Opinion > The Ninja Girl
Finding Amy

Written by Ilocos Sentinel posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 1 vote

Writing about someone you know is a very personal process. It’s not that I worry about writing something that will offend that person, but rather whether I can effectively communicate to the readers the person that she is, the person whom I know.

Here’s to sharing what I know about Amalia Palisoc, Amy to her friends, as a woman, as a successful restaurateur, and as a friend. Here’s to doing it justice. Here’s to you, dear readers, that you may find Amy’s story as compelling as I did.

Palisoc

Picture of Ms. Amalia Palisoc

Caption: Amy (middle) poses with her 2012 Women Power co-awardees Chiqui Escareal-Go (left) of Mansmith and Fielders/Waters Phil and Venus Jane Lobaton-Lopa (right) of TQ Travel Solutions last October 2, 2012 at St. Lukes Medical Center Global City’s Henry Sy Auditorium.

 

 

TGIF

Picture of a dedication

Caption: Amy was recently awarded a gold medal by the TGI Friday’s International Team for exemplary performance for the company. This letter from Tamala Fowler, Managing Director, Asia Pacific acknowledging Amy’s contribution accompanied the award.

 

 

 

Her Own Woman

Who wouldn’t agree with Amy when she says, “Without women, men cannot rule the world”? Who wouldn’t agree with a woman who successfully climbed the corporate ladder and at the same time did her best to raise three kids well?

I’ve known Amy since 2008 and consider her as one of my mentors. Remember when we were kids saying “When I grow up, I want to be …”? Then, I would have loved to say that when I grow up, mature in personality that is, I want to have the same passion and dedication as Amy has in everything that she does.

I got to know her through a socio-civic organization, the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardees (GRLA), Inc. The GRLA is a medal awarded to graduating high school students in recognition of their leadership skills and academic excellence. It’s so coveted that in some high schools, this gold medal is prized more than the valedictory award.

Her journey towards the award was one of the most interesting I’ve heard. High schoolers find it very challenging allocating their time between academics and extra-curricular activities. It is very rare to have one of the most popular students as the valedictorian and at the same time the Gerry Roxas Leadership Awardee. Amy was.

When Amy was in high school she was one of the most visible students at St. Theresa’s Academy of Bauan, Batangas and in the Southern Tagalog Region. She was a regional officer of the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs (PSYSC) which required her to travel out of her school often to help organize science clubs and science fairs throughout Region 4 and at the same time manage her school’s student body being the President of the Supreme Student Council. She was also an active member of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines attending jamborees all over the country. She also acted as ‘little’ mayor for the town during one of the Boys and Girls Weeks which she describes as “one of the most interesting leadership programs and should be continued today.” Being ‘little’ mayor came natural to her being the news editor of The Leaf, St. Theresa’s school organ,, and the editor-in-chief of Tinig, the community newspaper.

High school, Amy says, is “very important in leadership development.” This four-year period in everyone’s young lives do much more than any other on the shaping of one’s character. High school helped Amy grow into her own woman and provide her the necessary personality to find and enjoy her beginnings as a young professional.

 

Her Beginnings

Imagine starting a management trainee job with one of the largest fastfood companies in the world? Tiring? Then imagine doing it with two toddlers? Challenging? Then imagine doing so in a time before women’s power and liberation became by-words in Philippine Society. Difficult?

Amy not only made it, but she did it so well she is now the Vice President for Corporate Development of the Bistro Group of Companies which operates a chain of world-class, themed casual dining restaurants including TGI Friday’s, Italianni’s, Fish & Co, Bulgogi Brothers, Ma Maison, Village Tavern, Krazy Garlik, The Stock Market, Pig Out, Flapjacks, and most recently, WATAMI which has more than 700 units in Japan.  She said we should also watch out for the opening of Modern Shanghai and Chuck E. Cheese’s soon and many more other restaurants to be launched in 2013.

Reminiscing how she began with the food and beverage industry, Ms. Palisoc shared to this author a very interesting family anecdote. When she worked for McDonald’s Philippines, her job’s demand on her time was so great she had to juggle family obligations with that of her work. Her dedication and passion for her work extended beyond work hours.

She said, “Would you believe that my kids played with restaurant concepts and not play house? They made fries, burgers using clay! They made-believe they’re behind a counter and would ask me and their playmates, “Make I take your order please?”.” It’s no wonder that her oldest, Janyll, 28, had chosen a career in the hospitality industry, now flies with one of the best airlines in the world as a stewardess, and doing an excellent job just like her mother. Amy’s other two kids, Justin, 26 and Johndel, 22 also credit their mother the ease they deal with others.

It didn’t take long for Amy’s dedication and excellence to be noticed in the industry. She was eventually recruited by the owner of The Bistro Group to help bring world known restaurant concepts, and establish homegrown ones, too in the country. Though she is undeniably her own woman, when talking about what she has achieved, Amy says, “Behind my success are fellow women.”

Her Words

Amy’s advice to people who own restaurants or plan to is “If you want to get results HIRE women.” Based on her experience, women have this uncanny ability to deal with specific accountability and penchant for details which are very important when your success is largely dependent on how you please people. Also, putting in place an excellent training program is a key success factor. As Amy says, “Great people, great work, great place.” Lastly, of course, serve customers “great food.”

Her advice to young professionals starting their career not only in the food and beverage industry is to love what you do. And if you’re currently in a job that you don’t like? Then find something about it to love, otherwise everyone will know you’re faking it and you’ll end up making everyone miserable. Plus infectious energy is key!

When asked about the best piece of leadership advice she had received, she credits Mr. William A, Stelton, who hired her as part of the first team to establish and manage TGI Friday’s, for her most important hiring principle. When interviewing people, according to Mr. Stelton, “always look them in the eyes and you’ll know whether that person is honest and telling the truth about his CV, and eventually will work well with the rest of your team.”

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Liza Gaspar is a wealth coach and a personal finance enthusiast. She spends her free time helping out with the projects of the Rotary Club of Makati McKinely. Visit her web site at www.thegirlninja.com. Follow her Facebook public updates at www.facebook.com/annalizagaspar and Twitter @annalizagaspar. Be a fan of The Girl Ninja at www.facebook.com/TheGirlNinja. You can also email Liza at liza@thegirlninja.com.

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