Setting Up Oneself for Success by being a Game Changer: Featuring Angela Camins-Wieneke

by Tram Panaligan

Angela Pauline Camins-Wieneke, more commonly known as Angela Camins in SISFU, is a woman who knew that she had to be a gamechanger to set herself up for success. Currently she is an HR Manager—specialising in Employee Engagement—for SM Supermalls. Prior to this, she has worked in Property Management, Hospitality, in the Food and Beverage Industry.

As a SISFU alumna, she graduated from the country’s premier transnational university with a Bachelor's Degree in International Marketing with a major in PR and Advertising in 2008 under the international partner, Preston University which is based in the United States of America.

Through the warm and caring community that SISFU has given her throughout her stay, Angela recounted the many things that the school was able to provide to her that has indeed set her up for success in the long run. She shared the things she loved and the challenges she faced as a student in SISFU. She mentioned that her high points was that she was able to constantly bag titles in the Philippine Marketing Association during her stay. In her first year, they achieved 3rd Place; in her second year, they won 2nd Place in the competition; and during her final year, when she was the team captain, they brought home the bacon by winning the championship against well-known universities in the Philippines. She takes pride with the accomplishments of her team and with SISFU which became the living proof that it doesn’t require an academic institution to have decades or centuries under their belt to provide quality education and produce top-calibre students recognised by the industry.

As for her low points, she never experienced much during her stay albeit being a young mother. She said that it could be a little more challenging compared to her other colleagues and classmates brought about by her additional responsibilities earlier in life. But she never could classify it as a low point in her life since she always has felt the support of her family, friends, and of SISFU. In addition to this she discussed that what she missed out on, during her college life, was that the school was a lot smaller back then and that she wasn’t able to experience bigger and better facilities and the chance to explore giant fields filled with trees that gave it a campus-like experience. But looking back, she never felt like it was a drawback since it never was a low point either, but rather, something that she could have wished was there during her eventful stay with SISFU. But in the sense of pointing out one, it would be the rush-hour traffic that makes it quite the challenge to get to and from school everyday.

Staying with the theme of the challenges she faced, she mentioned that the prevailing challenges would be the numerous presentations and the challenge of knowing that your exam—that only has three questions—would comprise most of your grade for the subject. This of course requires you to study more rigorously and recall all the topics you have learned throughout the semester to make sure that you have the knowledge and capability to answer the exam questions. However, she never saw this as a huge challenge compared to the experience of her colleagues since she had a natural predisposition with writing, was always prepared, and had her own well-oiled study system—which she was able to fine-tune during her high school years—that allowed her to excel and achieve in class.

SISFU has indeed helped and contributed to her success today since the university has given her a lot of support throughout her college life as an academic scholar and a young mother. This was exemplified when she had to take her maternity leave to give birth to her child. During that period in time, SISFU was able to permit Angela to take the much needed leave; and upon her return, welcomed her with open arms back to the school with her academic scholarship intact. In addition to this, during her final year, the school was able to give her the opportunity to take all her subjects for the week in one day, thus giving her the opportunity to be a full-time employee through the help of her mentor and multi-Palanca author, Ms Grace Chong. This allowed her to get her first break in the industry and be able to gather work experience whilst still being a university student.

As we wrapped-up the interview, she ended with a few quips and tips to all the future graduates of SISFU and those who plan to pursue higher education there:

“If I had a message it would be [to] always ask: ‘Why?’. Why, why, why... Because eventually, when I started working, it so happened that even in my first work— remember the one that got me connected because of Southville?, I was always in a position where I was working on something that was entirely new for that company. So I could say that even if I was with established companies, I was always doing the start-up side of things... either it was a new side of the business to launch; or it was a new brand that we will be bringing into The Philippines; or it was a new programme that was going to change the culture of the company.”

A lot of times when you are met with something that is new, you don’t have a playbook. You don’t have someone telling you: ‘This is how you will do it. Step A, B, C, [and] D.’ So you’re pretty much left to think and map out the rest of the journey ahead. So if you get lost, the best thing you can really look at is to ask why. If you know the purpose behind that new product; that new programme that you have to bring in, that grounds you, it really helps you know the end in mind. So that way, if you know what you are supposed to hit, what you're supposed to produce—the result, then you can backtrack from there and see: ‘Okay and because I know the why, I am now starting to learn the what, and then I’m going to map out the how.’

The reason why I am saying this is now... especially for someone who is just probably choosing schools... i[t’]s because answering the question ‘why?’ isn't just something that’s going to help you at work. It’s not just something that is going to help you with a new project that you are probably doing right now in school, but it's really going to help you navigate how your life is going to be. If you are at a point when you are asking yourself what [are] you going to do for the rest of your life... and I’m not saying that the degree you choose or that the college that you choose will already force fit everything else that is going to happen in your life... but again it’s a big decision. So you ask yourself: ‘Why do you want this course?’; ‘Why are you going (in)to this school?’ If you can really dig down; and deep within you and you can find what makes you feel most alive, and hopefully you can see that in something Southville can offer. Then you are already setting up yourself for success.

An example would be: there was a time when somebody asked me, ‘When do you feel most alive?’. I was looking back with everything that I have done, and I realised that I felt most alive... I felt like: ‘Wow! I am here...’ and that [feeling]; that state of ‘flow’. I was in that state. Each time I was creating something, each time I was building something from what you thought it was and then transforming it to where it will be; regardless of the work. I have spanned from marketing, and then moving on to food and beverage operations; and then now I’m in HR. It just really goes around... but in all of those times I felt most alive when I was transforming something and that person helped me craft a mission statement for myself and my mission statement is: ‘I am a game changer.’

You can always change the game, in that way, again, it has always helped me out... it’s my reason for being is to be a game changer. So each time that I am lost, and I ask myself is this really what I am supposed to do? I ask myself: ‘Am I changing the game when I am doing this?’. If there is a roadblock ahead and if there are sometimes projects or programmes that just stay forever to move forward, and you feel demoralised... you tell yourself: ‘I am a game changer and this is my why. And I have to change the game.’ I hope that really helps anyone...whether you are still choosing schools or you’re already working. I hope that something that enlightens you in some way.”

Angela’s optimism and go-getter personality was truly inspiring and a prime example to every Paladin. We appreciated the time she shared with us.

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