I’m a full time entrepreneur who started my own boutique marketing agency since 2015. Like any filipino expats who want to make it big abroad, I have a dream and a passion to build a media company that aims to inspire, educate and make an impact on other people’s lives, especially for those who are stuck in their career, lost and don’t know where to start, and for aspiring entrepreneurs who are still on the fence deciding if they should start their own business or quit their own job right away.
Through my platform, “The Drive to Succeed Podcast“, I interview some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, thought leaders, life coaches to public figures in the middle east. And soon, I will turn it into a live event format where my audience can directly interact with and ask questions to my amazing guests.
My typical working day isn’t glamorous as most people think, although some people think that my life is easy because I own my time and have a set of clients that helps pays the bills. But it’s actually the opposite. Most of the time, I’m just in-front of my computer and mobile reaching out to and meeting companies or brands for sponsorships and any other media & marketing related work.
One of the interesting things that happened to me was in early 2014 and also probably my turning point. I got laid off from my previous employer and I didn’t know where to go. All I knew is that I wanted to start my own business. And for this to happen I needed to work for a great boss and enter an industry where I could learn new skills and extract as much value as I could. It was a Thursday morning, almost a week before Ramadan when I was sending my CV’s to potential leads, surprisingly after an hour I got a call saying “Danielle can you come for an interview in 2hours? I’m travelling for a month and I want to meet you before I leave.” I didn’t know what the position was or what the work is. Just by judging the sound of his voice on the other end, I knew this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. And I said Yes. Two interviews later after meeting both founders of the company. I got accepted and that’s how I got started in publishing and content marketing. I was like a sponge absorbing skills, feedback and criticism. Also, I was harnessing my skills and developing courage to pitch C-levels to go in our publication.
Operations Head of Kasmar Holdings
I am the Operations Head of Kasamar Holdings with a diverse investment portfolio. Specifically, I handle the F&B Division which currently holds franchise rights for Teriyaki Boy, Sizzlin’ Steak, Dencio’s and Henlin. The job entails the dynamic process of site identification, acquisition, execution and operation. I travel across the GCC apart from being active in the UAE market because we also hold the right for Saudi Arabia and some GCC countries. While growth is the prime priority, I also take care of existing business through potent marketing strategy, product development and new product offering.
My typical day starts at 4AM checking emails and responding to some. Business analytics of each restaurant are also available at this time. I read online news and proceeds to my prepared work schedule. Typically, the day revolves around visiting stores, meeting stakeholders to present business expansion plans, meeting suppliers to manage costs, coach managers for better performance. It usually ends at around 8PM.
Since childhood, I always felt that going abroad was my destiny. Having two aunts working in the US and KSA, I was always encouraged that indeed an overseas job was a greener pasture. After working for three years in the Philippines after graduation, I decided to pursue a job in Qatar just to suffice that personal yearning to work abroad. I left Qatar after 10 months – heartbroken. I went back to Philippines and started my career building again. Having been able to acquire properties in the Philippines, I thought I have left also my dream of overseas job. Until I felt I have reached a peak of my career and the only way to go was to be promoted to the next position. I was afraid that at age 37 leaving my job would be career suicide. Year after year, I have been assessed and failed in getting the promotion. John Maxwell was right when he said Fail young. Fail often. Fail forward”, except that I was not young anymore. That feeling of career fatigue with age insecurity gave me poor vision of overseas job. Until I stumbled upon a quote which says: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” At age 37 with secured job and status, I finally decided to leave my job and work abroad. After 2 years with my job I was promoted to a higher position where I handled all 21 restaurants of our company across UAE and Oman. Two years ago, I decided to leave this company again to join Kasamar Holdings. Indeed, with good timing and firm spirit, coupled with strength of character and hardwork, one will not fail – and if so, must fail forward.
Senior Architect at Action Impact
I work as a Senior Architect in Action Impact, it is one of the leading Brand Experience firm in the UAE and UK. I am part of a diverse and an amazing creative team that caters to massive design projects like Interiors, Chalets, Pavilions, Themed Environments, etc. My job function is basically doing the design stage of designated projects and do constant site supervision. I focus on the entire design phase, from digesting project briefs and providing designs concepts, to making certain of the quality of projects we are delivering.
I was only 21 when an Architecture Firm here in Dubai offered me a job and I was really excited to take the challenge. Twelve years have already gone by, but my passion and dedication to what I do still remains strong. Back then, I never imagined myself to be designing for massive brands as I do now, renowned brands like Google, Mubadala, Meydan, Lexus, European Union, DAFZA, Four Seasons, etc.
I don’t think I have a typical working day at work. Sometimes I just get stuck in my office chair while doing designs the entire day, or at times, I am outside for meetings, presentations, conventions, and site visits. However, I always make sure that I get to attend our team’s daily morning huddle. The entire design department has this catch-up meeting every first hour of the morning to merely update the team about the projects we are handling. Our workplace is cozy and fun, so I don’t really feel like working most of the time, especially when we have fun theme-days at work.
There is a lot to tell but…in general, the most interesting part in my job is whenever we win projects. We get to hit the “gong” in the middle of our office whenever we confirm a project. Another thing is whenever clients commend us for delivering exceptional assignments. I believe life is all about balance, so I also make sure to have fun life outside work as well. That is why I have been in a church choir for 9 years, and have been in Kiwanis organization for 7 years. It has actually been more motivating when I was elected as the Kiwanis President for 2018-2019.
Being Optimistic and Industrious, I think these are the secret of life in achieving your goal. The more you act, the more good things happen. Life is a big reflection on how you look at it. Most of us don’t realize how lucky we are to be Filipinos, when other nationalities are already openly commending us in every industry there is. Use that luck to motivate you to be more optimistic and diligent. With that, you’ll be able to enjoy whatever you do. So how do you know that you are enjoying with your work? I guess you’ll know it once you unintentionally miss your lunch breaks and you’re totally fine with it.