Feature: From "DH" to managing own business
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (30 June) -- This is no common rags-to-riches story. This is a story of Myrna who fought poverty by faith in oneself.
She never thought she'd go as far as managing her own business, leading a huge group of overseas workers, and talking proficiently in a language she never learned in high school.
She never dreamt that big. All she wanted is wake up and see her family eat three meals in a day. All she had is a strong character who is determined to turn tears of her siblings into smile and laughter. All she had is the passion, not everyone learns to own.
All those brought her to a posh office where she handles about 20 employees dealing with foreign and local clients who need technical help.
Starting operation since 2006, Mynd Consulting Company now employs the best and brightest Software Developers, Software Testers, Engineers, and a small Admin staff. It is an IT consulting business with one mission and that is, to be successful so that they may reach back and help others who are less fortunate than themselves.
Who would have thought that a former domestic helper in Hong Kong is now a successful entrepreneur, mastering software development and even managing a pool of technical experts? Not even she could imagine but her sufferings way back childhood days were considered the catalysts to push her to the top.
The eldest of six children, Myrna grew up in a less fortunate situation, barely relying on whatever her father brings to their home after fishing. She was forced to stop schooling after her high school graduation to give way for her younger siblings to taste school.
At eight, Myrna embraced maturity and responsibility. Sleeping with an empty stomach and waking up the same has become a common situation at home. She couldn't stand seeing her mother and siblings cry so she makes it a point to rush to the sea and dive for seaweeds after her classes.
"While all of my classmates rushed home and expect a decent dinner, I would run to get seaweeds and sell those to feed my family back home." she shared.
As early as eight years old, Myrna unknowingly exhibited entrepreneurship.
Despite the lack of a college diploma, this young lady tried all other stuffs from selling in a department store until she was promoted to a marketing position.
Lifting the value of "DH"
Ambition for a better living drove her to foreign lands like Singapore, Taiwan, and finally Hong Kong where she worked for 12 years as a domestic helper. Blessed with kind-hearted employers, Myrna loved serving the Fong couple and their kid Jonathan.
Seeing the eight-year-old Jonathan play and learn using his computer, Myrna was encouraged to learn the technology. During her day-off, she enrolled on Basic Information Technology where she first learned how to use the mouse until she got accustomed to new terminologies like blogging and social networking.
"I am aware that domestic helpers are usually discriminated in foreign places that's why I grabbed every learning opportunity encountered. That's my only way I can increase my value as a person." she said.
Myrna doesn't believe that there's a finish line in learning. This pushed her to try all possible opportunity where she could upgrade her learning.
One Christmas, she was gifted with a laptop and a printer by Mrs. Fong after the latter saw her noisily tapped the keys of her old typewriter. Myrna later got an internet access courtesy of the couple including a telephone line installed in her small quarters.
It then opened her doors for new learnings. One time, she bumped into a website where applications totally failed. Disappointed, Myrna sent her complaints through email expressing how disgusted she is with the website's services. Little did she know that such complaint is another opportunity as she got a call from the site provider and offered her a job. She then landed a part-time job as a bug or software tester.
Leading Mindanao federation
Myrna devotes her spare time as convener and founder of the Mindanao Hong Kong Workers Federation, one of the largest federations of its kind in the world with 12 associations involved.
MinFed is a politically active advocate of the Philippine worker and seeks to enrich the social, economic, cultural and political perspectives of the OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker). The OFW needs to be awakened to the issues associated with Materialism, Dependency and the Fatalism that follows from the lost hopes created by their economic situation and worsened by the separation from family and loved ones.
She organized activities like Mutya ng Mindanao and Kusog Mindanao, a localized version of Amazing race which involved domestic helpers in Hong Kong as the race participants.
Fortunate to have a hotline in her small room, Myrna even gets calls at two in the morning, to listen to bitter stories of OFWs. As the group leader, she writes letters for any complaining worker and brings it straight to the Philippine Consulate.
She's been known to her colleagues as a tough woman who would fight for any right of an OFW.
Back to homeland
When diagnosed with thyroid problem, Myrna decided to go back to the Philippines and have her surgery here. She also decided not to return to Hong Kong after the surgery for reasons that she values her health more than anything else.
Learning about her decision, her employer immediately transferred a huge amount of money as her separation pay. She then used it to start her business.
With a mere P100, 000 as a start-up capital in 2006, Myrna opened Mynd Consulting. Its mission is to help stop the brain drain of the country's best and brightest people particularly in Mindanao. To accomplish this, she created a new type of outsourcing business model designed to afford the highest possible wages for her employees while delivering value and competitive pricing for her overseas clients.
"I opened this business with a clear intention in mind and that is to tell the people that they can still be an OFW even without leaving the country. There is just a vast potential given by the internet that people could find opportunity on. And that is one service that Mynd Consulting is providing to our overseas clients," she said.
Learning the ropes of software or bug testing back in Hong Kong, Myrna applied such service in her own company. Mynd Consulting provides high-quality testing at a very affordable rate. Instead of hiring additional experts to look after the software testing, clients can give this job to an outsourced company and have it done at a way affordable cost.
Software testing is a process used to identify the correctness, completeness and quality of developed software. Its bug testing service in Mynd Consulting has been applied in popular websites in the United States.
Mynd Consulting has just successfully concluded the series of usability tests of a desktop alerting system, one of the leading products being offered by a major US-based corporate client.
Mynd Consulting is also offering web design services from Logo Design, Website Headers, to the design of the whole website. The company's web designs are already Web 2.0-compliant.
It also offers clients widget development. After developing widgets, they are passed to web designers and, then, they undergo testing. This process is done to ensure that the products given to clients are of the highest quality.
Myrna truly exhibits hardwork, determination, and passion to serve. She may now be the boss in her own company but she retains the golden heart of a domestic helper. (PIA XI) [top]