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Fascinating Women: Denice Sy-Munez of Ever Bilena

The CSMO of Ever Bilena talks about empowering herself by empowering other women

To empower others, it’s vital to be empowered yourself. But it also goes the other way around: When you empower others—especially other women—you empower yourself. Such is the case, after all, for Ever Bilena’s CSMO, Denice Sy-Munez. 

Since graduating from the University of California–Berkeley and taking the reins in their family business, she’s made it a point to prioritize her employees and their well-being, while balancing motherhood, her personal life, and her career. It’s no easy feat, especially during a pandemic, but Denice makes it work. 

Like many other industries, cosmetics and beauty took a nose-dive when COVID-19 began to rage across the world. Less people found the need to buy and splurge on makeup, especially since we’re all wearing makeup-obscuring face masks and face shields. But Ever Bilena’s success in its recent anniversary sale is proof of its staying power in the business. 

“We’ve actually been offering very generous discounts and markdowns because we want to give customers a reason to buy makeup again,” Denice tells us. “That’s what actually touched our heart the most during this anniversary sale: We saw how many women actually went out of their way to shop in the stores,” she continues. 

“Just to see everyone light up and have a reason to buy makeup again was more than enough reason for us to really decide that, ‘Hey, even though this is a palugi sale, it’s really worth it to see how we were able to celebrate with so many women amid the pandemic for our anniversary.’”

But it’s not just the customers that matter to Denice: to her, it’s just as important—if not more—to take care of her employees and their welfare. As situations and circumstances continue to be tight because of the pandemic, Denice has been able to extend a helping hand to her employees through Hello Glow’s direct selling business model. 

“It’s astonishing to me how Hello Glow has touched so many. We also gave away reseller packages to our employees in May last year when we saw that COVID wasn’t getting any better. My dad wanted to help at least provide some sort of ayuda for our employees,” Denice explains. “We had some beauty consultants who actually resigned because they became full-time online resellers.” 

 “When we see these things,” Denice continues, “we feel like that means we’re doing something right when we’re seeing people’s lives improve. I get goosebumps sometimes when I think about it. It amazes me how much a woman is able to grow something out of nothing.”

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As a businesswoman and self-proclaimed workaholic, Denice is motivated by her employees who continue to do well and soar with the help of their company. “I think that puts me in such a blessed and privileged role to be in a position to not only inspire customers through our products, but also really provide livelihood through our direct selling partners and our employees,” Denice says. 

At the core of it all, giving back is what matters the most to Denice, and it shows in all the work she does. But being a businesswoman is just one side of her identity. She’s also a happy mom and wife, and feels blessed to have an understanding husband and be surrounded with a community. 

“I am very blessed to be surrounded by supportive people who don’t require me to fulfill very traditional roles,” she says. “Although as a mom and a wife, we have responsibilities or obligations for our spouses, for our children, and our family. But for me, at least they’re not demanding and they’re very understanding.”

As a woman navigating the world, and especially the workplace, Denice is no stranger to the joys—as well as the difficulties—that come with being an empowered woman. She shares that she’s received not-so-nice comments that would hurt her, but the key there is not dwelling on it. 

“Now,” she reflects, “I think I’m stronger. I’m able to determine whether something should reduce my value as a person, or whether what happens to me or whatever is communicated to me reflects more on someone else. And so I think that understanding helps  me become a better woman in general as well, and not so swayed or bothered when these kinds of unfortunate inconveniences happen.”

Like many of us, Denice also looks up to and admires strong women—one of which is Robina Gokongwei-Pe. “I love her so much,” Denice smiles. “She’s a very powerful businesswoman. She’s assertive, but also very considerate of her team. She’s someone I’d like to become because she’s so accomplished yet so grounded.”

“I see how she communicates with her team,” she continues. “How she’s able to recognize everyone’s efforts and recognize their contributions while still leading them properly. I think that’s a feat a lot of women have, but personally, that’s something I witnessed from Auntie Robina.”

As she continues to navigate life in this new normal, Denice has also gathered plenty of realizations for herself. “You really realize how short life is,” she says. “You also realize how all the numbers we were looking at before wasn’t that important after all. And then the more important things were actually the people in the company and the people you’re surrounded with. Because you don’t know [how much time you have with them you really start] appreciating the time you have with people around you,” she ends. 

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Lead photo from @denicesy