To survive, organizations must create value for their clients. But not all strive to create value for their employees along the way.
Jemelle Sosa-Pastor, COO of SosaJB Property Management, which has offices throughout the Philippines, says its people are its purpose.
"It’s not every day that companies are willing to put their money where their mouth is in terms of creating value for employees," she says. "They are Filipinos like me. Everyone should have a quality life."
From its recruitment of new employees to its daily operations and long-term goals, SosaJB aligns to its values, while Sosa-Pastor describes her leadership style as one of service.
Serving others has allowed her to get the buy-in of her team and inspire them to work toward a common goal, she says.
"I serve them. We serve each other because we each have our own roles and accountabilities and responsibilities," she says. "The satisfaction that I get as a human from serving others cannot be replaced by technical knowledge. If I can’t impact lives positively through my technical skills, what good are they?"
It’s not every day that companies are willing to put their money where their mouth is in terms of creating value for employees.
Making an impact
SosaJB, in turn, impacts many lives. The company is involved in all aspects of property operations, including construction, maintenance and management, tenancy management and energy management consulting.
It is also the only property management company in the Philippines to have a Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board license, which allows it to offer engineering services.
"We are currently managing and maintaining 2.1 million square meters of real estate in the entire country, across 428 properties that are in the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional types of development," Sosa-Pastor explains.
I don’t think everyone is as successful in doing the inner work to be able to lead and serve others. But for me, the willingness to do it is crucial in leadership success.
Sosa-Pastor took on the new position of COO in 2017, when the company had already been operating for seven years. Her first mission was to form a credible management team around her that shared in the leadership responsibility.
"I wanted to delegate the leadership role to make our employees understand that our success as an organization is a shared responsibility between us owners and our employees," she says.
SosaJB invests in its people at all levels of the company.
"We put our money where our mouth is in terms of the culture-building activities in our company," she says. "We take care of our employees through culture, engagement and morale, then they take care of our clients."
Leading from within
Leadership through serving takes "inner work," Sosa-Pastor says, which she acknowledges some people find challenging.
"I don’t think everyone is as successful in doing the inner work to be able to lead and serve others. But for me, the willingness to do it is crucial in leadership success," she says. "We need to know what drives us when we wake up so we’re ready to go. That takes inner work."
She considers her principal achievements as a leader – aside from the satisfaction of her people – to be the policies she has implemented to make SosaJB sustainable, both financially and environmentally.
The satisfaction that I get as a human from serving others cannot be replaced by technical knowledge.
"Financially, we created policies in terms of our pricing structure, how we package our contracts, and making sure that each contract is a quality contract with a quality client," she says.
In the last quarter of 2022, SosaJB launched its energy sustainability and greening consulting arm. Sosa-Pastor explains that such services are not widely offered by many other property and facilities management companies across South-East Asia, but this is just the start of their future plans.
In the medium- to long-term, Sosa-Pastor and her leadership team are looking to expand into new provinces where development is happening, as well as other new areas of growth.
The company recently hired a marketing consultant, CIA Bootleg Manila, which helps organizations to innovate their corporate and brand strategies.
"We want to really see where our growth areas are here in the Philippines and across the Asia–Pacific. Whatever the research data shows us, that’s where the company’s headed," she says.
The company’s biggest challenge is the shortage of quality staff, an issue being felt across the region. SosaJB has partnered with universities and invested in a team to take gifted students through a management training program.
We’re not only here to turn a profit. We want to impact the lives of our employees in a positive way.
Even from the selection stage, they ensure candidates share the same values.
"We want our values to trickle down. We’re not only here to turn a profit. We want to impact the lives of our employees in a positive way," Sosa-Pastor says.
"We love to see our employees flourish; we like to see their quality of life enhanced by the stable employment in our company. I think that’s what really sets our company apart: its heart and purpose."