MANILA, Philippines – What if you're given the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines? Or hold one of the highest positions in a multinational corporation such as IBM?
Mariglo Laririt and Mariels Almeda Winhoffer are two women with stories that inspire. Both successful in their respective fields, their journey have been full of unexpected experiences and lessons.
One is passionate about sustainable living and protecting the environment, while the other believes Filipino talent can shine in the field of technology.
Protector of El Nido
Mariglo Laririt is the Director for Sustainability of Ten Knots Development Corporation, the company that runs El Nido Resorts (ENR) in Palawan, Philippines.
After leaving her teaching job in the University of the Philippines in 1995, she was offered to become the residential biologist of Ten Knots. At first, she had no idea what she was signing up for, but she now believes that she’s right where she’s supposed to be. “I have been with the same company for almost 19 years. I’m either happy or no one else wants me. I guess it must the former, and it must be because it allows me to be a lot of things at the same time,” says Laririt.
But her job isn’t as glamorous or as laidback as most people think. It requires patience and organizational skills. She makes sure that operations in ENR flow smoothly, conducting regular training for her employees along the way.
Today, her work allows her to speak with different agencies and government officials in Manila to push for conservation and sustainable tourism.
Just as Laririt's career has taken her to greener pastures, ENR has also made some developments throughout the years. “We now have four resorts that reflect the improvements in floor area and designs over the years.”
To be more competitive, they have also tied up with Ayala Land to continue ENR's development and get support from bigger corporations. It's a perfect partnership as their vision and values were aligned in terms of environmental sustainability.
Days can get pretty tough since they have grown larger, but Laririt says that like many working moms her family is her support system. “They have helped me entertain resort guests, gone cleaning coasts with me, taken photos for me, marketed the resorts to friends and classmates, gone diving with me, sang at weddings with me, hosted parties and facilitated games for my staff and the staff’s children, taken care of wounded animals, released turtle hatchlings, and most of all, listened to all my stories and laughed and cried at the right places.”
Today, her kids are back in the city to pursue higher studies. She tries to stay connected via social media and makes sure that she’s always available for them on the phone. "I would like to do more for them other than calling up and asking them when they need the inoculated fungus for a research project or nag them about never replacing ginger with garlic in tinola.”
Laririt's work and family experiences motivate her to encourage more companies to adapt environmental sustainability into their vision.
“My dream is for the Philippines to be the flash point of sustainable tourism in Asia, with the El Nido Resorts model translated and practiced in the different contexts across the archipelago.”
After 26 years of working at IBM in the United States, Mariels Almeda Winhoffer comes home to the Philippines as the first President and Country General Manager for IBM Philippines.
Mariels Winhoffer says she's blessed and honored to be given the chance to come home and be entrusted with such a responsibility that can make a difference.
Growing up, Mariels Winhoffer was the youngest member to compete in the Southeast Asian Games for the Philippine badminton team, and the first female Taekwondo black belt in the country.
After graduating cum laude in Fordham University, earning a double degree in Finance and Computer Science, she joined IBM-US as she completed their internship program in her senior year. Since then she has held various executive positions in the company, including Vice President for Industrial Sector, a 2-billion- dollar business for IBM-US.
She also held multiple leadership roles and executive positions in IBM Sales and Distribution and Global Technology Services. Prior to her appointment as President and Country General Manager of IBM Philippines, she served under the offices of retired IBM Chairmen Sam Palmisano and Lou Gerstner, as Client Advocacy Executive.
Realizing the needs of the Philippine market, IBM through Mariels Almeda Winhoffer’s leadership envisions Filipinos to be at the forefront in defining a new industry, a growing market called analytics. She says this can ultimately enhance the country’s position in the global market beyond the BPO industry.
“IBM understands the importance of the BPO business for the country – and we continue to grow in this space. But the key highlight is – IBM is positioning our country to become the global analytics hub," says Almeda Winhoffer.
Analytics, as IBM defines it, is the use of technology to understand, analyze and make good use of huge amounts of data and pave the way for smarter decision making.
IBM has been working with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to develop and execute an education roadmap to enable the next generation of Filipino talents in analytics.
To be a global center for smarter analytics, IBM continues to promote innovation among Filipino students, developers and start-ups, through the IBM Innovation Center (IIC), located in UP-Ayala Land Technohub. IBM chose to work with Ayala Land since the opening of IIC in 2009, because of the demonstrated values of excellence, innovation and integrity.
For Mariels, this is an exciting new chapter in her life, and she intends to make this career move the best among all of them. She says, “As with anything that I was interested in and set out to do, I aspire and strive to deliver impact and value and giving it the very best.” – Rappler.com
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