L-R: Rene Mayol, Amy Agaton and erstwhile LAA team member Glenn Perez, who now heads the Quality and Safety Department of INAEC Aviation CorporationWhen licensed electronics and communications engineer (ECE) Rene J. Mayol joined First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) as assistant vice president for Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) in 1998, he was tasked to manage the first of several business excellence (BE) initiatives that would eventually be cascaded to all Lopez Group member companies, big or small.
Aside from the ESH, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification for Quality/Integrated Management Systems, the Oscar M. Lopez Award for Performance Excellence /Lopez Achievement Awards (LAA), Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard and Systems Thinking were also rolled out, with the LAA debuting in 2002.
Later, Mayol was assigned to lead the consolidated Lopez Group wide BE program under BE program director Benjamin K. Liboro. This was soon after he completed the 18 month Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) program of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in 2005. “The integration of the BE programs which were running simultaneously at the time was my SMP (strategic management project) in AIM,” says Mayol.
Even prior to getting his EMBA, he had long believed in continuous learning and applied himself to higher academic pursuits. Not long after graduating magna cum laude from the University of San Carlos and passing the ECE licensure examination, he took postgraduate courses in Occupational Health and Safety at the University of the Philippines Manila. While working for Shell in the mid-‘90s, he pursued his master of science in environmental studies from Miriam College.
In the first Lopez Group Managerial Leadership Program, a six-month course run by AIM at the Eugenio Lopez Center in 2001, Mayol received an award from the AIM faculty for superior performance after finishing in the top 10% of the class.
The Corporate BE programs gave him the opportunity to work closely with co-employees in various levels and parts of the Lopez Group. He dealt with staff members in training for and communicating BE initiatives, coordinated with line functional managers to own the programs in their respective companies, while presenting to company officials and top executives to get support for the program. His 10-year stint in Shell in various functions, from Retail Sales, Automation Engineering, ESH, IT and HR must have come in handy.
Currently assigned to the FPH Risk Management Group, Mayol uses his Corporate BE program background to assist in business continuity planning and in educating company risk management coordinators on enterprise-wide risk management (ERM).
“It is a rollout similar to Corporate Business Excellence but on a different subject matter. Every now and then, I draw from that experience in order to be proactive about it. Risk management or ERM, as currently implemented, anticipates a problem or prepares a business for a problem. It is also about optimizing opportunities and in that sense, it is related to business excellence, which is supposed to enable business sustainability, in good times and in bad,” Mayol says.
He says it has served him well to have his personal vision, mission and values (VMV). “Earlier in my career, I attended a customer service workshop where participants were taught about taos-pusong paglilingkod (heartfelt service). From then on, my motto has been ‘service excellence.’ As long as I’m doing something, I do it to the best (standards). Otherwise, why do it at all? I then had an opportunity to participate in an Accelerated Learning Program and recreated my mission statement to be ‘to touch lives and leave a positive impact on them.’”
Living by his personal values of faith in God, service excellence and stewardship, Mayol recommends developing a personal VMV to provide direction in work and family life. He usually wraps up his day serving at the Tektite Chapel, then it’s off to the gym. That’s excellence in overall wellness, too.
Aspiring for the best can be a risky venture. Yet it is excellence that sets one a part, as a person and as an organization. For Mayol, it is time to take on new risks, guided by the discipline of business excellence.
And then there was one
Amy D. Agaton, executive secretary of BE program director Liboro, has always worked behind the scenes. With her boss’s multiple assignments, she had never fully focused on BE program management. Liboro is also president of Asian Eye Institute, writes speeches for the chairman emeritus and holds directorships across the FPH Group.
“We used to handle the tollways project, and then Executive Education. Mr. Liboro was also president of First Balfour at one time. For speeches, we need to research, gather information across the FPH Group, or request interviews with executives. There was a separate group assigned to focus on BE, but they were sent to new postings one by one,” says Agaton, who is now continuing the work left by the team.
She joined FPH in 1992 as project secretary for the team under Vicente Paterno. They were preparing a bid for a power plant in Sual, Pangasinan. After the auction, she moved to the Business Development unit under Liboro.
With Liboro tasked to lead different companies and projects, sometimes simultaneously, Agaton has had to keep up. Her bachelor’s degree in Office Administration, major in Executive Secretaryship, from Polytechnic University of the Philippines served her well all these years.
“My training was fully applied in my work. Even in high school, I already had lessons in typing, shorthand, filing, accounting and office and records management. I’m very organized. I am not comfortable if things are in disarray. If everything is in its proper place, I know exactly where to get what I need immediately,” she says.
A second-generation Lopez Group kapamilya (her mother, Aurora dela Rea, worked in FPH for 30 years until retirement), Agaton views business excellence as a way of life.
“You don’t just work to get things done. If you can do it perfectly, why not? My standard is to deliver good quality work on time. I don’t want to work halfheartedly, or just to be able to say I finished what was assigned. It’s just not me. I have to prepare well so it will be seen in the output,” she says, adding that it is her life’s goal to keep on learning new things.
According to Mayol, Agaton gradually eased into BE program management about five years ago when the team was simultaneously running ESH, ISO/IMS, Six Sigma, Oscars and LAA. As members of the team (Roel Espinosa, Maribel Relatado-Rubia, Glenn Perez, Mayol) were assigned to FPH subsidiaries or other teams, she took on more responsibilities. The LAA ceremony held on October 10 was practically her first “solo flight,” with Mayol and Perez pitching in when schedules allowed.
Her message to LopezLink readers: “First, learn to be flexible. It makes the curves in life’s path easier to maneuver. I’ve been assigned to many different projects, I just had to cope with what needed to be done. Second, if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life. Last, always begin and end your day thanking the Lord for the all the blessings He untiringly showers on us.”