Cheri Masipag-Moran always knew she wouldn’t be in sales. As a young girl growing up in the Philippines she saw door-to-door salesmen, and they were always men, going house to house in the tropical heat, trying to convince homeowners to buy everything from encyclopedias to vitamins to kitchen products.
The doors closed as fast as they’d open.
“I thought it looked impossible,” she laughs. “I’ll never, ever, ever be in sales. That’s what I told myself.”
The Reluctant Saleswoman Turned Pro
21 years later Masipag-Moran is – of course – a seasoned and effective sales pro. She majored in Communications and Advertising in college thinking she’d become a journalist, but after graduating she instead gravitated toward a series of advertising and sales positions she found fascinating and that kept growing in responsibility.
Today, the former 10-year-old who feared the job of the neighborhood salesman heads an entire region sales organization for the Coca-Cola Bottling Investments Group, BIG. As Greater Manila Area Sales Director at Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI), Cheri leads a group of more than 900 sales and account professionals and is responsible for 72.5 million unit cases annually. She was the first female sales director for the Philippines and is still the youngest ever, at 31-years-old.
“I know. It’s funny how things work out. I feel very fortunate,” she says with a quick smile.
For all her success, if you talk to Cheri for five minutes you won’t hear much about her. You’ll hear about her team. How they deliver. How proud she is of them. And the immense satisfaction she gets from helping them succeed.
“If I can see one person become better at what they do because of my help, that’s actually priceless and fulfilling,” she emphasizes from her office in Manila. “Because that’s leaving a legacy and a mark on that person’s life by making them more effective. I also know the company’s future is in better hands because we can create better people. And better people can give better results for the company.”
This innate ability to motivate while delivering results, got the attention of Cheri’s senior leadership team at CCBPI, who nominated her to participate in our Company’s Women in Leadership (WiL) program.
Joining the Global Women's Initiative
WiL is part of Coca-Cola’s Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) – an internal and external effort created to advance women to leadership positions across our system and throughout our external value chain. Approximately 80 - 120 WiL participants come to Atlanta each year for intensive, one-week training and development sessions to foster their professional and career development. Participants work through leadership and business case studies, hear from leadership experts on multiple topics and work one-on-one with a mentor throughout their Atlanta stay and after.
Masipag-Moran calls her WiL experience nothing less than “life-changing”. She said the mentoring in particular gave her insights that she’s since incorporated into daily routine at CCBPI.
“During WiL I mentioned to my mentor I was working on a project at the time that entailed a lot of cross functional alignment. And so her question to me was, ‘Do you know the objective of each of the people involved in the project? Do you know their own personal objectives and business objectives? Or do I only know the project’s objectives?’”
That simple question, Masipag-Moran says, stopped her instantly.
“It made me think, ‘Well, why ARE they there giving their time? Am I wasting their time? Or should I make their time worthwhile by being there?’ I realized yes, we have an overall project goal of course, but for me to get them onboard, get their buy-in, I would really need to understand their personal motives and objectives for them to support the project. In other words, how will the project help them, rather than how will the project help me?”
Putting Training to Use
Since completing WiL training last year, Masipag-Moran has used insights like that to continually work on her leadership style. She’s been promoted twice since her time in Atlanta. Cheri says the learnings she picked up inform how she supports her team ever day, at both the macro and mirco level. In the latter case, she says WiL gave her “specific and focused” exercises to help her coach two women on her national key accounts team as her potential successors. Both associates have since been promoted; one is now the Manager of National Supermarkets, while the other leads the National Modern Wholesalers.
Talking to Cheri, it’s hard to believe she only joined The Coca-Cola Company five years ago (as Business Development Manager for two major Philippine fast food chains). She sounds like a 20-year veteran, due partly to her clear industry expertise, but just as much to an infectious sense of the future. She chalks it up to her “native Filipino optimism”, fueled by the larger effect of her role in the community. The Philippines is nation of 91 million people. Cheri notes 80 percent of the Company’s business there goes to traditional outlets, what she calls the “mom and pop” shops.
“I think it’s amazing. The value I can give my customers because I’m able to help them grow their business. I see what it means in our neighborhoods, in helping to allow a way for people have work. It gives me so much fulfillment because I know at the end of the day those profits will go back to the people in the community as well as to our company. So it really makes me feel good.”