Karmeli Love Kintanar is set for a busy day. Two client meetings in the morning to discuss new executive search requirements; lunch with a potential candidate for a CFO position; two more client meetings in the afternoon and yet more job interviews together with alternating members of her dynamic team. Such a busy day but it is, in fact, just the usual rundown of her daily activities.
Karmeli is the Vice President and Practice Group Head at KSearch Asia Consulting, Inc. specialising in Finance, Banking and Business Process Outsourcing, which represent the dominant segment of the firm’s business portfolio. She had been with the company since its start-up in 1999 and has long been member of the firm’s senior management. Karmeli has led major long-ongoing search engagements for the firm's most significant clients in the Philippines, including Chevron, Citibank and Accenture, among others. Her role focuses on the overall management of said clients and helping stimulate and address their future executive search requirements.
Still open to entertain a quick interview despite her work-filled day, she was quick to provide insights to the questions we asked of her as follows:
1. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
I honestly can’t think of a single achievement that stands out. But my deep involvement in the growth and “evolution” of KSearch, throughout the years, is something I am very proud of.
2. What are your upcoming projects?
In KSearch, I want to complete the databank project and social media/online presence project which I’ve initiated over a year ago. Through the leadership of a very capable new employee (Verna), I think these will be realized very soon.
What I want to work on next is establishing stronger ties with our Horton partners so we can fully bring to fruition the benefits of being part of a global organization.
On a personal side, I want to learn Mandarin. I have long realized how much of an edge the language skill will bring to any professional who wants to be global. I feel the urgency now more than ever – all I need is the time to do it!
3. What makes you so motivated to keep driving yourself to produce high performance levels in KSearch -- as you obviously have succeeded in doing all these many years?
Executive search is such an interesting business. I love the fact that to become better at what I do means I must push myself to learn new things every day. So it’s not difficult to be good at the job.
But, I’m not saying that I’m motivated to work all the time. I think I just have a strong sense of obligation. I always think about my clients, my team, my boss, the entire firm, and what will happen if I don’t do a good job.
4. How do you maintain enthusiasm at work?
It’s not hard for me. The work, like I said, is very interesting so I don’t really “drag” myself to the office in the morning. I also like to keep a positive attitude with everything – I hardly complain, I don’t dwell on failures, and I don’t like getting stuck in a rut so I like to think of alternatives/solutions. I don’t allow the regular frustrations of the executive search business to get to me. Mind you, it can REALLY get frustrating. But there are some realities of the business that I just accept (e.g. positions that are put on hold, candidates who decline job offers, bad clients). So it means that I’ve just got to give more.
Of course, there are those little things that make a big difference. Listening to good music on the way to work sets me in the right mood. I also encourage our playing good music while at work because it really boosts our energies. Good food also helps a lot. Being in the company of people who like to eat and a boss who encourages us to try different cuisines is a great pick-me-upper.
5. How do you manage stress?
When I am in a very difficult situation at work, especially those that seem impossible to resolve, I often remind myself of the past difficult experiences I have overcome. This gives me a better perspective of my present problems and gives me confidence of my capabilities to overcome them - like I have done in the past. I don’t like succumbing to stress. I like to have more control and plan my way around it.
6. What keeps you busy other than work?
It’s always one thing or another. I like being involved in some activity – exercise, business, a hobby. Most recently, I graduated from fashion school where I’ve been spending my Saturdays for the past 2 ½ years. I’ve always been interested in fashion; it brings out my creative side. I am also excited with the prospect of getting into retail very soon through a reward I received during our class graduation.
7. What’s your message to KSearch employees on keeping the value of company loyalty?
Loyalty is not a popular word nowadays. I’ve seen and felt the changes on people’s mindset about it over the years. In fact, sometimes I feel detached from a generation that I perceive as only wanting instant gratification – people who can just leave a job when they are not satisfied with one thing or another.
I like to make loyalty a positive idea again. I don’t want people feeling forced to be loyal to the company. Speaking from experience, loyalty was not something forced upon me. It just happened! I guess it’s because I didn’t see loyalty as a one-sided thing. My staying with the firm for 12+ years was not because of KSearch’s benefit alone, it was very much for my own benefit too! I can say with all sincerity that when you give your best, your company gives back. This has been my experience.