Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This African country is very rich in history and culture. One of it’s claims to fame is that the coffee bean actually originated here. One thing we have in common with Ethiopia is that their population is also 100 million.
In 2012, I was surprised to receive an email from an old friend and client Tomas Jamtander, a Swedish who was General Manager of Macro Asia Airline Catering here in Manila until 2012 before taking on his new assignment in Ethiopia as General Manager of the Addis Ababa Airline Catering Company. He asked me to search for an excellent Filipino human resources director with a good background in food, beverage and catering. I immediately informed Tomas that he was in luck because there was someone immediately available and qualified who was looking into an overseas opportunity, primarily to improve her financial standing and secondarily to increase her executive worth through foreign exposure.
Grace de Vera was Assistant Human Resources Director of The Peninsula Manila in 2012 when I received this special assignment from Tomas. I knew Grace was ready to move up to the top HR post because she already had 17 years experience starting as Training Manager at the Holiday Inn Resort Clark in 1995 and then moving to other prestigious hotels like the Asia World Hotel in China, the Marco Polo Davao, Dusit Hotel Nikko in Makati and the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. Grace was a very active member of the Association of Human Resources Managers in the Hospitality Industry (www.ahrm.com).
Grace joined Tomas in Addis Ababa in 2012 as head of human resources and continues to enjoy her assignment until this day. I asked Grace what about Ethiopia has made her stay 4 years –”Addis Ababa is abundant with culture. The Ethiopians are very religious, traditional and conservative. Crime rate is very low and therefore very safe to move around. The economy is growing in manufacturing, education, hospitality and agriculture. Commercial buildings are on the rise in the city. I feel that in my own small way, I am contributing to it’s growth and therefore quite fulfilling. To top it all, my ‘expatriate package’ is not bad at all!”
Filipino executives like Grace abound in over two hundred countries around the world and more and more Filipinos are considering Africa as their next best bet for a rewarding career.
(Vic Alcuaz is a Hospitality Headhunter, Trainer & Consultant: www.vicalcuaz.com)
Grace De Vera
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