In the past, society harbored prejudice against women due to the false notion that they were the weaker sex. When it came to building a successful career, society hindered their dreams and confined them to their households, only to engage in meager activities like cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc.
Fortunately, as the years progressed, so did the mindset of society. Eventually, women experienced the same freedom and opportunities that men enjoyed, thus proving that they’re just as capable to do what men can.
Today, hundreds of thousands of women across the world have built a career for themselves where they can exercise their passions and more. A prime example is Gladys Basinillo, the CEO and founder of Intersections Communications Inc.
Building the career of her dreams
Like many other career-driven individuals, Basinillo listened to her calling and followed her passion when determining her career path. She settled on advertising.
“I’ve built my career in advertising, specifically a media agency. It’s such a powerful spot within the ecosystem of advertising,” she said.
She started her agency in the early part of 2020. They now extend free or discounted consultation fees to various groups, individuals, and organizations who need help and guidance from tiny businesses that can’t afford multinational agencies.
“We are the first to tell them if your budget is that small, don’t spend on paid media anymore and instead strengthen first their customer journey,” Basinillo explained.
Through her advertising agency, Basinillo has the chance to take care of clients’ investments and produce campaigns or projects that help her clients achieve their goals. And that in itself makes her feel powerful.
“We are like connectors, responsible for strategies and implementation plans––with our clients in front of us and the media suppliers behind us. It’s a special place where we can somehow guide marketeers to push for campaigns that will contribute to society. It’s rewarding and tangible,” she explained.
One example where Basinillo had the chance to help others achieve their goals through advertising is when she became a business manager for the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF), as requested by the team. She helped the team compete overseas, entice sponsors to support them, and media networks to give them exposure, especially since Dragon Boat wasn’t as famous then.
With her support, the team she worked for won their first gold medal in Tampa Bay, Florida, in 2011.
And there’s more to Basinillo than what meets the eye. She’s also known for music marketing, where they find ways for clients to reach their customers throughout the country through their music.
“We know for a fact that there’s very little government support for local artists, and with advertisers funding these efforts, it’s a win-win for artists, clients, and of course, the music fans who can’t go to Manila and can not afford to buy tickets to see their idols,” she said.
In her 25 years of music marketing, she implemented close to 800 significant music-related events. She even produced “Fusion, The Phil Music Festival.” That was a first for a media agency; In Intersections, they produced “Salubong, A Christmas Concert for Global Pinoys” in partnership with TFC and KTX.
In her previous position as the CEO of Carat Philippines, she also launched Alab, the search for independent artists, which Basinillo finds pretty rewarding because she sees some of these artists building their careers now.
Aside from helping various sectors earn a following and support, Basinillo also aims to pay forward to her industry by teaching the next generation how to sustain the advertising industry.
“I teach for free in colleges and universities; as a guest lecturer and guest speaker talking about Media and Advertising. Our dream in Intersections is to build an educational system that will train fresh grads, and these trainees will be offered to other media agencies and clients for a minimum fee,” she said.
Overcoming challenges along the way
Like almost every other person who has a dream in mind, Basinillo also encountered struggles as she was building her career.
When she was younger and on a mission to climb the corporate ladder, she often described herself as brave with lofty aspirations. At times, people judged or discriminated against her because of her gender.
“I brush it aside and assert my opinion and stance. In the end, people will also feel it if you can handle tough conversations,” she said. “What is important is that you know what you’re doing so that people will focus on what you say and what you stand for because, in the end, it’s not the critic who counts.”
However, as gender equality becomes constantly advocated around the world, the Philippines is slowly bridging the gender gap. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum, the country is the first in Asia and 16th out of 153 countries in terms of closing the bridging gap.
Basinillo also believes that there is a conscious effort to improve on bridging the gender gap, but there’s still a long way to go, especially for multinational companies.
“The Philippines, for me, is progressive when it comes to the issue of gender equality. Bukas ang kamalayan, but there’s still much room for improvement, especially in the low-income segment and provincial areas,” she said.
One solution that she offered is to establish a defined organization to help single mothers.
She said it could be a non-government organization (NGO) or even an office within the government championed by a high-ranking political figure.
“I will be glad to be part of this, should there be an organized group that will support the empowerment of single mothers,” she said. Being a single mom herself, Basinillo knows how hard it is to raise children alone while facing unfair judgment from society in a relatively traditional country like the Philippines. They have to balance their role as a mother and, at the same time, build a career for themselves while supporting their children’s dreams.
Now, Basinillo serves as an inspiration to career-driven women who want to build a name for themselves in their respective industries.
“When you reach such a level of being a leader, pay forward and help. Leadership is not about prestige, titles, and power; it’s taking responsibility for harnessing the full potential of the people she leads. Lead with empathy and compassion, an area in which female leaders can excel,” she said.