Raquel Vergara, Global Process Manager, shares her motivations as a leader at Shell.
Meet Raquel. #EmpoweredtoLead
I started my career in finance as an auditor, followed by several business finance roles before moving to Shell in 2006. I’ve been with Shell for over 11 years now, ten of which were spent specializing in business finance. I started out in an Upstream Accounting Role in Manila. I then moved to Brunei to do a short-term international assignment as a controller for a joint-venture. Here I had the opportunity to work with a wide range of Shell and external folks who were operating our assets out there.
When I moved back to the Philippines, I took on a Finance Manager role for the next 6 years, in which I was part of the refinery leadership team. I led a small team of 5 people and was responsible for rallying people behind our vision for the refinery.
After this, I moved to Finance Operations, where I’ve now been for nearly 1.5 years. I started here as an Operations Manager handling a team of 80 people in Manila. It was my first time working in a process role, so here I greatly increased my scope of work, learning all about the business and honing my leadership skills. Recently, I was promoted to Global Process Manager and am now managing a team of 150 people across Manila and Krakow!
I’ve stayed with Shell for so long because I’ve always been given opportunities to learn and grow here. I get to interact with so many people across the globe, all of whom are in different businesses and different roles, from very senior stakeholders down to operators at our retail sites. I find it fascinating all the insights you get from interacting with such a wide range of people.
My Leadership Style
I try to be a visible leader – I talk to people and make sure they have direct access to me as much as possible. The last thing I want is for people to be intimidated to reach out. I aim to be an inspirational leader – encouraging other people to be the best version of themselves. I want to make sure at the end of an assignment that I have truly gotten the best out of them.
I also endeavour to practice situational leadership, adapting my style based on the audience or the needs of the moment. I can be hands-on or hands-off, detailed or very high-level, depending on the situation.
What makes me proud is when I see that I’ve had a transformative effect on the team and continuously aiming to add value to the business we support. I had the opportunity to practice this during my time in the refinery, being truly involved in defining the site’s strategy as well as driving business decisions with my team.
One challenge I do come up against is that I am a very impatient person. I’m used to a varied, multi-tasking kind of delivery and drive myself very hard. Sometimes my style can overwhelm people, especially when we’re learning new techniques at such a fast pace.
Since recognising this, I’m trying to balance my delivery - enabling my people and building their capabilities so that they can deliver at the same pace that I am comfortable with.
Find Motivation in Others
What fulfils me is when I see other people progressing and becoming better at what they do. Over the past one and a half years, I’ve felt proud to see how my team connect their everyday work to its overall impact on Shell’s objectives.
When I see people who are able to articulate that connection, I feel very happy. It doesn’t just give meaning to what they do on a daily basis, but also to what I do as a leader.
In general, the things that motivate me have changed a lot over the years. Now that I have my own family, I think beyond myself. In the beginning, I always wanted to push myself further every day. Now, what keeps the fire burning is bringing positive energy to other members of the team and creating an impact on other peoples’ lives.
You Set the Scope
Your job description is just a starting point – it’s the minimum you can do. So, my advice is to never underestimate what you can achieve. When I was hired, I was aware I was taking an Analyst role and that I wanted more than that. I gave it a shot and I told myself that I would definitely do more than what was written in the job description and make this role a big one.
So, no matter how simple the job is, you can make a bigger impact. You just need to think outside the box. Don’t restrict yourself to what is instructed.
Today, almost all organizations are undergoing changes – so it’s important to have the kind of mindset that sees changes as opportunities. Shell gives you the power to do whatever you want to do, so long as you see value or a risk you can mitigate. Embrace that change and take the role wherever you want to take it!
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