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07 Jan 2021

Humans of Kent: Geleen Basco, Group Technology Portfolio & Applications Manager, Dubai

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An extraordinary journey

Imagine this: In the Philippines’ quiet and serene rural area, you grow up on a farm. Waking up to the crowing of a rooster, you make your bed and start with the daily chores. Every day, you get to grow fresh vegetables and nurture farm animals like ducks, chickens, carabao, and pigs to ensure you have food on your table. You roll up those sleeves, get dirty, and get going – it’s the only way jobs will get done. You help and work with your family for the best and worst harvest season. Life is simple, steady, and sustainable, knowing you have a family to lean on and support each other – this was my childhood. Growing up on a farm, I learned discipline, hard work and the true meaning of “you reap what you sow.”

In the year 1991, when the volcano Mt. Pinatubo erupted, ashes and lahar covered the farm. We lost everything in one night, but never lost hope and courage to start again. This phase of my life dramatically changed all our lives – we moved to the city, which was very far from how I grew up in the farm and my mother started working abroad to be able to send me to a good university. Little did I know, all of this prepared me to be independent and become a ‘do-er’ in life.

Since I had a flair for mathematics, logic tracing, and problem-solving, I completed a degree in Computer Engineering which opened doors in my career path for the next ten years in the Philippines. I was lucky enough to work in multi-cultural companies from various industries such as System Integration, Manufacturing, and Software Security.

My husband moved to Dubai when I was about to take a career leap from Technical Lead to Global Management which was my ticket to guaranteed work in the USA. I had to choose between climbing up a corporate ladder or building a family of my own. As luck would have it, there was a vacancy in Kent Dubai (formerly Kentech) for the Applications Support role which was exactly how I started ten years ago. At the end of the day, I had to put pride aside and choose what is right and vital, which is to be with my family. It was a humbling experience to start over.

Today as I look back, it is a blessing in disguise because at Kent I was given enormous opportunities to bring my expertise and learn along the way. My current position in Kent is what I am destined to do. It just took me longer to reach that goal, and for a good reason.

I’m passionate about what I do, and I have been a workaholic for as long as I can remember. But life wanted me to slow down. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer in 2017, and naturally, it was a game-changer. I got too sick and had to surrender my dream of being a mother. It was difficult to accept at first, but with constant prayer and my family’s support, the sickness couldn’t become bigger than me. It has taught me the value of patience, work-life balance, and great compassion for others’ battles. I’m happy to say I am alive and now healthy; it’s been an extraordinary journey.

What motivates me to get out of bed in the morning are my children in Kent – my team, who believe in me. My children are passionate, hardworking, and love what they do. It inspires me to give them the best experience, opportunities, and knowledge that I can.

Communication is key for my role, and there are times when I lead meetings and update stakeholders where I lose my words in English. My biggest professional challenge is that English is not my native language. However, this challenge can be overcome for anyone who is hardworking and wants to learn. For new joiners at Kent who have a similar challenge, my advice is not to let this be a blocker. Every Kent employee is talented and hired because of the ideas and creativity they will bring to our business. So, I say to them, “Take every opportunity you see to communicate and connect. Take part in this bright journey that Kent is heading to, and looking forward to meeting you on the road!”

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