EmpowHER Summit: Pointwest Holds First-Ever Women Empowerment Summit
August 2, 2019
Pointwest, one of the leading global IT companies in the Philippines, held the first-ever EmpowHER Summit last July 26, Friday, 2-6 pm at the Tech Portal, UP Technohub Quezon City.
Over a hundred women from the Pointwest community attended the Summit where accomplished women in and out of STEM fields shared their life experiences and insights. Five speakers graced the event: Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid (2KK) co-founder Christianne Santos; Pointwest Business Analyst Aina Kristina Dilao; Author and Motivational Speaker Marianne Mencias; TaskUs Vice President for People (Asia) Michelle Cordero-Garcia, and; Pointwest President and CEO Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel. They represented different aspects of empowerment, namely that of a Woman of Vision, Woman of Potential, Woman of Worth, Woman of Influence, and Woman of Wisdom, respectively.
This event is a part of the Women Empowerment series launched by Pointwest in partnership with Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Program – International Labour Organization (ILO).
Icebreaker, Opening Remarks, and Introduction
Before the event proper, a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors served as an icebreaker for the group. Participants were each given a stick, told to pair up, introduce themselves, and play rock-paper-scissors to win their partner’s stick. After a couple of minutes of lively introduction and competition, Pointwest CEO and President Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel emerged as the winner.
The program formally started with the Opening Remarks by Ms. Annalie Ventura, Pointwest Head of Human Capital Management for Philippine Operations. She focused on the multiple, overlapping roles a woman can play in her lifetime; as a daughter, friend, sister, professional, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, and a grandmother.
The program was also introduced by Ms. Lites Viloria, National Project Coordinator for the Women in STEM Workforce Readiness Program of the International Labor Organization. Ms. Viloria commended Pointwest for being one of the few Filipino companies who showed interest in the program from the beginning. She also called for the continued participation of the women of Pointwest in the program.
The main part of the summit consisted of 20-minute talks from the 5 speakers.
Woman of Vision – Ms. Christianne Santos
Ms. Christianne Santos is one of the founders of Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid (2KK), a foundation that helps less privileged children through scholarships and empowerment. In her talk, she discussed how she made her vision come to life. From starting as a high school student helping underprivileged kids in Payatas, to establishing 2KK into a full-fledged foundation, Ms. Santos encouraged women to pursue their vision and turn it into reality.
“Always be driven by your WHY. Your vision should always have a question which wants answers.” Ms. Santos said, echoing how her own vision propelled her to persevere despite the odds.
Woman of Potential – Ms. Aina Kristina Dilao
Ms. Aina Kristina Dilao is a Business Analyst and Project Lead at Pointwest. In her talk, she shared how 13 years ago, she did not imagine building a career in the IT industry since her course in college was Political Science. She entered Pointwest as an Administrative Assistant with the goal of earning money for law school or preparing for the Foreign Service Exams. But her friends in the company (who were composed mostly of software engineers) encouraged her to take Pointwest’s Programming Aptitude Test. She passed the test, attended Pointwest’s boot camp program, and became a Software Engineer. She later also became a part of the Software Quality Assurance team and is now a Business Analyst
“Never back out of a challenge.” Ms. Dilao mentioned as one of her top tips for unleashing one’s potential. According to her, this can be done by facing unexpected events head-on, and sacrificing comfort when necessary.
Woman of Worth – Ms. Marianne Mencias
Ms. Marianne Mencias is the bestselling author of the books “What’s Your Life’s Masterpiece?” and “Why is My Forever Taking Forever?”. She is also a motivational speaker for topics such as life purpose, career, and love life. In her talk at the summit, she focused on knowing our own self-worth, especially for those who are still looking for the life partner destined for them. This process involves praying, discovering, and dedicating one’s life to their own unique call.
“You are far more precious than diamonds.” Ms. Mencias said as she asserts how women should treat themselves with respect.
Woman of Influence – Ms. Michelle Cordero-Garcia
Ms. Michelle Cordero-Gracia has been working for more than 25 years in Human Resources and has been recognized to be among the Top 100 Most Talented Global HR Leaders and Top 100 Most Influential Professionals in Asia. In her talk, she shared major setbacks in her life which further developed her strength and perseverance. Now as an HR leader, she uses her background and experiences so she can better lead and influence people.
“Let us be the first-rate version of ourselves.”, Ms. Cordero-Garcia shared to the group, encouraging a constant quest for self-improvement and excellence.
