A Filipino Shines in Sydney

by Renelaine Bontol Pfister

Marites Idea Novis was nominated by the Philippine Community Council of New South Wales to be this year’s recipient for the Filipino-Australian Achiever Award. This award is conferred by The Filipino Communities Council of Australia, and the ceremony will be held on October 20 at Parliament House in Canberra.

This is not Novis’ first award. In 2020, she was named Business Person of the Year by the Local Business Awards sponsored by Blacktown City Council. Qfirst Property Investment Group, which Novis founded, was also named Outstanding Real Estate Agency that same year. Top 100 Women, an online platform for women in construction, named her one of the 2020 Most Successful Women in Construction.

This year, Novis and her company have once again been nominated for the same awards by the Local Business Awards. Moreover, Qfirst Property Investment Group was nominated for the Australian Business Champion Awards among 3,000 entries.

Local Business Awards follow a rigorous process in selecting their awardees, including anonymous visits to the place of business by a judge and evaluating their customer service based on specific guidelines. They review the information provided by the candidate, such as their business history, marketing and staff training.

How did she get to this stage?

Born in Tayabas, Quezon, Philippines with three siblings and raised by hardworking parents, Novis credits her supportive family and a nurturing environment as the foundation of good values.

She attended Far Eastern University and started as an entrepreneur in Lucena City, where she founded Quezon First Engineering in 2000 at age 29 where they offer services to the general construction industry. She built up and expanded the company to neighboring cities in Quezon.

She and her husband Gerard, an engineer, decided to move to Sydney, Australia with their three children in 2008,

In 2008, Novis and her husband Gerard, an engineer, moved to Sydney, Australia with their three children. In 2017, Novis established Qfirst Property Investment Group.

Her goal has always been client-centered: she wants to help her clients find their dream house and build their financial portfolios. Helping others is what motivates her daily.

One would think that the demands of one successful business such as QFirst Property Investment Group is enough for one woman to handle, but Novis’ passion and interests are varied and wide.

She founded MFN Productions in 2018, which sponsors fashion shows such as one featuring Filipino designer Rocky Gathercole, whose creations have been celebrated by Sharon Cuneta and other celebrities.

“The need to capture good times, lock it in as an eternal memory and share it with the people through an artistic lens is the motivation in founding MFN Productions,” Novis shared.

“Aside from this, being a true-blooded Filipino, I wanted to give an international platform to hardworking and talented Filipino artists who deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated internationally.”

Being a proud Filipino, Novis acquired the distribution rights to Filipino fashion labels Plains and Prints and Kamiseta to open a boutique in Westpoint Shopping Centre in Blacktown, Australia.

Her endeavors even go beyond business, as in her support for Destiny Rescue, an organization that aims to protect children from human trafficking. Novis says that we are given a chance to create new paths every single day.

“The day you stop dreaming is the day you stop living life. Surely it will be tough, but the most important thing is we keep going. Trust that no matter how tough the going gets, we will rise above life and come out victorious because we are armed with dreams and prayers.”

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