Catherine "Cat" Ilacad believes that she is a perfect balance of her mom and her dad. From her dad, she inherited her brain, and from her mom, her heart and soul. The owner of the hugely successful Posh Nails—there are 25 franchises in all—as well as the new Foot Massage Lounge at Bonifacio Global City, however, is anything but a helpless COO or child of the owner.

While she started out as the marketing manager for her dad’s Virgin Café in Tomas Morato, Cat was eager to make a name for herself, which was incidentally, how the popular nail salon was born.

“I didn’t like the thought of being the child of the owner,” she tells FN. Believing that respect had to be earned, Cat, who is a huge admirer of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, worked herself to the bone to the point that she was even hospitalized for too much stress—something all working girls can sympathize with—and proved to everyone that age and gender cannot determine nor deter success in business.

Learn how Cat, who also handles movies under Octo Arts, juggles her career and her personal life in our interview below:

Female Network (FN): What’s your daily routine like?

Cat Ilacad (CI): My daily routine, okay naman, it’s manageable naman. In the morning, I work out. Usually, afternoon na ako sa office, after lunch, because, my mom and my dad, ever since, they want to have lunch together as a family, so we never miss that, ever since, until now.

Uuwi pa ako ng Greenhills just to have lunch with them, so usually, bihirang-bihira na may interview ako na lunch time. Oo, alam ‘yan ng mga friends from the press na after lunch na. After lunch, office [Octo Arts], then meeting na siya tuloy-tuloy. And then I visit the store [Posh Nails], the one here in Morato, and then The Fort [Foot Massage Lounge], twice a week lang naman, twice or thrice a week.

FN: Do you still have time for yourself? Do you still get to go out with friends?

CI: Actually for my personal life, ‘yung working out is a must for me. Talagang ‘yun ‘yung parang importante sa akin and then going out with friends—yes, I do have time. Yung out-of-town trips namin for store visits, halo na rin ‘yung pleasure. Like minsan sinasabi ng friends, sama ka, like the next three weeks, I have store openings in Clark, Pampanga, in Dasmarines Cavite, in Bauio, and in Cebu. Sabay na dun ‘yung field visits ko sa La Union, sa Davao, and then sa Iloilo.

FN: Do you have tips for those who also have a lot on their plate?

CI: Actually, one my very first franchisees—kasi she’s older than me—talagang sinabi kasi niya sa akin, she knows how hectic ‘yung schedule ko. Sinabi niya sa akin, you know, Cat, set a day na all your personal needs, lahat gawin mo ‘yon, or just one afternoon maybe or morning. Just set everything. You have to go to the bank, you have to go to the dentist, you have to go the salon—just do it in one day kasi paminsan, hina-halu-halo mo, you try to fit it all in one day. Sabog, diba? You don’t finish anything at all. So harassed pa ‘yung dating mo dun so ‘yun ‘yung parang isa sa mga tip na natututunan ko sa kanya.

Ako naman personally, what’s best na siguro for me na I can give a scenario, your priorities should always be straight, like, do you want to build a good relationship with your family and your friends? Or is it much more important for you to attend to meetings? Meron kasi diba s'yempre may top one may top two priority, so ‘yon, it depends on you which one’s your priority, and then you work around it. I’m sure most of you, all of would like to be balanced and well-rounded, 'wag tayo ma-disappoint na minsan ay hindi natin naa-achieve ‘yon, but there are always times to make bawi with that so ‘yon, you just make up for it. Over the weekend, you spend time with the family.

Tapos with the businesses naman, priorities pa rin. You have to learn to delegate, so that you can attend to the much more important things.

FN: Which one's your number one priority right now?

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CI: It’s my relationship with my family and my friends kasi ano rin naman, ‘yung business ko, it was built from the support of my dad and my mom and my siblings, and when it was growing, ang kasama ko sa pagbantay, sa pag research—it was my friends. They’re not part-investors ha, they’re my friends. Siguro in terms of relationships, hindi natin dapat napapabayaan ‘yon.

And at the same time, dati sinabi ko, when I received the Agora award, sabi ko, you know, hindi naman tayo matatandaan sa dami ng franchisees natin or sa dami ng millions na kinita natin, we will always be remembered [for] the good service that we provide. Our clients, and you know, the feeling when they leave after the salon or the foot massage lounge, ‘yun naman ‘yung maalala sa atin, so ang priority rin dapat ng mga business women eh customer satisfaction dapat.

(Photos courtesy of Cat Ilacad)

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