Our Finance Manager
In 2020, Donna left a five-year career to join The Ortus Club in Manila. Since starting her role as an Executive Assistant, she has confidently taken on more responsibility and has become an integral part of the team. She dreams of one day opening up her own business, but in the meantime she is building a career for herself at Ortus, picking up new skills and making sure her ambition doesn’t get in the way of her success.
Tell us about your current role at Ortus and how you got there.
I have two roles at The Ortus Club. I am the Assistant to our Executive Director Jamie Aclan, and I also assist with finance-related matters. I applied for the Executive Assistant position through Indeed and was offered the job after a couple of interviews. After my trial week, Jamie started training me on finance-related tasks too. My job is great because the flexibility of my role allows me to work with so many members of our team.
What surprised you the most when joining The Ortus Club?
I would say the working environment and the nature of the team was a positive surprise. Working with young and hard-working colleagues is really motivating. The job is very fast-paced, but the team are very supportive and understanding. I didn’t expect this kind of atmosphere at work. It’s great!
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Something cool about my role right now is the fact I have the opportunity to build relationships not only internally with the Ortus team, but also externally with our clients’ finance teams. What’s more, now that physical events are coming back, there are plenty of new things to learn. I am starting to book flights and accommodation for the team as they prepare to travel the world again and manage in-person roundtable events for our clients in New York, London, Tokyo – everywhere! I am also now responsible for managing the invoices sent by our photographers and videographers, who are attending our in-person events. I love how my role is evolving and I’m constantly learning new things.
What are three things still left on your bucket list?
1. To experience an Ortus in-person event. I started at Ortus when we were in the midst of a worldwide lockdown, so we had already shifted to offering virtual roundtables and knowledge-sharing opportunities. Since starting, however, I’ve been hearing incredible things about our in-person events, so I’m excited to get more involved in these when things open up again.
2. To travel to Europe, in particular France. I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and eat real French food. We organise quite a few French events now, so the opportunity to travel there is getting more and more realistic.
3. Ultimately, I’d like to start a business. My business would be built around something that I am passionate about. So many of our team are entrepreneurs on the side, which is really inspiring. Maybe one day I’ll have my own little coffee shop.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just started their career?
I have a tendency to rush and push myself to the limit, especially when it comes to my work. My ambition can get in the way and I often forget to take a step back and relax. This is something I am working on improving – being able to work hard but also ensuring I enjoy the process.
I think being kind to people is also really important. You never know when someone is having a bad day. Usually, a simple “hello” or “how are you” goes a long way. Because of that, my advice would be: Don’t rush, take your time, enjoy the process and remember to be nice to your colleagues. We are all human after all!
“Don’t rush, take your time, enjoy the process and remember to be nice to your colleagues. We are all human after all!”
What’s the most important risk you took and why?
I took a risk when I left a five-year career and decided to settle back home in the Philippines. My previous job meant I was travelling constantly and I was only ever home for one or two months at a time and then I’d leave again. It came to a point where I realised that money was not the only thing that motivated me and there was so much more that I could be doing and learning in life. So, my partner and I took the risk and left our jobs. We decided to settle in one place and find new careers that had even more potential for growth. So, here I am!
What’s one thing you are excited about, thinking about the future of Ortus?
There are so many things that I am excited about! When I joined Ortus in 2020, there were around 28 people in the team, and over the course of just one year, the team has more than doubled in size! It is exciting to witness and to be part of the company during such a rapid phase of growth.