Shifting paths

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

She was expected to work in a hospital after college. Her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing should have taken her there. She tried but somehow, somewhere along her young career, she fell in love with something else. Since then, Myla Mohammad, a mother of a 14-year-old daughter, became devoted to her job.

Powered by an elaborate experience of about 23 years, the 45-year-old woman joined Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort & Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, just this January as director of sales and marketing. She came as she is—a seller and a believer.

“It doesn’t mean that just because you deviated, you won’t be as effective as you thought you could be,” Mohammad said of the path she chose.


After her volunteer days as a nurse, Mohammad became employed in an investment trading company, which dealt with the New York Stock Exchange. It happened that most of her clients were hotel owners. That was the start. Chasing her passion, not wanting to be enslaved by earnings, she landed as a front desk officer of the first hotel she worked for, the Mar y Cielo (formerly Portofino Beach Resort in Lapu-Lapu City).

Mohammad recalled that her job description back then stretched from being a receptionist to being a bellman (woman) when necessary.

“I was not only front-lining, I was multi-tasking. I find it rather amusing! Seeking to relate to a lot of people is something I was and am enjoying. I knew I wanted to be interactive, dynamic,” she shared.

Later on, Mohammad’s stint progressed to covering sales and marketing, setting up events, catering and managing departments for established hotels in Cebu.

Mohammad’s recent post at the waterpark resort includes a daily grind of contract signing and meetings. Her job scope makes her a juggle obligations from client
negotiations (her favorite part) down to reservations, events and team management.

“It’s more on the admin side and it’s tedious! Why did I accept it? Well, sometimes in life, you’re only left with two choices—to stay or quit. But I am confident with the company. I also believe what I have now is an avenue for self-fulfillment and validation. I’m banking on the future. That’s why I’m here,” Mohammad said, smiling.

When times are bad and business is not doing well, pressure sets in but Mohammad takes it in stride.

“When I hopped on the bandwagon, I thought it was going to be a smooth ride all the way. But it wasn’t; it isn’t. I got nervous. There’s a lot of things to do especially in delivering expectations,” she admitted.

But Mohammad developed her edge. “The idea of selling is just like that of a nurse’s duties. It also demands decision- making and patience. You get to talk a lot, too. I believe you really don’t have to have the background to be in business. You should do fine with common sense,” she related.

There’s never a time she can’t open her laptop even if she’s on a day off with her friends. She keeps herself posted with reminders scribbled on notepads. But when things become too much, as in stressful, Mohammad sets off on grocery run. If she’s not outside sitting in a restaurant or just ordering something, she stays home doing her culinary experiments. Only Edesia, Roman goddess of food, knows how many times she attempted to replicate hotel recipes in her own kitchen.

As well-versed in the industry as she is, Mohammad is not too selfish to groom somebody for a succession plan.

“I have always wanted to do that. In sales, don’t be afraid that the person will overpower your strategy style,” she challenged.

If she’s not what she has become, Mohammad guessed she would have “given justice” to her course as a rehabilatative nurse in the psychiatric field. But perhaps sales is not that far-fetched from what she’s supposed to do. After all, the hospitality world still deals with beds, hotel beds, that is.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 05, 2014.


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