Filipino Professionals: Dr. Mardy Dizon, Vangie Tadena & Cristille Cabral
See how these Filipino professionals are making a difference in the UAE. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Mardy Dizon, Group Human Resources Manager Vangie Tadena and Content Writer Cristille Cabral share about their interesting careers in the Emirates and how as Overseas Filipinos, they have transcended challenges to pour our their talent and positive energy into the work they love.
Clinical Psychologist – Cambridge Center Consulting and Training of Family
Professor of Psychology – American University of Ras Al Khaimah
RAK – UAE
Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the prestigious American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Mardy Dizon exemplifies the Overseas Filipino who will never give up on his dream, working through tough challenges, to do the work that he loves the most.
I am working as a Clinical Psychologist at Cambridge Center Consulting and Training of Family. I mainly treat children with neurodevelopmental disorders and behavioral problem, as well as adults who suffer from depression, anxiety, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. Through the center, I provide consultations and follow-ups, aiming to reduce distress and improve the psychological well-being of clients. I use psychological methods and research to make positive changes to clients’ lives and recommend various forms of treatment. I work alongside other professionals in multidisciplinary teams in order to deal with complex issues. I am also an adjunct professor of Psychology at the American University Ras Al Khaimah.
My Overseas Filipino (OF) story
Working abroad was not my ambition, really. It was like a spur of the moment decision. Until now I still couldn’t figure out why I decided to leave my stable job back home. The thought came so suddenly – to come here to the UAE to try my luck.
My story is like the typical story of an OF. I got my first job in Dubai as an Operations Manager of one of the restaurants there. At first, I was ecstatic since it was a new experience for me. However, after 3 months, that didn’t work out well so I resigned. Instead of going home, I tried my luck in the other emirates. I found my break in Ras Al Khaimah where I was hired as an Assistant HR Manager in a tourism company. Here, I was given the chance to apply my training in psychology. This eventually led me to work for RAK Hospital and where I served as a Licensed Psychologist for more than 2 years. It was a good experience. It gave me the chance to know and understand the working culture and how to deal with people here in Emirates. In September 2017, I got an offer to be part of American University as a Professor, and in March 2018, I eventually got the opportunity to pursue my passion of serving people who are in need of my expertise. Now, I am currently part of Cambridge Center Consulting and Training of Family, a growing family ready to extend our help.
My typical work day
I start my day by meeting my very supportive staff to remind them of what needs to be done, inform them of important points and attend to their concerns regarding work. I also do regular supervisory visits to our affiliated schools, where therapy is done onsite. And in the afternoon, I report to our main office to do patient assessment and evaluation, as well as to conduct therapy. Apart from that, twice a week, I perform my duty as professor at the university. Despite my busy schedule, I can still afford to spend quality time with my brothers and friends to visit places, go out for a meal, or sometimes just sit in a cozy place to chat over coffee.
My message to Filipino professionals
I just want to say to all Filipinos, especially the OFWs here in UAE to continue to strive for your dreams. It is inevitable to go through struggles in life. And yes, it is true that nothing comes easy. The hurdles that we go through make us better people, they squeeze out the inner capabilities that we never expected we had all along. How we see and react to these challenges also affects how we achieve our goals in life. So, keep the positivity. Attract positivity by seeing the positive side of things and keep believing in yourself that you can make it. Most importantly, never fail to put God first above all else. Have faith in Him.
Group Human Resources Manager – JA Resorts & Hotels
Vangie Camaclang Tadena refers to herself as a “simple probisyana” from Ilocos Sur, with a heart for charity, working and living with her family in Dubai. But her leadership role for one of the most respected international hospitality groups based in Dubai, overseeing over 1,500 employees, is anything but “simple”.
I am the Group Human Resources Manager for JA Resorts & Hotels, an international hospitality company based in Dubai, with over 30 years’ experience in managing and operating resorts and hotels. The group employs over 1,500 people across an inspiring portfolio and is proud of the rich diversity of cultures and nationalities that exist across its properties and we aim to make a positive difference to the environment through our CSR efforts and activities.
Having almost 10 years of progressive career in Human Resources (a total of 16 years in Hospitality) I administer the development and implementation of all Human Resources related strategies and activities and experiences for the group in the following areas – Employee Relations, Staffing and Retention, Benefits design and management, Policy and Procedure development, Recruitment Strategies, Compensation & Benefit, Staff Training and Development, Succession Planning and Staff Housing.
I really love what I do, and I get a real buzz out of seeing people and the organization grow. One downside for me working is some leaders do not perceive HR as being credible or commercial enough. There is a misperception that HR is either there to ‘police’ the organization and stop people doing things, or just offer ‘tea and sympathy’. Well, I can tell you that’s not the case at all! Many of the biggest challenges facing businesses today are people-related. HR can demonstrate real insight into a business and translate the impact of people on the bottom line, increased customer satisfaction, etc.
