The Filipinos as world-class managers-A A +A
Monday, December 19, 2011
An interview with 2011 Bagong Bayani Awardee for Outstanding Employee, Marco Torres
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III led the awarding of the country's outstanding overseas Filipino workers early this month in fitting ceremonies in Malacanang Palace.
The Bagong Bayani Awards pay tribute to the country's outstanding overseas Filipino workers as the new heroes of our time.
Among the 2011 awardees, one proves that working abroad can be a career choice for Filipinos and not just the only option for a high-paying job.
Marco Torres, an associate director in KRA International, a leading Asia Pacific architecture and design firm, is proof that Filipinos abroad can compete vis-à-vis other foreigners in leading and managing in the workplace.
Marco was walking on air upon receiving the award. "I am real thrilled to receive recognition from my country and do my family, friends and my alma mater, proud. I share this with all of them as well as the rest of the Filipino community in China. With so many gifted and very capable Filipino workers abroad, I am sure many are equally or more deserving. I am just grateful I was selected."
Marco believes Filipinos have what it takes to be world-class leaders and managers. "The Filipino is well-equipped for the global workplace. Aside from our excellent mastery of the English language, being technically adept and multi-talented, we have the right attitude to work harmoniously with people of all nations."
"In my five years living outside the Philippines, I have met many foreigners who speak very highly of the Filipino worker. Filipinos are proactive, take the initiative and are willing to learn. We are also very amiable which makes us great team players. In a world of collaboration and communication, we have what it takes. People are happy to work with us," he added.
"They are also fascinated by our positive energy. We bring sunshine to the workplace. I remember meeting a Korean GM who was once stationed in the Middle East. He shared me this story. One Christmas, instead of being depressed for being away from their families, Filipino workers were merrily singing to a guitar. With nary a drop of alcohol which was prohibited, he was amazed that people could be so in such high spirits. Such is the Filipino worker, he chooses to be happy in any circumstance."
"Fact is, we are not as wealthy as our Asian neighbors. However, our people, both rich and poor, are always able to smile. Our Fareast Asian neighbors are so much more progressive. It is a reality though that there is so much pressure for them at work. These pressures have led to depression, and perhaps, the main reason they have relatively have higher suicide rates. On the other hand, Filipinos may be in dire straits but everyone can still smile. It is this spirit of positivism that we bring in the workplace. One never really realizes how happy and blessed we are as a people until one lives outside."
Marco, who has an MBA from the Ateneo Graduate School and an Architecture degree from the University of Santos Tomas, was a torchbearer during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He arrived in Beijing many years ago with no connections and no Chinese-speaking skills. However, because of his commitment to do a good job, his hard work paid off.
Aside from multiple promotions, he is now his company's global ambassador.
"I am the person they send to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong if we need to meet with top-level clients. In any given day, I meet with Directors of Morgan Stanley or the General Manager of Publicis," he said.
To have a Filipino who is able to stand face-to-face such senior people confidently, we should all be proud of Marco.
"My previous employers have asked me before, 'Do you know of more people like you in the Philippines who can work for us?" As a worker, this to me is the biggest compliment both to me and my country. I hope I can continue to be a good role model for the Filipino worker. In so doing, I can continue to help place others in good positions in the region from Beijing to Shanghai, to Honking and Singapore," he said.
In closing, Marco wishes to be able to use the recognition to achieve a better end for his kababayans.
"In the end, such recognition is only truly meaningful if they can be used for a higher cause. Hence, I hope that I can use it as a tool to inspire others in working together for a better Philippines. After all, I was born in the Philippines for a reason. I am and will always be proud to be Filipino. I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.
The Bagong Bayani awards gives due recognition to the significant efforts of overseas Filipino workers who foster goodwill among people of the world and enhance the image of the Filipino as a competent and responsible worker.
The other 2011 Bagong Bayani awardees include an educator, who helped bring the professional mechanical engineers board exams to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries, seafarers who kept their vessels afloat during Japan's 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, and caregivers who showed "heroism and loyalty" in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (PR)