Yeye Agorilla: In Praise of Serendipity

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Blame it on her upbeat demeanor. Her innate enthusiasm paved the way for Yeye’s career in consulting to lift off. “Someone saw my energy and the potential in me. Eventually she asked me if I want to be a marshal for one of their client engagements. I saw it as a learning opportunity. So I grabbed it, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

MgtStrat Consultant Merielle Angelie Agorilla or Yeye, grew to be passion-oriented and well-driven from Ateneo de Manila where she took up her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her graduate studies – Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. It was in Graduate School where Yeye was introduced to MgtStrat by a classmate of hers, Tina Alfariz, a partner of the firm. Yeye described that incident as “fortuitous, serendipitous,” noting that if it didn’t happen, she would not have known that there were possibilities for her in the consulting world.

Graduate School actually served as a key instrument for Yeye to realize her purpose in life. While in her first Graduate School course, Yeye met Peter Cauton, who, like Tina, saw something in her and asked her to work for him at STORM Benefits, a technology-based benefits company. It was here that Yeye first learned the intricacies of HR work. She then went to the United States for a global traineeship in Human Resources. It was upon her return that she also found her way back to Management Strategies.

“I was at a crossroads, trying to finish the final project of my MA while figuring out if I would go back to full-time HR work or explore consulting as a career. It was then that I started working with Management Strategies again, first as a marshal, then moving to more complex client engagements. I have not looked back since. “ The reason for her jumping on-board at that time was fairly simple: MgtStrat provided the flexibility she wanted while giving her opportunities to put her degree to practice. It was win-win. The company nurtured her yearning to learn and eventually involved her beyond the usual team development engagements.

“I could say that MgtStrat took a risk when they hired me – as I considered myself very inexperienced, having been working only a few years. But I guess they saw something in me, makulit kasi ako, asking questions all the time. They saw my capabilities and what I could possibly contribute to the firm in the long run.”

Trusting her raw ability, MgtStrat gave her the right tools, exposure, and mentorship from their in-house experts, as well as challenging engagements to stretch her. “There really is risk in getting a young, less experienced person on the team, but their support, their guidance assures that the gamble was well-thought out, calculated, and that it would pay off in the end,” adds Yeye.

But more than the technical stuff, senior members of the MgtStrat family took her in, sharing their time, experiences, and expertise with her. She developed strong ties with the different team members and now considers them her family in the craft. Tina, she says, was quite influential in Yeye’s career at MgtStrat and in her profession as a consultant. “I consider her one of my mentors, one of my life pegs in this industry, my go-to ally whenever I have questions about a certain program or engagement.

Once, we had this huge client and I was asked to join the team. The work would be challenging and definitely out of my comfort zone. Siyempre takot ako, sino ba naman ako. And this was a big thing for the organization. But Tina was there to listen to my worries and always told me that she and the team would always be there. It was an assurance that they had my back, no matter what,” she relates. The project required Yeye to be immersed in the client’s world for several months, and though there were ups and downs, wins and frustrations, she never felt alone or unsupported.

For Yeye, this is one of the reasons why she looks forward to working with MgtStrat – “they help me become better at what I do and also widen the opportunities and competencies I have.” As her relationship with more team members grew, she realized that her consulting experience with the company as a whole is evolving as well.

“My personal mission is aligned with MgtStrat’s. They desire to improve organizations with their innovative, customized and relevant solutions; while I, on the other hand, seek to change the world one employee experience at a time.”

MgtStrat is driven to empower company leaders and employees, just as Yeye would like to help one worker at a time within each organization she works with. She says it’s quite a tall order but not impossible. She has been with MgtStrat for four years now, and she knows that the positive impact of the work goes beyond the organizations themselves – it redounds to a lot of Filipino families, to their communities, and ultimately, to the country.

So what’s in store for her in the coming years? “I really want to continue growing my capabilities as a consultant so I can offer more to clients and reach more employees. How do I plan to do it? More projects to gain more exposure and experience. I’m also thinking about certifications and other training opportunities, maybe even coaching. I’ve always had this mindset that you really never stop learning and I see this in all the people I work with in Mgtstrat, from the consultants to the partners.”

As part of the Mgtstrat team, she hopes that they will expand their reach by delving more into the non-profit organizations and perhaps the government sector. It may be a huge undertaking, but Yeye believes that MgtStrat can play an immense part in transforming these sectors and help them fulfill their mission effectively. “The company continues to evolve as I evolve. And I look forward to more engagements, to new and innovative ways to make the world a better place through the work we do,” concludes Yeye.

 

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