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Mar 11 20, 2:14 pm

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Empowerment comes from within: See how this Filipina managed to lead giant companies such as Ayala Land, Manila Water and Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc

by | Feature

Mar. 11, 20 | 2:14 pm

Sherisa Nuesa

Many would consider Sherisa Nuesa the fortunate one—being able to hold various senior positions starting at such a young age and being able to penetrate different industries with a global reach.

She was able to clinch highly desired roles that could have landed on a man’s lap, and she received numerous recognitions throughout her career that spanned over three decades.

At an early age of 35, she became a member of the first Senior Management Committee of Ayala Land Inc. in 1989, making her the youngest then in that group. She also became the VP for Commercial Centers, and she also served as the Chief Finance Officer of Manila Water Company and Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.

Aside from that, she was also named the CFO of the Year at ING-FINEX (Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines), the most prestigious CFO award in the country. She was the first and only female executive to have won the award.

She has also co-founded and chaired the advocacy group Judicial Reform Initiative in 2012, which counts in its membership a number of major business organizations in the Philippines, including foreign business chambers. She was also a board member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), the country’s domestic rating body for purposes of overseeing ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecards for publicly listed companies. In addition, she also served on the board of FINEX for several years.

But it’s not luck that put her towards success. She said all of it comes from two things only: hard work and continuous support from her family.

“How I landed in key executive positions is a story of faith and lots of hard work,” she said.

Now at 65, she is still actively engaged in the business world—but on a different angle. After retiring in 2011 as the Managing Director at Ayala Corporation, she now sits on a few corporate and foundation boards, a role she says is what she truly wants post-retirement.

The value of hard work

Her leadership skills are intact, she said, because she remains committed to her values, as well as the hard work that she exerted over the decades.

“A leadership role is always exacting. But I welcomed challenges then, as now. I believed in working hard at every goal, in every post. I try to stay focused on personal and work objectives, and constantly think of ways to achieve desired outcomes. Every day for me has to be productive,” said Nuesa.

She added that in the pursuit success, there will always be obstacles. But to be able to overcome the challenges, one must have personal and professional integrity, diligence at work, and the courage or resilience to handle difficulties.

Nuesa said that these characteristics helped her become confident and strong enough to navigate around tough conditions in the different roles she had assumed.

“A truly empowered woman has courage, self-confidence, and passion – passion for work and her values. She has real determination and a proper amount of boldness, to overcome not just challenges in the home or work environment, but also her own personal weaknesses. She has solid values, builds her reputation around them, and would stand up for what she holds dear,” she said.

Breaking barriers

Nuesa admitted that she experienced a number of gender-related stresses in the early years of her career. She had been through uncomfortable situations including “unethical passes,” and she had become the subject of gossip and jealousy in the workplace.

“I think I managed to handle well every single unpleasant incident and somehow protect work relationships. I guess I have built a solid reputation, and I always had the guts to say no,” she said.

She added that gender bias still exists, albeit unconsciously, which is why she believes there should be a deliberate effort to discuss issues openly, promote gender equity, and actively put women in key positions, based purely on merits.

“I think we can achieve significant leaps in gender equality even without adopting a policy to take affirmative actions, but various organizations have to consciously promote the advocacy,” she said.

For her part, Nuesa said she has successfully recommended women in key positions, as well as advised several women about balancing home and career demands, and about handling gender biases.

She also said that once women realize they can have fulfillment both at home and at work, they can achieve greater heights.

“Among the obstacles cited was the hesitation of women to accept demanding roles outside the home, because of the natural instinct to prioritize the family needs. It will not be easy, but the first step is to want it, and be prepared for certain sacrifices,” she said.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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