I still remember when I first started working at Grab in 2015.
In the beginning, the office I visited looked more like a warehouse than an office. Someone who experienced a normal equipped office might run away. At that time, I was hired as the 3rd City Operations manager and I was the 1st one who managed 2 cities at the same time: Bacolod and Iloilo. For daily work, I commuted to work by boat between these 2 cities. The challenges I faced were not just the distance or lack of support from head office but how I could create a great team and positive impact on our drivers.
Myself inspired by our Grab’s leaders, I have quickly took the decision to drive the change that I want to see for a greater Grab, such as improving the office/brand image, moving our drivers towards respect and compliance standards. It was not an easy job since I did not have the full support from my key stakeholders. I was expected to “focus on the daily operations” and not to make any unnecessary change to the office and/or to the team. I took the risk and drove my team reorganization. My ultimate purpose: having the right people and delivering together with their best and integrity.
Even amidst problems and risks, the results got better with a great office that looked like an office, giving self-esteem to the employees who joined us and it helped us to start building the respect from drivers by changing our self image and behaviours.
It was hard to fathom now why I decided to take the challenges at that time and I still reflected on some of these experiences when coming back home and taking care of my child who had been living with Asperger syndrome (from 3 years old and now, 17 years old). Somehow, the fear is no longer there and you can do almost everything beyond yourself. As a woman, we do find this kind of spiritual power who will not take no for an answer. We will always find ways even though we are trapped into something that looks like a dead end road.
“This mindset has been applied to the ways I engaged with drivers who are male dominant and could be very aggressive. Unlike my male peers managing cities’ operations and Grab drivers, I could not adopt any aggressive techniques when dealing with drivers.”
I did test their management approach and it did not work out that well. I finally decided to opt out for my own management style, a mixture of tough and tender sides. Tough when I take the stand and ask the drivers to partner with respect and compliance. Tender since we create a welcoming relationship for our drivers who know a place like our office where they can come back and get support.
Today, I proudly present GRAB with pride together with my team, practicing the company’s principles and values and highly regard in coming out with best practices together with the cooperation of our partners and clients. Together we had made what Grab is in Bacolod.
This is my journey. Thank you Grab for allowing me to be the kind of person I am, giving me the opportunity to grow in every circumstance, pushing me and raising the bar every year discovering my inner strength’s and every struggle was worth it to become the woman I am now. Stronger and wiser through the years.
Interested in making a positive impact in Southeast Asia? Check out our job openings below.