Behind every successful family business is a visionary leader. Lifestyle Asia sits down with seven leaders across different industries. They share how it was like to grow up exposed to their family business, and how they eventually took on the role of managing it. These seven powerful people tell a tale of success rooted in their unique visions for their businesses.
Marco worked as a financial analyst at Blackstone Real Estate Partners before joining Centuries Properties Group at his father’s request. “[For me], Century Properties is more than a family business—while it is family led, it is not family-run,” he says. “Over the years, I believe my style [of leadership] has developed into one that is analytical and strategic, but also very personable and team-oriented. [This enables us to] harness the best [efforts] of our team [and] achieve the goals we set for ourselves.”
In the past 30 years of operations, Centuries Properties has reached the status as one of the country’s leading and innovative real estate developers. The company developed over 45 buildings with 18,000 units and worked with ten names in different industries like fashion, design, and architecture. He attributes the success with these partnerships and elevating the experience of homeowners. “If done [correctly], each real estate project will live on in perpetuity.”
Though he was exposed to the construction business of his grandfather David Consunji, founder of David Consunji M. Incorporated (DMCI), Victor established his own firm. Starting with a fifty-thousand-peso cement mixer, he did minor landscaping projects and house renovations. He remained humble in spite of his family’s legacy and envisioned to create his own. “I wanted to see what it’s like to actually start from the bottom, from scratch, and build something up.”
From 12 years of managing his startup, he learned to develop the business and lead his team in an unconventional manner. “I expect my people to be accountable and to take pride in their work—to be the best version of what they’re supposed to do,” he says. Most of all, he believes empathy is the single biggest quality his team can have to meet the needs of their clients.
Eric Thomas Dee
FOODEE Global Concepts President and Chief Operating Officer Eric shares his inspiration for following the path of his parents. “All my summer jobs were at the restaurants. I had all these random jobs. I had been a waiter, I had been a manager, and it made me realize that I really loved food.” When he joined the family business, he looked for ways to keep it thriving. All FOODEE brands carry the theme of “affordable luxury.” It means serving good yet inexpensive food. Hence, Eric reached out to celebrity chefs like Chef Todd English and introduced new international food concepts.
At present, the company is making waves in the food industry with unique food concepts. Among the list are Kam’s Roast, Michelin-starred Hawker Chan, and Filipino-themed Mesa. In successfully managing these restaurants, Eric shares the lessons his father taught him. “You need to be: 1) a good person, 2) a fair businessman, and 3) a family man,” he says.
After earning her college degree and MBA, Xandra took on the responsibility of being the Managing Director of National Bookstore. One may think it was forced upon her given that it is a family business but Xandra explains, “I guess I’m lucky because books and stationery are my passion. And retail became my profession. So I was able to marry the two.”
Managing over 244 National Bookstore franchise is challenging for her especially in integrating technology in their systems. “I always get the question ‘Is book retailing dead?’ I think it’s still thriving. It’s just finding its own form,” she shares. “We try to make books as experiential as possible by bringing authors, hosting literary events, and doing activities, like calligraphy. We’re making retail interactive.” But the most important thing for Xandra is teaching future generations to read regardless of form.
Cristalle shares how her work as the Managing Director of Belo Medical Group and Intelligent Skin Care, Inc. (ISCI) is rewarding for her. Some are still critical of the cosmetic surgery and dermatology industry yet Cristalle stands by her beliefs. “I believe that the work we do heals the soul. It’s a person’s physical expression of what he or she believes it means to be beautiful. When the person feels this, then they are comfortable, secure, and confident in their skin, ready to face the world!”
As a leader, Cristalle looks for genuine empathy from her team. She believes that it can guide them to take initiative and go beyond their duty. After all, their work is about “making people feel good about themselves.” She adds, “It begins with making them understand what the company is all about.”
As one of the youngest CEOs in the country, Kevin learned to manage his own team and resolve concerns on their own. His father, Dr. Andrew L. Tan of The Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI) never pressured him on inheriting the business. “He gave us a certain amount of autonomy but remained supportive. My dad and his management didn’t really meddle so we were able to do our own thing,” Kevin shares. This encouraged him to learn from his experiences–both achievements and mistakes.
Kevin values his colleagues and the work they do. “If anything, as a leader, you’re supposed to be the most hardworking in the company,” he says. He acknowledges that the success of the entire conglomerate does not only rely on his leadership but on the efforts of his entire company. Managing the business may seem daunting but determination pushes Kevin and his team to succeed.
As the President and CEO of MSY Holdings, Martin strives for continuous improvement not only for himself but for his company and his colleagues. “I would consider my management style as transformational. I am a firm believer in a highly motivated and skilled workforce that can institute enhanced innovation and create change that will help shape and benefit the company in every aspect,” he says. Martin stresses the importance of ensuring that the working formula his father developed is sustainable and can enter modern sensibilities.
The CEO emphasizes how work, effort, knowledge, and control are necessary to make projects successful. The right attitude comes along with it as well. “My parents made me realize that when you learn how to accept humility and learn from your mistakes, you allow yourself to thrive in life with unlimited potential,” Martin shares.
The stories were originally written by Gelo Dionora, Chino R. Hernandez, Pipo Gonzales, Mara Madrid, Sarah-Siguion Reyna, Kristoff Sison, and Francesca Testa for Lifestyle Asia’s July Edition titled, “Visionaries in their Own Right.”
Read the rest of the special features on Lifestyle Asia’s July Edition titled, “Visionaries in their Own Right.” Download your digital copy on Magzter and Flip 100, or purchase your print copy on Lazada, Shopee or your nearest bookstore. For orders, email [email protected]