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    Inspiring Women In Leadership Roles: Empowering Others Through Community Building

    Women in leadership positions are paving the way for younger generations to excel in industries and fields that were once dominated by men. Their inspiring career journeys in their respective fields prove that women can achieve anything if they are given the opportunity to develop their skills and the avenue to become decisions-makers.

    At the Women Drive the Future Luncheon held at Manila House Private Club in April, a panel discussion shed light on how women who are presently holding leadership positions are paving the way for younger women to excel even further in various industries. The eye-opening event, hosted by Pilipinas Shell, featured Shell General Manager for External Relations-Asia Pacific Xiaowei Liu, Philippine Daily Inquirer business features editor Tina Dumlao, Opal Portfolio Investments president Ida Tiongson, and TraXion chief executive officer Ann Cuisia.

    Women’s Month may have passed, but there’s no reason not to celebrate excellent women leaders and learn about life lessons they had to share. Here are some insights we’ve gathered from speakers and guests.

     

    Xiaowei Liu (Shell Global Regional Vice President for External Relations)

    “This isn’t just about gender—it’s about the presumptions and assumptions we hold on to. Sadly, this is especially felt by women, since we already have a lot of traditional biases stacked against us. This is why I admire Shell, which has a progressive and inclusive work policy that respects not only women, but all genders. I hope that everyone continues to work together to strike that sweet balance of gender opportunities in the workplace.”

    "I hope that everyone continues to work together to strike that sweet balance
    of gender opportunities in the workplace.”

     

    Ida Tiongson (President of Opal Portfolio Investments Inc. & Institute of Corporate Directors Trustee)

    “Statistics-wise, as we go up the [management] ladder, there are less and less women. So we’re trying to get more women in the boardroom, and a big part of this is building confidence. [It can be summarized] into an acronym, SMALL, which stands for ‘Start them young; Mentorship program; Allow them to make a mistake; and Let them Lead.’ Because when you start them young, you have to build their confidence for them to face the world. That’s what a lot of women are lacking.”

    "When you start them young, you have to build their confidence for them to face the world.
    That’s what a lot of women are lacking.”

     

    Lana Macapagal (Head of Marketing and Business Development, Viber)

    “As a Filipina, we have a softer personality, but I grew up fighting for what I want and I already knew what I wanted. You would have to express yourself better and not be so sensitive. That’s what’s so cool about Viber—you can talk about your opinions, your plans for the Philippines, prove that you can do it and then they’ll support you. So even if it’s so multicultural, just show what you’ve got. Filipino women have the capability to see more than what others can see. So for me, more than the solutions, I see the stories behind it; how it can enable Filipino users.”

    "You would have to express yourself better and not be so sensitive."

     

    Michelle Rubio (SVP and HR Director, Unionbank)

    “You have to convince everybody that we are here for a higher purpose, that we are here to create the future. We need to inspire people. It’s not easy, but we have to try it. There are many initiatives that we can do in our space to help people—whether it’s in skills-building, helping people navigate their career, etc.”

    “We are here for a higher purpose; we are here to create the future. We need to inspire people.”

     

    Emma Imperial (President and CEO, Imperial Homes Group of Companies)

    “The first realization I had was to get out of my shell, because women tend to keep quiet when they accomplish something, for fear of being nagyayabang or that people will get jealous. But if you’re doing something, toot your horn because if you do, all other women will do, and other women will be empowered, too.”

    "If you’re doing something, toot your horn because if you do,
    all other women will do, and other women will be empowered, too.”

     

    Cathy SaldaƱa (Managing Director, ArcoGroup and PDP Architects)

    “There are more women driving the countryside. There are many advocates who have the same mindset [for progress], and the more you know about others like yourself, you have more kakampi. You just need a transfer of knowledge and technology, to be provided the tools that we in Manila enjoy. So we focus on developments that are really truly walking the talk. We put our voices out stronger and louder to say, ‘Listen to me!’ You want to protect the country, and at the very root of this is love—love for yourself, love for your children, for the country—and a woman has that. Not to say that men don’t, but that women can teach that more passionately.”

    "You want to protect the country, and at the very root of this is love—
    love for yourself, love for your children, for the country."

     

    Regina Lejano (Head of Shell’s Women’s Network)

    “I was the sole female Filipina pitching at a start-up tech event; that was a wakeup call, as it showed me that there is so much space and opportunity for us women to get into this industry. I’m just lucky that I married someone who is in technology who respects me as an equal partner, so we get to talk about business and technology.

    It’s so much better now; there’s more inclusion, you see more women start companies in technology. I think one of the reasons why I started women in block chains is because it seems like an overwhelming topic and I realized that a lot of women are interested and clamoring to learn more. But they hesitate because they feel they have to know more before they dabble or converse more with other people. Women tend to feel that they need a safe space where they can talk about topics that are new, that are more technical. We need spaces where we can really bring our full selves—as individuals, as tech people, as moms, as wives—and by putting together these little communities you see women flock towards to these things because they are thirsty for learning. Women helping other women.”

    “Women need a safe space where they can talk about topics that are new, that are more technical.
    We need spaces where we can really bring our full selves.”

     

    Angie De Villa-Lacson (President and CEO, Arthaland)

    “What you do will affect the lives of other people – so do it well.”

     

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