Changing the eCommerce Landscape
When we ask kids today what they want to be when they grow up, the automatic response we get are the job, profession they see on popular media, or perhaps an induced, dictated profession rehearsed by their parents. But for Rachel Tolentino, she vividly recalls that her answer to this question was just a simple – “I want to clean, Pasig river”
Rachel appeared to be showing early signs of a non-conformist views in life. She knows some of the things she wants to do are different from what her parents expect from her and this kind of behavior was never a concern for her loving parents who were very supportive of all her decisions in life. This side of her, she said, was definitely inherited from her mom.
“My parents taught us to be independent and encouraged us to follow our passions and interests in life”, according to Rachel. “We enjoy the full trust of our parents, that’s why it was just incumbent upon us to not breach that trust – and I think the pressure to really do well in what you do is even greater because they really support you full time unconditionally.” Rachel adds. At present, Rachel is the Chief Executive Officer of PhilYes, the Philippine’s premier B2B online platform that levels-up the buying and selling experience in the country.
PhilYes is an emerging eCommerce company that Rachel co-founded with her close friends in 2014. “We are a young organization who dreams of revolutionizing the eCommerce landscape for business owners, small and medium enterprises in the country. We intent to facilitate the growth of local businesses by maximizing technology.” Rachel explains. True to its promise, PhilYes currently manages close to ten million pesos worth of daily transactions, deals and contracts closed in its online platform. “The response we are receiving from our local partners and members are overwhelming. When you see your efforts are coming into fruition, and you hear encouraging words from your peers, it’s an indication that you are on the right track.” Rachel exclaims.
This young hands-on CEO is not new to corporate leadership. Rachel built her career in the family owned Autohauz, a Kia car distributorship, while still a college student in Ateneo, she was already working as management trainee, eventually went full time to work for the Autohauz doing sales, marketing and later on acting as Chief Finance Officer. “My stint in Autohauz made me realized how difficult and challenging it was to source, maintain and deal with different suppliers. It was not easy to survey for quotes for services or goods you need for your business. We area small organization and definitely we don’t have a huge procurement department that will do the dirty work for us.” Rachel says. “This is one of the pain points that help build the initial framework of PhilYes. We want to address efficiency for buyers and at the same time provide scalability and reach for sellers.” Rachel expounds.
As a leader Rachel considers herself as a “Cool Boss”. “I don’t see the need to instill fear to my subordinates, it was never my style.” Rachel said. “I guess my style is just to be really open and honest to them. I’m particular with deadlines and my team knows I’m really serious about work. And I have long spoused the open-door policy to everyone in our office where people can talk to me about anything without pretenses about ranks and titles.” Rachel explains. “I believe in this day and age, collaboration and constant thirst for innovation are key to ensure that your company would stay relevant.” She adds.
Rachel recently got hitched with PhilYes Chief Technology Officer, James Gatlabayan. She said her union with James, was a well thought-of decision because they are working for the same company. “Our consideration mainly is who will be the boss moving forward.” Rachel says, followed by big laughs. “But James knows me inside-out, and I’m really sure there will be no conflict at work because I married my best friend who knows my deepest passions in life. We share the same interest and advocacies and it was just meant to be that he will be my partner for life.” Rachel adds.
At 29, Rachel is just starting to achieve her dreams in life: pursuing her eCommerce advocacy for business owners and the same time building her own family. We would hear more from her as her journey has just started.