23 Nov 2023

DFK member honoured with prestigious international award

Jill Santos, CEO and founder of DFK member firm Jill Santos & Co., was honoured with a prestigious IWEC Award by the IWEC Foundation in Turin, Italy on November 6, 2023.

A DFK member from the Philippines who grew her small business into a globally-recognised accounting firm has been presented with an international award in recognition of her achievements as well as her inspirational work mentoring young women.

The IWEC Foundation is an international economic empowerment programme for women which is designed to develop a global network for successful female business owners.

Jill was presented with the award, which recognises women who have achieved the highest standards in business, at the foundation’s 16th annual conference.

Jill founded JSC & Co in Cagayan de Oro in 2009 and went on to expand the firm, opening three more offices in Davao City, Cebu City and Bonifacio Global City.

In 2017 she grew the firm’s reach by engaging in global work, becoming the Filipino member firm of international organisations including DFK International and IC & Partners.

Jill also prides herself on inspiring and supporting young people, something which saw her launch the Each One Teach One Foundation in 2013 alongside her daughter Scarlette Nicole, who was just 10 years old at the time and is now a sophomore student at New York University.

The foundation helps fund college places for high school graduates from low-income backgrounds in Cagayan de Oro as well as providing mentoring to girls as young as 12, supporting them to progress in their education.

One of the foundation’s key achievements was during the pandemic, when it worked to deliver a programme of online activities to an online community of around 300 young people, providing a space which promoted positive mental health where participants could socialise and develop.

Four of those who were awarded a college scholarship through the foundation have now graduated and successfully applied for jobs at Jill Santos & Co.

Jill is a member of the DFK APAC Executive Committee, was last year’s national president of the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Public Practice (ACPAPP) and national vice president of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), is part of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Professional Accountancy Organization Development and Advisory Group and has recently been appointed as member of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Council (AASC) in the Philippines.

She said: “I’m honoured to be given such a prestigious award in recognition of my work.

“It’s not something I had heard of until a chance conversation with a gentleman I was sat next to at a train station in Italy where I was visiting on business in July.

“Although I didn’t know this at first, he was a Pakistani businessman and an officer of the International Chamber of Commerce, and he said I have all the qualifications to be nominated for the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award.

“The IWEC Foundation is a prestigious organisation and I’m delighted to become an awardee and join a network of female CEOs around the world where I can share ideas, expand my connections and grow my business further.”