IKEA PH’s Grace Leonor Talks About Her Journey As An HR Practitioner
As one of the speakers at the recent She Talks Asia Summit 2023, Grace Leonor, IKEA Philippines Country HR Manager, talked about the importance of being happy in what you do
There’s no better time than now to step forward and speak up, especially when you have the platform to voice out your thoughts and influence people towards a better way. It’s always been the case for IKEA Philippines’ Country HR Manager, Grace Leonor.
As a lady boss with a career experience that spans 27 years, she stands as a model for women in the corporate world. Historically, it hasn’t always been easy for females to climb up the corporate ladder. However, the Philippines as a nation, specifically, is changing and various industries have now become more adaptive and inclusive, seeking the expertise of women in fields known to be dominated by men.
Together with other strong and empowered women in their respective industries, Grace talked about her professional journey to inspire attendees during the recent She Talks Asia Summit 2023, headlining the event’s “Rebuild: Career” segment.
Metro.Style got to sit down with this corporate leader, who generously offered inspiring career insights. “As an HR practitioner, the first order of the day is always understanding the business—where it’s headed then how you would fold it into the people agenda,” she tells us.
Aside from having the right insight, she says having a good bird’s-eye view and clear grasp of the details of operations are the key elements to thrive in a role like hers. And while growth from first-hand experience taught her well, she’s also fortunate to meet role models in the field, pointing out the significance of having a mentor to guide you in becoming the best version of yourself.
“They have been in high positions in corporate which, to me, is something that I looked up to,” Grace says of her mentors. “It wasn’t easy for them. And it really takes years of experience and in a way, battle—if you might call it that—in the table. So you have to show the guts that you can do it and build your credibility.”
Paying it forward, the HR practitioner knows better than to keep her heart only to herself. As a big chess piece in her company, Grace is more than glad to have an opportunity to empower others, especially her fellow females, within their workspace. Working for a company with many female employees, she also takes pride in joining hands with an organization that uplifts people’s lives, no matter how you identify yourself.
“One of my personal accomplishments is to help others thrive in their position,” the career woman states. And Grace does this through seamless operations that she planned herself—after all, human relations is what she does best. From creating projects to having sit-down discussions with their members, she seeks the best practices that ensure a safe and comfortable space for all.
But beyond all the external factors, Grace believes that being motivated and unleashing your best-est self begins from within. “To me, when you say 'women empowerment,' it boils down to you being able to really stand up for yourself. You have to feel confident—in a way that you can stand up for what you see, what you think is right, and be able to freely and bravely put forward yourself as a woman,” she imparts.
Given the major role she plays in IKEA Philippines, it’s amazing to see how she manages it all—juggling her personal responsibilities with work. Her secret, she shares, is all about setting your priorities straight. “It’s just knowing your priorities and where you can contribute more. That’s where you'd be more efficient and productive—when you know where to focus your energy,” Grace smiles.
It's important that you are happy in what you do. Even if the job is not 'happy,' if you are fulfilled and you like doing what you do, you can thrive in your job. Your faith helps you also.
—GRACE LEONOR, IKEA Philippines’ Country HR Manager
Photos courtesy of She Talks Asia