So what made you come back to UP?
“I’ve been asking myself that question for the past month,” lightly answered Ms. Iryn Y. Balmores, the newly appointed UP Vice President for Planning and Finance (VPPF).
First, what actually happened: With his official takeover of the UP Presidency in February 2023, Atty. Angelo Jimenez tapped seasoned members of past UP administrations and alumni leaders from private sectors alike to become members of his executive team. This included Ms. Iryn Y. Balmores, Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at BasicLogistics Corporation/A 1Move Logistics, Inc., and former Head of Finance for a medium-scale trading and distribution company (2016-2021) and Senior Tax Director at Sycip Gorres Velayo and Co. from 2008-2015.
A proud UP alumna and certified public accountant (CPA), Balmores hopes to use her decades of experience in audit, finance and taxation, including strategic finance, reporting, general accounting and compliance, and mergers and acquisitions by giving back to the University.
Balmores shares the fact that having celebrated a milestone birthday last February, her appointment as UP VP for Planning and Finance came at the perfect time.
“When this possibility of working for the UP System, working for the new administration with UP President Jimenez [came], I thought it was a good time to give back,” she added.
She had a very short stint with government work and accounting back in the early 2000’s. “That was a long time ago and I was very young then,” she recalled. So now, this new role with the University, while outside of her comfort zone, is a welcome challenge.
Coming into the office, she hints at issues that are yet to be resolved but that don’t dim her excitement for the job at hand. “It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise—ang boring kung walang ganoon,” she said.
Being thrust into a new environment, together with new people and new working cultures, makes this job even more thrilling for her. And acknowledging that her responsibilities as University Vice President is of public interest makes it even more worthwhile.
Fresh pair of eyes
Balmores describes herself as an outsider coming into the position, a balikbayan returning home to her roots. It’s been years since she graduated from UP, but coupled with her extensive years in private practice, medium-scale trading, and in professional services firms, she hopes these will prove useful in making sure that all the projects and plans for the University will come into fruition.
“My wish here is to be a partner for each and all the other departments [of the] UP community as a whole. ‘How can I make your life simpler? How can I make your life better? What do you need from us, so that all these things that you need from a financial service point of view will be completed at the most efficient and most effective way?’” she explains.
More than that, she is also the only female in President Jimenez’s executive team. “I would like to believe that I am here not because I am a woman, but just like my colleagues in the ExeComm, it is because of our respective competence and experience on the job and ultimately what we can contribute to the University. However, having said that, I fully support empowering more women to become leaders and increased women representation in the C-Suite because diverse talents and perspectives encourage creativity and make an organization better,” she added.
Putting a premium on the cycle of mentorship
Apart from the usual tasks as Vice President for Planning and Finance, Balmores also aims to instill a cycle of mentorship within her team.
“I want also to focus on training and development for our own people in finance, in budget, and accounting because sometimes, baka hindi natutuunan ng pansin; so at the same time, I also told my units to start training and looking out for the next in line kasi nga being stewards, sandali lang eh. After a few years, wala na naman; so we really need to make sure that the institutional knowledge, the skills are there, tuloy-tuloy,” she explained.
With this practice, she hopes to leave the office, the constituents, and the University, in capable hands even after her term.
Same but different
UP and its people have changed throughout the years. There have been a lot of renovations since VP Iryn’s time, but the overall sense of pride, enthusiasm, and excellence remains the same.
Expect her term, along with the executive team’s vision of pushing the University to be more globally oriented, to be innovative but prudent, efficient, and transparent.
“To my team and to the UP community and to my colleagues also in the administration, I’m happy to be here and I am looking forward to working hard with all of you so we can accomplish, achieve our vision for the University so that we support the mission of the University, as far as teaching and learning and research, is concerned,” she concluded.
You may reach VP Iryn via email, text or call, or find her along the Academic Oval enjoying a stick of fish balls or two.