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Meet Our Filipina Leaders Who Are Reaching Greater Heights

Published on March 25, 2022

These women are also breaking grounds in fields that are usually male-dominated.
Alorica Filipina leaders photo featuring A. Garcia, S.M. Salva, M. Ong and G. Taeza.

From left: Alex Garcia, VP of IT; Sarah Marie Salva, Regional Director of Facilities and Real Estate; Atty. Mikee Ong, VP and Associate General Counsel; and Grace Taeza, VP of Finance Operations

This article originally appeared on https://business.inquirer.net. To read the full article go to https://bit.ly/3iyhKRF

Women continue to prove that they can lead and succeed in their chosen field. Studies have shown that gender diversity in companies can boost productivity and profitability. For this year’s Women’s Month celebration, organizations around the world are consciously making an effort to break biases that hinder women from advancing in their careers, and in other endeavors they pursue.

In recent years, the Philippines has served as a model to the rest of the world for fostering an environment where women can have a voice, make critical decisions, and hold positions of influence. In many market studies, the country continues to rank highly for women in corporate leadership roles. According to Grant Thornton’s annual Women in Business report, Filipinas holding senior positions in mid-market businesses reached 48% in 2020, surpassing the 30% minimum representation threshold. This is a great achievement amid COVID-19 greatly affecting local and international economies. This is also the result of the tireless efforts of female leaders in proving they too can significantly impact the overall value of businesses.

As the largest private employer in the country, the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry  has great potential to put women in leadership roles; currently women make up 55% of the BPO workforce in the Philippines. Alorica Inc., the 2021 Gold Stevie award winner for Employer of the Year, continues to drive programs that empower women and provide more opportunities for them to ascend, especially in fields where men are generally seen to dominate.

The company’s Women’s Initiative was launched in March 2018 to further enhance its culture of diversity and serve as an interactive forum for women to discuss and solve for diversity-related issues in the workplace. Additionally, with more than 61% of its global workforce comprised of women, Alorica was recently recognized by Comparably as a Best Company for Diversity and a Best Company for Women. 

Strong Filipina leaders paving the way in the BPO industry 

 Alorica’s Asia-Pacific (APAC) Senior Leadership Team serves as a testament that women are seen as equals in the corporate world. Alex Garcia (Vice President of Information Technology), Grace Taeza (Vice President of Finance Operations), Atty. Mikee Ong (Vice President and Associate General Counsel), and Sarah Marie Salva (Regional Director of Facilities and Real Estate) have all earned their place in their respective fields where men often take the helm. To their credit, they each have worked their way up to lead successful large-scale projects or policy improvement initiatives, and they have undoubtedly represented the region well in terms of competence and performance excellence.  

Overcoming biases and representing women professionals  

 Garcia, who has been working in IT for over 20 years, knows first-hand that rising up in her chosen field did not come easy.  “I was always challenged in each and every meeting, both internally and externally, regardless of what organization or industry I was in. I had to constantly exert 200% effort in learning and understanding the technicalities of whatever IT discipline that I was with, so I could confidently, with firm and strong delivery, answer the hardcore technical questions being thrown at me on a daily basis,” she said. 

Taeza also shares this experience, also having worked in the world’s leading tech companies for decades. “Confidence is our greatest asset. Will is power and it has no gender,” she shares. “It is no longer true that women don’t have a voice and are less heard. In whatever field, we can make our voice louder and louder until we are understood. Like men, we keep on pushing, we move with accuracy and speed and make things done. Equality should be creating the same opportunities between 2 or more competent individuals regardless of gender.”

For her part, Salva has also shown that women can be a driving force at the negotiating table. She looks after multiple real estate contracts, and she has proven that gender should not be the measure of the quality of one’s work. “Things like attention to detail, being firm, assertive, yet still respectful are what matter more,” she said, “and over time, people listen to you because of your track record, and it will be just incidental that you happen to be a woman.” 

Atty. Ong has also set an example in changing the game and proving doubters wrong. “Women leadership is often challenged on the basis of being allegedly weak, because we are seen as emotional, more empathetic, but I’d like to argue that these are the very same traits that make us great leaders,” Atty. Ong said. “As women, we should leverage our innate instinct to nurture and protect those placed in our care to catapult our team into collective greatness. Our inherent traits that are key to managing households and holding our families together even in challenging times are the same ones that are critical in creating and maintaining well-oiled organizations.”

Alorica, through its Women’s Initiative, has already made a strong case in fostering an inclusive environment and a strong culture of diversity and empowerment, so women employees can maximize their overall potential. “Thankfully, Alorica is an organization that provides equal opportunity, regardless of gender,” Garcia said. And with the company’s projected expansion in 2022, there will be more opportunities for women to join and flourish in their careers.

Whether it’s in BPO or in any other industry, women are highly capable leaders when given the right tools and opportunities to learn and grow. This can be achieved through collective efforts to push for inclusive strategies that ensure equal and just outcomes for women, as well as men. As Atty. Ong aptly declared: “Leadership is a team sport – the success of one is the success of all.”

Over the past year, Alorica Philippines’ employee headcount increased by 30%, and the company continues grow its nationwide presence and hire for roles spanning customer experience operations and corporate support functions. To find out more about our job opportunities or join our talent network, visit our career page at https://www.alorica.com/careers/philippines/

 

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Alorica Inc. (“Alorica”) is the holding company of various direct and indirect subsidiaries, including Systems & Services Technologies, Inc. (SST). Many of Alorica Inc.’s subsidiaries operate under the brand, Alorica, but all remain separate legal entities.