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The role of self-love in leadership as told by Ninja Van Philippines’ CCO, Sabina Lopez-Vergara

The role of self-love in leadership as told by Ninja Van Philippinesâ CCO, Sabina Lopez-Vergara
Spending quality family time with her son, Aiden, and husband, Aiel, is one of Sabina's top priorities as a working mom.

Logistics is still seen by many as a traditionally male-dominated industry that mainly involves heavy labor and long distances. However, women have proven over the years that they have what it takes to make a mark in this sector, taking up both operational and technical roles, and being leaders in different stages of the value chain. 

Sabina Lopez-Vergara, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Ninja Van Philippines, is just one of the many women who are breaking the glass ceiling in the local logistics industry. Through her leadership, Ninja Van Philippines was able to offer services that help support MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and boost the country’s e-commerce sector.

So, how does she do it? Aside from her years of experience and skills, Sabina owes her success to self-love, which enabled her to find her place and thrive in an industry where men usually take the reins. 

Why self-love matters

With all the challenges that women face everyday, practicing self-love doesn’t need to be complicated. For Sabina, it’s all about appreciating yourself — your hard work, your skills, your passions in life, and even your flaws — and how you celebrate you in your own ways. 

“Women bear the brunt of emotional labor. It's really just how we’re wired. With all that mental load on our minds, it's very important to decompress and do things that you enjoy and where you think your time is most appreciated,” she said. 

By being in tune with her physical and emotional needs, Sabina is able to be the best version of herself for her family, her job and most importantly, herself. As someone who wants to be always on top of things at work, balancing it with family life and personal time can be difficult, especially during the onset of the pandemic. However, she had learned to make compromises to have time for other things that she needs and wants to do.

Despite her busy schedule, she makes sure to always be home by dinnertime and avoid working on weekends to spend some quality time with her son and her husband.

“In some companies, not putting in the time or staying in the office all the time can be detrimental. Thankfully, I work in a company that values output and productivity, not necessarily how many hours you clock in at work. That culture has transitioned with the shift to work from home, and has benefited us in our adjustment to that change,” she added.

When it comes to her “me time,” Sabina usually likes to hang out with her friends, run her own errands, and go to the salon for some pampering. Before, she used to feel guilty about not spending all her time with her family, which is something a lot of moms can relate to, but she realized that she also deserves to dedicate a few hours of her day for herself amidst all her responsibilities at work and at home.

Sabina Lopez-Vergara, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Ninja Van Philippines.

Becoming a leader 

Knowing and appreciating her worth as a person through self-love made Sabina the leader that she is now. Entering the working force as a young mother was definitely challenging but with her sight set on her priorities and her strong belief in her capabilities, her career flourished and she was able to lead in a way that is inspiring and empowering to others.

“I was more empathetic of people’s time and understanding of their needs at home, which guided me with what kind of leader I wanted to be,” she said. “Because of those experiences, I made sure to work smarter and instilled that kind of thinking across my team. Learning how to delegate was also important so that I could free up while also giving my team the chance to make the decisions and more importantly, learn from their mistakes.”

As the CCO of the company, Sabina works alongside Country Head Martin Cu and Chief Operating Officer Vin Perez in further transforming Ninja Van Philippines as one of the leading logistics companies in the country. 

“We’re quite lucky that we all get along given that most places have conflicting commercial and ops teams. Not saying that doesn't happen at Ninja, but we are able to troubleshoot and tackle these obstacles without any personal feelings getting in the way,” she said. “Martin and Vin are also strong advocates of equality and have helped push the mindset of an equal and diverse workplace. I’m not treated as one of the boys and we all understand each others’ boundaries and needs to get the job done.”

Not only did Sabina successfully make it in a male-dominated industry that is logistics, she was also able to take up space and impart the kind of leadership to the rest of her team and to an extent, the whole of Ninja Van Philippines. Her presence at the top of the company promotes the importance of gender equality in the workplace and is a strong representation for all young women out there that no ambition is too difficult or too impossible to reach when you truly value yourself and what you can bring to the table.



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