Woman of Wisdom – Ms. Ma. Cristina Coronel
Last but most certainly not the least is Pointwest President and CEO, Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel. Ms. Coronel recently added yet another feather in her cap as she received the Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneur (AWEN) Award. She shared with the crowd how her passion for excellence drove her to achieve her aspirations of establishing an IT company which will showcase Filipino talent in the global scene, and at the same time provide profitable jobs in their own home country. From a simple dream, she was able to establish Pointwest, which is standing strong for 16 years and counting.
“Dream bigger dreams.”, was one of Ms. Coronel’s pieces of advice. This is so women can challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone, pushing them to achieve their aspirations.
Q&A and Closing Remarks
After the talks, a Question and Answer session was held. The attendees gave their questions to be answered by the panel of speakers. Below are the questions and some of the responses:
Out of all the positive statements you’ve shared with us today, what is the top one positive statement you live by?
For Ms. Mencias, her top positive statement is “I am totally, completely, and perfectly loved.” She always goes back to this statement when she feels insecure, and it lifts her spirits up every time.
Ms. Santos cited Mother Teresa’s words, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” She said that this can be applied to work, relationships, and other aspects of life.
How can we encourage systematic/collective women empowerment within the company?
For Ms. Coronel, we need to have women role models, mentors, and coaches. “The push to really be able to aim higher can come from seeing someone who can mentor you and help you out and carry you through.”
Ms. Santos said, in line with the thought of women helping other women, to not carve in a culture of gossiping. “Don’t cave in a culture of chismis. If someone has a problem, you can listen, but you have the power to ensure that it doesn’t go to another place. This can make a difference in the lives of our workmates.”
In a conference room full of decision-makers, how do you make yourself heard? How do you get people to listen?
For Ms. Cordero-Garcia, one way to make others hear you is to listen first. This way, your words will come from a place of sincerity. “When it’s your turn to speak, speak your truth. Speak from the heart.”
“What’s important is to always come from why you are doing it.”, was Ms. Mencias’ response. According to her, this will give one the courage to speak up even in pressure-filled situations.
You know your strengths but your passion lies somewhere else. What should you do in this situation?
“Why do you need to choose? Why not do both?” said Ms. Cordero-Garcia. She took from her personal experience of unexpectedly working in HR, and she later realized that her passion, strengths, and profession were interconnected.
Ms. Dilao echoed this statement, and says one can pursue both their passion and their strengths. “You will reach a certain point where you’ll know if you are doing what you are supposed to do.” She also advises seeking the guidance of those who know us personally so they can help objectively evaluate our strengths.
What is your morning routine?
All the speakers cited starting the day with a prayer. Ms. Coronel also cited checking her phone for any urgent messages, looking at her calendar, and planning out the day.
From Left to Right: Senior Executive for Finance & Admin Jowee Reyes, Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid (2KK) co-founder Christianne Santos; Pointwest Business Analyst Aina Kristina Dilao; Pointwest President and CEO Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel; Author and Motivational Speaker Marianne Mencias; TaskUs Vice President for People (Asia) Michelle Cordero-Garcia, and; Pointwest Head of Human Capital Management for Philippine Operations Annalie Ventura
After the Q&A, the Closing Remarks was delivered by Ms. Jowee Reyes, Pointwest Senior Executive of Finance & Administration. “Women empowerment is a process in which women elaborate and recreate what they can be, do, and accomplish in a circumstance previously were denied.”, Ms. Reyes said. “The speakers have shown what empowerment can mean for women like us. Their stories have all been very inspiring.”
Pointwest Learning and Development Associate Michelle Austria, one of the main organizers, was thrilled about the crowd’s response to the event. “The objective of the event is aligned with our tagline, ‘Let’s build an empowering community’. Since this is Pointwest’s first-ever Women’s Summit, we wanted to get the ball rolling on women supporting other women. We will make this into an annual event, and continue with other events under the program as well.”
Pointwest was named as one of the 50 Leading Companies for Women in APEC in 2014.
The summit was hosted by Pointwest Talent Management Specialist and Human Resource Business Partner Sarah Pamela Silag.
The event was powered by EESY, Pointwest’s events engagement mobile application. EESY (Event Engagement Suite for You) made the EmpowHER Summit a digital experience as the app was utilized for registration, schedule, sending questions to the speakers, and giving feedback for the event.
Founded in 2003 by pioneers of the Philippine Global Sourcing industry, Pointwest creates value for its list of satisfied clients — including top Fortune 100 and local companies — with world-class digital innovation and IT modernization services backed by international-standard methodologies, and innovative practices.
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