Thinking Outside the Box: MOVING-ON WITH IMELDA “MHEL”PECHERA


Monday February 1, 2021


By: Naiia Lajoie

Cover Photo by Jeff Arevalo
Cover Story Photos By Jeff Arevalo, Kristian Marquez, and Rommel Hermoso
Hair and Make-up by Imelda Pechera

It was in the 6-time Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump that Tom Hanks’ character quoted his mother, saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Such was the case with Iship Logipack, Incorporated, CEO and President, IMELDA “Mhel” PECHERA. After inheriting a company that produced plastic corrugated sheet and boxes, she too was met with life’s uncertainty; consisting of moments of beauty, as well as bitter-sweetness. Ultimately, Mhel chose to persevere through life’s variety pack of good and bad times, and built something even greater from her proverbial chocolate box.

A native of Bicol, Mhel was raised in a middle class family. Coming from what she describes as a “normal childhood”, she is the younger of 2 siblings. Her older brother is very supportive of her, despite what she calls his “conservative” nature. She graduated from one of the well-known universities in the Philippineswith a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Mhel has kids of her own; a proud mother of 3 beautiful children, her eldest son Karl now assists her in running the company, as the VP of Marketing. Her second son, Meray is in college and has a passion for playing basketball. Her youngest and only daughter is Meiko, who is in her senior year of high school. In fact, she was just accepted into a prestigious school in Japan. Japan was the native land of her husband, Mr. Atsushi Yamada. “Was”, because he unfortunately passed away early, leaving Mhel widowed 15 years ago.

It was at this time that Mhel had to become mother – and father – to their children. She also had to run the business that she and her husband started. Iship Logipack Incorporated was founded around 17 years ago.5 years prior its inception, the couple first started a trading company before ever venturing into the manufacturing sector. As he was a Japanese national, the majority of their clientele were Japanese companies.

“We were the first manufacturer of plastic corrugated sheets and boxes in the Philippineswhen it was not yet known in our country,” Mhel recounts. “At first we import[ed] the materials from Japan and suppl[ied] it to a box manufacturer. But when they closed their factory, we decided to manufacture the sheets here and produce the boxes ourselves. Their introduction into the manufacturing world was a trying one, as they had to compete with carton box makers. They struggled to educate companies on the benefits of their reusable and more environmentally-friendly product. She describes the process, “Since the product is a semi-customized product, we learned to innovate in order to gain the trust of our clients”. Slowly but steadily, we built our market, and now most of the manufacturing companies in the Philippines prefer our products compared to our competitors.”

Iship Logipack, Inc. supplies its products to electronics companies, car manufacturing companies, printer companies, and other companies in the Philippines as well as Japan. They work in partnership with a Japanese company, Act Ishihara, located in Osaka, Japan. In addition to their plastic corrugated sheets, boxes, and dividers, the company also has creform products, pipes, and joints. They handle products being used for production of tables, push carts, warehouse racks, and others, all without having to use a welding process.

“…My husband, Atsushi Yamada, died when our children were still very young, and the company was still starting also,” Mhel recalls. “I had to juggle my time to tend to my children and my responsibility to our business. That time when he died, our Japanese partners did not have the capability to deploy Japanese Nationals to assist us in dealing with our Japanese clients.” During this incredibly difficult time, selling the company was a viable solution that had crossed Mhel’s mind.

“But I realized that this is my husband’s legacy. And I thought about my people in the company; what would happen to them? So I had to brave the unknown. I worked slowly and cautiously until everything [fell] into its place. [And] we did manage to run the business effectively and efficiently”. Mhel continued to go into the office every day, and still does presently. She is still trying to juggle her time between working and attending to the needs of her children, something she considers a real challenge. “But God is great, and He gave me the courage and strength to accomplish what I accomplished today,” she reflects.

Ever a mother first and foremost, Mhel has learned to treasure her hectic and demanding schedule as President of Iship Logipack, Incorporated by still managing to be a part of her children’s upbringings. “I am a hands-on mom, and take happiness [in] attending their school programs and events. But in all honesty, I just want to see the day that my children grow up [into] successful and independent persons; in whatever area they want to be,” she beams. “That is what I think any parent wants to their children.”

Reaching this happy conclusion took its time however; after having lost her husband, the fear of dying young and not being able to see her kids grow up made her worry about their future. In order to counteract this fear, she decided to pursue a clean and healthy lifestyle and visits her doctor regularly for checkups. “I hit the gym 3 times a week, especially now that my children are older and accompany me [to] the gym. But when the pandemic struck, I have to push myself to do my exercise routines inside [of] my office, when time permits,” she admits, in the fallout of Covid-19. “As much as possible, I only eat healthy foods – but I do not deprive myself of not-so-healthy food… Just in moderation.” She continues to divulge her longevity hacks, “I play golf from time to time, run in marathons; like 21K [half] marathons. I’ve climbed Mt. Apo, Mt. Pulag, Pico de Loro, and others. The active CEO not only keeps her body in check, but keeps her mind sharp as well. “I try not to stress or worry [about] things that I can’t change. I try to think of positive things, and try to surround myself with positive people also.”

