Have you been wondering how successful people ever made it? What went behind their accomplishments?
If you’re determined to move forward in your career, grab some drink and sit back because I’ll run you through the steps taken by those who’ve done it.
PS: Bookmark this or pin it on Pinterest so you can read later on!
The summit consisted of talks from powerful female personas who are highly regarded in their respective fields.
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What better way to get an insider’s guide to success than from the people who’ve been there?
I want to share with you the stories I’ve gathered from Asia Women’s Summit 2016 so we can all master the tips of these successful women.
1. Take Failure As An Investment
Rosario Cajucom-Bradbury is one of the most poignant speakers that stood out to me. She was the former CEO and Managing Director of SGS Far East, one of the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company with headquarters in Switzerland.
What’s so strikingly admirable about Rosario was how she grew amidst the challenges.
She started as a telephone operator in SGS for 30 years before becoming its CEO.
By the time she had her executive position, she experienced depression after her personal life and career plunked in the grey that she had the urge to quit everything outright. It’s tough: being a CEO to look up to while holding composure as your life falls apart is unimaginable.
But what Rosario did that really got her back on track, was that she sought help when pulling through has become a daily struggle.
But what Rosario did that really got her back on track, was that she sought help when pulling through has become a daily struggle.
According to her, that dark period allowed her to revisit her goals in life and to not give up on her career. Talking to her psychiatrist helped her to see things clearly.
To this day, she has made it a mantra that quality life equals quality relationships and she’s been family-centric since. Rosario was even proud to show the lovely poems that inspired her written by her son. It’s amazing how such wisdom can emanate from children.
I had the chance to partake in the Q&A and I stood up among the 50+ attendees to ask her, “With regards to stigma of depression in the Philippines, as a CEO how did you steer clear of this and come up with a solution to overcome it?”
1. Recognize your problem and seek help.
2. Follow your instincts. Your body knows when to tackle full charge or to wind down.
3. Exercise. It helps keep you preoccupied to keep the dark clouds at bay.
4. Have courage to seize opportunity when you see it.
5. Live life and be present. There are 3 things you cannot take back: time, opportunity and words.
2. Challenge yourself & your limits
The next speaker was Suzie Mitchell, DHL Philippines’ Country Managing Director. Suzie oversees one of the largest logistics solutions in Philippines, and has previously handled positions in other global companies.
Sounds grand isn’t it?
But it wasn’t when Suzie was a child. Who would have thought that a country girl who grew up in far-off Australia would soon handle an international brand like DHL?
She had to overcome several biases.
- First, she was a woman. In her line of industry, males are dominant and this has made future situations like promotions more challenging.
- She also had to prove herself, because she came from the province and was so naive with the world at large.
- During her college years, she was the only female in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering.
But that did not stop her from becoming her best.
After graduation, she moved to Melbourne to start her life. She was on her own with no support from her parents. She landed jobs that moved her to different countries. To Suzie, she was just saying yes to all these good opportunities before her, while her parents want her to finally settle down.
She worked with Caterpillar, and in 2006, when they asked her if she would go to Shanghai (even though she doesn’t know what or where Shanghai was), she said yes again.
After her stint with Caterpillar, Suzie moved to Singapore where Microsoft hired her. They wanted her to work with pipes (which basically meant pulling all information from her college years and previous jobs again) and she did not want to deal with that. She wanted to learn something new.
Suzie had no idea what the work in Microsoft was going to be like, BUT she was observant and had looked at how sales executives perform around her.
Her get-go, learning attitude landed her in a position where she acquired new skills that eventually launched her to DHL Philippines.
“Early challenges are good,” Mitchell says.
She had experienced them early on that it has already prepared her for the big leagues.
Suzie’s notes: Be pro-active and be observant. Say yes and figure out things along the way. You can definitely learn from the people you work with.
3. Small Events Can Lead To Bigger Ones
You know how it is when people say, “99% is all you, but 1% is luck”?
That’s Karen Batungbacal De Venecia.
Karen is the Executive General Manager of QBE Insurance. Not many people know, but she has played a large role in developing Philippines as a global BPO destination.
When Karen was a kid she wanted to do many great things – become a scientist, a lawyer, an astronaut, even a nun. But that’s not what life allowed her to do.
After graduating from Chemical Engineering, she worked in APL as Regional Manager of Logistics for 8 years. She loved the culture and the experience even though this was not her niche, and finally began to accept the knowledge after the big switch.
But just a few months in her 8th year in APL, she wanted to do another thing again. Karen was the type of person who always wanted to grow, therefore it makes sense that she’d long for something else after staying in her current company.
So Karen moved again.
During this time Citibank was looking for a vice president. Karen said she didn’t know that much but she went with her gut and applied. She got the position and trained for 18 months.
Despite not fulfilling her childhood dreams, Karen was directed to several executive positions in various companies that shaped her to become the woman that she is today. She then co-founded the Business Processing Association of the Philippines which serves as an information portal for enabling investors to tap the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry.
