via iMoney Philippines |
Gretchen Ho is one of the most recognizable faces in Philippine sports today. She first made waves as part of the “Fab Five” batch of standout volleyball players in the Ateneo Lady Eagles, and she was team captain from 2012 to 2013. The team won the hearts of Filipinos everywhere with their intensity and passion, and Gretchen became one of the most sought-after college athletes until her graduation with a degree in Management Engineering in 2013.
Given her career path, it’s safe to say that sports have been a driving force in Gretchen’s life. “Getting into a sport can be really life-changing. It molds your attitude, your character, your confidence, your habits and even the way you look at life,” she tells iMoney in an exclusive interview. This drive and determination has gone beyond sports and carried on into her current career as a TV host and entrepreneur.
But getting to this point wasn’t easy. Gretchen has had to deal with the challenge of balancing academics with UAAP-level sports, a shoulder injury that caused her a lot of frustrations in her game, and making the decision to forgo the corporate career path and doing something out of her comfort zone instead.
How did you develop your work ethic and attitude towards money?
Largely by the way I was raised as a child. I come from a Chinese family and my parents have always been very thrifty and business-minded. They’ve taught me how to live simply and be happy with what I have. By giving me school allowance that was just enough, I learned how to spend wisely. They’ve also taught me never to count whenever I’m giving to other people. Money is important in being able to live well but being moral about it will let you sleep well. My parents also never spoiled us with material things but they did commend us whenever we did something good in school. Because we wanted their approval, we worked even harder to become achievers in our own way.
My work ethic, I believe, I got from balancing volleyball with my academics. I became more focused and productive with my time when I joined the volleyball team. I became more proactive with what I needed to do.
When you were growing up, did you always imagine volleyball or sports would be your career?
I never imagined that volleyball would become a career for me. It was just something I really loved doing and something that kept me excited for school. I guess I am just so lucky that volleyball boomed during my time in Ateneo. I am happy that a lot of athletes have found better lives because of the sport.
Being a college athlete is challenging. How did you balance UAAP volleyball and studies?
It was really challenging balancing Management Engineering and UAAP Volleyball. Man, that was really hard. I think it is one of the achievements I am proudest of — being able to graduate from ME and play quality volleyball at the same time. I’ve had sleepless nights coming from training and then preparing for exams and papers. It was all great pressure but I guess I found my motivation in the fact that I couldn’t see myself in any other course. I was determined right from the very start that I would close the college chapter of my life with an ME diploma in my hand.
When you injured your shoulder, were you afraid about how that would affect your life?
I only knew the effect of my shoulder injury right after I graduated from college. It was only then that I found out that my supraspinatus (an upper back muscle) was partially torn. When I found out, a lot of my frustrations in the game were explained. I couldn’t spike towards certain directions and angles because of it and that was also the reason why my attacks weren’t as powerful as before. After my MRI, I decided to go through a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) procedure of which derailed me from playing for almost 6 months. My shoulder got re-injured so that’s why it extended to that long. Right now I can still feel it hurting from time to time. It’s already chronic but I’m happy that my injury isn’t as serious as an ACL tear. I know that I’m still in the process of full recovery but I have to get over that hump after an injury and just continue on the strengthening phase. I’ll get stronger
How did you make the transition from college to working life? Were you entertaining a lot of offers, and how did you choose the ones you did?
It was not an easy transition because my job right now as a television host was not a path I initially intended for myself. I wanted to go corporate but then the opportunities in front of me were too difficult to resist. My parents told me to try hosting first and give the industry a try since I can go corporate anytime. I had to learn how to dress up, put makeup on and adjust to the pressure of being on television; things that I never cared about when I was in college.
There were a lot of offers for me and I just chose according to what I felt I was being moved to do. I’m happy where I am right now because I’m learning and growing every step of the way.
Do you use financial advisers?
I have a stock broker and some people who give me advice on what I can invest on but I’ve never really hired a financial adviser. I feel like I might need one in the future.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about money or business?
Business is not easy, you’ve got to put in the TIME and FOCUS if you want it to grow.
What’s the best financial decision you’ve made so far?
The best financial decision I’ve made and I’m still making every day is to save about 70 – 80% of my income. I haven’t really spent on anything huge but I have already invested on a business and life insurance. Currently, I am eyeing out other potential investments. Save then invest!
Can you tell us more about your business?
My business is The Inspired Project. We sell inspirational merchandise (t-shirts, lanyards, posters, pins, cellphone cases, keychains, notebooks, etc). Follow us on Instagram @theinspiredproject, Twitter @inspiredprojph and Facebook atThe Inspired Project to get your daily dose of inspiration. Also please check our online store at theinspiredproject.net!
We are also available at Market Market but we are transferring soon to Trinoma. Hopefully by this summer!
What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?
Well, financially, I have a target amount every year. Professionally, I want to be able to have a stable and growing job. In media, nothing is really for sure so I want to be really good at what I’m doing in order to make a name for myself not just as an athlete, but also a host. By focusing on self-improvement, consistency, networking and professionalism, I believe that I can make my income grow even more.