Since the early days, people have been drawing on walls. These drawings tell stories, often of a people, their struggles, their triumphs, their fears, and their aspirations. When we put all these together, we get history.
On the 13th of January 2017, OLX Philippines unveiled a wall mural entitled “Pull.” The mural depicted the history of the company. Throwing back all the way to the Sulit days, it contained various elements that represented how far the company has come.
However, history is not over and done with. Instead, we continue to shape history day-by-day. The one of OLX Philippines is no exception. The best way to know how our story continues to unfold is by probing the minds of our Leadership Team. Hearing their vision can definitely excite anyone to turn the next page and know more about.
From fresh faces to veterans who have seen it all, these are the leaders of OLX Philippines.
Raffy Montemayor, General Manager
We start with the new General Manager, Raffy Montemayor. After having led the largest and fastest-growing team in the company, the Sales and Operations Team, Montemayor stepped up to the plate as the new General Manager.
As the person having the highest position, he says he doesn’t feel burdened and is up for the challenge. He sees himself as a coordinator of different departments, all working towards the same goal.
“We’ve had a long and colorful history of like-minded people working towards a business that touches many aspects of people’s lives,” he says.
His favorite part of the mural is the section that alludes to the Php 2,400 the founders, RJ and Arianne David, built Sulit with in 2006. Montemayor is in awe that from that amount, came to be a company that today stands at almost 150 employees. He says it’s because of the passion that people have put in over the years.
“As long as you’re very passionate about what you’re doing and you hold strong to your purpose, where it’s not only about the business itself but helping Filipino people through win-win exchanges, then one can really be successful,” he says.
Peter Koning, Chief Revenue Officer
From Latin America, to the Middle East, and now Southeast Asia, Peter Koning has come a long way from his home in the Netherlands. However, he’s glad to say he’s found a home here in the Philippines. When asked about handling the different cultures, Koning says the differences have helped him grow to be more flexible and pragmatic.
One aspect of Filipino culture he appreciates is how enthusiastic Filipinos seem to be. If anything, he attributes this as the reason why people love giving feedback. Koning says this is a sign that people use the platform and want to help shape it. This for him, is both a blessing and a calling to constantly improve.
Koning says that while OLX Philippines currently enjoys an advantageous position in the C2C market as the biggest player, there’s always room for growth. Especially true, as far as market maturity is concerned. The way forward for him is to continue getting people to be more engaged with the platform.
His favorite part of the mural is the lechon because of his “love-hate relationship” with Filipino food. After all, he says sisig will always be his favorite memory of the Philippines but he’ll never eat balut again.
Bit Santos, Chief Technology Officer
One of the veterans of the Leadership Team, Bit Santos says over the 6 years he’s worked with the company, he’s played the same role which just expanded to cover more responsibilities.
The most important lesson he’s learned is the need for balance. Santos says it’s important to maintain a balance among many things: the needs of a team, the goals of the company, and what stakeholders want.
Without revealing too much, he says this year will be interesting because of some big, exciting plans in the pipeline.
When asked about the mural, Santos appreciates the use of the hands as the focal point of the mural. “I’ve always thought the handshake was a very strong image. Sakto talaga.”
“It’s what we’re trying to do as a team. Working for our mission of bringing people together. This being at the center of our mural, this represents the core of what we do,” he says.
Raffy Maramag, Sales Head
Raffy Maramag has worked for 12 years in the industry yet he’s excited to see how it continues to grow. As one of the older members of the Leadership Team, Maramag says he offers experience to help support the fresh perspectives of his younger and dynamic colleagues.
At present, he says OLX Philippines doesn’t have any direct competition. Because of this, he says our success lies entirely in our hands.
“Our growth in 2017 will be dependent on us. What would stop our growth would be us. We have to push ourselves collectively forward. A lot of good things can happen to us.”
As for the mural, Maramag says it represents the diversity, inclusiveness, and innovation that OLX stands for. The handshake for him reminds him of the Filipino value of bayanihan. The strength of OLX lies in that while it is a business, it still ultimately aims to provide a service that helps people.
