Sarah WestonThis month, LopezLink begins the series entitled “The New Values Vanguards.” The objective of this series is in line with the concept of how the Lopez companies are built to last—and how it will be done starts with knowing the successors of the current third generation who may or may not lead the Lopez companies in the future.
Who are the fourth generation? How were they brought up? Are their values in sync with their elders?
The series debuts with the eldest fourth-generation Lopez—Sarah Nicole “Nikki” Lopez, 39, popularly known as Sarah Weston. She is the eldest daughter of ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III and eldest granddaughter of Eugenio Lopez Jr. (ELJ). She is a senior Kabbalah teacher and her husband Marcus is director of the Kabbalah Centre London.
In a newspaper interview, Sarah described how she enjoyed Tuesday night dinners with her grandfather and the strong Lopez family ties.
She graduated from International School then studied political science at Williams College in Massachusetts, “hoping to work in the United Nations. Instead, she ended up on Wall Street working for ING Barings, ABN Amro and Burlington Capital Market. Despite her earnings as a licensed trader, she became restless and disillusioned by society’s intense materialism.”
Feeling empty, she started questioning life and later joined the Kabbalah which is not a religion but “provides a set of spiritual laws that apply to every soul regardless of religion, sexuality or nationality. It also teaches how to be less egoistic, to appreciate one’s blessings, to show care and honor another person’s dignity—changing the world one person at a time."
There is a Kabbalah Centre Philippines in Makati. (Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer, kabbalah.com)
Can you share something of your educational background and whatever training you have undertaken?
I remember always studying hard to be at the top of my class and sought out the most selective universities, eventually majoring in political science at Williams College. After tasting a career in investment banking in New York, I felt my aspirations, to affect positive change in the world, were better placed in education and empowerment. Hence my current path as a teacher and leader within the Kabbalah Centre.
What Lopez Values would you say you are practicing?
My family exemplifies the thought “What can I do for my country?” and I feel this responsibility running through my veins.
To pioneer study groups, to positively influence the country’s values-based leadership, to support and empower its underprivileged communities, to lift the consciousness of all people in my country, has become my unique way, with all the education tools of Kabbalah, to give back and contribute.
Kabbalah became a study path that, for me, totally embodies my family’s values—personal responsibility, community consciousness and global leadership.
To have built one of the most successful groups in the world, crafting a spiritual unity within the most diverse of peoples, I’m sure owes much to my family culture, business excellence and education.
Who among your family elders has influenced you the most?
I’ve been most starkly influenced by my father and grandfather.
As a child, my father would tell bedtime stories of my grandfather’s fight for freedom. Of how he risked everything for all he loved and believed in. That to do what is right embraces the strength to make unpopular decisions and personal discomfort. That no matter how the world might have wronged him, my grandfather never held a grudge. He was a true creator.
Stepping into those shoes would dwarf most people. My father is the only man I know who could have surpassed even my grandfather’s expectations. A man of total responsibility, growing and learning from every challenge. A true patriarch with the broadest of shoulders to work incessantly for his country without losing the intimacy and sensitivity for individuals and most of all, us, his family.
Seeing firsthand how my grandfather and father have sculpted their lives, to this day, gives me strength to forge my own path, to further their work in my unique way.
What advice would you give your younger cousins regarding how to live up to the Lopez Values so that the companies can be built to last?
Be busy with what can you give. How can you contribute?
How can you add genuine value? If all of us are able to identify our unique talents and stand united in the consciousness of giving, we can create something that will stand for generations.
Money holds great responsibility, but within purpose lies true power. Our capacity to build our purpose together, unified for the Filipino, excites and inspires me.
I feel this is the delicate fabric we wear that our forefathers have spent generations building. And weave it stronger we must.
And if you feel a little lost or daunted, you can always get some advice from your spiritual older cousin. ;)
Any other words of wisdom that you’d like to share?
My father often tells me that we don’t run our companies like regular private companies. They are run more like public companies—to use what we have to benefit others’ lives. This consciousness, the blessing of prioritizing others, is what draws abundance. (Story/Photo by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)