DEFINITELY the home is a woman’s domain.
In accordance with tradition, she’s in charge of all the housework, from doing the laundry to preparing the food.
This is where Beverly Dayanan saw an opportunity.
It’s a shot at going beyond a woman’s traditional role—not just building a home, but a whole residential community, and thus giving birth to her first business venture—the Contempo Property Holdings Inc.’s Bamboo Bay.
But then setting your sights on the male-dominated world of real estate is not that simple. And here she has proven that success does not discriminate on the basis of sex as long as you put your heart into your work.
For Bamboo Bay, her P1-billion flagship vertical property, Beverly was named as the Most Promising Entrepreneur in the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) back in 2015.
Last year, a feather has been added to her cap when she received an APEA Gold Award for Property Development Industry, on top of her Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability (ACES) 2016 Outstanding Leaders in Asia recognition.
Being on top of her game, Beverly has inspired many women to pursue their dreams even if it means breaking the norm and carve out a name for themselves.
How is it being a female CEO in a corporate world mostly composed of men?
I don’t really have a concrete experience of being subjected to discrimination, but I’m aware that it could happen in any workplace. Admittedly, you
always get that feel from the looks of others that say, “Oh she’s a woman. Can she deliver?” There’s this bias of a woman’s capability, but this only makes me more driven, and I often surprise them. (Laughs). Also, come to think of it, building a home, an environment conducive for the family, paying attention to small details… it’s a woman’s world!
How are you as a boss?
I’m the boss, but I don’t want my employees to get that feel. It’s just my position at work, but I am also a mother, a sister, a mentor, a person who strives to make things better. We need to work together—what you can contribute to what I’m handling. We may be running a company, but at the end of the day, we’re creating the culture of family.
How do you regard failure of employees who don’t deliver what you want?
We are not perfect, so I see failure more as an opportunity to do better.
If we fail at something, get up, learn from it, and rise to the challenge.
What is the start-up story of the business?
I’m from Davao Oriental, a coastal area in Mindanao. It’s the second to the last municipality of Davao Oriental. My mom is from there, a mestiza Spanish, Abella Concepcion Morales. So I was born there, had my elementary and high school education. My father is from Carcar. I spent my college here in Cebu. I was a scholar of San Carlos. I earned the scholarship in high school, being in the Top Ten of my class. I was one of the lucky three to have passed that one. To augment my budget covering cost of living and matriculation, I did part-time jobs. I started my career in banking, in insurance to be exact, for 12 years. From there I got the discipline of money, the cost and value of money, budgeting, marketing, financing, risk management… these are all the non-technical discipline in real estate. When I resigned from the bank in 2006, I knew I was ready.
How did you conceptualize Bamboo Bay?
We properly started Bamboo Bay in 2013, having in mind to provide middle income people a better living condition, a place laden with much- needed and meaningful values derived and inspired by the attributes of a bamboo. Environmentally, the bamboo really helps a lot. It generates more oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide faster than any plant or tree. In Bamboo Bay, we designed the windows big enough and hallways wider to make our community more breathable. With large windows and ample natural light coming in, home owners don’t need to turn on the lights all the time, thus, minimizing carbon footprint. It saves electricity. We injected the no-smoking policy. We pay particular attention to the environment, which I think is a call for all of us, especially today. Since landscaping is one of our features, why not devote a portion where we can grow our food? So we have edible gardens. Once our community store opens, all the products from the gardens can be bought there. These are the values that are distinct in Bamboo Bay.
But you’re a graduate of Political Science. How did you end up in real estate?
Being a Martial Law baby, at the time I think you cannot help but be politically awakened. After our liberation when EDSA happened in 1986, I said to myself, there’s no reason for me to be so politically involved anymore. As far as I can remember, I grew up without having a house of our own. So I had it in mind that someday I shall build a house for myself, for my family, and now for the people. That’s why real estate is such a passion for me. It’s the thing that drives me.
