A new book released in the Philippines tackles leadership skills women should develop. 5 Leadership Essentials for Women compiled by Linda Clark (distributed by OMF Literature Inc.) was written by women in leadership roles with fellow women in mind. According to the book, these are the five skills women need to hone: 1. Communication 2. Relationship 3. Time management 4. Group building 5. Conflict management One aspect of good communication is effective listening. To do so, Dr. Harriet Harral, a communications professional and the writer of the chapter on communication, says one should take out the barriers to effective listening: focus on self, wandering mind, leveling (simplifying the message to the point that critical details may be omitted), sharpening (emphasizing some points leaving out other important details), assimilation (shaping messages to confirm our opinions or attitudes), hearing what is expected that your mind is not open, passive listening, and missing the meaning. A relationship, to be healthy, needs three elements, according to psychologist Roberta M. Damon: mutuality, initiative and respect. “On a human level, there is no perfect relationship, but good, solid healthy relationships do exist,” she writes in the relationship chapter. In the chapter on time management, pastor's wife and educator Debbie Lloyd has advice for women who find themselves suffering from the pinball syndrome—when they bounce from task to task leading to unfinished projects: Have a schedule, have a system, and keep it simple. Dr. Judy Hamlin, author and ministry consultant, lists down the attributes of a healthy group and shares “prescription” for groups that want to be healthy. Lastly, Dr. Shirley Schooley, university professor and pastor's wife, takes us through the stages groups go through from forming to performing and imparts strategies on dealing with conflict that may come. Full of tips and examples both from the Bible and from everyday life, the book can be helpful to women in various leadership positions—at work, in business, in church, and in organizational settings.
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FILIPINA nurses, teachers, engineers and singers have long been recognized abroad for being topnotch in their fields wherever they may be. In business, Filipinas are also making their mark, from Josie Natori and Monique Lhuillier in fashion to Loida Nicolas-Lewis, chairman of TLC Beatrice, in business and finance. In Dubai, two Filipinas are making it in the business world. Named Women of Substance by Dubai-based lifestyle magazine Illustrado are: Engr. Mary Jane Alvero Al Mahdi, a Filipina chemist who rose to the position of CEO in a reputed multi-disciplinary testing laboratory in the UAE and the first Filipina awardee in the prestigious Emirates Business Women’s Awards in 2008; and entrepreneur Isabelita Sabado-Warren, creator of Nanay Tuneng, a Filipino brand of condiments. Warren is also an active community volunteer and philanthropist who launched a feeding program in her hometown of Magdalena, Laguna last year. This marks the second year that Illustrado magazine presented the Women of Substance awards to celebrate female empowerment and to be a source of inspiration to the local Filipino community. “This is our way of saying thank you and acknowledging the contributions of our female compatriots to society, and at the same time a vehicle with which to uplift the morale and profile of our community out here,” remarked Lalaine Chu-Benitez, Illustrado publisher and editor-in-chief. “By highlighting the achievements and efforts of our kababayans [compatriots], we wish to drive the message that all of us can make a mark someday if we only put our mind to it.” Aside from Al Mahdi and Warren, the four other Women of Substance awardees honored at the Montgomerie Golf Club in Dubai last April 4 are Lilian Vargas, a senior manager at Dubai Duty Free who started out as shop assistant 24 years ago and now oversees 1,600 employees; Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Gulf Today senior reporter and UAE Filipino Press Club president; nurse Juliet Solas of Al Wasl Maternity Hospital, the only Filipina who has received a Dubai Government Excellence Award; and Clarita de Quiroz Craig, a classically trained pianist, singer, music writer and famous international model. Benitez was quick to point out that this was not a popularity contest. “We actually take pride in showcasing the achievements of real people – real role models, to show that we can be significant despite our ordinary existence today.” Filipinos are really world-class! (Photo: Photo shows from L-R: Women of Substance awardee Juliet Solas; event facilitator Sangeeta Kapoor; awardees Isabel Sabado-Warren, Engr. Mary Jane Alvero Al Mahdi, Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Lilian Vargas, and Clarita de Quiroz Craig; and Illustrado publisher and editor-in-chief Lalaine Chu-Benitez)
