Behind the Suits

By Mark Johnson C. Gil

We all live in a world with different generations, beliefs, opinions, and perspectives. Such differences affect or influence us in more ways than we are aware of. Let us learn how we can deal with these differences as three of our corporate lawyers share their experiences, their own perspectives, and how these differences influence them in some instances.

Atty. Elaine Rose Z. Espiritu, Dispute Resolution & Operations Senior Manager, took her undergraduate studies at De La Salle University. She then took her law degree at San Beda College, Mendiola in 2014 and took the bar exam the same year. She loves travelling, off-roading, big cars, and collecting Lego.

Atty. Criselda M. Funelas, AVP Corporate Legal Services & Special Projects, took her undergraduate and law degrees at UP Diliman. She has three kids, all in their teens. She used to love reading fiction books and has a collection of it.

Nowadays, she is spending most of her time as a mom. She loves watching Netflix, particularly K-dramas. This is her way of relaxation after her mom duties.

Atty. Regina Maria Quiroz, Vice President of Concession Management, took her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of the Philippines. She has been working at NLEX Corporation for 21 years. She likes staying at home, listening to K-pop music (in fact, she’s a fan of BTS!), and watching K-drama (being influenced by her 24-year old daughter).

Dealing with Generational Differences at the Workplace

Atty. Cris: “Regardless of generations – as there are different personalities, different backgrounds, and different professionsI try to be open in listening to other people’s perspectives. So yung fundamental role lang is to be open to the ideas of other people. We may disagree, but we can always agree to disagree. So, kunwari bata, kung may idea sya, mas gusto ko naririnig idea nya kesa yung sumusunod lang sya, so open lang, may concept lang ng courtesy.

Atty. Elaine: When I worked with South for 5 years yung mga kasama kong lawyer and mga staff are my generation or younger. When I transferred north, yung mga lawyers dito are older compared sa mga kawork ko sa south. Outside the legal team magkakaiba din ages, ibang generations din nakakawork ko.

One thing I learned is that regardless of the generation, you always have to treat them with respect. In order to show them your respect, you listen and try to understand them. You always have to respect yung ideas nila, kasi totoo nga naman whether bata yan or matanda, you will really learn something from them. Your ideas and my ideas may be really different from others. Kapag ganun ang nangyayari, nakakatuwa when you engage in a conversation with them to understand where they’re coming from.”

Atty. Gina: Generational differences are not a factor. Regardless of what generation you belong to, or regardless of what background you have, you are a human being entitled to be treated with “the basics of good manners and right conduct”. We are transparent to our working staff – we educate them of what we know and we inform them of things that they should know. If we share something, sila rin open to share with us; and once they share with us, we listen sa mga thoughts at feelings nila…” In sum – We are all human beings. We should treat each other as human beings. We treat each other with the basics of good manners and right conduct.

Biggest Factor to Success

Atty. Gina: “The biggest factor that has been helping me while working as a servant leader of NLEX Corporation is actually prayer. The biggest factor for me is praying and having our Lord by my side who has been giving me the grace to do what I have to do for the corporation.”

Atty. Cris: “Success. I want to define it as being able to do what you love doing. If that’s my definition, I think I’m already successful because I love my work, and I love lawyering. I think NLEX employees or any employee for that matter should be able to determine anu yung gusto mo gawin. I’m thankful to God na iyon ang ibinibigay nya sa akin na strength and attitude. For words of inspiration, I want to tell the younger generation and the other co-employees in NLEX that you have to like what you’re doing and to be happy.”

Atty. Elaine: “Cliché as it may sound, there’s this saying that when you love what you’re doing, you don’t have to work a single day kasi gusto mo yung ginagawa mo. Yes, nakakapagod, but you learn a lot from it, and alam mo na nakakatulong ka talaga sa society, like what we are doing here in NLEX. We build roads to make life convenient for the people.

Kapag inisip mo na part ako ng company na tumutulong to give a convenient life sa mga tao, you see yourself in a bigger picture – (na) kasama ako sa isang organization na ganun ang ginagawa. Isang malaking motivating factor yun for me, na kung anu yung nakacontribute at kung nasan ako ngayon ay yun yung mentorship ng mga naging boss ko. Without them, I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be staying in the company. During my six years stay in NLEX Corp, nakita ko kung papaano maglead yung mga leaders natin, and one day I want to be like them also. That keeps me staying here in NLEX. So find a work na magugustuhan mo. Find your passion, and love what you’re doing.”

Having or Raising Your Own Family

Atty. Cris: “The kids do not listen to what you say but listen to what you do. I’m not a perfect person, not a perfect mom, but I have 100% for them. So I always pray to God na makita nila palagi yung good side of the people. May challenge on my teens syempre nagbabago yung ugali but as a mom you learn to be patient. Siguro nacacarry mo yan sa ibang ways mo at work and in dealing with people, like you listen to other people and apply it to your own kids. You listen to them, because you love them. I do my best in same manner that my parents did their best in raising me. My only constant is that I have to be present and be open to them. Sila yung priority ko. And my time revolves around them.”

Atty. Elaine: (Excited to enter another chapter of her married life). “Before I get married my priority is work. So I think once I get married ang priority na is your own family, i.e., building your own family. My fear right now is we’re all very busy. My groom to be is a doctor, so pareho kaming busy. Parang ngayon pa lang it’s very challenging na. So I’m thinking kapag nagka-family na it will really be a shift because you have to refocus your priorities. But I really admire kung paano ako pinalaki ng parents ko. Ang ideal naman is dapat ganun din palakihin ang mga anak mo. I just pray and I hope through God’s grace na when I enter that new chapter of my life, maging grounded and maging true to my values pa rin ako and I should learn to refocus my priorities.

Atty. Gina:Sana nakita ng anak namin iyon habang lumalaki siya. Kasi ngayon at 24 years old, meron na rin siyang sariling points of view. At yong kanyang points of view, pwedeng similar o hindi sa amin. What is important now is for us to listen compassionately to our daughter. After all, compassionate listening is the new form of communicating. 

Compassionate, knowledgeable, communicative. These are some of the qualities that a lawyer must have. Truly, our corporate lawyers live with these qualities as they shared their own perspectives and experiences.

Mark Johnson C. Gil, Human Resources and Administration. MJ is a certified ailurophile but he’s also fond of any pets and other animals. He loves to travel for foods, adventures, and natures, capturing moments and keeping memories to each destination. He may be an adventurous one, but he’s also a God-fearing person.