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  • Okada Manila events executive bags Outstanding Sales and Marketing award in 2020 Virtus Awards Okada Manila events executive bags Outstanding Sales and Marketing award in 2020 Virtus Awards
    Okada Manila events executive bags Outstanding Sales and Marketing award in 2020 Virtus Awards

    The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) announced on Thursday, December 10, the winners of the 6th Virtus Awards.

Okada Manila events executive bags Outstanding Sales and Marketing award in 2020 Virtus Awards
Okada Manila events executive bags Outstanding Sales and Marketing award in 2020 Virtus Awards

The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) announced on Thursday, December 10, the winners of the 6th Virtus Awards. Okada Manila's very own Erika Patajo won the Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate award in a challenging year that saw the hospitality sector to reimagine and recalibrate the resort experience.

Erika won over eight other candidates from top hotels nationwide. She joins Okada Manila's Vice President for Sales & Marketing, Hospitality & Entertainment (SMHE) Cielo Ortega-Reboredo as a fellow Virtus awardee. Cielo won as Outstanding Sales and Marketing Leader in 2015.

SMHE's Jenina Espaldon was also nominated for a Virtus award in the Outstanding Sales and Marketing Manager category.

We talked to Erika about her recent success and how Okada Manila's core principles have shaped her in her career. The interview that follows has been edited for brevity and clarity.

How long have you been in the industry?

I got my first job in the hospitality industry a month after graduating and I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for seven years now.

How important is this win for you?

This award means everything to me. It reaffirms that I’ve chosen the right career path and my hard work has paid off. I look back with pride on my journey from a cocktail attendant in my previous work to becoming an Events Sales Executive in Okada Manila. From a small girl with big dreams, I’ve grown to become a strong and confident woman reaching and achieving her dreams.

I’m proud to be the first Virtus winner from Okada Manila. I would like to dedicate this award to the company as they have given me the chance to grow, hone my skills in events, and allowed me to expand my wings, so to speak. I’ve moved from the ranks and I'm looking forward to taking on a bigger role.

This award comes at a critical moment because of the challenges that was present throughout the year. How hard did you work for this plum?

I’ve always had that fire in my belly. I was ecstatic when my supervisor SMHE VP Cielo Ortega-Reboredo announced that she nominated me for a Virtus award. During this challenging time, we need to find inspiration and something to aspire for, and that’s what this award offers. I’ve always worked hard not out of need but want. Excellence is something we have to live by every day. As the saying goes, “Find a job you love and you’d never have to work a day in your life.” I believe that I have found that job. You have to be prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally. I studied the category, industry updates, my past accounts and best practices from my colleagues. I also prepared well for the interview because it’s not just about your track record and accomplishments but also being able to articulate your thoughts, clearly share your accomplishments, and convince the panel that you deserve to win.

How important is magokoro and omotenashi in what you do every day?

I apply Okada Manila’s core principles of magokoro and omotenashi every day. Our clients give us business and they deserve nothing but the best from us. In events, you must always be on your toes and anticipate unexpected things just like the philosophy of omotenashi where I’ve learned to anticipate guests’ needs, ensuring that I’ve left no stone unturned to help make their events successful.

Clients appreciate not just hard work, but transparency and genuine service with a heart like magokoro. When doing events, it’s all or nothing and I always choose to give every project my best.

How do you plan to build on your success?

This award will continue to inspire me to scale greater heights through dedication, hard work, and passion. Like in most service-oriented industries, you’re only as good as your last project. As such, I have to ensure to continue helping clients make their extraordinary events come to life. I look forward to more challenges and bigger roles.

I’m being trained to handle a niche market but I'll also be expanding my client base and work scope so that I can be multi-faceted. I’m excited to handle new accounts and to further my knowledge and skills in events.

There is still so much to learn but I’m being mentored by the best in the industry who are helping me with my career path. But for now, I want to be able to give back to Okada Manila.

Do you want to thank anyone before we go?

Thank you to Virtus Awards for choosing me as this year’s winner in the Outstanding Sales and Marketing Associate category. My work has finally paid off and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead. I would also like to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for always believing in me and for helping and guiding me every step of the way. And last but not least, I’d like to thank SMHE VP Cielo Ortega-Reboredo, for believing in me from the beginning and taking a chance on me by giving me the opportunity and training, as well as the mentorship to let me grow in the events industry.

I believe that when you want something, the stars will align to make it happen. I dedicate this award to all of them.

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