Women’s Leader in Media and beyond
Regie Bautista is one of the women behind the Philippines’ leading and most trusted news and entertainment channel – GMA. And a single interaction is enough to tell you why – she’s stunning and sharp, and possesses the leadership skills that have taken her to the pinnacle of the media industry in the Philippines.
GMA Network is the Philippines’ No. 1 media network, reaching the majority of the Filipino market locally and globally across its multiple media properties. In a span of almost two decades, Regie rose from being an Assistant Vice President to Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning and Business Development and concurrent Chief Risk Officer and Head of Program Support at the multimedia conglomerate.
Recently, the Group formed GMA Ventures to focus on building a diversified portfolio. They want to identify, invest in, and build companies with products and services that make lives easier, with focus on disruptive and innovative business models in expanding, sunrise, and emerging industries. This is yet another way for them to contribute to their country’s economic recovery.
When Regie was announced as GMA Ventures’ President/ COO in 2021, it came as no surprise to anyone familiar with her career trajectory. With a proven track record of value creation, she was the most qualified person to take the project off the ground.
A quick learner throughout her life, Regie encountered her biggest lesson in childhood when Mt. Pinatubo erupted, and her family had to evacuate on the fly for survival. “Experiencing something like that at a young age forced me to face life a little braver, because I lived the adage that life can change in the blink of an eye. I live my life embracing challenges and change because I know that life will always be full of surprises. When I look back at my journey, it amazes me how overcoming earlier challenges better prepared me for the succeeding challenges that came my way. The Lord does move in mysterious ways and I am grateful for all the blessings and learnings He has given me. This is also why I aspire to contribute and make a difference wherever I go,” shares Regie.
Regie joined GMA in 2002 after being with L’Oréal Philippines for six years. When she started in GMA, she had about five people in her team. Now, across corporate strategic planning, business development, risk management, media and onair continuity management, marketing communications, creative services, and digital media, they have grown close to 200. “If you look at the teams that are under me, they are varied specialized teams. These teams were formed and built over time as the company grew. I remember being tasked to diagnose issues plaguing one department a few months into joining. Shortly after submitting the diagnosis and recommendations, I was tasked to lead that team. When online publishing and social media gained importance, I was also tasked to establish these for GMA,” recalls Regie.
Together with the news site, GMA’s portal is now one of the top sites in the country, with about 2.5 billion page views in 2021 and millions of followers on social media. Regie was part of many special projects and working groups through the decades that deepened and widened her knowledge and expertise which in turn prepared her to manage corporate strategy, risk, and business development. When the decision to grow the corporate portfolio of GMA through diversification was made, she was once again tasked to lead the effort. It took grit, many late nights, and buckets of coffee, but Regie embraced the challenges and formed the building blocks to where she is now.
Speaking about her risk appetite, Regie says, “In business, you need both luck and hard work, but I think those who have the right mindset and are willing to put in the work are the ones best prepared to take advantage of opportunities that come their way.” An advocate against the rat race, she goes on to add: “I find competing with colleagues as a waste of psychic energy. Ultimately, you are a team and have to work together for a common goal. The time you spend looking at them is time taken from honing your skills. Your competitors are out there, not inside your company. At the end of the day, your work will speak for itself.”
Regie’s certainly did. Of the innumerous recognitions, three that have had the most impact on her include: “1. Receiving the employee of the year award in my first year of working. For a fresh university graduate on her first job, it was such a thrill to receive that and I think that set me on a trajectory of always working hard and contributing in any way I can. 2. Later, I was also given something which was only awarded to the top 1% of worldwide employees. Receiving this was priceless. In a way it told me that I am in step with the best across the globe and that gave me greater confidence in taking on bigger challenges. 3. Most recently, the recognition of being one of the Top 50 Global Women to Watch Out for in 2022 by Titanium Magazine in Dubai. Again, being given a global platform to inspire young women, as well as to be recognized on a global scale alongside 49 other phenomenal women, is a privilege,” she says.
Making an impact has always been a guiding principle in Regie’s life: “I did not set out to be the president of a company – the advancement in my career was a consequence of the work that I put in. I have also been blessed with a great team, bosses who recognize talent and hard work, and parents who constantly inspire me to do more and be more.”
As a child Regie loved solving puzzles, and she believes that is where her passion of finding solutions stems from. She would look at a problem from different angles, try different approaches, and wouldn’t stop until she got to the solution. “In hindsight, I think it was this love for problem solving, always embracing challenges, that gave me the edge in my career. The beauty of problem solving is it involves both leaning into your expertise as well as learning new things as you search for solutions. You come out of the process knowing so much more than when you started,” she explains.
Regie’s passion has led her to an envious leadership position today. Admired by many young women who aspire to excel like her, Regie’s take on leadership is: “inspiring individuals to work as a team to achieve objectives while enabling their individual growth in the process. I believe in creating more and more leaders – especially in a dynamic business environment where growth and expansion will always require more leaders to lead new teams.”
A true woman of substance, Regie bids adieu with a message for our readers: “Every successful person was once a career starter. I think it was Henry Ford who said ‘whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right’. When you are given an opportunity to do something new, embrace it, learn it, and work for as long as you need to in order to master it.”