FOODIES know that the best cakes can be ordered not from commercial bakeshops, but from little home bakeshops run by young moms, where you need to order a day or two in advance and pick up your order yourself. These are specialty cakes with rich fresh ingredients which can give hotels a run for their money. One such bakeshop is Taza Platito. Owned by Tina Concepcion-Diaz, Taza Platito (which means cup and saucer in Filipino) has been serving up cake orders since 1991 to individuals and corporate clients—caterers and cafes included. After graduating from Ateneo with a degree in communication arts, Tina realized she didn’t see herself entering the broadcasting industry. But one thing she knew was that she liked baking and cooking. And so she enrolled in courses taught by gurus Sylvia Reynoso Gala, Dorothy Ferreira and Heny Sison. After learning the basics, she went on to experiment and made her own product line. She borrowed P5,000 from her dad to buy ingredients and equipment like baking pans and a handheld mixer, used their oven at home, and opened for business out of the family home. From Christmas gift orders from friends and family, Taza Platito’s business grew over the years. “At the start I was doing everything—baking, doing the grocery, delivery, everything,” says Tina. Now she has two people working for her. Tina started supplying pastries and cakes to restaurants in 1993 and from her earnings was able to save up for a bigger oven. Tina got married in 1994 and continued Taza Platito as a home business. “I consider myself a mom foremost than a businesswoman. With my business based at home, I still have time for my son,” she says. In fact, Tina finds time to bring her son to and from school on most days, hold a full-time job as managing editor of Foodie magazine, and still run Taza Platito. She adjusts her schedule when something needs more priority. “You’re not supermom,” says Tina. “The home business is good for moms. It gives as much fulfillment as if you had an outlet as clients call and place orders. But I read about successful businesswomen with outlets. So go with what works for you. Balance your time. Know your priorities,” says Tina. Here are a few more tips from Tina on how mommies can embark on a home-based business and still balance work and family demands: 1. Know what you want and what it is you love to do. Tina says you must look into your hobbies and see if any of these can be turned into something big. “In my case, I like to bake, gather recipes and tinker or change those recipes. It’s a stress buster. If you make your hobby your business, it won’t be a chore to do,” adds Tina. 2. Start small, then work from there. Maybe in the future you can branch out and open an outlet if that seems best for you. 3. Constantly innovate and update. Find what’s new about that hobby of yours. “With wedding cakes, for instance, if you don’t update, you’ll be stuck with old-fashioned designs,” says Tina. In her case, she innovates by using local ingredients such as tablea for her Tsokolate Cake, pastillas de leche for her Pastillas De Leche Cake, and barako coffee for her Caramel Coffee Crunch. Right now she’s working on using healthy local ingredients, such as coconut sugar, for her cakes. 4. Maintain best sellers. Even with new items on the menu, keep the crowd favorites. For Taza Platito, the food for the gods and mango bars are mainstays. 5. Get the word out through your network and through the Internet. What put Taza Platito in the public’s eye was exposure in blog sites such as Dessert Comes First and Shopcrazy. Tina also gives out flyers and is working on launching her Multiply site soon.
AT 50, while other people her age would be at the top of their game in their chosen career, Fil-Am Diana Limjoco ventured into the unknown. It was 1998 then, and web development was something new. But there was something about it that interested Diana since her friend, out of frustration, sat her down and forced her to learn web design from him in two hours. Her friend was frustrated that Diana lacked the interest to exhibit her photographs at art galleries. Diana was a professional photographer then. Since that lesson, Diana was hooked. She first made a website about her family, the Limjocos. Then she made a site for her town, Mt. Shasta in California, pro bono as a form of public service. More websites followed, such as www.batangasnow.com, a website showcasing the beauty of Batangas, her home province. Then in 2002, she went into e-commerce by helping her friend Dave Dewbre sell products online. With Diana’s SEO skills, the site became number 1 in all keyword categories within one week, and generated 1,500 in orders in one day. Today, Diana and Dave run Digital Web Group, Inc. which builds and maintains websites, and provides e-commerce support and web hosting, among other things. They also run successful retail stores and eBay auction stores. They are also establishing a partnership with a Filipino entrepreneur who sells environment-friendly electric motor bikes. Diana is the president and CFO of the company. Diana relocated to the Philippines a few years ago. Last November 7, GoNegosyo named her Most Inspiring Entrepreneur for MicroBusiness for the province of Batangas. The award was given by Batangas governor Vilma Santos and Mayor Dimacuha at ceremonies held at the Batangas Provincial Auditorium. Diana acknowledges that she was a late bloomer in engaging in online entrepreneurship. She is now 60 years old, but is still going strong and successful in her business endeavors. Asked what she can advise young and aspiring entrepreneurs, Diana says: “The best advice I can give is not to give up, and to believe in what you are doing. If you can make money doing something you love, all the better. Get the right team together that you do not have to micromanage to help with your growth. The idea of ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ is perhaps for carpenters, not for trying to grow a sustainable business venture that will last beyond you. If you create an organization and it folds after you are gone, then you have failed to empower people to carry on after you, which is of course my goal in all things I do.” Diana is now in the process of creating a mentor program for the Digital Web Group. This will pave the way for young entrepreneurs online. She also started Powerlinked, a network community for entrepreneurs, to help guide new entrepreneurs in their business journey. Photo above shows Congressman Nicanor Briones, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, and online entrepreneur and GoNegosyo Awardee Diana Limjoco.
