2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray, who is a source of inspiration and hope for many young people, seems to have an answer for everything.

Remember that she stood her ground against online bullying more than once–sadly, the latest incident coming from another beauty queen, who called Catriona “fat” in a social media post.

When Catriona responded, she didn’t make it just about herself. Rather, she took a stand for all Millennials and Gen Z’ers who experienced body-shaming online. She said in her own Instagram post:

“Obviously I stand firmly against any form of bullying and bashing – online and off. It is never, ever okay to put someone down for the sake of ‘expressing your opinion’. With words come power and we should be using those words to build someone up and not pull them down.”

However, Catriona herself admits that, in reality, she still needs help–particularly in financial matters. For such concerns, she found the perfect partner and ally in BDO.

“BDO empowers me with financial options that cater exactly to my immediate and long-term aspirations. Furthermore, I see that BDO goes all out when it comes to giving convenience to its customers. Take their weekend banking services, which I am such a fan of! I know I can always find the right guidance and support from BDO. They truly help me find my way,” explained Catriona.

She added that like other Millennials and Gen Z’ers, she is most effective when collaborating with others. This is why, she explained, her partnership with BDO is proving to be very productive.

However, she also noticed that among those in her generation and younger,  there are still two significant steps that can help them achieve their dreams.  These are:

Self-empowerment.  According to Catriona, being connected to one’s friends and peers on social media can be empowering in itself. It can be a source of information and a chance to learn, share, and to make quick, useful connections.

However, as she herself has experienced, social media can also be a source of significant pressure to conform to others’ unrealistic, even unhealthy, expectations. This is why Catriona always sends a message of acceptance online: that we should all recognize, value, and respect individual differences.

“That’s one of the reasons why I was so happy when I was asked to be part of BDO’s Find Your Way campaign. It’s a great honour to be a part of the BDO family. Especially to be part of a brand that aims to empower individuals to make the most out of their lives and to Find Their Way.”

Capitalize on opportunities to learn. Catriona said that all her advocacies involve helping the less fortunate access education and learning, so that they can acquire not just skills but also critical thinking, as well as the capacity to keep on learning–and, consequently, to apply that knowledge to solve problems and help others.

“I’m really passionate about allowing children to reach their potential – especially through the avenue of quality education and equal opportunity. This was mainly shaped by my work with Young Focus Philippines for the last three years and is also why I am passionately working alongside organisations like Smile Train, Education Through Music and others.”

Catriona said that while these two challenges can be formidable, she also believes that partnering with institutions like BDO can help anyone overcome such obstacles.

According to Catriona, she’s experienced for herself how empowering it can be when BDO is on your side.

“BDO made the effort to get to know me, understand me and what I hope to achieve, and then helped tell MY story. It makes me feel that I am truly valued, that my dreams and my hopes truly matter,” said Catriona.

By getting to know her first, BDO was able to help Catriona choose the products and services that would truly be useful to her as a unique individual.

“With the sheer variety of options I was having a hard time telling them apart to pick out what I really need. Thanks to the very patient and knowledgeable staff at BDO, I was enlightened on how this and that product or service fits with my goals and dreams. Today, I’m proud to have BDO by my side to help me find my way to creating the life I desire,” she said.

Deeply personal

For Catriona, the partnership she found with BDO resonates on a personal level. With all the struggle, pain, and disappointments she had to go through on her journey to victory as Miss Universe, she highly values authenticity, empowerment, and the chance to find ways to pursue and achieve one’s dreams.

“The Find Your Way campaign by BDO is so deeply personal and is so ‘me’.  I’m so honoured that BDO saw the journey as a way of empowering other people; sharing the ups and downs;  and the pursuit of a dream above all else. Its ‘Catriona’ – it’s me.

She said that partners such as BDO can be catalysts for positive change in society, especially when they work with other passionate young people who have the same values, energy, and drive.

“With BDO, I’ve learned and affirmed how important it is to trust in the journey, surround yourself with people who believe in you; to believe in yourself, to work hard and have faith,” she said, speaking like a true queen.

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