She has been featured in various local and international media platforms – ABS-CBN Network, CNN, DZMM, and Business Mirror to name a few. Her advocacy to change the lives of Filipino women by teaching them how to work from home has resounded for the past three years all throughout the nation as she maximizes the power of social media by forming an online community called FHMoms.
Maria Korina Bertulfo, or MK as she’s fondly called, is the CEO and Founder of this Filipina-empowered community. Being the CEO and Founder of FHMoms, MK has strategically grown the FHMoms community to almost 200K members, and is still growing as she continues to give value to its members through her webinars, workshops, collaborations and partnerships with like-minded entities.
Get to know more about MK – how she started, what she’s passionate about, what her journey was like, and what she has in store for the community on Women’s International month.
Who is Maria Korina or MK? What is she passionate about and what problems of today does she like to solve?
MK is a business and career strategist, trainer, speaker, and most importantly, she used to be a struggling mother. While she supports her father and her sister, she was also struggling in being a new mom. Everything was happening all at once that her time was simply not enough for her to do all of her tasks. She was always compromising one part of her life at the expense of the other. This triggered her to change her career and try to be a freelancer.
As natural as she is, MK went helping some friends, until it got big. Now she is striving towards her mission to help moms who are facing social and personal pressure. She is inspiring moms to be a good family and career woman all at the same time. Above all, she has realized her purpose in life: to lift other women up and be the best version of themselves.
What was your journey like? Please describe as well that a-ha moment when you knew your plans for FHMoms might actually become a success. Tell us the story behind this.
My journey requires hard work. I got my first online job fast, but inspiring other moms and becoming what I am now is a lot of work. It is unexpected because when I build the community for moms, my only intention is to have a support group – that’s what I needed that time and I thought many more moms needed the same. As the day went, the need to be professionally trained and the demand for advice from real freelance moms increased, that is when the real hard work started. I first equipped myself with knowledge and skills and then taught them online on my own. Until I decided to get help from freelancers and experts in specific skills.
The community continued to flourish. We got really good feedback and words travelled fast. The next thing I knew, we already have over 182,000 community members and we have moms from different parts of the world. I was overwhelmed but really pumped up. That moment, I started to realize that things might really work out if we work even harder. I get inspired every single day to continue to reach more moms and pursue excellence. We cannot stop growing and improving. We need to supply the demand for knowledge and skills. And seeing how your students show off the fruit of their efforts, you will be more and more inspired and driven.
Tell us about that biggest challenge you had to face, which also made you who you are today.
The biggest challenge is definitely the transition from being a corporate employee into a full-time work-at-home mom. It is a combination of emotional, physical, and mental struggles, plus the negative feedback and continuous questions from society was really not helping out. The confusion, the doubt, the worries, the pressure – all of these will cringe your mind over and over again. Then things change when you start to get people to believe you. I gained confidence, I gained the trust of some people, now I am more inspired than ever. I am more excited to help others, and I am more thrilled at every progress we’re making.
Who you need to please is yourself and finding the right track on knowing who you want to be is never easy. If I did not take that risk of leaving all behind and try my luck in the freelancing industry, with my guts and inspiration from my son as my only weapon, and without all those emotional and mental distress I had, I would not be the one I am now.
What was the best advice that you received in terms of marketing and business?
That I should keep on moving because the whole industry moves fast. It keeps me on the run and always excited to think of something new to improve whatever I have built. I was also told to learn how to listen and be open to changes. As they say, there is no point in resisting change because if you don’t adapt – you will only lose. People other than you have different views and opinions that will give you another and different perspective on matters. Listen and learn to discern which is worth saving and which is better to be thrown in thin air.
March is International Women’s Month. What are your plans for FHMoms or for women in general?
We are planning to focus on the basic foundation of an organization. I am talking about policies, systems, procedures and everything we need to keep our startup running. I am more than aware that many moms look up to us and let us be an influence to them, so it is perfect timing to put everything into its rightful place and to have comprehensive procedures for our programs. We are also trying to centralize our processes and create a harmonious work environment for the FHMoms core team.
Another is to grow our community even more; to reach as many moms as we can around the world. We continuously develop projects and programs for our members to accommodate their needs. Lastly, as we inspire women to be empowered, we also want our members to pay it forward to other women too.
When it’s all over, how would you like to be remembered?
I just like people to remember FHMoms – where it all started. Its humble beginnings are proof of what a woman can become through confidence, perseverance. I want them to remember me by helping other people and by lifting each other up. That kindness in the world full of hate, that difference in a world where hope is so little. That kind of legacy, that kind of memory.