TEN years ago, expectant moms had to make do with sailor-collared maternity tops, jeans of their husbands (as they would fit a growing belly) and blah inch-high shoes to go out. If one had a little baby, the mom would have to bring along bottles of milk (whether formula or breast milk expressed at home) since it would be such a hassle to do breast-feeding outside the home. The huge stroller would have to be brought along, since it would be too tiring to carry the baby all the time. But now there’s a whole lot of fashionable maternity clothes out there. Breast-feeding in public is a cinch with nursing bibs that allow babies to nurse discreetly. There’s even a sling moms can wear so they can carry their babies well for long periods of time. And the products for moms and infants have more than doubled over recent years: belly belts (maternity pants extenders), nappy clutches (fashionable diaper bags), breast milk trays (for freezing breast milk), massage oil for babies, parenting magazines, etc. It’s the age of hip parenting. Gen-Xers in their 30s and 40s are very much different from their own parents. They want to be more hands-on in raising their kids but at the same time retain their individuality. And they want only the best for their kids. Just ask young moms Denise Gonzales and Monica Eleazar of Indigo Baby. “We saw there was a need for young moms like us who wanted to embrace parenthood without sacrificing style, and, more importantly, our identities,” they say. Denise and Monica came up with the nappy clutch, a chic diaper bag that can be tucked into a handbag or worn on the wrist. The designs are eye-catching for the fashionista mom: zebra, camouflage, pucci, and Indigo Baby’s trademark combination. It can even be used as a real clutch bag, sans the diaper. They also sell the reversible nursing bib which makes a cool cover for mom and baby when breast-feeding in public. The bib can match one’s clothes. An organic bath and body line completes Indigo Baby’s product line. Jen CC Tan of Next 9 is a firm believer in attachment parenting, which advocates strengthening the bond between parent and child. When her sons were still babies, she used the baby sling (a product she got from abroad) which enabled her to “wear” her baby while moving about. “I had such a great experience wearing my baby. I wanted to share the feeling. Also I felt it was an important attachment parenting tool.” Jen and her partner felt that they can improve on the baby sling and make it suit the Philippine market by using lighter fabrics. They came out with the product, and developed some more, such as colorful cloth diapers and stylish maternity wear. When Janice Villanueva was breast-feeding her eldest, Coby, 11 years ago, she lamented the lack of breast-feeding blouses in the market. “There were a couple of brands of nursingwear available abroad then but it was quite expensive to order online or bring the brands in,” she says. That’s why Janice and her partner designed and produced their own line, Mommy Matters, available in department stores and also by delivery service to new moms who can’t go out yet. From nursingwear, Mommy Matters now carries other products designed to make lives easier for moms: the belly belt, diaper bag converters, nursing covers and breast milk trays. Seeing that moms need information about breast-feeding and parenting too, Mommy Matters is now also into events about these. Janice also publishes Mommy Pages, a free directory for moms for all things parenting-related. Market response, according to Janice, Jen, Denise and Monica, have been really good. But there’s room for more. “While the market we are targeting is a very niche one, moms are a passionate lot, so they love having many options for every single step, stage, task, activity of parenting. The more products and services to choose from, as long as it can help, enhance or compliment her parenting, the better,” says Janice. The McCann Intergenerational Study released last year -- a comprehensive survey which tracked 2,000 urban Filipinos aged 12 to 60 -- revealed that one of the mindsets of the Filipino is his being relationship-centered. Relationships, particularly with family, are top priority. It’s no wonder, then, that parenting products designed to strengthen the bond between parent and child have become a hit in the country.
