disappointed, and she opted not to continue with the course. She thought to herself that she was just forced after all to take up what was her father’s choice. The following academic year, she was convinced by her father to enroll in the subject again. But because of her frustration, she already lost the drive to finish the course.
Jean remembers that while still a student assistant at the Silliman Bookstore, she was taught how to deal with finances. That experience rekindled her inclination towards numbers. Her stint as a working student helped her decide on the course that she wanted to pursue: Accountancy. Shelving her plans to become a chemist, Jean enrolled in the College of Business Administration as an accounting major. She obtained the degree in Accountancy in 1972 and became a Certified Public Accountant a year after.
Despite the delay in her graduation from college, Jean cherished the eight years that she spent. In all those years, she was able to develop lasting friendships with her classmates and fellow residents at the Cooperative dorms where she stayed.
Jean worked for an insurance company in Manila after graduation. Mid-part of her career, she was assigned to Davao to help supervise the operations of the company. When she was called back to the head office in Manila, Jean thought it was already the time for her to retire. She did not like the idea of going back to Manila, so she availed of an early retirement after 14 years of service to the company.
it was timely that when she retired from the company, Brokenshire College in Davao was looking for a treasurer. Jean then applied and was accepted. She worked there for two years.
It was through an invitation from a former college classmate in Silliman, former Board of Trustees Chair Frederick Dael, that Jean transferred to Silliman. She was convinced that it was time for her to render the payback.
“I never had a plan to work here in Silliman, but I knew God always had a plan for me,” says Jean.
Jean was appointed Chief Financial Officer in her first year in the University. A year after, in 1999, she was named Vice President for Finance during the administration of former Silliman President Dr. Agustin Pulido.
In 2002, Jean underwent mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. This was the second — and by far the biggest — trial that came her way. After being advised by the doctor to avoid too much stress, she requested a transfer to the Food Services Department as its manager. Her request was granted as the manager of the Cafeteria at that time was retiring and leaving for the United States.
Jean is happy and is contented with her being Manager of the Cafeteria, not thinking that this post is lower than what she previously held. As the University's former lead finance executive, Jean teaches her employees how to handle their own personal finances. She recognizes that life nowadays is tough, and so she extends personal financial assistance to staff members.
For someone who was raised by a father who underwent military training, Jean upholds integrity as one of the important virtues in life. She wants people to be honest and true to their promises, especially when she talks of business. Without any hesitation, she admits to being straightforward, blunt, a stickler and completely strict when it comes to compliance with policies. This is the reason why she is often mistaken for someone who is “strikta” and “kontrabida” by those who do not truly know her.
As with her life’s mission, she confesses that she has not found it yet. “I am not yet accomplished and I still have to do something more to make a difference,” Jean says, as she looks forward to retirement by the end of this year.
“Learning is a continuous thing,” this was Jean's explanation to her siblings — 13 of them — why she is presently pursuing the degree of Masters in Public Administration. She believes that it is in preparation for what she and her siblings' plan to establish a foundation in their hometown that would enable them to provide livelihood to the unemployed.
Jean is married for 27 years to Romualdo, a Batangueño and who, like her, used to be in finance. They are blessed with three children: Anna Katrina (Political Science student and songwriter), Romina Jeanine (registered nurse) and Marionne Rose (Business Administration student).
As a mother, she does not imitate the way she was raised by her father who was a war veteran turned public school teacher. She gives her children the freedom to express their ideas and to choose whatever they want to pursue in life.
Let's get to know more Jean:
Describe yourself in three words.
Straightforward. Honest. Generous.
What is your mantra in life?
“If you’re right, fight for it.”
What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at any humorous story and cry when I watch sad stories on TV.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Evenings when I get to do what I love – crochet, cross-stitch or sew clothes.
What do you love doing when not working?
Make my own clothes.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
What makes you blush?
When somebody tells me that I look younger than my age.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I graduated with honors in college.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
“Tubig-tubig” and “luksong-tinik”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
At home, resting and doing something.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I love to make do-it-yourself projects.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Pray to thank the Lord, then take my medicine.
What’s your idea of a family?
United. One. Whole.