No matter where you’re from and regardless of your background, you can achieve your dreams, as long as you are committed and willing to work hard. Today’s OFW story is a great example, as we follow the story of a barrio lad who is now an executive at a multinational company.
A lot of people know Ben Lebig Jr., 44 years old, as a Dubai-based business planning executive for one of the enterprises under Chevron, a multinational energy company. But not many are aware of his humble beginnings, and how he has become the successful man that he is today.
Iloilo barrio teacher’s son is now a multinational energy firm exec in Dubai https://t.co/G7heIXzU8J
— GMA News (@gmanews) February 18, 2021
Barrio Teacher’s Son is Now a Business Planning Executive in Dubai
As a young boy, Lebig would tag along with his mother, Marina Chiva Lebig, on her way to school. She was a teacher at Pughanan Elementary School in Iloilo. “My nanay and her co-teachers would cross two knee-deep rivers before reaching the foot of a hill, where they had to slowly walk their way up to the top where the school was situated,” he said, as cited by GMA News.
“It was not an easy task that they had to do on a daily basis for many years,” he recalled. “I remember there were days when the river would overflow, hence they would have no class.” Despite the difficult journey, Lebig’s mother pressed on. He saw his mother’s passion and strong desire to help the school students, thus inspiring him towards becoming who he is today.
“I grew up witnessing my mom doing what she did day-in and day-out,” he stated. “Sometimes she would get tired, but would nonetheless press on to fulfill her mandate to educate the children, because she believed that education can be a powerful tool to equip and give them a fighting chance to rise above poverty.”
In 1992, when Lebig was 15 years old, his mother passed away. Her life and legacy, however, would continue to inspire him. He studied hard, and eventually completed a Master’s Degree in Management at the University of the Philippines – Visayas. He also holds a PhD in Strategy and International Business from Kings College London.
Moreover, Lebig became a Philippine Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the Philippines, while also getting licensed to practice as a Certified Management Accountant and International Credit Professional in the United States. Today, he is based in Dubai with his wife, Clovell, who is also a CPA, and their daughter, Izabella, a Year 7 student Cambridge International School.
Having a “soft spot for education,” Lebig, along with a group of like-minded expats, helped to create Southville Ras Al Khaimah, the first Filipino institution for higher education in the UAE.
As the current chairman of the Association of Registered Financial Planners (ARFP), he also partnered with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office to handle the financial literacy portion of the Post Arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS) for Filipinos arriving in Dubai and the northern emirates. Prior to this, he was also the head of the Philippine Business Council’s GenBiz, a program wherein they trained aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs in the UAE.
“My humble hope is that through all these advocacies in whatever platform, I can be an instrument to change the narratives of Filipinos, both back home and most especially those working here in the UAE,” Lebig said. “That as they learn to manage their finances, explore entrepreneurship, or appreciate the value of education, they will be directed in the right path towards a better future.”
Ben Lebig Jr.’s story is truly inspiring! Through his experience, we can learn about the value of education as a tool to rise above poverty, as well as the importance of financial literacy. Without a doubt, Lebig is continuing his mother’s legacy of educating and helping fellow Filipinos.