My typical work day
I typically start early and aim to get to my workspace by 8.30am. I start by planning my day to include morning briefings, appointments with associates, project work, research and drafting policies, speaking to senior leaders and coaching them through solutions and ideas on how to build their own department strategy.
My day can end quite late, or if I have a planned event or networking to attend. However, I always try to get home early to be with my family as my two daughters (Julia 8 yrs old and Daphne 5 yrs old) are waiting for me.
In a typical working week, I’ll spend my time working with a variety of interesting people. The best part of working in HR is the variety of the profession. I love being able to work on diverse projects across a range of sectors – you get to spend time talking and engaging with some amazing people. I also enjoy working with different levels within organizations, from junior teams to the CEO. In these cases, the challenge is to show you’re up to the task in front of both middle managers and customer facing/junior teams.
I’m naturally curious and I interested in finding out how the organization work, what makes it tick, what it is about the culture that’s so effective and asking how they can be better. You learn so much when you go behind the scenes and you really get an insight into a company’s DNA.
My message to Filipino professionals
To all Filipino’s out there, it’s important to look back to wherever you came from. We all have our mission and plan in life, and whatever that is, if you have the chance to help someone, do it without waiting for something in return. Be honest, genuine and humble.
With so much happening in the world today, be also encouraged and know that God has the key to open every door, change every situation and open new windows of opportunities. Sometimes, roadblocks are there to lead you unto the path Jesus would have you to go.…but don’t ever give up. Whatever situation you are in, God will make a way, just trust in Him.
Content Writer – Lulu Group International
ABU DHABI – UAE
Cristille Cruz Cabral or Kitchie to her friends thrives in the creative opportunities afforded by her very engaging job with one of the region’s biggest retail players.
A am a Content Writer for LuLu Group International’s Corporate Communications department. My job as a Content Writer has a big scope. When you hear the word Content Writer, you’d think that my job is purely writing press releases, social media captions, or blog write-ups. Instead, it is a complete blend of writing and content creation — my role encompasses from the concept creation from scratch up to the execution of activations in store.
My job has given me the opportunity to enhance my creativity every day with the goal of supporting and improving not only the sales figures of the LuLu’s hypermarket brand but most importantly to provide innovative ideas on how our brand can be part of people’s lives. From writing promotion/campaign names with taglines to mood boards, ideas on marketing activities, SMS announcements, email marketing content, and even writing radio and TV scripts, my writing style has evolved so much and has become more flexible to the approach relevant to the campaign’s target market.
Plus, I also get to work with people who are as passionate as me – very talented people who exert their best efforts to give the best results. For me, I consider this as an integral part of my job, because I get to grow professionally because of the people I work with. I am blessed to have collaborated with brilliant minds who translate my words into something beautiful like artworks or videos.
Another thing that gives me fulfillment is when I see my words realized on screen, or print, or even hearing it on radio and TV. For every Content Writer, I think this is the reward for each effort exerted on writing. It’s like achievement unlocked!
In summary, words become ideas, and ideas become words. This is my motto as a writer.
My typical day
Each day is different in my job. Every day, I get to work with various projects from the companies under our group, not only here in UAE, but also from across the Middle East. I allot the first part of my day to doing social media moderation, wherein I get to interact with customers via LuLu’s social media accounts. Midday, it’s a mix of attending meetings inside and outside the office, and attending press launches, events, and store openings. Thankfully, my job as a Content Writer is not about sitting in front of the computer all day. It is an exciting variety of writing, creating concepts, watching them come to life, and then sipping tea/eating (of course) in between. Interestingly enough, almost all writers are either tea or coffee lovers, I must say!
I am also blessed with the opportunity to travel for work. Last month, we shot the full fashion collection of LuLu in Bangkok, Thailand. For this project, I was tasked with creating the concept boards and the entire execution pegs for each collection. I had the chance to work with great photography and videography teams, stylists, makeup and hair stylists, as well as international models who did an excellent job! We spent a total of three days for the video and photo shoot, working non-stop from 5AM until the moon’s up! Besides the full day of working where adrenalin levels were up and when everyone’s looking great with outfits, despite the complicated weather mood swings, I also enjoyed the delicious Thai food, the spas, and the affordable night market finds! Such an unforgettable experience.
My message to Filipino professionals
My message is simple for Filipinos out there trying to pursue a career here in UAE. Just believe in yourself and do your best in every single thing you do — not only at work but also from home. Because I believe that your attitude at home is a reflection of your character at work. Secondly, make every day an opportunity to be a better version of yourself compared to what you were yesterday. Lastly, be proud and show the world that true-blooded Filipinos are hardworking, talented, and positive, a combination that’s unique to us.