Entrepreneur and events stylist makes waves in Bahrain’s challenging landscape

Picture1ONE OF the inspiring women in Middle East, Leslie Arlen Bautista Garduque is perhaps the first Filipino who fully owns an events company in Bahrain. She’s the first Filipino based in Manama to handle luxury fashion events in Bahrain.Media Circuit is an advertising agency specializing in events management.

“I started the company four years ago. I am proud to say that it’s a 100 percent expat-owned company and I put it all up on my own. I started doing a lot of fashion events such as fashion shows, grand opening, trunk shows, and in-store activations which pretty much opened a lot of doors for me. We’ve handled a lot of international brands like Hermes, Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue, Karl Lagerfeld, Carolina Herrera.”

Fall in love with Bahrain

“I was working for a fashion magazine and you can say that I pioneered it along with several others. I stayed there for almost seven years and then I thought I’d move on and try my luck in entrepreneurship.”

Ten years ago, she founded an organization called Phenomena Productions.

Challenging projects

“We handle projects GCC-wide with focus on Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. In the last two years, we’ve expanded our network and have been doing a lot of non-fashion related events. I have currently expanded our services as well and have gone into carpentry and interiors.”

“The events industry is fast-paced, a lot of times chaotic and very dynamic involving a lot of daily interactions with clients and suppliers. It’s not a desk job for sure. I do get my hands dirty a lot of times. I own the company so I oversee everything from finance to sales, production, client-servicing and accounting not to mention all the works including personnel management, crisis control.”

“Every project is a challenge for me and my team so it’s difficult for me to shortlist projects that got me excited. Every project excites me. The way I see it, there’s no small or big project. Whatever it is that I get into, I put my whole heart into it. I believe that projects fail when things are done halfheartedly like everything else in life.”

 Significant role

She was born on February 6, 1982 in Surigao del Sur to Ernesto Garduque, a Chemical Engineer and Lilia Bautista Garduque. Her siblings are Edmund Peweeh Garduque, a video editor and Amor Mallari Garduque, a college professor.

She earned her elementary education from Stella Maris Academy of Davao where she graduated Salutatorian. On the same school, she finished her secondary education as 1st Honorable Mention. She was also awarded with Davao City Rotary Leadership Award and selected as Davao Jaycee’s Club Most Outstanding High School Student. She pursued her bachelor’s degree at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

“For Media Circuit to survive for the last four years despite the odds is, I think, an even bigger achievement. Not just for me, but for my team I feel that it’s just the beginning of my journey. It is still a long way to go,” she quips.

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IMG_3984THE 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 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). 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.

 

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