Life is a juggling act for Pilipinas Shell vice president for legal and corporate compliance officer Atty. Jannet Cruz-Regalado, as it is for working women everywhere.
A mother of three, this Shell executive starts her day by helping her kids get ready to leave the house before reporting to the office where she manages a team of lawyers to discuss and implement legal strategies and tactics in preparation for and in response to the company’s daily activities. She does this on top of managing her household and seeing to her family’s needs.
The same is true for Country tax manager for the Philippines and Thailand Atty. Nimfa Dimailig and Shell Philippines Vice President for Health Dr. Rose Rivera, who are among 247 women employees who make up 59% of Shell’s workforce in the country.
To fulfil their roles as women executives while performing their vital roles as wives, mothers, household managers, daughters and sometimes, family businesswomen, the women at Shell make everything work by setting priorities.
“I don’t think there is a perfect balance of work and family,” says Dimailig, who enjoys the distinction of being Pilipinas Shell’s first female general counsel. “It’s about knowing what you need to do at a particular moment or recognizing the people who need your time more.”
Dimailig comes from a family of lawyers, following the footsteps not only of her father, but also her grandfather and some “titos” (uncles). She joined Shell as a tax planning consultant in 2004, and pursued further studies in accounting to strengthen her knowledge and expertise in Taxation. She also established the Shell Business Operations Manila chapter, which handles operations in finance, customer operations, procurement, and contracting for Shell’s businesses around the world.
Rivera, meanwhile, took on the challenge of changing the mindset, lifestyle and behavior of Shell employees towards health and wellness under Shell Be Well, a program she started in 2009. Her efforts and those of her team paid off when Shell’s Be Well and Resilience programs bagged the Department of Health’s 2015 Outstanding Healthy Lifestyle Advocacy Awards in the commercial establishment category.
Like Dimailig, Rivera believes that she is able to do what she does because she sets priorities but allows herself flexibility when the need arises. “I’m a mother and wife first before I’m an employee of Pilipinas Shell, but I think this is possible because the company itself understands the position of women on this matter,” she says.
Since January 2018, Pilipinas Shell employees are able to avail of 16 weeks or 120 calendar days of paid maternity leave, which is twice more than the 60-day mandatory leave. The initiative is intended to support working mothers and their families.
Since Shell makes employee decisions based on qualifications, merit, performance and other job-related factors, the company also welcomes qualified women into traditionally-male dominated and physically-demanding jobs. Shell’s gender diversity in more physically-demanding jobs has allowed 37% of women to be on front line supervision and 54% for front line operations. More women are doing on-ground responsibilities because of their capabilities more than anything else.
Like their male colleagues, women working in Shell also benefit from flexible working hours, good and safe working conditions, and competitive terms and conditions of employment.
“The women in Pilipinas Shell know their potential and have the drive to show their commitment to the job in more ways than one. We love our job, so we make it our responsibility to balance it with family,” says Rivera.
Female employees also benefit from Shell Women’s Network, one of Shell’s many social groups and support networks that have been established to bring the company’s diverse workforce together. The Shell Women’s Network helps female staff to connect, share ideas and support each other in reaching their potential.
Established in 2016 as part of Pilipinas Shell’s 105-year legacy of promoting the welfare and wellbeing of its partners and employees, the Women’s Network is one of 20 thriving in countries where Shell operates around the world.
Regalado views the Women’s Network as a safe space where every woman of Shell is welcome to be herself.
“It’s a very good mechanism to share issues that are common to Filipino women,” she says. “We don’t want to be conscious about our positions, status in life, or education—it’s just us women being women, empowering each other in every way we can.”
There is an opportunity to do just that during the “Women Who Drive the Future,” a luncheon hosted by the Women’s Network to enable the women leaders within Pilipinas Shell to connect with key women executives and influencers in other industries.
In holding activities like the luncheon, the Women’s Network gives opportunities for women to showcase their effectiveness in promoting collaboration in the workplace, adds Rivera.
The activity scheduled on April 3 at The Manila House is aligned with the National Women’s Month Celebration theme “We Make Change Work for Women,” which highlights the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claimholders of development.
Regalado, Dimailig, and Rivera are just three of hundreds of women employees in the country and thousands more around the globe who attribute their career development and success to Shell’s progressive and inclusive work policy.
Pilipinas Shell remains steadfast in providing a safe space that respects women, develops them for leadership roles, and increases their level of participation in the workforce, so they can raise their voices to celebrate National Women’s Month together.