Elizabeth "Lizzie" Zobel
Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Eder Zobel is an entrepreneur and socio-civic leader in the Philippines. She is the co-founder, vice president and treasurer of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, a philanthropy devoted to increasing literacy and reading awareness. Ms. Zobel is the wife of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and chief executive officer of Ayala Corporation. They have four children: Mariana, Jaime, Eugenia and Mercedes.
Concurrently she is a trustee of the board of the National Museum and Friendly Care Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing Filipino families with affordable health and family planning services, as well as the founding board member of Museo Pambata, an interactive museum for Filipino children.
She was born in 1965 in Colombia and raised on a the family-owned sugar farm in Cali, the Andes. She was schooled by her parents at home, together with her brother and younger sister. Her parents encouraged her studies in history, science, math and the languages--English, French and German. Later she attended the American School. For her undergraduate studies, she opted to attend the Jesuit-run Boston College, majoring in philosophy.
In 1985 she met the young Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who was studying at nearby Harvard University. The two dated and the following year Jaime Augusto proposed marriage, thus cutting short her plans to pursue a master's degree in philosophy.
She settled in the Philippines in 1986 and in June 1993 she helped set up the Museo Pambata, a children's museum with interactive exhibits that was the dream of Nina Lim-Yuson and Estefania Aldaba-Lim. Mrs. Zobel was its first vice president.
In 1998 she helped organize Friendly Care Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing general health care and family planning services in 6 clinics located throughout the Philippines. Mrs. Zobel believes that family planning is "a powerful instrument for breaking the cycle of poverty."
In 1999 she helped co-found Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, a reading advocacy campaign targeted at public schools.
She explains her interest in philanthropic work, saying "At the end of the day, being able to provide our children with a safe and secure environment to fulfill their dreams and their potential as human beings can be our greatest achievement."
- Kalaw-Tirol, Lorna. "A Life of Commitment" in Town and Country Philippines, September 2007.
- Interview with Lizzie Zobel, featured in Alliance Magazine, June 2006
- Marie Claire Philippines award "Ten Amazing Women of 2006" article http://www.summitmedia.com.ph/news/index.php?type=pr&id=413
- Museo Pambata website http://www.museopambata.org/about.htm] accessed on 28 Dec 2007
- Sa Aklat Sisikat website http://www.readerstransform.com/foundation/history.php] accessed on 28 Dec 2007