She says, “Life is truly a different story. Small events can lead to bigger ones.”
1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Her leap of faith from APL to Citibank molded her professional experience. She also said it helps to carry a sense of humor for the hard times and to take everything with a grain of salt.
2. Work on you. Karen wakes up as early as 5AM to enjoy her “me” time. She also encourages women to find mentors who you can learn from.
3. Learn from the people that surround you. Be pro-active in finding support.
4. Commit to commit. Despite the crazy schedule, Karen makes sure to create basic, sacred covenants. Simply put, these are the ultimatums that you cannot, and will not sacrifice. For Karen, this is her family. As an executive, she doesn’t hold meetings after work nor encourage for staying in the office long past your allotted hours.
5. It’s also important to have the right support structure to help you in committing to your life goals. Karen had her trusted executive assistant to handle all the little things. She said she and her assistant are a “2-in-1 deal” because her assistant enables her to do more. She also reiterated the importance of trusting people to make your work easier, and to bring talented people with you across.
6. Celebrate being a female. Karen says that what women have an edge over men is their employee engagement. Women have the “feel” and intuition to connect better and this turns into converting results.
4. Leave A Legacy
Two speakers, Vicky Garchitorena, a former president of Ayala Foundation and Mylene Abiva, a former president of the Philippines Marketing Association (PMA) and current president and CEO of FELTA Multimedia Inc., have spoken strongly about doing more out of their corporate life.
As most of my blog readers know, I’m very passionate about social and community development, so imagine my eyes gleaming when charitable work was being mentioned in the summit!
Vicky was very active in developing strategic, sustainable and scalable goodwill projects when she was in Ayala Foundation. They basically gave her the “carte blanche” or the freedom to execute her wonderful advocacies.
She urged for the improvement of the education system and also did an integrated development system that provided better relocation to those who needed it such as typhoon victims. This has allowed her to do more NGO (Non Government Organization) work.
“Having a sense of passion outside your corporate life is very important.”
On the other hand, Mylene Abiva from FELTA, believed in the power of the future and the children. Growing up, she witnessed her dad’s business. FELTA is the pioneer in quality educational and training materials distribution, which paved the way to the advancement of the current curriculum in Philippines, particularly robotics.
Abiva says, “having a sense of passion outside your corporate life is very important.” And this is what gave her the push to continue what her father started.
These two admirable women have taken a step further by not just minding their own lives but also touching others’.
So ask yourself today, “what are you working on that’s contributive to society, to the world?”
5. Be Fearless In Taking Risks
Most of the women that I encountered in this summit had to overcome something. A struggle, a fear, a shortcoming.
For example, Mylene Abiva emphasized the power of resilience.
There was one time that in one of her jobs, she experienced harassment from her boss. What she said to her boss floored me: “Do your job or I’ll take your job.”
Which she did, by the way.
Mylene took the challenge as an opportunity to do better.
Other speakers like Carmie De Leon, VP of Sales & Marketing from Healthway Medical had her fair share of challenges. She started as a medical representative and in one time she had to meet a doctor, she got yelled at because this doctor hadn’t taken his lunch.
But Carmie was persistent. She never gave up until the doctor took her brand and became one of the leading prescribed medicines in the field. Her experience and performance was carried on to when she became the head of Healthway Medical.
Carmie says it helps to shake off the negativity in simple matters and replace it with optimism – to focus on the good things rather than to take everything personally. She had her eyes set on her goal. Her contribution in expanding Healthway clinics to what it is now is incredible. Healthway Medical is currently the leading chain of mall clinics in Philippines.
6. Learn How To Rebound Better & Then Empower
Another speaker that touched my heart was Marcelina “Ace” Itchon.
She is the CEO of Aspen Philippines, Bio Oil’s official distributor in the country. Ace is in charge of the nation’s fastest growing pharmaceutical companies and has received awards such as Global FWN 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World 2015.
But before we get to her accomplishments, she was the little girl who loved rainbows. I wanted to tell Ace how I loved her story. One being that my name was a derivative from the Greek myth: Iris was a rainbow goddess and messenger of Hera. And as Ace told her story of how she waded her way out of the darkness, I cannot help but connect with her through the gravity of her struggles.
2014 was a year when she reaped several awards as a leader and a high-performing employee. But in 2015, her life took a steep turn when her husband had a coronary surgery in February. Then in August, her 80-year-old mother was hospitalized.
Those challenging times were the times of rain, according to Ace. There were also threats of company issues, and they all happened one after another. But Ace kept her fiery spirit and willed herself to turn her company into what it is now today. It was also helpful that each of the problem she encountered was solved one at a time.
Like how rainbows are formed, vibrant colors emerged after the storm. Aspen Philippines is now one of the fastest rising pharmaceutical companies locally. Their constant innovation and focus on empowering women is an inspiration for all starting entrepreneurs.
