Meet Ciara Manalansan, Operations

Our Project Director

Ciara Manalansan

Ciara joined The Ortus Club in September of 2020 and in less than a year, she was promoted to Team Lead in Operations. She has grown leaps and bounds since starting out and continues to learn and bring value to the team every day. In this meet the team post, Ciara shares her journey with Ortus thus far and gives advice to those who are also looking to further their career with the company.

What does a typical day at The Ortus Club look like?

My day starts with a short “Start of Day” call with everyone in my team. It’s a great way to start the working day and make sure everyone is aligned, especially since the majority of the team are still working remotely in the Philippines.

Afterwards, it’s a mix of checking-in with team members and Client Directors to discuss ongoing projects, replying to emails, keeping on top of the conversations we’re having with c-suite executives on LinkedIn and being present on update calls with our clients.

Since the majority of our team are working remotely and with some of our team based in Europe, I spend a healthy amount of time communicating with the team to ensure we’re all on track to reach our shared goals.

At around 5:30 PM, the entire team joins the daily End of Day call where senior management announce company updates and we all get the chance to chat, or take part in a team building activity. It’s a useful and fun way to end the day.

“I spend a healthy amount of time communicating with the team to ensure we’re all on track to reach our shared goals.”

Ciara Manalansan
Tell us about an “aha moment” you had with a coworker.

One that I’ll always remember is when I was training a new hire on how to work one of the operations tools we use. In the process of teaching her, she asked me what the purpose of a certain step was and it completely caught me off guard. I had never been asked that question before.

I was forced to take a minute and question the process myself. I thought about it and then proceeded to explain to her the reason why we do it that way. Taking that time to reflect made me realise how necessary it is to understand the “why” of what we’re doing and to not just simply teach the step-by-step process. Training is most effective when you have the whole story, otherwise it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing and that’s when mistakes happen.

How do you encourage creative thinking?

As a startup, we’re constantly given opportunities to innovate and come up with solutions that make our processes more efficient and effective. I remember having a discussion with the Head of Operations about our current prioritisation process and she mentioned that once you have that foundation and understanding of the standard process, you’re free to take that knowledge and be as creative as you want when it comes to implementing it (within reason, of course).

That’s something that has really stuck with me and something that I want to share and encourage not only within the Operations team, but with all aspiring team members in Ortus. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to make a change in an organisation such as ours, so I always encourage my team to speak up and share their ideas!

How do you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I was recently promoted, so having the opportunity to lead a team at Ortus is something very new to me. At first, when I was given the role of Team Lead, I believed I already had the skills and knowledge to be able to lead and guide the team. As I progressed into the role, however, I began to recognise that I had so much more to learn, both in terms of guesting events and leading a team in general. I think that’s one of the things that I love about this job though – you always learn and pick up things as you go and without realising it you begin to understand how and why things really work.

For example, I haven’t guested events in some of the regions my team members are currently focusing on, so each day comes with new challenges and learning opportunities.

How do you help a new employee understand The Ortus Club culture?

With the Operations team growing enormously in 2021, I always try to manage the expectations of new individuals who are joining The Ortus Club. With such a young team, it is easy to reach out to someone because everyone is friendly and always happy to help! But at the same time, our work gets challenging at times and it takes a lot of dedication if you want to learn and understand.

Because of this, I try to make sure I’m always on-hand to provide support and guidance whenever needed. Transparency is also something that The Ortus Club really values because it is the only way we learn how to effectively work as a team and help each other out.

What’s the most important risk you’ve taken and why?

I think the most notable risk that I have taken in my career at Ortus has been applying to become a Team Lead. I remember being given the opportunity to apply a few months prior and not doing so because I felt I still had so much more to learn and I wanted to be able to have a more complete understanding of what was required of me before putting myself forward. After a few months, they opened up new applications and despite being a bit hesitant, I submitted my application. I felt it was the right time to step up to the role, especially as the team was growing.

After a few days of deliberation from senior management, I received news that I got the role! It’s only been a few weeks now and I’m still adapting to my new responsibilities, but I’m happy I took the risk and I’m ready to take on more challenges and learn as I go.


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