If woman being torn between two loves is already a challenge, how would she be able to surmount being torn among three loves?
That is exactly Shera’s predicament when she decided to put up her own company to immerse herself in the import, export, and sales of high-end products and commodities. She was providing professional services within Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Europe when she got a call to go back in the ICT Industry to serve PLDT, again.
How can she say no to her first love and first work experience, who developed her career path and started her journey as an ICT expert all through Amdocs Philippines.
“I bravely accepted. Being at the lowest point in our live lives, like our marriage is on the rocks, I know this is where I can contribute significantly to bridge relationships together to start again,” she revealed, recounting the biggest challenge of her life as a woman in the tech industry.
“This is the time for me to excel, develop my leadership and decision-making skills, to help me run my own company,” she averred, her seven-year contract extended for three more years to give more value to Filipino users.
Now, Shera Ann Sabbun-Sanchez is President and CEO of her very own SAS 818 International Trading, LLC; Executive Sales Director of Amdocs, under International Division in Asia Pacific; and, is Vice President of the ICT Industry of the Philippines by appointment for 2020-2023.
Integrity and Inspiration in Leadership
Nobody other than a woman of substance, grace, and grit could have risen above the pull of three loves! And only because Shera was born a leader to begin with.
The name She-Ra, coincidentally, alludes to the 1980’s superhero dubbed as the “Princess of Power.”
Hence, her leadership is not the usual unilateral management style, but something grounded on multiple virtues, like integrity and honesty.
“To become an effective leader, you first strive to become an expert in your field,” she begins.
“Then, you persuade others to follow you by inspiring them by setting a good example,” this is the most difficult part, she admits. But, also the most rewarding.
“When the going gets tough, they look up to you and see how you react to the situation. If you handle it well, they will follow you.” Positive thoughts beget positive action, even outside the organization.
As John Quincy Adams puts it, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
“The best example of this is our Amdocs–PLDT team, which I am very proud to be a part of,” Shera narrated. “We’ve gone through many hurdles and challenges, but we always ended up extending the partnership. Now that our partnership is up until 2028 is proof that that there’s trust and confidence with my leadership,” and that cannot be denied.
This shows that good leaders also possess accountability, emotional intelligence, flexibility, confidence, risk-taking, and stability to thrive.
She’s an advocate of Arnold H Glasow’s wise words: “A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.”
Moreover, “The best leaders take full responsibility for their team’s performance, whether the outcome is good or bad. They connect with their teams emotionally and are ready for changes.”
“Leaders regularly encounter risks,” she elaborated. “But, it’s here where one must know when to embrace a challenge and when to take the safe approach.”
“As a key figure in the company and in the department, I needed to demonstrate confidence to instill motivation. Even when obstacles impact progress, we should strive to exhibit poise and conviction,” she pointed out.
“Being in the ICT industry and heavily involved in telco, my day is always hyped and fast-paced,” she started sharing, Bearing the full weight of PLDT on her shoulders and unbuckling, about the massive responsibility upon her shoulders.
“I’m handling the biggest telco in the Philippines and, as part of the broader strategic partnership with Amdocs, where I’m Sales Director of the entire PLDT Group under the International Division, I steer the the leadership team to enable modernization of IT platforms and infrastructure to support all lines of businesses as an integrated telco.”
“Not only that, I am also the current Vice President of ICT Industry Council of the Philippines, or the ICTIC, a not-for-profit national center of expertise that is neutral, independent, and a source of technology alliance in capacity building of programs and solutions for the benefit of the Filipino people.”
Despite the magnitude of expectations, she remains steadfast, gloriously rising day by day to the task.
Becoming a Woman of Substance, Grace and Grit
“There is nothing more powerful than a woman with ambition and determination,” Shera emphasized.
Leadership is like being a ship captain, too. “You master the art of navigating risks by learning to asses situations and compare pros and cons.”
“Here, it’s best to be steady, to take the reliable approach to keep on track, maintain energy, and stay focused while you strive for constant progress.”
To do this, “invest in yourself and keep up with your core values because this will provide you the greatest rewards,” she revealed. “You have to discover what you are passionate about and run with it,” she expounded, glowing with animation and energy.
For Shera’s case, she’s been passionate about the Philippine ICT industry and public service.
“Find what makes you tick and make it your work and you will never have to work a day in your life,” she said with full confidence and delight.
“Stop wishing and start doing,” she stated powerfully. “Whatever it is that you want, believe in it and go for it.”