Ace’s notes: Follow the ROYGBIV mantra
R – Rise above the ordinary
O – Offer service and value
Y – Yearn for continual improvement
G – Give back and give some more
B – Be true to yourself
I – It doesn’t matter where you came from
V – Vision to victory is a journey
7. Your Background Isn’t Everything, But Your Work Ethic Is
Irma Cosico, CEO of Aski Global Ltd. in Singapore and Hong Kong, runs one of the largest support organizations for migrant workers. Her company received the Heart for OFWs Company of the Year award and has continuously provided resources to our Filipinos working abroad.
Irma’s story is out of the ordinary.
Growing up in the marginalized sector, she earned her place in school through hard work and scholarships. By the time she was in college, her parents wanted an arranged marriage for her, and later on Irma had kids at a young age. So while still in school, she learned how to be a parent and a good student at the same time.
I had Avis when I was 23 (after college and my first and last corporate job), and I also know the struggles of being a young mother. But Irma handled it better.
She said, “yes I see my colleagues having successes of their own, and was I left behind? Yes, I was. But it was worth it.”
While her career took a backseat, Irma realized a lot of things, one of which is that there are many empowered women but few opportunities. This mindset led her to work as managing director for ABS-CBN Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development in 2008. Through her work with the famous media company, they gave her a scholarship for her Masteral Degree in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management.
Irma’s notes: With determination and a bold mindset, you can achieve what you put your mind into. Everybody has their own timing. If you don’t get your break yet, use the time in between to develop yourself. No great deed goes unrewarded.
8. Do Parenting Efficiently
When asked how they balance parenting and career, these successful women do something pro-active: they ask their children questions.
With busy schedules in tow, they also set discussions and know their children’s demands. Mylene Abiva says for every stage there is a different need. One day your kid won’t be too willing to have you take them to school at eleven, but it is important to be there for them on important events.
Tip: Set expectations and routine so your child expects it. This leads to less disappointments and better clarification if needs are not met on time.
9. Take risks but do your best to ensure success
Another common factor between these successful women is their humble beginnings.
Had Karen not taken the job in APL nor Rosario not applying at SGS as a telephone operator, Suzie not taking that big move across countries, or if any of them gave up on the road to their success, they wouldn’t be there to start with.
Tip: Begin with the end in mind, but do all great things with love and small day to day steps to ensure your plan materializes. Take a job for experience if you lack it, learn if you don’t have that skill, volunteer even when no one asks you to.
The smallest and simplest actionable steps become the greatest stepping stones.
10. Remember your core
As you build your dreams, you are presented with a lot of distractions and other events or circumstances that may warrant your attention.
Nicola Hutton, Human Resources Head of ANZ Philippines shares her top tips for success:
1. Don’t let anyone to tell you you can’t have it all. Recognize your own wants and values, not others want you to do. To do more, outsource other things that can be taken care of.
2. Take the path less traveled. Like in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, take the yellow brick road and make sure you have friends to join you.
3. Set realistic goals. Remember the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound).
4. Remember what makes you get up excited from the bed in the morning. Gravitate towards it.
5. Choose your values, team and mentor. Before taking a job, check your company’s values. Find a mentor you can learn from.
6. Ask for help. Seek it from your boss, peers and even family. Help is given when you are giving it too, so make sure you also add value to others’ growth.
7. Be yourself and keep your values authentic.
8. Take the time to improve yourself. There is always something new to learn. Education is an empire of personal development.
9. Never take yourself too seriously. Laugh at your mishaps and have fun.
11. Take Good Care Of Yourself
Mitzi Borromeo was the last female speaker of the event. She has previously worked with ABS-CBN News Channel, WWF International in Switzerland and UNU-IAS in Japan. Currently, she is news anchor in the recently launched CNN Philippines.
Mitzi grew up in an illustrious family, but her parents separated early on which taught her to look after herself. She stated that in her household, issues were not talked about and this has probably brought out her instinct to tell stories through media.
Her emphasis was on individual wellness and self-worth. I never knew that Mitzi had a personal background so deep. Seeing her on TV, she was well-composed, her personal issues would be out of the question.
She stated that during her journey she constantly had to remind her of her value to keep going. Success sometimes comes with a sacrifice, but it should not be one’s perception of self.
Her talk was capped off with a video that changed my life. It was called Pale Blue Dot.
Mitzi’s notes: No matter what personal challenge you encounter, it is important to thrive well and do an introspection. You have to take care of your well-being to be able to take care of others. This could be your team, your family or people you want to inspire.
I had a great time listening to these exceptional women and their behind-the-scene stories. It takes great heart and spirit to share something so intimate.
The day was filled with so much inspiration and delectable food that it was a little bit sad to have the summit end.
And like Bio Oil, Asia Women’s Summit 2016 was a healing agent meant to rehydrate passion in every woman’s career. No matter what scar or unevenness life had created, these influential names took it as a challenge and succeeded.
Okay, I hope you learned a lot from today’s blog post! If you want more self-development articles, you can head over here to read them. 🙂
What story stood out to you the most? And what challenges are you facing right now?
Tell me in the comments and I’ll do my best to write up a solution for it in my next entry!
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