Sam Verzosa, the boy wonder of Sampaloc, Manila

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Photo from Sam Verzosa's Instagram account (@samverzosa)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — As Elon Musk would say, "It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."

From humble beginnings, Sam Verzosa, Jr. or SV is now one of the country's top CEOs and business moguls. He was once a simple kid who grew up in the streets of Sampaloc, Manila.

SV's rise as the prominent co-founder of Asia's #1 and multi-awarded health and beauty marketing enterprise, FRONTROW, was a product of grit, courage, and ambition. This is why the self-made entrepreneur now stands to many of us as the embodiment of growing FROM NOTHING TO SOMETHING.

An academic achiever who graduated at the top of his class in Angelicum College from elementary to high school, SV made an early manifestation of being a champion as he won multiple times from the iconic quiz show "Battle of the Brains."

He later on graduated from University of the Philippines Diliman, where he took up Civil Engineering. Even his father would attest that education was a top priority for SV from the get-go. And it is evident that no matter what the circumstances were, SV always gave his 100% focus and dedication to excel in his endeavors.

Now as a successful entrepreneur who's overcome countless challenges in life, SV explains, "Education is one of my main advocacies as it allows people equal opportunity. This is the reason why we mounted the Frontrow E-skwela program to help our students carry on with their studies despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic."

In collaboration with LGUs, the Frontrow E-Skwela program provides facilities and equipment for online learning. The Frontrow E-skwela program provides students from different cities/ provinces free access to the internet, free paper and printing for all their modules during this pandemic. The Frontrow E-skwela program now has a total of 12 schools all over the country.

A true pride and inspiration to his former neighbors in Josefina Street (Sampaloc), there's no doubt that SV's feet remain planted on the ground. In fact, the original Verzosa home remains intact and serves as a memory of SV and his family's journey from humble beginnings to massive success.

Whenever people see SV in various forms of media, the things that come to their attention first are the man's opulent reputation. But beneath those layers of luxury lies an enigmatic persona, a relatable character that's quite contradictory to how people of the upper echelon are portrayed.

If you look closely enough, past all the characters portrayed for the sake of PR, you'll see SV for what he truly is: a natural-born leader with a gentle soul, and a heart sorely dedicated to serving the people, especially those who are in need. In this piece, we'll briefly explore the life of SV and how he became the poster man for the Filipino rags to-riches story.

Photo from Sam Verzosa's Instagram account (@samverzosa)

Early years, forging dreams

As the eldest son of five siblings, he was meant to lead from a very young age. He was also a child of a disciplinarian father and a compassionate mother, which explains the unique set of traits and values that SV possesses.

During this phase in his life, he still did not have the means to live the life of luxury. Coming from a simple family, he had to learn how to get the things he desired by working hard for them. Since then, he already had high aspirations for what he wanted to achieve and the life he wanted to live when he grew up. At a fairly young age, he already knew how to set his goals seriously and act on them. This trait would set him up for further heights later on in life.

Photo from Sam Verzosa's Instagram account (@samverzosa)

Discovering selling and marketing

Although SV already had an engineering degree under his belt, he knew that he was an entrepreneur at heart and that was the career that he truly wanted to pursue. While he was studying, he found countless ways to earn money just by himself through various side hustles. While he was preparing for his board exams, he encountered the industry of Direct Selling and multi-level marketing. Immediately, he became inspired by the business model, being able to earn decent money while providing income-generating opportunities to other people. He then decided to go full-time as an entrepreneur. Initially, his father disapproved of the idea, but after seeing his son pour his dedication and passion into the venture, and seeing that he really did excel at it, his father expressed his full support later on.

It was during this time that he met RS Francisco, a colleague at the Direct Selling company they were working for. The two were the top sellers at the firm and made them earn more than they expected to. However, counter-efficient policies, as well as poor management, led the company to its closure. This gave SV and RS the idea to start their own Direct Selling and MLM company, but this time, they'd make it right; the company would focus on enriching the lives of its members and would advocate for financial freedom and literacy to cultivate an entrepreneurial community. And with this idea, Frontrow International was born.

"Frontrow gives more opportunities among Filipinos," SV boasts. "This is what I really want in life, to give more opportunities to our kababayans. It's very fulfilling that we are able to create business opportunities with our health and beauty products."

"When RS and I started Frontrow, we made a commitment that we would take the lives of all our business partners to the next level," Verzosa said, recalling the company's early days.

As of the moment, Frontrow has more than 100 branches nationwide, and more than 20 branches across the globe. The company has since produced hundreds of millionaires and has partnered with various brands and personalities as well, most notably Floyd Mayweather, Jessica Sanchez, Momoland, Cha Eun-woo, Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Anne Curtis, Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano and a lot more.

The continued success and growth of FRONTROW has earned him well-deserved recognitions from 2021 Asia Leaders Awards as CEO of the Year and Most Inspiring Entrepreneur.

Photo from Sam Verzosa's Instagram account (@samverzosa)

Living the dream as president of Maserati Philippines

SV has always been known for being the owner of several supercar brands, so it was only a matter of time before the business mogul himself became part of one of the biggest names in the automotive industry. When SV was named President of Maserati Philippines in 2020, he shocked the supercar enthusiast community.

"I cannot express how grateful I am to Maserati for entrusting their prestigious name to us. As President of Maserati Philippines, my goal is for the Trident to be a symbol of inspiration, not just a brand of luxury. Through hard work and dedication, I want people to be inspired to someday own their own Maserati brand."

Photo from Sam Verzosa's Instagram account (@samverzosa)

SV shares his big heart

What does a man who has it all do with his resources? While most spend it on extravagance, some use their abundance to pay it forward and give help to those who need it the most. As for SV, he leans more towards the latter. He does have his own expenditures for the finer things in life, but what makes SV different is that he never forgets to look back to his roots and give back as much as he can. Even before the pandemic, Frontrow has been active in terms of charity work through its foundation arm Frontrow Cares, with activities being held left and right for various charitable institutions. Amazingly, when the pandemic started, the company's charitable efforts quadrupled, in contrast to other companies that were tightening their funds to save their businesses.

"We have been blessed to have an excellent team at Frontrow who helped us adjust accordingly to the new normal. Since then, we've been able to focus our efforts on ensuring that hard-to-reach communities will be given supplies, hospitals will be provided the necessary equipment, and that our partners will maintain confidence in the stability of their source of income," said the recipient of the 2021 American Association of the Philippines’ Philanthropist of the Year, about Frontrow's efforts to help during the pandemic.

"What inspires me the most is the willingness of our partners to help us out in our charity-related activities, when they, too, have their own personal struggles. That made a strong impact on me, and it's one of the things that motivates me every day to continue the noble work that we do, which is to change people's lives for the better. "

He can also be seen distributing all kinds of help and assistance through TV shows like "Tutok to Win," and countless other efforts behind the camera. In recognition of his charity works, the prestigious People Asia Magazine cited him as People of the Year 2022 - Humanitarian Awardee.

Now, living the dream he once had as a child, he continues to find ways to motivate people and lead them to a more comfortable life. He's always got things in store, not just for the Frontrow community, but for his personal endeavors as well.

"I spend my energy on finding new ways to improve myself and the people around me. I believe not everything is about business; we still have endless plans for business growth, of course, but how you can continue to push people beyond their limits to achieve success is always the challenging part. I'm all for it — I believe that this is my purpose in life, with the help and the grace of Almighty."

To know more of SV, click this link.