With the emergence of new Filipinos how are now joining the ranks of highly qualified and skilled individuals worthy of leading multinational companies in the UAE, these Global Filipinos have already stepped up their game to get past stereotypes and be recognized for their proven competence in their respective fields.
At the recently held Philippine Property and Investment Exhibition, three Filipino women leaders shared to the stage their experiences in a panel moderated by New Perspective Media’s Managing Director and co-Founder Dr. Karen Remo, about having to prove their worth as Filipinos and how they have helped shape the image of Filipinos in the eyes of more than 200 nationalities here in the UAE.
Pushing for Neutrality
phd Media Business Unit Director Roxane Negrillo said that over the years of working with people of different demographics, her mindset for leading and dealing with colleagues has pushed for the concept of ‘neutrality’ over the often misguided concept of ‘equality’
“Let’s say when you go to a meeting and you say, oh, I’m the only woman in a board meeting – actually for me I don’t see it that way. I actually strive for neutrality. So rather than talking about equality, talk about neutrality – because neutrality means that – when you apply for a job, it’s not about the case of men versus women, young versus old, Filipinos vs other nationalities, it’s not supposed to be the criteria, it’s about who is the best person who has the best talent to fit the job.
“You have to have the skills, and career experience; ke babae ka, ke lalaki ka – hindi dapat demographic. Dapat neutral talaga. As Global Filipinos, we also have to change our mindset. Very diversified ang team ko and they are actually proud that everyone has equal footing.
Challenging pay gaps
HR Expert and Life Coach Lou Parroco, who began her career in Dubai way back in 1996, shared that the time when Filipinas were domesticated as household help from back then has changed to today’s modern landscape where Filipinas working on leadership roles are now becoming more common. However, the challenge of pay gaps remain not just locked between genders, but more so between nationalities.
“If I’m an HR professional now in an organization that does not have a proper salary structure, I would encourage you my fellow HR professionals to make this as one of your primary, immediate projects. And I think this is one way that we can gradually, not abruptly or immediately give justice to the salary issue not just between genders, but I think the biggest issue here is about nationality.
“Think of this as a challenge upon yourself – to structure this project that if it gets approved by the executive management, that is a project that you’ll be very proud to say that it’s a legacy to benefit not only, not only your colleagues but towards many generations of employees that organization will have.
Fight for what is right
Before Prime Group CEO Mary Jane Alvero Al Mahdi rose through her rank today, she had been consistently harassed by her former boss.
“I had a boss, he was our general manager who thought that Filipinas were only good for housework. He wasn’t doing anything we were only eight (employees) that time. He was harassing me by treating me like household help in our office, when my job was actually as a quality assurance officer. I’d been very patient with the people I’m dealing with.
But that all changed when she finally stood up against her boss and faced her fears head on: “Suddenly nag burst ako and I threw the files in his face – I really faced my fear. Nagulat siya sa akin and I said ‘Doctor, I’m not your servant here. Terminate me from today.’ Because he wouldn’t terminate me and he was just harassing me. Then he called the owner to tell him to terminate me. The owner told him. ‘No, you go, and let Mary Jane sit in your place.’
“The moral of the story is, when you are fighting for something, make sure that is the right thing and you have the right to fight for what you’re fighting for – that’s leadership,” shares Al Mahdi.