Third among the siblings of five and the second eldest daughter, my mother Norma Santos brought me out from her womb to this beautiful world on 7th November. According to my mother, I was named Cherry after the dark reddish fruit that she was fond of eating during her early conception. With the Facebook technology, I have seen my old photos scanned and posted online by my mother. Much different from my big brother and older sister who are both fair complexioned, I grew up with a typical brown Filipino skin like my father Jess. I am proud though.
My childhood was spent in the province of Bulacan, Philippines. I completed my elementary and high school in the province. At age 16, I moved to Manila and attended college at state-owned Polytechnic University of the Philippines. I graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Office Administration.
I was not born with the silver spoon. I had to work part-time while attending school because my parents were supporting education of my other two siblings. Those were my difficult days, but I do remember how I enjoyed working at night as KFC service crew and attending school during the day. I barely had 4 to 5 hours of sleep every night. I did not complain about my impoverished life. What remained, as my ultimate goal was to complete my studies and find a job to help my family. At an early age of 21, I decided to go to Taiwan to work. That was my first work experience abroad.
Two years after, I flew to United Arab Emirates and joined Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai. I worked as Human Resources and Quality Training Coordinator for two years.
I always believe that I am born to follow my passion, that is, work in a hospitality industry and hone skills in human resource management. In 2006, my fate knocked at my door. A member of the “World’s Leading Hotels”, One and Only Reethi Rah Resort in the island of Maldives hired me to work as HR Officer and Executive Assistant to the Senior General Manager. That year started my fulfilling career in hotel industry.
I never stopped dreaming. I never ceased searching. I knew there was more for me somewhere.
Good fate always favors me. One day I got a call from an employment agency in the Philippines and was asked if I would be interested for the role of HR Manager at Kuredu Island Resorts & Spa, Maldives. I took chances and worked in Kuredu Island Resort and Spa as HR and Training Manager. Later, in the same year The Beach House at Manafaru hired me as Training and Quality Assurance Manager.
Part of the pre-opening team for Constance Ephelia Resort in Seychelles, I was hired as Training Manager. I went back to the Maldives from Seychelles and joined Taj Exotica Resort and Spa as Learning and Development Manager.
I thought I have achieved my highest career milestone when I became Human Resources Manager at Velassaru, Maldives. I did not realize, there was more for me in this island. August 2012, one of the leading ranked hotels in Maldives, the LUX* South Ari Atoll gave my biggest career opportunity to work as Director for Human Resources and April 2016, I was promoted by LUX* as the Regional Human Resources Director.
In 2017, I hit another career milestone when I was nominated in World HRD Congress as 100 Most Influential Global HR Professionals.
Six years working with LUX* has proven that I have finally found my career niche. I am proud to be a part of this big team where I lead to continuously develop the skills of every staff. My dedication to my work and craft contributes to the success of LUX*. In return, the organization’s seamless support to me as a management staff gives me the professional fulfillment.
I will continue to serve LUX* and to give service to every Team Member as your Regional HR Director.
A close friend quoted this for me - “Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is a mystery, but Today is a gift. That is why we call it the Present.”
These inspiring words always remind me to remain focused everyday, live in that moment and do well at present. Every day I work and take on a new challenge, I feel a day closer to succeeding.
One of the crucial traits stopping more career women from reaching the pinnacle of success is lack of self-confidence. To all working women out there, go out and grab it back; or at least search for someone who will inspire you to win back your confidence and resume the journey to your triumph. I feel luckier for having my wonderful family, kids and my lifetime partner, Bon who serve as my enormous source of strength and inspiration.
I have never been like my brother and sister who are “academic champions” in school. What I always tell people who look up to me talking about my success story, I am simply a woman with “smart attitude and strong personality”. These traits directed me to my purpose in life. This also serves as my biggest criterion to perform my duty as HR professional – look not for the employee with the impressive school credentials but hire employee with the best attitude at work and strong personality in life.