The FHA-Food & Beverage is celebrating International Women’s Day by spotlighting the amazing female leaders in the F&B industry. This is an opportunity to recognise the women who have worked hard and achieved success. This week, we will focus on the stories of the women who have been trailblazers and mentors in the F&B sector. These inspiring women are leading the way, and we are grateful for their dedication and commitment.

In this IWD series, we were delighted to chat with Lilac Bataller, Assistant Vice President – Global Procurement at Jollibee Foods Corporation. She shed light on the significance of resilience in the quickly evolving F&B industry and shared her motivation for embarking on a career in the sector.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the F&B industry?

Having an engineering educational background and being a licensed Civil ( Foundation) Engineer, I initially started by Procurement career handling construction and services. I got an interest to pursue a career in the Food and Beverage side when I realized the learnings that I will be getting from and impact that I can give to the industry specially on the side of sustainability and responsible sourcing. Being the head of Other Food and Beverage Department of Global Procurement of JFC, I handle 35 food categories and each category has its own learning, challenges, and opportunities. As someone who is passionate on driving positive change and impact to the company that I work for and the community, choosing to work in the F&D industry is definitely one of the biggest shifts but also one of the most fulfilling decisions that I made in my career.

What do you think is the most important skill?

The most important skill for me is RESILIENCE. It is the ability to withstand and recover quickly from difficulties; the skill of being tough but flexible. In this industry that is fast changing and full of challenges, resiliency allows us to be able to bounce back from setbacks after setbacks. It allows us to adapt to changes and still come out as successful and strong. From the food industry and even in life— where there are always uncertainty, volatility, complexity, and ambiguity— resilience and agility will make sure we come our stronger from the challenges and get us where we wanted to be.

What advise would you give to young women interested in entering the field?

Do not be boxed in. Be limitless. Maximize and drive positive changes. In this competitive field and industry,  only those who are willing to change will be the most relevant. As young as we are, we should recognize that we are equally capable to do great and new things specially in this field where possibilities and opportunities are endless. As empowered women, we need to capitalize on our strengths (creativity, persistence, agility and resiliency) and drive for change to be at the forefront.

We hope that our conversation has been inspiring and that it will continue to foster dialogue about the empowerment of women. 

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