“It’s your journey, your path, your story,” she said. “Therefore, you, too, control your ambitions, opportunities, and success.”
Success is about giving back
Progress means many things for a company, such as balance sheets, share price, or size, but, for Shera, a truly successful, “genuinely flourishing enterprise gives back to the local and regional economy.”
“A company cannot be truly successful unless it actively works towards bettering the community it lives in,” she continues.
Hence, this tenet is a core value of SAS 818 International Trading, Amdocs, and the ICT Industry Council of the Philippines.
“This value drives our business forward,” she added.
“I am very active and passionate about corporate social responsibility and outreach programs that can help the Filipinos and our country,” she began.
“Especially during COVID and times of disaster, I would actively volunteer to come up with campaigns and drives for these causes.”
These include Bayanihan Cagayan/Pilipinas; Drop for Drop, which provides free lifetime access to clean water for far-flung areas; and, temporary COVID facility shelters through donation drives.”
“This is part of my advocacy and daily mantra in life: ‘To help in any way that I can.”
“Despite my responsibilities, mostly technical, I choose passion n everything I do,” she explained, glowing with inspiration.
“It is what drives me to work day by day. I work with the world’s leaders worldwide and contribute to global organizations to global interviews sharing my experiences and professional knowledge. I always believe and supports empowering women.”
No wonder, Shera has been honored as 2021’s Outstanding Women of the Philippines by Best Magazine 2022 Edition.
“It is our pride to invest our rich knowledge and experience in new commercial ventures, enabling people to realize their dreams, supported by our network,” elucidated Shera, now more passionate as ever.
Nothing is impossible if you, as Shera would address her team and colleagues:
“Dream. Believe. Survive. Let others be starstruck on who you become at present. Do not dwell on and live in the past. Those mistakes and challenges has honed you to who should you really be are,” she quipped in her usual powerful wit.
“HELP. Help in all the ways that you can,” she reiterated.
After all, “Kindness is free, so why not give it back?”
The Telco Leader is also a Mother
Being a woman leader is not always all about work and leadership in the fast-paced and electric world if telecommunication and ICT, as Shera proved being also both a person first and a mother second.
“I always start by having my kundalini yoga in the morning to prepare and clear my mind,” she divulged her morning secrets.
After all, a leader has to start her morning right. “I would also attend online masses as well devotions to St. Padre Pio,” she continued.
“Outside of my hectic days at work, I’d be attending socialite events for a cause and gala nights or doing volunteering and social works.”
“These things relax me,” she shared. “Traveling with my loved ones relaxes me as well,” she added.
At the end of the day, “My legacy are my children,” she smiled, radiating that aura of accomplishment and fulfillment.
“They’re the better versions of me as I fulfill the purpose that Our Creator has created me to do. It is fundamental to what it is to be human.”
Indeed, Sabbun-Sanchez, a true-blooded Bulakenya hailing from Bulacan and Cagayan Valley, is the mother of two wonderful children: Sherey Nicole Robyn, 19 years old, freshman Dentistry and Jho Freysha Nicoline, 17 years old, Senior High and will taking up Accountancy is your quintessential leader—a woman of substance, grace, and grit!
As a leader, never take your people for granted; make it a priority to appreciate your team, appreciate their commitment to helping the organization navigate these troubled waters, value their contributions, and, most importantly, thank them for their excellent service. People who feel appreciated will always do more than what is expected because appreciation is one of life’s greatest motivators. So now more than ever, all of our employees need to be shown some level of recognition for the incredible sacrifice and inspiring work they perform every day during these unprecedented times. When we take the time to let people know that we value them, it inspires them to continue doing even more and reinforces the habit for other people to do the same
For many years, I longed to work for an organization that brought huge value to people of the world. I did not expect that I would be so much lucky to find Amdocs and all of the amazing and unique mix of important elements for me. (1) TOP TALENT with big heart and soul. (2) VALUES which are the DNA of Amdocs as a company and naturally embedded in every person of the team (3) HIGHER PURPOSE which unfolds the human potential across the globe and helps the company to grow.
I have been actively participating and organizing the SABBUN THANKSGIVING & SHARING every year during Christmas to our hometown in Cagayan being supported by my immediate families from Canada and USA.
Bayanihan Cagayan and now Bayanihan Pilipinas has been established by a number of individuals who founded a commonality and heart to help Filipinos Kinabukasan, for first grade students from far flung areas and poorest of the poor whom we provided school needs. Been attending and supporting any CSR activities, donation drives that the country and Filipino needs like typhoons, calamities and disasters.