The poverty Dynah Kent has seen in her native land of the Philippines motivates her to make a difference in both her work in offshore outsourcing and through her volunteerism.
For her outstanding efforts, Kent was awarded the Red Ladder Women in Outsourcing Award as a Rising Star by HCL and IAOP.
Now in her third career successfully managing global contact center platforms engaging the financial market for Institutional Investor Research, Kent said the award is a recognition of women’s abilities to use their talents to reinvent themselves for good.
Before embarking as one of the New York financial industry’s leading offshore outsourcing leaders, Kent earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Far East University and later added a master’s degree in filmmaking. While still in the Philippines, Kent founded a strategic planning and product development firm called Digital Trip.
After moving to New York, Kent qualified as a real estate broker and excelled in that profession for seven years before seeing an opportunity to serve as an independent offshoring consultant. After a little over two years of contributing on a freelance basis, in 2016 she accepted a full-time position with Institutional Investor Research.
“It is an honor to receive this award because I feel celebrated as a redefined woman,” she says. “I share this with women who transformed themselves and built new careers because of defunct or purposeless ones, to those who believe that they and their skills are valuable, those who constantly seek a better place in all aspects of life.”
Kent was unable to accept the Red Ladder award at OWS2.0 in Florida because she was on a relief mission to the Philippines this February. PULSE caught up with her when she returned to learn about what motivates this up and comer.
First, tell me a little bit about your recent relief trip and why the Philippines holds a special place in your heart?
The trip was a very humbling experience for me. The evacuation centers have now cleared up a bit as most have returned to their homes due to the drop in the danger level of Taal Volcano. The question of the future looms for these families – with their livelihood from livestock in their backyards now gone. There needs to be something to replace how they can economically sustain their families. Reliefs can only go so far.
I often return to Manila for work and I am aware of the same poverty I grew up with. Most of our outsourced staff there are poor, and some have lived in slums – but they are resilient and they persevere. Many are working students and my personal experiences and being around all of them inspired me to dedicate myself to charity. In particular, I believe in supporting educational causes.
As a child in the Philippines, my schooling was a family and community effort. Many good people helped me and my family along the way, some who we knew, and others we didn’t. It was a struggle, but we did not give up because our community was behind us, like a strong and steady wind propelling me to be one of the few educated people in my hometown.
During one of my visits to a poor area in Manila, I met a young girl who told me how her family’s former apartment house collapsed because the residents slowly hammered down the walls in the building to steal the metal beams supporting the building foundation and sell for food. After that catastrophe, she said it was better that she lived around a “mountain of trash” and scavenged for recycled food.
Her story was etched in my heart. I know that she, along with many others can have a better chance to fight poverty if they are educated, such is why my dedication to this cause.
I also visited an elementary school during my trip in the village of Papaya in Nasugbu, Batangas. They have reading corners in their classrooms but a few books. The teachers told me that most students, even at higher grades do not have the reading comprehension that they should have due to lack of books and other resources. When I saw the tiny print outs they use as reading materials, I knew I had to do something. Now that I am back in New York, I will collect books to send to the school.
Tell me about your approach to building a team in offshore contract centers?
I am truly passionate about building teams within an environment of psychological safety, which ultimately result in cohesive and highly successful units. I believe in democratic leadership – consistently seeking staff’s views before arriving at strategies and processes. This builds a participative environment that fosters trust, resulting in creative, liberal and constructive milieus.
I believe in people and their uniqueness. The skills of one balance with the complementary abilities of others. Each one plays their unique strengths while sharing a common goal. I think that complementary skills, when integrated become more useful than individual skills. I believe that teams function effectively through complimentary coordinated efforts around a shared vision.
I also believe that transferring company culture and processes effectively is the seed to create successful offshore teams. Once there is a clear understanding of the ‘purpose,’ structural processes and strategies are easier to map.
What do you do in your work to empower or mentor women?
I host a quarterly open meeting (within my offshore teams) evolving around the topics of raising the profile of women in the outsourcing industry.
These talks aim to empower women at every stage of their careers- the mission is to encourage women to be more visible – to their colleagues, to their foreign counterparts, to the offshore clients, to the audience they engage and in the offshoring industry. During these talks, we have speakers who talk about how women should and can express themselves fully without fear, speak out in instances of discrimination and harassment, be comfortable with themselves despite their orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion and mindset.
We also share stories of success in the workplace, small or big and celebrate them. Through this program, I hope to create a mainframe for a global community on Women@OffshoreOutsourcing in the future.
What advice/life lessons do you follow or give to others?
At some point in our lives, most of us have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. I encourage everyone to open their life to a cause bigger than yourself – it is rewarding, humbling, joyful, and incites positivity in one’s life.
Why is winning this award such an honor to you?
It is an honor to be recognized for the hard work, dedication, passion and commitment to be the best of who I can be for myself and others. It is an honor to receive this award because it has validated one of the platforms I evolve in – that is, that success is in the intention.
At a Glance Dynah Kent
Results: Kent piloted and now leads her company’s efforts in building an audience-centric, operationally efficient and cost-competitive offshore contact centers in Asia and South America that have significantly increased response rates and lowered labor costs.
Current Role: Head of Engagement and Offshore Outsourcing Operations, Institutional Investor Research
Results: Kent piloted and now leads her company’s efforts in building an audience-centric, operationally efficient and cost-competitive offshore contact centers in Asia and South America that have significantly increased response rates and lowered labor costs. She also spearheaded the company’s efforts in establishing Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) platforms.
Notable: Speaks four languages (English, Spanish, Tagalog, Kapampangan)