I interviewed some of the leading experts in UAE about working overseas. Here’s what I got.
HUMAN RESOURCE AND OFFICE ADMINISTRATION
KAREN BISANA TOLENTINO
HR and Administration Manager, TEKAB CO. LTD.
Celebrating 11 years of continued service to one company, she started working with TEKAB from 2003 as a Receptionist-cum-Telephone Operator and Secretary in which after 3 years, was promoted to become the Executive Assistant to the Managing Director where she served another 7 years and now once again has moved to a higher post as the HR and Administration Manager of the company.
Why did you choose this profession? My profession was not really a choice I made from the start; the opportunity came to me when I landed here in UAE. It was the best offer I had at that time, starting as a Receptionist-cum-Telephone Operator, I managed to develop my skills and progressed to a higher position. I have learned to love my job as it has given me the chance to develop my best skill of being people oriented. I believe that the success of every company relies on its people.
What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? I like almost about everything that I do, especially when challenging situations are presented and one needs to immediately solve these problems. I am always moved to re-assess all possibilities and reach to a decision wherein all parties involved are considered and satisfied. As a Human Resource Personnel, I am tasked to become the mediator between the work force and the management.
What I do dislike however, is when firm decisions need to be taken to be able to manage individuals or situations which continuously become nuisances to the company despite having been given constant notices.
What do you think are the advantages of being an HR professional? I think the advantage of being a HR professional is that the post allows me greater experience in all areas of human resources. Benefits and compensation experience, training and development opportunities, employee relations, learning more about the soft skills, or people skills, from adult learning methodology to motivational techniques and human psychologyare just a few of them.
What are the qualifications or skills needed in a job like this? What advice would you offer someone considering this career? Given the wide range of responsibilities for which HR managers are held accountable, one needs a wide range of skills, abilities and qualifications. HR managers interact with every level within the organization, from the executive-level decision makers to department managers and production staff. Overall, HR managers should have a combination of education, certification and experience, as well as core competencies that enable effective performance. Since being involved in both strategy and implementation, one should have good communication skills. Additional core competencies also include analytical and critical thinking skills and the ability to influence others and manage change.
The best advice that I can offer to someone considering this career is to continuously develop your skills, increase your learning, and frequently interact with the workforce as well as the upper management to be able to perform and achieve your tasks in the most efficient way.
ROLETH P. FERNANDEZ
Customer Service Executive
Diversey Gulf FZE, Jebel Ali FZ
Roleth has been in Dubai for the last 5 years starting as a Personal Assistant to the Managing Director then she was promoted as a Sales and Procurement Coordinator. This year, she was hired in Ecolab Gulf as Customer Service Executive which is under the Customer Support department.
Why did you choose this profession? I enjoy trade and business. I myself was a former owner of an online shop and have personally trained myself with shipping and logistics. I enjoy talking to people and getting to know their needs and requirement. I learn new things every day in supply chain and in building customer relationship. I appreciate the complexities of processes and the full operations. I like the planning side. And I feel great whenever I get customers satisfied with the service that I or my organization provides.
What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? You learn more about processes and about the people. I like how the sales team, finance and the customers are finding me reliable and dependable all the time. I am happy with the team I am working with. I do not like the pressure. The time constraint –having so little time but so much more to do. Currently, the people I am working with are very supportive and that makes every minute count.
What do you think are the advantages of being a Customer Service Executive? Advantages will be product knowledge, though I know that I need more product training as we have more than 1000 SKUs presently. You get to be in touch with a lot of people from everywhere in the emirate. You are flexible because your job is important to the company –you are the link to the sales department as well as the finance and of course the heart of the supply chain team.
What are the qualifications or skills needed in a job like this? What advice would you offer someone considering this career? In terms of skills, I think Filipinos are the brightest in this side of the world. We are flexible, we are easily to be trained, we can relate to whatever nationality. I think not only for this career but in any field that you would like to venture into, you have to have a lot of patience and perseverance. People can knock you down and beat you up but you have to be strong and patient. Especially for a role which requires you to be focused, to be in touch with everybody, to be smart –patience and perseverance is the key. And I also think, an open mind will help a lot.