NEAR THE FAR end of Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City, a new restaurant has been quietly luring diners these past seven months with its authentic Asian cuisine. This is Nasi Lemak, a small cozy restaurant just across the big McDonaldâs outlet with French fries on its roof. Thereâs a queue at lunch and dinner on weekends, and during weekdays at peak hours, the restaurant gets almost full too. And itâs all due to word of mouth, as satisfied customers rave about the tasty dishes, mostly Singaporean, at reasonable prices. Restaurant consultant H.K. Tan, a Singaporean, says they are very particular about the quality of the food they serve, to the point of being paranoid. âWe import ingredients to be assured of consistent quality,â he says. They also donât scrimp on the ingredients to be used in the dishes so as to give customers the real deal. But itâs a true blue Filipina, Cora Lelina, who owns the business with her family. Cora worked in Singapore for 20 years as personal assistant to a paper industry executive. In the course of her work, she would travel to many countries with her boss, exposing her to a lot of cuisine. Since she was based in Singapore, Cora developed a taste for Asian food, and can cook it well. In the end, when her boss passed away last year, Cora decided to come back home to the Philippines. âI have been abroad for half of my life. I went back here to try life here,â she says. And since she has long planned to have a business, Cora invested in the food business in the Philippines upon the advice of her longtime friend, H.K. Tan. Tan has been coming to the Philippines for business for the past 10 to 15 years. He noted that there are many Spanish and Italian restaurants here already. As for Chinese restaurants, most of them use vetsin which isnât really healthy. This is why he advised Cora to go for Singaporean food, and offer other Asian dishes as well, without MSG of course. Popular items on the menu includes Kueh Pai Ti, a sort of fried lumpia with lettuce, turnip, carrots, and prawn on top to be popped in whole in the mouth. Thereâs Hainanese Chicken, a favorite in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong; the lightly spicy Malaysian Sambal Fish, which is crispy outside and tender inside; Japanese Tofu SautÃ©ed with Prawns; Singapore Laksa, a noodle dish with spicy coconut gravy which you can have with either prawns or chicken; and Stir-Fried Kang Kong with Blachan, among others. Of course, thereâs Nasi Lemak, a dish like our binalot, which is rice cooked with pandan and coconut cream. The Onde Onde dessert is like our pichi pichi but with a filling consisting of palm tree nectar. âWe didnât expect this kind of success,â Tan says. Itâs Coraâs first business venture. But theyâre handling it well, putting a premium on customer service. Tan takes the time to train the chefs and educate customers on the dishes and how best to eat them. They also offer delivery service. And thereâs free wifi too. This early, theyâre already looking at opening branches in other locations. (All photos courtesy of Nasi Lemak)
UPDATE: Editor's note: Added video taken by INQUIRER.net business editor Ma. Salve Duplito. Attention to detail, ability to multi-task, tendency to think hard – many times – before taking a big leap, and that thing called women’s intuition. These things have allowed Filipinas for many decades to excel in entrepreneurship. With the changes of the times, women have become more outspoken, assertive and confident. They are more vocal and visible, proving all the more that in the coming years more and more women will be entering the world of business. The Good News Kapihan yesterday in Makati City was bustling with women power. The speakers themselves were the statement. In this video, Elizabeth Lee (left), executive vice president of Universal Motors Corp. and president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, and Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, chairman and president of CibaCapital, explain why more women are going into and becoming successful in entrepreneurship. (BootsGeotina-Garcia and Anj Decena) There was Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, former top SGV “honcho” (in quotes because the word sounds so much like “macho”!) who is now president of Women’s Business Council and holds the title chairman and president of CIBACapital Philippines, Inc. The other speakers were Elizabeth Lee, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and executive vice-president of Universal Motors (and you thought trucks and engines are guy things?), and Anj Decena, glowing in her motherly role, but tough as a businesswoman. Anj started Hotshots (flame-grilled burgers, not KFC) but more importantly has a group called Network For Enterprising Women. Check out my article ‘Chauvinism has been broken’ in business – women’s group. Excerpt below:
MANILA, Philippines -- Women in the Philippines are becoming more and more entrenched in business, successfully navigating the world of golf, cigars and big deals, women business leaders said Wednesday. Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, president of the Women’s Business Council, said higher need for double incomes in many Filipino families would pave the way for this trend to continue. “I think the macho chauvinist has been broken,” Garcia said during the Good News Kapihan at Figaro in Makati City. Filipino families are struggling with a worsening job picture and escalating prices, forcing many women to go abroad for better pay. “Now the women does the work and the husband becomes the houseband,” Garcia said. When overseas Filipino workers come home to their families with some savings, a common decision is to set up their own business because local jobs cannot match their overseas income. Pacita Juan, owner of Figaro, a company in a male-dominated industry, pointed out that husbands don’t seem to mind staying home anymore. Elizabeth Lee, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc., and executive vice-president of Universal Motors Corp. pointed out that 51 percent of entrepreneurs in the Philippines are women. Read more here.51 percent. That’s a pretty amazing figure. Many businesses are also started by women and taken over by their husbands when the businesses grow bigger. It appears that women are good in creation and men are good with expansion. And to think universities like the University of Asia and the Pacific initially allowed only men to enroll in their entrepreneurship courses! There are still big hurdles, though. Philippine banks require husbands’ signatures in loan documents. So middle ages, huh? Family demands are high on the list, too. For women entrepreneurs out there who want more inspiration and enlightenment, go to the Philippine Trade Training Center today for a whole-day seminar on Women to Women Mentoring organized by the WBC. Speakers include the Philippine-born, US-based industrialist Loida Nicholas-Lewis, Citibank Countery Business Manager Nina Aguas, PNB chairperson Flor Tarriela, Universal Motor’s Lee, Sun Microsystems Cynthia Mamon, ABS-CBN’s Maria Ressa and many more. See you!