Gracious strong woman-A A +A
Sunday, October 13, 2013
EVERYONE (almost) knows her as Ann Olalo but her passport says she is Mariska Martha Narandan Olalo.
It seems her lola on each side chose Mariska and Martha but her mother’s choice was Ann, which is how she is more familiarly known in the hotel industry.
A graduate of AB communication arts, Ann’s first work experience was with Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel where she honed her people-skills, “talking to people of different nationalities and organizing events.”
Then she worked with Philips Electronics, a Dutch company, where she “handled the Cebu regional showroom and its professional accounts of its Professional Products Division that included conference and paging systems, PABX and medical systems.” She was with this company for 10 years and opted for early retirement in 2001 when the company had a global downsizing.
Ann rejoined the hotel industry in 2005 as director of sales and marketing of Cebu City Marriott Hotel. From there she accepted the opportunity to work in Manila, with the Red Planet Hotels as country manager. In one year, she opened Tune Hotels in Angeles, Ermita, Makati and Cebu.
For her it was “a year of growth personally and professionally to open four hotels with a lean and focused team. The adjustment was difficult in the home front as I was flying to Cebu every weekend to be with family and it did take a physical toll even as I was racking up flier miles.” So when the opportunity came to return to Cebu as director of sales and marketing of Radisson Blu, she readily accepted.
Ann says, “The adage ‘no place like home’ sounded sweeter and oh so true!”
She enjoys hotel work because, she explains, there’s never a boring day at work, and no day offers the same experience. One becomes a people-oriented person and also hones one’s business acumen and expands one’s circle of friends. In hotel work, one meets great people and experiences memorable events. She says it is important in the industry to keep “an open mind.”
Her hobbies include reading and her favorite authors are Robin Sharma of The Greatness Guide (“a powerful and practical book that inspires you to reach your highest potential in both your personal and professional life”), and John Maxwell for his leadership books and Martha Stewart for her crafts. The Oprah magazine is also a favorite of hers.
Aside from reading to remove stress, Ann putters in her garden, enjoys chocolate croissant with ice cream and lazy Sundays with family—and above all, counting her many blessings of family, health, friendship and work.
She is married to businessman Alvin Olalo and they have three children: Louis Alfonso and Nina Alessa, both studying in La Salle, Manila; and Sofia Alexa, studying in Sacred Heart School Hijas.
Ann says having a full-time career and being both full-time mother and housewife calls for multi-tasking, a balancing act that is possible because “women are the stronger lot,” which she calls “grace under pressure.” She surely is a gracious “strong” woman.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 13, 2013.