So no plans to pursue a career in politics?
It’s not my cup of tea. I don’t think the reasons are compelling enough for me to venture there. My political awakening is in favor of my economic consideration. (Laughs). Besides, political leadership is just for the handful— everyone has to contribute to the economy.
How long have you been in property-based business?
It has been more than 15 years.
How are you able to build a successful customer base?
Everything started with research. There’s a lot of science behind it, not just arts. We had a focus group discussion, to find out from representatives of mid-income groups. We were curious what the market is looking at this time. It was raised that they’re comfortable with a condominium that’s not more than 16 storeys, with large windows, and so we listen. We classified, anchored on how to deliver this, and so now we have Bamboo Bay. That is the story and our inspiration .
We are in the age of technology where even when we are together eating, we still isolate ourselves from the group. So we’re coming up with a center of amenities strategically situated… this concept of bringing people together to bond because we are social beings. We want people to meet and greet at the center. We have barbecue stations, jogging paths, badminton court, gazebo, swimming pool. We have the chapel that can accommodate a hundred people. We need to cultivate our social values. We are shaping a community of good neighbors. That’s really the differentiated brand value of Bamboo Bay.
Why target the middle class?
In real estate, I’m passionate about mass housing, composed of socialized and economic housing, because these are needed the most and that’s where
I came from. But I want this market to be inspired a notch higher—maybe having their own cars, upscale in their standard of living. And I want them to get that feel.
What were the challenges along the way, and where did you get your drive to continue?
I am so happy having to start from the most humble of beginnings. I consider myself as a survivor so difficulty is not new to me. On the contrary, the more it challenges me, the more I double my efforts. That was how my mom did it, and that was how I grew up and did it. For me, I have already undergone and passed the hardest part one could ever have experienced in life. That’s where I draw my confidence to whatever life may throw at me. Of course, being surrounded by friends and consultants also helps.
What is success to you, and would say you already have it?
I cannot quantify success. My idea of success is not really how big I’ve made things or how much money I have made. It’s about how meaningful and substantive I touched people just by being who I am. So I can’t consider myself successful knowing I have yet a lot more to fill in. That sense of gratification has not reached me yet. I’m still in the journey but I make sure that whatever I do along the way, it should be of something significant and meaningful to others as well.
What’s a typical day for you?
The night before, I already know what my day is for tomorrow. It starts with an important appointment of the day; I talk to my people, to the home owners, friends in the business community, to my consultant…check on Facebook. (Laughs). It usually is in that order. At the end of the day, I’m a mother who attends to my son.
How are you as a mother? Are you the bossy type?
Of course, not! (Laughs). I am a doting mom who wants to cuddle and kiss. I’m good at that! (Laughs). Seeing my son is doing okay, that he’s safe, having the time of his life both in school and at home. I make sure that he grows up with awareness on the spiritual side, sports, and music. I make sure it’s not just academic.
Are you hands-on when taking care of your son?
Yes, very much. You know, I’m the only one. I can’t help that. I stand as the father-mother to my son. We are seven children in the family. Five sisters and two brothers. I’m the second.
How supportive are your family and friends?
Very supportive, otherwise, I won’t be where I am now. Even my six-year-old boy is very supportive. The more support I receive, the more I am encouraged and driven. They’re like fuel to me, and I have God as my anchor. It drives me to do more—to do better. I consider myself very lucky.
What is the most satisfying moment for you as far as your work is concerned?
Being a woman.The most gratifying moment is when people look at you with care and respect because you are fragile, and in return, this makes me open up to them more. There is softness and yet there is also strength in us.
What insights do you want to share to fellow women in the corporate world?
As long as you love what you do, and you’re determined to do it, and passionate about it, you can get there. Don’t let the idea of being a woman
hinder you from doing it. You may feel the discrimination but it’s up to us, women, to prove them wrong especially when given the opportunity. Double the effort if you must. You’d surprised at what you can do.