BY BISAI YA
So it seemed that being in a male-dominated corporation was meant to be for a woman like Joy Camomot Luna. This Manila-based gifted Cebuana has been on top leadership for a tertiary hospital in a province in the Philippines which she co-established and managed in order to provide the best health care service there is for the locality of Taytay in the province of Rizal.
“As the youngest and the only female member of the Board of Directors in Manila East Medical Center, a tertiary hospital, the initial challenge was how to be heard and taken seriously. In a corporate world that is dominated by males, you have to set your foot down and get your message across that you mean business.”
Joy who previously worked as a top medical representative for a multinational pharmaceutical firm in Manila and after several years, decided to avail the company’s early retirement option. With her retirement savings, she joined a group of 20 professionals, mostly doctors, to help found what is now known as Manila East Medical Center.
Her pharmacy degree and her exemplary work skills got her nominated as one of the Board of Directors of the hospital where she was also tasked to look after three important divisions: pharmacy, procurement and human resource. She initiated work reforms and introduced innovative ways to make her departments profitable, cost-efficient and helped develop a work system nurturing camaraderie between management, staff and patients.
Since the hospital business requires huge manpower support from doctors, specialist providers, administrative and support personnel, an efficient system of daily tasks are required to bring about the operational cost and profitability hand in hand. Joy focused herself in managing the challenges of utilizing these resources in a proper manner whilst also ensuring their patients are happy with the services paid for.
Working with mostly male counterparts can be oftentimes intimidating, Joy observed, as there are still many men in these fields who are unaccustomed to working with women who were either wary or openly resentful of their presence.
“For almost 11 years, I have been successfully managing two important departments at the hospital as the astute Pharmacy Director of the Pharmacy Department, and Head of Central Supplies Department where my good negotiation and analytical skills come in handy.”
Joy’s work experience as sales representative was put to good use when she headed the procurement team. She excelled in negotiating for both minor and major purchases made by the hospital, which has resulted in huge savings for the hospital. In turn, these savings were used to provide for better compensation and benefits for their workers.
“As a Pharmacist, I would readily know which medicines are best in quality, efficacy, and I am able to easily negotiate a good price from our pharmaceutical suppliers knowing how they work having come from that industry from past. With that experience, I was able to make better buying decisions where we shifted from purchasing to procurement making our cost management highly effective in the long term. That also allowed us to pass on the discounts to our patients so they don’t need to go outside to buy their medicines as they can also enjoy competitive pricing from within the hospital pharmacy,” says Joy.
Amidst the presence of three new hospitals that opened in the area, Manila East Medical Centre (MEMC) has remained the number one tertiary medical center in Rizal, in Eastern Manila.
Her corporate life that was mainly spent serving in the medical industry has allowed Joy to realize how challenging their industry is and how the Philippine medical institution fared in today’s business world.
She observed, “Among countries in the ASEAN region, the Philippines rank lowest in spending for healthcare leaving the private sector to carry a significant health-financing burden. Adding to that problem is the unequal distribution of health workers as they congregate in the National Capital Region where healthcare facilities are mostly established, and a dwindling supply of other professionals as the financial opportunity in other countries are better.”
Joy personally believes that if healthcare establishments are also highly developed in central and southern Philippines, health workers and graduates from these locations needn’t have to come to the capital region.
“They can serve locally and in turn will result to allowing many people to avail of health services right in their hometowns instead of traveling to main cities like Manila or Cebu. That would save them time and money. This development would also greatly help our government where more jobs are generated for the populace instead of encouraging them to work abroad.”
She makes perfect sense, indeed. Until that day, health care system in the Philippines remains to be one of the most challenged service sectors of the country.
Joy was born in Cebu in August 1967, the seventh in a brood of eight. She is the youngest and the most adventurous amongst the five girls in the family. Her parents Florentino Camomot, a Retired Sales Manager and her late mother Amparo Camomot, a Grade One Public School Teacher named her “Joy”, a perfect description of the bundle of joy she brought to the family that year.
She studied at the premiere exclusive girls school in Cebu, Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion (CIC) and was a member of the graduate class of 1984. After high school, she took up Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at the leading University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Not content with that degree, Joy pursued a post-college degree with a Master’s Degree: Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. She was in the Dean’s List in 5 out of 8 trimesters.
Asked what was her dream course in college and why, Joy was honest to admit, “My dream course, which until now remained a dream, was to take up Medicine and become a Cardiologist or an Ophthalmologist. Due to financial challenges of sending many kids to college, my parents sent me to take up Pharmacy course instead. My ultimate goal is a PhD, but I feel so old and too busy to study.”
Her educational background has landed her to acquire a post-college career as a Medical Representative in one of the leading pharmaceutical firms in the country. She did well in her work that she consistently ranked as one of the top sales performers of the firm and was often rewarded incentives and trips abroad.
Her excellent work attitude also endeared her to colleagues, superiors and clients. In 1991, she married Dr. Rudy Luna, a Pediatrician, also a business partner at Manila East Medical Center where they co-found together with 19 other founders who are also taking executive management roles in the hospital operation.
Brought up by devoted Catholic parents and coming from a clan that produced nuns, priests and an Archbishop who is now next in line for beatification by the Vatican (the Late Archbishop Teofilo Camomot from Carcar, Cebu), Joy also expressed having a dream vocation that she had wished she pursued.
Joy shares, “There is this silent call of becoming a nun ever since I was in high school at CIC that persisted even when I was already working and in a relationship. Always a true blue Inmaculadista, my Vincentian and religious upbringing figured strongly in my character, and had I pursued, I would have been running an orphanage or a home for the aged by now.”
For not materializing her intended vocation, Joy instead focused in putting aside a portion of her time and resources towards volunteer works for some of her specially chosen charities.
Asked what sort of fulfillment does she find in volunteerism such as her causes at “BISAYABABE” (a charity community group advocating free education for poor Filipino youths in Visayas and Mindanao) and other charity activities she engaged, Joy gleefully remarked, “When I see the happy faces of our volunteer teachers and learners at Alternative Learning System (ALS), I feel a different sense of purpose and fulfillment that I cannot derive from my career. It is nice to be able to help people by enabling and empowering them through the support that I can extend. It is such a feeling of bliss!”
Already wearing many hats from her corporate, community and family roles; Joy gladly tells us her other aspirations in life, her hobbies, and activities that gives her fulfillment, “My responsibilities at work are already enough to keep me busy, but I still find time to do other activities outside of the company, like conducting personality development lectures for friends and their companies. I also dabble in painting as my relaxing therapy. This is one passion I never discovered until recently when my best friend gifted me a canvas and a set of acrylic paints and prodded me to paint, now I am addicted to this passion.”
Joy plans to publish her own book “The Living Joy” which is about hope, survival, loving and living. “This book will chronicle my life as a young student from a struggling family who wants to do good and amidst the many personal challenges I faced, especially after a life-changing accident that almost took my life, the heartbreaking experiences I’ve been through and how I stood up for it with a strong heart, hope and love reigning in my heart – the message I would like to impart in this book.”
Asked as to who inspired her to do good and be successful and easily she replied, “My parents, especially my late mother Amparo, still remain as my inspiration in life. They struggled and managed to raise a brood of successful God-fearing professionals who are well rounded and grounded.”
Bisai Ya is an artist in progress who dabbles in writing. She holds an Entrepreneurial Management degree from the Philippine Women’s University in Manila. She works as a marketing services consultant, Social Media professional in Cebu, Philippines. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.