Dina Bonnevie rises to challenge of handling a telecommunications and shipping business

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"I think women are better in marketing than men are. Because it is very hard to say no to a woman when a woman is trying to close a deal!" Dina Bonnevie proves that women can be players in any industry or field where men already are.


Kilala siya bilang isa sa mga pinakamahusay na aktres noong 80s at 90s. Ngunit lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, bukod sa pag-arte sa harap ng kamera ay ang pagiging active ni Dina Bonnevie sa industriya ng shipping at telecommunications.

Hindi katulad ng karamihan na pinapasok ang isang business dahil sadyang hilig nila ito, napasok ni Dina ang shipping at telecommunications business by accident.

SHIPPING BUSINESS. Kwento ni Dina, nagsimula ang shipping business niya eighteen years ago, noong 1992. Inimbitahan siya ng isang kaibigan para subukan ang ganitong industriya. Hindi naging madali ang pagsisimula sa klase ng business na iyon para kay Dina.

"I didn't know anything about shipping, but then they said, 'You know, madali lang matutunan 'yan. Basahin mo lang iyang mga telecom messages ... and then matututunan mo din iyan.' And then eventually, you know, I got the knack of it," aniya.

Para mas lalong matutunan ang kalarakaran sa naturang business, nagpunta pa ang aktres sa Singapore para mag-aral at makakuha ng certification mula sa International Organization for Standardization para sa kanyang shipping business.

TELECOM BUSINESS. Nagsimula naman ang telecommunications business ni Dina noong 2002.

Ipinakilala siya rito ng gumagawa ng website niya para sa dating business ng aktres dealing with products made of indigenous materials. Isa sa mga ito ay ang handmade door latches na inee-export niya sa United Kingdom. Ang iba pang mga produkto ay placemats, hats, at bags na gawa sa abaca na dito lang makikita sa Pilipinas.

Nang ipinakilala sa kanya ang VOIP, sinubukan niya muna itong gamitin para makausap ang pamilya niya na nasa ibang bansa.

"I would do testimonials, until eventually in 2004 they asked me if I want to join their company and be a partner," ani Dina.

Naging parte ng kumpanya si Dina at naging VP for International and Business Development. Sa loob ng isang taon, nakapagbukas na raw siya ng extension ng kumpanya sa Hongkong, Malaysia, United Kingdom at sa Pilipinas.

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Ayon pa kay Dina, isa daw sila sa mga unang nagdala ng teknolohiya ng Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) sa Pilipinas.

"When nobody knew what VOIP was, we were already doing VOIP. Wala pang skype, 'di pa alam ng tao kung ano ang skype. Wala pa ang skype talaga, nauna na kami dito," aniya.

Ang VOIP ay isang klase ng technology kung saan ang mga voice messages at mga multimedia sessions ay naipapadala sa mga Internet Protocol networks (IP) tulad ng Internet. Isa sa mas kilalang application na gumagamit ng ganitong teknolohiya ay ang Skype.

Ngunit, ayon din kay Dina, hindi naging madali ang pagtatatag ng business na ito dahil sa harassments ng gobyerno sa kanyang kompanya.

"Some people in the government made problems for us. I don't want to go back there anymore. Malungkot yung kwento na 'yon, so I was forced to leave because some people just want to get the business and grab it from us, just because they are in power," kwento ni Dina.

Dahil dito, napagdesisyunan ni Dina na magtungo sa U.S. Dito ay in-absorb siya ng kumpanya na naka-base sa New York.

Nag-concentrate si Dina sa mga bansa sa Middle East at North Africa region.

Pagkatapos niya at ng kanyang team ma-develop pa sa larangan ng telecommunications, ang assigned region sa kanya ng kumpanya, bumalik siya sa Pilipinas upang simulan ang kanyang sariling VOIP company.

THE ROSE AMONG THE THORNS. Hindi naging madali para kay Dina ang lahat, lalong lalo na sa isang industriya kung saan ay karamihan ay mga kalalakihan ang naghahari.

"It's difficult. I would always attend the conferences in Dubai, and then they would wonder, 'What is a woman doing in telecommunications?' The same thing people would say if I attend shipping conferences, 'What is a woman doing in shipping?'

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"So I would say, 'Great, an icing on the cake! Would you imagine, without women in telecommunications, it would probably so boring. So good thing there are people like us who do the marketing, and we are the ones who close the deal,'" nakangiting sambit ni Dina.

Dagdag pa niya, "I think women are better in marketing than men are. Because it is very hard to say no to a woman when a woman is trying to close a deal!"

COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY. Hindi man gamay noong simula ang industriyang kanyang pinasok, naging edge ni Dina ang communication skills nito para mag-excel sa field.

Nagtapos si Dina sa kolehiyo ng may degree na Communication Arts mula sa Ateneo de Manila University.

"My line of work was Marketing, so it is basically talking and preparing powerpoint presentations. Basically, communication with clients, so it wasn't difficult with me.

"Not that I'm bragging or anything like that. Modesty aside, I think I'm very articulate, and that's what a good marketing person needs to be.

"You have to be street smart as well. You have to know how to look into your clients and know their needs, investigate, and once you know the needs—present it well.

"You don't present right away like you are selling, because clients don't want to be sold. They want to buy but they don't want to be sold.

"So you listen first to what they need, and then you present it to them—presenting a solution that could solve their problem," sambit ng matalinong aktres.


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