What it takes to be on top: 10 career tips for aspiring women leaders

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 QBE GSSC’s women in charge. From L to R: Rachel de Leon, Head of Analytics; Cheng Barrameda, Insurance Services Director; and Jean de Ocampo, Head of Risk and Business Continuity Management

We live in an age where women are more empowered to take charge, pursue their passions, and achieve their goals — whether it is in terms of building a career, taking care of their family, or both. The Philippines is home to many of these strong-willed women. As a matter of fact, these everyday heroines make up 40% of the senior management crowd in the country, and they continue to defy stereotypes by making an impact in whatever industry they choose. They are able to do all this thanks to the empowerment provided by companies which champion diversity and inclusivity.

One such company is Australian insurance group, QBE. As one of the world’s top 20 general insurance companies, QBE has over 14,000 employees in 37 countries, including the Philippines. The QBE Group Shared Services Centre (GSSC) was established in 2013 as a strategic hub in the country for their global business processes and it now houses over 3,000 employees — many of which are in teams led by women.

The road to success is not easy but through determination and hard work, three of QBE’s women leaders were able to take on crucial responsibilities, excel at work, and still manage to have time for themselves and for their loved ones.

Here are inspiring career tips based on how they are able to have it all:

  1. Be organized

“I am naturally organized. To keep my sanity and to manage my constantly crazy schedule, I make sure I carefully plan out my day, which is usually jam-packed with meetings. My calendar app is crucial because it incorporates my work, family, and “me time” schedules and appointments. I have to list everything down with the appropriate alarms to make sure I do not forget anything. And I do mean everything.” – Rachel

  1. Constantly pursue learning and growth

“It is important to be open to learn from others and from your own mistakes. In my team, I honestly say, “I’m not an expert on everything but you are experts in what you do.” So when I have a question, I ask them to help me understand. There is no place for pride in leadership. We’re here to learn from each other, and everyday is a learning experience.” -Jean

  1. Have an unflinching determination

The insurance industry has historically been male-dominated and a woman in this industry will have to work double-time to be able to make a difference. To overcome this, I focus on showing people my key strengths and displaying business acumen and maturity like any seasoned leader. I also don’t allow myself to fall into stereotypes.” – Cheng

  1. Always take full responsibility

“I strongly believe that a true leader needs to be accountable for his or her team’s outcomes–whether good or bad. Accountability means that you do not shift blame or throw people under the bus when things go wrong.” – Rachel

  1. Build a culture of collaboration

“My management style is collaborative. I want to ensure that the people in my team complement each other. I always leverage their strengths, making sure that the weakness of one person is complemented by the strength of another so that when we work together, we come out strong.” – Jean

  1. Lead with heart

“Learn to listen and empathize. It is important to not just hear people out but to actually see things from their perspective without being judgmental. Empathy builds trust, which is crucial in a team.” – Rachel

  1. Know the difference between a job and a career

“You should be passionate about what you’re doing; this is the difference between a career and a job. A job is something you do solely for the money, but if your wage is no longer sufficient, you will lose your joy in what you do. It doesn’t give you fulfilment and you end up dragging yourself to work everyday. Career, on the other hand, is long-term and aspirational.” – Jean

  1. Serve a purpose bigger than yourself

“I find fulfilment in being given the chance to build something that provides jobs and opportunities for Filipinos to be exposed globally and at the same time showcase the Philippines as an emerging talent hub for analytics and data science.” – Rachel

  1. Be patient with yourself

“Do not rush your success. There’s a lot to learn so don’t rush into getting yourself promoted. Stop using the successes of other people as your yardstick. Enjoy the journey, learn as much as you can, do your best, and opportunities will eventually come knocking at your door.” – Jean

10. Live life

“My husband and I have this favorite place in Cebu where we drive to when we’re stressed. We talk to each other and refresh each other.” – Cheng

“I’m a master scuba diver. When I’m stressed, I really look forward to the weekends because when I’m underwater, I forget everything that’s on the surface. This is how I reward myself.” – Jean

“I take time to shut down and unwind at the end of the day by playing with my kids and having a conversation with my husband.” – Rachel
These go-getters do not let anyone or anything bring them down, and every woman shouldn’t, too. Like them, every Filipina can achieve whatever they put their mind to, especially when they are in an environment where they are given opportunities to grow personally and professionally.

 

About QBE GSSC

The QBE Group Shared Services Centre (GSSC) was established in 2013 with the aim to become a strategic hub for QBE’s global business and processes. They currently have over 3,000 employees supporting operations in three sites: in Net Cube and W 5th buildings in Bonifacio Global City in Manila; and in Skyrise Alpha and Beta, located in Cebu.

 For more information, please contact QBEGSSC@teamasia.com

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