Melanie Chua Ng: A leader
Melanie Chua Ng, the woman leading the multi-awarded business organization Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), once dreamed of becoming a doctor and healing people.
As the eldest grandchild on both sides of the family she spent time with aunties and uncles who were doctors and, from them, she gained inspiration to serve the community.
To fulfill that dream, she took up Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of San Carlos and, four years later, graduated cum laude, an impressive first step to turn the dream into reality. “But all throughout high school and university days, I was also assisting in the family business by helping get orders and doing the collection of accounts every Saturday. I was also intrigued by the idea of doing business,” says Melanie, or Sandee to close family friends and relatives.
After college, Melanie found herself standing at a crossroad: Will she proceed to medical school or help her parents run the business? In the end, she heeded the advice of her grandmother who told her, “Help your parents. You can gain a lot of knowledge in doing business.” More than two decades later, Melanie says she never regrets the decision of taking up Biology at USC and deciding to pursue a career in business.
Melanie seldom shares about her university days as she heads the CCCI and questions asked of her are expectedly about Cebu’s economic growth and general issues affecting Cebu.
For the first time, however, she reminisced for Verbo the four wonderful years she spent as a Carolinian and how—to the surprise of her sons Earl, Dale, and Myles—Cebu’s dynamic woman entrepreneur and business leader played volleyball and soccer football.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my Bio days at USC! I especially like the time I spent in my laboratory subjects. My unforgettable moments were spent in the hills of Talamban Campus. Before, there were no buildings there yet and that was our hunting ground for specimens especially for our entomology class,” she recalls.
She remembers literally climbing those hills with her classmates to get into the campus and take an exam even when a student strike was going on at the front gates.
“We had to get into the campus via Doña Rita Village beside the campus because a strike was ongoing. We knew that our professor was inside preparing for our practical lab exam and we could not afford to miss it! So, climb over those forested hills we all did, just to be able to take the final exam and be assured of a grade,” says Melanie.
At USC, Melanie honed her leadership and organizational skills as a student coordinator under the Student Affairs Office.
“My student days there have brought me up to be a well-rounded and responsible person. My leadership skills were honed at USC,” she declares.
She may not have become a doctor but Melanie carved her own destiny and took her rightful place in Cebu’s ever-changing business landscape.
Currently, she is the executive vice-president of Ng Khai Development Corporation, which she runs with her equally brilliant husband, Wilson.
She also serves various government and socio-oriented organizations at the same time. For one, she chairs the Economic Development Committee of the Regional Development Council–Central Visayas as well as the Membership Committee of the Philippine Business for Social Progress–Visayas. She is also a director of the Philippine Retailers Association–Cebu Chapter. And, she is a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Not forgetting her roots, she serves as vice-president of the Cebu Eastern College Alumni Association.
She holds membership positions with the Management Association of the Philippines, the Zone Club of Cebu I, and Philippine Association of Realtors Boards (PAREB)–Cebu Realtors Board (CEREB).
Melanie looks back to her university days and credits her experiences there in molding the leader and entrepreneur that she is now.
“At USC, I imbibed very strong values of integrity, resiliency, and an unwavering faith in our Lord. In the big university environment, I learned to be self-sufficient and community-oriented,” she says.
by Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo