Leadership is a Practice: How Gina Romero Connected Women to World-Class Opportunities

Leadership is a Practice: How Gina Romero Connected Women to World-Class Opportunities

The opportunities in the Philippines are arguably limited especially for women. A lot of Filipinos look for greener pastures abroad so that they can provide the best life for their family. After all, you are responsible for your own destiny.

Is there another way? Is there another option where you don’t need to leave your family but earn decently at the same? Then, remote working might be for you. 

Remote working can give you access to jobs with pay at par with foreign rates. And the blessed catch, you can work-at-home! How cool is that? You just need to find these opportunities online and you are set to go.

The problem is, it’s not as easy as it seems. I mean where can you find these online jobs amidst all the scams out there? That’s the advocacy of one of our esteemed speakers.

We are privileged today to have an exclusive interview with Gina Romero! Gina Romera, the founder of Connected Women, aims to connect these opportunities to women all across the Philippines. And here is how it went.

 

Working_Remote_Collaboration Both Online and Offline

Image Credit:
ConnectedWomen.co

Grab Opportunities When You Can

Leandro: Hi Ms. Gina! How are you? Before we go to tackle the success you have today, we want to know, how did you start before everything?

Gina: I’m fine, Leandro. Back then, I’ve had a very random and varied career! I’ve really had a lot of challenges and even failures in life – too many to count!

My first job was working on our family-owned pig farm in Pampanga. Then I moved back to the UK and became a long-haul cabin crew for British Airways. 

When we moved to Singapore, I also ran an IT company with my husband. And I founded The Athena Network Singapore and the Asia Pacific. I was the Operations Director for The Athena Network back then. 

When we moved from the UK to Singapore it was a struggle at first because I was almost 8 months pregnant with our youngest son. 

We had to do that big international move with short notice. It was crazy to say yes to relocating at that time, but sometimes when an opportunity comes along, you just have to grab it.

There is nothing like living and working in a different country to give you a wider perspective and deep respect for different cultures.

The Start of Connected Women

Leandro: That’s right! I myself am a Digital nomad who clamors for unique experiences abroad. And we want to share that with other people as well.

You have shared opportunities for many Filipinos through Connected Women. In this light, we want to know. How did Connected Women start?

Gina: Connected Women started back in 2013 in Singapore when I realized there wasn’t enough support for women entrepreneurs who need to learn how to use technology to grow their businesses.

Connected Women is a community where women can share, connect, work and learn. Our focus is on how women can leverage technology to be location-independent.

But of course, at the heart of Connected Women, it’s not just about technology. It’s about advocating for a better lifestyle and career choices for women and sharing the journey.

We are a community of women who want success, happiness, and (the elusive) work-life balance. That could be through entrepreneurship, remote work, or freelancing.

We want to be the go-to platform for women who want to stay up-to-date with trends for the future of work.

 

Working_Remote_Leadership is Learned

Image Credit:
Connected Women

Connecting Women to Online Jobs

Gina: And there was so much interest in hiring Virtual Assistants. And I realized this was an excellent solution for helping entrepreneurs grow their business while providing high-quality remote jobs for Filipino women.

That resonated strongly with me after my experience of seeing many Filipino women leave their families to work overseas.

My mum is from a humble family in a small town. She was one of the first OFWs to go to the UK as a domestic worker back in the 1970s.

I’m very grateful to all the OFWs who made that sacrifice. I’ve seen first-hand how hard it is.

That’s why the job platform idea started in 2015 when a lot of friends wanted to know how to hire a remote team from the Philippines. I had a small team who ran my Singapore events and content from here in the Philippines, and the ladies from my network were impressed with how talented they were.

My husband and I decided to come back in 2016 and we partnered our dynamic co-founder Ruth to set up our Philippines based startup, Connected Women Jobs.

The jobs platform is still in beta right now but the community keeps growing. It’s taken a life of its own with 42k members and 263 volunteer-led city meetups since April 2018.

 

Collaboration Both Online and Offline

Gina: We believe that an online career can go beyond task-based, transactional, and project-based work. We want to combine the flexibility and freedom of remote work with a sense of purpose and long-term career growth.

The community side is focused on advocacy, training, and development while the job platform is where entrepreneur clients can search for talented job seekers. 

We have regular city meetups, an active Facebook group, and an online magazine. A lot of the growth has been driven thanks to our members who passionately support and collaborate for our advocacy.

 

Working_Remote_The Lifestyle of a Successful Entrepreneur

Image Credit:
TopLeftDesign.com

The Lifestyle of a Successful Entrepreneur

Leandro: I’m at awe what you achieved. On a personal level, how do you manage all these responsibilities? How does your lifestyle look like?

