Cover Story

Enrique Llenes and his passion-driven journey to DRAAE

Jom Baguios | September 29, 2017

Always pay attention to details. At best, you will succeed; at worst, you will survive.”

This is a simple lesson that represents an invigorating perspective towards life – and Ricky Llenes has no doubt fully embraced it in the performance of his duties. His dogged adherence to this tenet has been a character-building discipline that endeared him among his colleagues. Having dedicated 18 years of his professional life to the company, Ricky is the 2017 winner of the Don Ramon Aboitiz Award of Excellence, a prestigious mark bestowed to outstanding team members who emulate the values of Don Ramon Aboitiz.

“The DRAAE is the highest, most distinguished recognition an individual team member or team leader can get in the entire Aboitiz Group. It has recognized A-people for their significant achievements and contributions, regardless of business unit, department, title, or position.”

-Txabi Aboitiz, Chief Human Resources Officer, Aboitiz Group

HIS WINNING MOMENT. Ricky Llenes (second from right) together with (from L-R) Aboitiz Group Chief Human Resources Officer Txabi Aboitiz, AEV Chairman Jon Ramon Aboitiz, and Aboitiz Group President and CEO Erramon Aboitiz.

While DRAAE is a highly distinguished award to receive, it isn’t difficult to picture why Ricky was nominated, and consequently, won. His peers at work, and the people who have witnessed the service he has provided, were convinced that he deserved to belong in the respected roster of DRAAE winners.

Noteworthy is Ricky’s penchant for sticking to a strict schedule. Working long days as a liaison officer, his time is governed by efficient and smart work ethics. He is also known for being considerate and inclusive, always asking his officemates whether he can include any tasks in his daily errands to make the most out of his time.

“He doesn’t worry himself too much about rank. He really just wants to serve the best he can, and that has always been his character. He is regarded as a “Man Friday” that makes everyone else’s work convenient. For me, integrity is his strongest value. Whenever payments are coursed through him, he returns the change up to the last centavo.”

-Gemma Bojos, Building Administrator, AEV

“I first met Ricky in 2004. And one’s first impression of him might be that he is very strict and focused on his work. But that is just his disposition. He knows his job is essential, and that really keeps the organization well away from penalties every time he goes to the BIR. He goes out of his way to do things that isn’t even required of him. He doesn’t just deliver, he goes beyond. And the whole accounting team can attest to that.”

-Joanna Abay, Tax Business Manager, AEV

Joanna added that Ricky’s sense of teamwork is palpable with how he would always remind his colleagues about certain deadlines. It is this helpful attitude that has time and again impressed co-workers about Ricky, even for people who have known him since his beginnings with Aboitiz.

“I got to know Ricky the very first day he reported for work. Back then I already knew he was somebody we could trust. He was a Computer Science graduate and worked as a courier, so he had the technical know-how and can always improve on his work. If he goes out of his route, he would announce it to people, so in case we want him to do something for us, he’d be able to accommodate it. For me, he embodies responsibility the most. You always get results every time you ask him to do something; you always feel confident that it’s going to get done.”

-Esmeralda Daño, Business Administrator, MYA Management Corp.

A conversation with Ricky gives one an impression that not only is he serious about his work, but also is appreciative of the opportunities the Aboitiz Group makes available to its team members. He likes the fact that Aboitiz has programs to improve know-hows, and personal development initiatives. He added, “But the most admirable aspect about the company is its commitment to corporate social responsibility: their concern for the environment through the tree planting event and production of renewable energy; the granting of scholarships for indigent and needy students; and the construction of school buildings.”

Even in the little things and during his early years with the organization, Ricky has found joy in knowing that the part he plays is essential. He mentioned that one of his most memorable experiences was when he needed to travel fast to urgently deliver a rebooked ticket to Andoni Aboitiz, currently CEO of AboitizLand. Ricky took pride in being able to arrive on time for Aboitiz to catch his flight, which speaks volumes about the value he accords to his role.

Ricky’s innovation, when the situation calls for it, has also become a noticeable attribute. His continuous drive to always improve has translated into better service provided for stakeholders with whom he would usually transact.

“He would normally advise the customers if the reports to be filed may face possible delays or difficulties and recommends options. This is because he is proactive and does not hesitate to initiate enhancements in the process, thus he is always in communication with the customer. He is definitely not your typical liaison officer.”

-Riella Guioguio, Vice President for Accounting Operations, Distribution Group, AboitizPower

A Thank You Message. “I would like to extend my deepest, sincerest, and heartfelt gratitude to, first and foremost, God, for giving me a wonderful blessing that will last a lifetime; to fellow team members who exerted their valuable efforts and their precious time despite their busy schedules to squeeze their thoughts for words and to do the Q&A for a DRAAE nominee; to the DRAAE committee; and to my family. Thank you all very much and God bless.” – Ricky

Consistently, Ricky’s peers mentioned of his love for reading, and although he said he preferred watching movies, it is nonetheless a trait that not only has resulted in his being well spoken, but also lets others conclude that he is a knowledgeable person, and one who is always quick to understand.

Ricky sees his journey to DRAAE as a step, a signal to do even better in the future. He stated that winning it meant that there is now a standard that he needs to live up to, and that it “raises the bar of one’s character.” He humorously recalled his reaction the night he was proclaimed the awardee.“During the Recognition Night, I considered myself lucky that I didn’t win when they were announcing prizes before DRAAE. Otherwise, I would have left early. It was really unbelievable! Until now I still can’t believe it.”

For those who may one day aspire to be named a DRAAE awardee, Ricky gave a simple advice:

“Do your job with passion, fervor, and diligence.”

It is what he’s done for the past 18 years. Doing one’s job well may appear straightforward, but it is an outlook that requires repeated and exercised devotion. For Ricky, his love of his work and the honor of having been a part of the Aboitiz Group is clearly manifested in his enthusiasm, and the award that he now holds for it will undoubtedly be part of his fondest moments for years to come.

Ricky with his fellow Aboitiz team members during the 2017 Recognition Night in Cebu.
Ricky with his fellow Aboitiz team members during the 2017 Recognition Night in Cebu.

DRAAE is a distinction granted to exceptional team members who have, in their respective capacities, espoused the values, character, and example of Don Ramon, as inspired by The Aboitiz Way. It is named after the company’s patriarch, whose legacy of hard work, integrity and civic responsibility has inspired a generation of achievers. Awardees receive a Don Ramon Aboitiz medallion and PHP400,000 worth of AEV shares.

Ricky Llenes’ 2017 receipt of DRAAE represents a return of the award to AEV, the first time in nine years since team members Riella Guioguio and Gabby Mañalac, under the corporate center, were awarded in 2008.

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