Women in Business: KMC’s Executive Committee Women Leading the Way to Flexible Change
3/5/2021 | By Marella Gimenez
As the first day of March signifies the start of Women’s month, this year’s International Women’s Day campaign is #ChooseToChallenge — opening an invitation to challenge the inequalities, biases, social issues, and the daily personal struggles women face within their community. These acts of rebellion that go against the grain has led to major change in the past and have put women in the leading and favorable positions they are in today.
The Rise of Women in Business
Women’s month has been historically celebrated in the Philippines since 1988 and has always advocated the advancement of gender equality and women empowerment in the country. This has ultimately led to our nation’s standing on women’s rights being more highly developed than many other countries, ranking us 10th out of 145 nations on gender equality in the Global Gender Gap Index of 2017. The Philippine laws in place that address workplace discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual harassment among other issues have led the way for women to rise within the ranks and take more leadership roles in various industries that were formerly male-dominated.
With the historic change in organizational structures that have cleared the way for women of obstacles and have promoted the inclusion of all genders and cultures in the workplace, there is now a larger percentage of women in business taking on roles formerly thought only to be suited for men. The Women of Entrepreneurship study reports that there are over 28,000 SMEs owned and led by women in the Philippines — comprising of over one-fourth of the country’s SMEs. Women-led organizations and businesses are reported to more likely employ more women, increasing the potential of growing female leaders in the local business landscape.
Equal Opportunities at KMC
Women in recent years have been making great strides in the professional world and it has been no different at KMC Solutions. With one of the three founders being an esteemed woman law practitioner, it has always been important to KMC to recognize admirable work ethic and talent no matter the gender or disposition.
Along with the company’s executive committee, who a third of are also women, it is not unusual for the company to have women in high-ranking positions due to their capabilities. The number of women managers overtakes the men by a small margin, with them being non-discriminatory of who advances in seniority level. In fact, the general demographic of more than half the company’s workforce are women. KMC has a diverse workforce who are all given the tools, equal treatment, corresponding equal pay, and the equal opportunity to grow professionally within the company, as long as one shows the drive to succeed.
The Women Leading Flexible Change
With 2020 spelling a tumultuous year for most businesses, KMC’s female chief business leaders at the company’s executive committee — consisting of Tracy Ignacio; Chief Operating Officer, KC Tamayo-Gamboa; VP for Enterprise Solutions, and Atty. Nancy Martinez- Arce; VP for Legal & Administration — have led the way in navigating their teams through the pandemic and creating innovative solutions for both their clients and workforce. As they further empower women in taking up more senior roles in the workplace, they share their personal experiences on what it has been like to flexibly lead as a woman in KMC.
The company’s progressive approach to its commitment to equality has given these women the flexibility to climb the ranks quickly and truly nurture their growth. Officially joining the company over 7 years ago as a Finance Director, Tracy Ignacio became the VP of Finance after just 8 months, and then quickly rose again to the level of her current position as Chief Operating Officer in less than 2 years. Atty. Nancy Arce-Martinez, on the other hand, started out as the pioneering employee of KMC’s Legal Department which has now expanded to a large team of their own to properly support the business. And KC Tamayo-Gamboa, who has extensive experience in other media forms in the industry and has closed important deals for the company, was recently promoted to her current position of Vice President for Enterprise.
Their rapid career trajectory, that also mirrored the organization’s swift growth, is a testament to how the company does not possess any sort of gender bias. Ignacio says on this matter, “To this day, I can proudly say that everyone’s growth in the company is based on merit and their contribution to the company and nothing else.”
As chief business leaders at KMC, when asked how they effectively manage their respective teams and if their gender has ever played any role in their leadership style, Tracy Ignacio states that, “Always with empathy. Having the ability to feel and know how others are doing has allowed me to make more informed decisions. However, I do not attribute that ability to gender as I believe everyone can choose to be kind and lead with heart.”
Atty. Nancy Arce-Martinez weighs in on this by saying, “You lead by example, not by fear. More importantly, it should never be about gender. I do not believe my gender has anything to do with my movement in the corporate ladder. For that, I consider myself extremely lucky to have Atty. Amanda, Mike, and Greg as bosses that support women leaders in the company.”
KC Tamayo-Gamboa shared that being a woman has also never hindered her in efficiently running her team like a well-oiled machine, saying, “I strongly believe that gender doesn’t have to be an issue nor be the driver of your successful leadership. It is rather about leading by example and reproducing the best version of yourself. We have heard Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Despite the difficulties in adjusting to the new normal and transforming businesses to digitally adapt to a blended virtual setup, these women were still able to oversee and assist some of the company’s biggest projects to be launched this year. When KMC was able to further expand their geographical footprint despite the difficulties encountered, the women of the Executive Committee were asked if they considered this to be a personal achievement on their part.
“There is no single instance nor project which I consider to be completely my own because it is through every one's collective effort that has brought us to exactly where we are right now. Every office we have built has its own charm and back story of arduous work and collaboration. When I answer questions like these, I look back and always feel amazed on how we grew through the years – by getting through each day as a team – and that for me is the biggest achievement,” Ignacio shares.
With the huge developments being made in the way we work throughout the past decade, empowering women to continually grow and lead in the workplace has been one of the most impactful changes that have been made throughout the years. This has opened the path for women like Tracy Ignacio, Atty. Nancy Arce-Martinez, and KC Tamayo-Gamboa to thrive in their chosen careers and open the dialogue about women leading the workplace. Setting the precedent for proper visibility, more development opportunities, and fair equal treatment to everyone in the workforce, KMC has always been progressive and uncompromising in its core values of diversifying the workplace. As proven by the company’s own forward-thinking and success-driven women leaders, they show that the genuine measure of excellence in a culturally diverse workspace is through their grit, perseverance, and skill alone.