Gina: I have a very structured day which includes specific times for breaks and even checking messages and social media. Keeping a tight schedule keeps me sane and helps me to be efficient, even when I work from home.

Every morning, my husband and I take our youngest son to school. It’s walking distance from our home so we walk our dog at the same time.

When I get back, I do my personal finances and then review my calendar and tasks with my EA. I work from 9 – 6 pm, almost always from home, which includes calls with clients from all over the world.

6 pm is dinner and time to catch up with our sons. Then I relax for a while and do a bit more work. Sometimes I have evening calls with clients on the North America time zone.

A couple of days a week I have in-person meetings with some of my team. We also have 6-weekly meetups and events that happen all over the Philippines. I don’t have a car so I use taxis, ride-sharing apps or even tricycles to get around.

When I travel, my husband and youngest son (who is 8) are usually with me. We like to do things as a family and we decided long ago that we would choose a lifestyle that allows us to be together as much as possible.

Leadership is Learned

Leandro: That discipline is clearly admirable. It’s an answer to the common misconception that people who work remotely are just slackers who have all the time in the world. 

If I may ask, how did you grow to be this strong leader that you are today?

Gina: I’m really proud that I stepped up into a community leadership role and got over my fear of public speaking. I don’t consider myself a natural leader. It’s something I’ve worked on for over 10 years now.

If you had told me years ago that I would one day stand up and speak to hundreds of people to share my story, I would never have believed it would happen.

For those who think that leadership comes naturally or don’t believe they could ever be a leader, I hope this inspires them to think differently.

I realize now that leadership is a practice, not a gift. 🙂

 

Working_Remote_Self-Compassion- Forgive Yourself

Image Credit:
Connected Women

Self-Compassion: Forgive Yourself

Leandro: That’s good to know! Everyone has the ability to choose to be a leader. It can be learned. We are curious though. With all these achievements, do you have any regrets?

Gina: I think regret is one of the things I try hardest to avoid.

There are a lot of things I could have done differently, but I try to offer myself the same compassion I would anyone else.

Self-compassion is something that we should put more importance on for the sake of our happiness and mental health.

There was a time when I lived with deep regret and guilt for the difficult choices I made. I learned (the hard way) to forgive myself after hitting rock bottom. Now, if I ever doubt a decision I made, I just tell myself that I made the best decision at the time – for reasons that were right at that time.

Only at that moment can you fully understand why you make a certain choice. And if that moment has passed, there’s no point in feeling guilty. I just try to focus on what I’ve learned – and what I can change right now. 🙂

 

Working_Remote_Advice for Aspiring Freelancers

Image Credit:
HNWorth.com

Advice for Aspiring Freelancers

Leandro: That insight is really valuable. Many people are stuck with where they are today because of their mistakes from the past. Knowing that you can forgive yourself is a big step to moving to a more prosperous future.

And for those aspiring for a prosperous one, what is your advice for aspiring freelancers?

Gina: I think it’s always important to start with your aspirations. Why do you want to become a freelancer or remote worker?

Are you are looking for flexibility or stability? Are you willing to take risks, learn new skills? What skills do you already have that can be leveraged? 

Remote work isn’t a magic pill that will bring you everything in life. Like anything, to be a successful remote worker it takes hard work, dedication, and focus.

It can also be a wonderfully rewarding lifestyle where you have the opportunity to work from anywhere with people from everywhere. 🙂

 

Working_Remote_Advice for Practicing Freelancers

Image Credit:
Connected Women

Advice for Practicing Freelancers

Leandro: Yes! Many people think that success from remote working will come with just a snap of a finger. In reality, it takes hard work and never-ending learning to be successful in it.

How about for those practicing freelancing already? What is your advice for them?

Gina: The world of remote work is changing fast. We’re moving into a time where remote work is quickly becoming the new normal.

People have access to a global talent pool, and technologies like AI, automation, big data, and bots are changing the landscape of work. The future of remote work is already happening and it’s getting competitive.

It’s essential to stay relevant by watching the trends and changes – and ask yourself, “Are you maximizing your human potential?”.

This is an exciting time to be part of an evolving workforce – let’s make the most of it.

And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

 

Conclusion

And enjoy we will! Did you enjoy the learnings from Gina? Well, I sure did! And you can get more out of her wisdom in the coming Working Remote Summit.

We have invited high caliber speakers from here and abroad to share their expertise in working remotely just for you. Achieve that lifestyle you always wanted! All you need is to reserve your slots today

 

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