Jean Magboo, Marketing Head
Having been with the company for the past 7 years, Jean Magboo knows how OLX has pulled through its many challenges. One of the greatest challenges for her was when Sulit rebranded as OLX. While it was back to square one for them, she says the essence of the platform remained, no matter what name it carried.
While it was challenging, she says change is a given for any tech company. She is honored to witness how OLX values speed in adapting to change. Ultimately, amidst all these changes, OLX stays true to being a platform that can be used to uplift the lives of Filipinos.
As part of this mission of helping uplift lives, Magboo says education of the benefits of selling unused items for cash through quality, informative content will be vital.
Asked what her favorite part of the mural is, Magboo also says it’s the Php 2,400 capital used to start the company. “It goes to show that big changes can happen from small steps.”
However, she also particularly likes the section that represents community. For her, it serves as a reminder that OLX will always be a platform people can use to feed their passion. Whether it’s art, sports, or fashion, there’s a lot of diversity in the OLX community.
“Our product attracts a wide range of communities, brought together by shared passions,” she says. “Through this way, people uplift each other and trust is built. That’s the beauty of OLX.”
Ferdie Perez, Operations Head
Barely 3 months into the company, Ferdie Perez has had much placed on his shoulders, being a part of the Leadership Team. For him, while his duties remain virtually the same, he’s currently thinking of how he can contribute further.
For his part, Perez intends to help build trust in the OLX brand. He says OLX can do this by doing its part to help stop fraud. He says this also involves educating people on how to avoid being scammed online. Furthermore, Perez intends to establish a way to support victims of online scamming.
While fairly new to the company, Perez definitely possesses a passion that aligns with helping Filipinos through the platform.
“I have this nation-building dream. When deciding to join a company, I always think of what value it adds to the country. Our daily tasks have to build towards achieving that dream.” No surprise that his favorite part of the mural is the Philippine flag.
Xelynne de Lara, Finance Head
Finance Head Xelynne de Lara says in the past two years she’s worked with OLX, that the primary challenge is to keep up with changes. However, she says adapting to rapid change is part of the organization’s foundation.
“There will be a lot of subtle changes that are geared towards how we do things, how we work, all towards achieving our goals. We’ll see more interaction among departments, other markets, and within the region.”
de Lara wants to emphasize that it’s also important for OLX to establish the fact that as a global brand secondhand trade has been successful in other countries as well.
“We’re really here to help people. We have other examples of how OLX helps people in other parts of the world. We want to be known as one brand,” she says.
Mylene Pascual, HR and Admin Head
In the 4 years she’s been with the company, Mylene Pascual has seen the many changes in the organization. From rebranding, to restructuring, to changes in leadership, Pascual says these challenges are part of the excitement of working in the industry.
“In all our challenges, we just have to think of our vision and not get distracted by all the changes,” she says.
Pascual says 2017 will be a year for leveling up. “Whether we like it or not, there will be changes. We have to make our team members equipped with the right skills and mindset.”
Her favorite part of the mural is the handshake. For her, this represents everyone in OLX Philippines being committed to joining together to achieve the vision of the company.
The Bigger Picture
As some members of the Leadership Team have pointed out, OLX Philippines is part of a global brand.
We also sat down with OLX CEO for Asia, Robin Voogd. The company, for Voogd, is only still a fraction of what it can be. He says there is still plenty of room for growth.
For Voogd, as the economy of a country improves, the usefulness of OLX becomes greater. That’s why Voogd believes, OLX can be useful for a developing economy like the Philippines.
Asked what his favorite part is, Voogd says it’s that which is yet to be seen. Going back to the concept of history still being shaped in the present, the mural speaks of OLX today. However, the mystery of what’s yet to be, all the changes to come, are all exciting and compelling things to look forward to.
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It’s certainly an exciting time for OLX Philippines and its growing market. The Leadership Team is composed of an interesting mix. All of them, coming from different fields of expertise. We enjoy a dominant position yet we also cannot rest on our laurels. There is much room for growth and the challenges will require rapid adaptation. With our Leadership Team overseeing the talented and hardworking employees of OLX Philippines, the coming years are sure to be thrilling compelling additions to the history of OLX.