WEDDING STAGE DESIGNS
LAARNI DE LEON EUGENIO
Chief Executive Officer
Confident and fully aware of her capabilities, this Dubai-based royal wedding stage designer and event planner and her better-half teamed-up and established in 2007 the Ariel Wedding and Organizing, also known as Ariel’s Design, mostly a design business for wedding stages. There had been frustrations but they never gave up. With one warehouse, their company has matured and expanded into three warehouses with more than a dozen staff.
Why did you choose this profession? Excitement is in the air the time I would be making wedding stages for royal families. These events demand everyone’s full attention, to the very small and intricate details up to the ostentatious and frequently massive stage decors.
What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? I feel fulfilled every time we execute eye catching designs though competition is tough. In this line of business, there will always be that someone who will try to demean our achievements. It may come from the competition or just someone who thinks he can do a better job than we do.”
How long have you been in the service? I like to think that while the United Arab Emirates continue to attract investors and more designers, we are lucky to have been in this field for a very long time. With our presence in major wedding events for the past years most people are already familiar with our work or at least have an idea of how we do things. We let our work speak for the company.
What do you think are the advantages of being a stage designer? It gives us opportunity to widen our horizon. Now, Ariel’s enjoys the prestige and honor of having been recognized as an ultimate wedding stage designer in Dubai.
What are the qualifications or skills needed in a job like this? What advice would you offer someone considering this career? The springboard for success of any once in a lifetime event depends on how you triumphantly create something remarkable. The final output is the key to having a stable market, because it does not matter how grand a stage is in terms of its size, or how long it took to construct. We put the same amount of effort to every stage we make. What matters is the completed project captures the appreciation of the client and anyone else that will see it.”
Jen works for the research and advisory arm of a British firm providing business intelligence in the Middle East. The company was founded in 1957 so it’s among the oldest and most reputable companies in the region.
Why did you choose this profession? I started out as a journalist covering the information technology (IT) beat for a trade publication in Manila in the mid- 1990s. Then I crossed over to do research when the IT bubble burst in early 2000 and the IT companies’ limited advertising budgets shifted from trade to mainstream publications. So I just sort of stumbled into this kind of job, I did not really consciously choose it or said this was going to be my life-work.
What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? Learning new things and generating new ideas everyday is part of the job, and it helps when you work with people who are very knowledgeable and smart and who contribute to your growth.
What do you think are the advantages of being an analyst? I’m not sure. My mother doesn’t even quite understand what I do for a living!
What are the qualifications or skills needed in a job like this? What advice would you offer someone considering this career? Being inquisitive and being willing to learn an awful lot of stuff in the shortest time possible is the only way one can enjoy this kind of job. I reckon many people wouldn’t consider this fun, but it’s challenging and in certain ways quite rewarding. Building and contributing new knowledge, or actionable intelligence as we usually call it, for your client and for a particular industry is quite a rewarding enterprise.
MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
FRANCESKA MARIE MONFERO
Account Manager for Marketing and PR
Marie has been in the industry for more than 5 years now. She started her career in 2006 but entered the travel and tourism industry in 2007 when she moved back to Dubai.
Why did you choose this profession? This type of job allows me to be creative and meet a lot of interesting people from different walks of life both here in the UAE and in the places that I get to travel to.
What do you like about what you do? What do you dislike? I also like that I get to handle various accounts and don’t stick to just one; that allows me to become flexible—when it comes to dealing with different types of people who have clear differences when it comes to job requirements. It has also helped develop my problem solving ability by adhering to and submission of various job requirements. I guess working on various accounts all at the same time could have its cons sometimes especially when conflicts arise when it comes to deadlines and schedules.
What do you think are the advantages of being a Marketing and PR Executive? I feel that there are quite a lot of perks being in this industry. My job has, like I mentioned, given me the opportunity to travel to a lot of places in Europe, Asia and around Middle East/North Africa.
What are the qualifications or skills needed in a job like this? What advice would you offer someone considering this career? One has got to have a natural sense of creativity in a way that it can translate into the promotions and campaigns that you’d need to plan for and execute. It’s not enough that you just want to become a “marketing practitioner” per se, one’s got to have a complete understanding of the requirements of the job and how it relates to public relations/communications, events, sales, among other. It is inherent that a person naturally loves to meet and interact with people and more importantly, to have an open-mind and a go-getter attitude is a big plus!
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THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique. While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.