After going through, giving her children, and the company so much, it is almost shocking to think that Mhel has anything left to give anyone – yet she does exactly that. She gives back to the community in whatever way she can, but always makes sure that she helps her staff and workers first. She firmly believes that she needs to help improve the lives of those who are directly responsible for her and her family’s livelihood/ business, even going so far as to consider them family as well. “We, my company, did adopt some schools in our community to support and improve the life of the students and teachers; by donating computers, books, learning materials, and other formsof support that they requested.” For the past 7 years, her company has been supporting nearby community schools like Loma Elementary School in Binan, Laguna. “We had several projects like ‘Tulong Aral’, ‘Brigada Eskwela’, Fun Run projects, and Tree Planting Activities,” Mhel’s list of giving-back seemingly endless.

In order to facilitate and expand the help that she can distribute, Mhel joined both the Lions Club and Rotary Club. Eventually she even served terms as President of these 2 prestigious clubs. “I am still connected with my club, and still continue to support the projects of our club and the new elected presidents.” She goes on, “My advocacy is empowering women… I want to be an example for all women that regardless of gender, we can attain our dream or goal.”

While quite content with all that Mhel has achieved in life, shecontinues to always challenge herself to improve every day. Regardless of whether she is recognized for her efforts or not, “I want to be a better person than the person I was yesterday. I also want my business to grow and be more successful in order tocontinuously support my staff – which I do consider my extended family – and I could help more people who are less fortunate.” Speaking of recognition, below is a list of her accomplishments and advocacies:

AWARDS & TITLES

Model Mom Awardee 2016
2016 Best Dressed Women of the Philippines
Manila’s Best Dressed Awardee 2016
Rupert Jacinto Fabulous VII Inner Cover Ladies 2016
CLUB BULAKEÑO QUEEN OF LUZON 2017
2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 Phil. Best Dressed
Ambassador for Life
Women’s Journal Outstanding Women 2017
Chantal Apparel and Accessories 2018 & 2019
Brand Ambassador – exclusively Rustans Makati
2018 Manila Best Dressed Fashion Ambassadress

PHILANTHROPY

AYALA AMITY CENTENNIAL LIONS CLUB
– Charter President
Manila Best Dressed Hall of Famer 2019
Rotary Club of Makati Century City –Champion
President, RY2019-2020
Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc. (SCEI)
2018-2019 Awarded

In closing, Mhel has indeed gone through hardships. Yet she has also gone above & beyond said adversity in order to come out on top. She leaves this bit of advice for anyone also undergoing challenging times:

Learn to manage your time and give priorities to what is important. Because at the end of the day, we learn that TIME is the only thing that we do not have enough [of]. Do not be afraid to commit mistakes, but learn from these mistakes, and improve from the experience you gain. Improve yourself every day…Reinvent one’s self, because we need to evolve with the uncertain future. Be a better version of yourself from the person you were yesterday.

Continuing, she offers, “If you have the opportunity and the capacity to help, please help, and pay it forward. Because I believe that it is our responsibility to share the blessings we receive in order to be really successful.” One could say that Mhel’s success is not in fact attributed to her ability to think outside the box, but rather her thinking of what she could do with the box. So as Forrest Gump’s mother alluded, while you may not know what life will give you, savor its sweetness, chew through its bitterness, and always share its goodness.

Iship Logipack Family
Welcoming the year 2021 with the Top 5 Best Employees.
From Left to Right, Robert Danila (Maintenance Manager), Ria Berango (Accounting Manager), Ronalyn Danila (Accounting Top#4), Joycelyn Pakingan (Finance Manager), Emerson Maranan (Warehouse Top#3), John Paul Lanuza (Sales Top#1), Imelda Pechera (President & Founder of Iship Logipack Inc), Rommel Hermoso (General Manager/Operations Manager), Jerome Umali (Sales Top #2), Mary Nowie Pereja (HRD Top #5), Ruel Bayot (Production Manager), Karen Martin (HR Supervisor)

AYALA AMITY CENTENNIAL LIONS CLUB, PMJF
From left : Alen Agocec, Sec. Eliza Torculas, Doc. John Crespo, Treasurer Rita Abitang. Middle : IPP/ZC Precy Yulo, President Lina Castillo, CP Imelda Pechera, VP3 Cecile Twitt, Tess Guzman and Emzy

Left Meray Yamada (2nd Son) , 2nd to the left Imelda Pechera, 2nd to the right Meiko Yamada (Only Daughter) and Right is Karl Nikko Pechera Eldest Son

Awarded last March 14,2020 By: Piedmont College of Theology, Asia Pacific – Research & Graduate School System The Degree of Doctorate of Humanities



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