One cannot find poise in a person who wears too many hats.
Is Catherine Nazareno Rivilla an exception?
The First Woman and Filipino to be heralded AFC Match Commissioner of the Year nonchalantly steps into the interview venue and instantly, the svelte lady looms larger than life. Beautiful and charismatic, Cathy, as she is known to family and friends, tackles the interview with composure comparable to that of First Ladies and Prime Ministers.
Cathy Rivilla is currently the Executive Director of the Younghusband Football Academy, making her a business partner of the Younghusbands.
“I love studying because I like to learn” Rivilla says. Her education profile is enough proof: she graduated Summa cum Laude from the St. Mary’s College of California with an Honors Concentration in Finance and Business Administration. She then took up a Professional Degree in Product Development at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and graduated summa cum laude. Such an impressive record is normally enough to pave a successful career path for anybody. Cathy though, did not confine her learning within institutional boundaries. ”Life is one big classroom. Keep on learning” she furthers “I want to excel in everything I do!”
Being in business comes naturally for her. Cathy is the daughter of Vicky Vizcarra-Sales, of the S.C. Vizcarra fame. Upon her graduation, she returned to the Philippines with her mom and re-opened their company. When she decided to open other businesses, she asked her sister Rita to take over her position in the family venture.
Casa Belrina Travel Consultants, which Rivilla opened 10 years ago, is a late entrant in the travel service industry. Notwithstanding the fact, it has been largely successful. Their “travel at your doorstep” concept was something that their clients appreciated. The main office is located in the Rivilla home, a plus factor for Cathy, as she is able to manage the business without compromising family time.
Yet another part of her remarkable portfolio is the Mac2 Group Manila, a sports and events management and consultancy firm.
So what is a successful and glamorous lady doing in the world of football?
“It was by accident” she says with a laugh. Her daughter Frankie was into the sport and a few years back, Cathy was asked to help assist and organize a football event in school. Knowing nothing about the sport did not hinder Cathy. She learned and learn she did! She sought the help of some cousins (who were then into the sport), who gamely taught her the basics and the rest is history.
By the time Cathy was asked to manage the National Team, she has already learned the ropes and was confident enough to take charge. She became a Match Commissioner for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and was assigned to officiate in many high-level international football matches throughout Asia. She went to many countries and the perpetual learner in Cathy made her gain knowledge and familiarity with the culture and background of football. She experienced first-hand; the matches that helped hone her expertise. Her work ethics paid off and before she knew it, she was nominated by AFC as Commissioner of the Year.
An accidental path did not suppress the achiever in Cathy Rivilla. She has proven and still continues to prove her worth and have done justice to her own words: “Kaya ko ‘to!”
As she achieved success and brought football and the Younghusbands to the limelight, Cathy was not spared of her fair share of challenges and unexpected turns. Cathy remains unruffled. “It does not bother me at all because I take everything in a positive way. I know the truth and whatever it is that are said, facts are facts. Anything that is non-factual will not matter at all”. When asked what she has to say to her detractors, her reply is gracious: “I will not stoop down to their level.”
Of the many hats that she has to wear, perhaps none is more important than that of a Family Woman. “I am grateful to have my children around” she says “Between me and my husband, I am the stricter parent. It is not that I do not trust my daughter; I really do! It is just that I have to be cautious of the people around”.
Cathy Rivilla maintains her poise because she does not wear too many hats. The woman wears a crown decorated by her successes and achievements, as well as trials and ordeals. The crown jewel is her resolve to face the future with the composure and dignity she now possesses.
Cathy is married to Dicky Rivilla. They have three daughters: Franky, Kitkat and Reese.