A true world-class and global Filipina, Mars Yabut De los Santos came to Dubai in 2006 when the emirate was still a diamond in the rough, much like her. She was only 25 when she embarked on an overseas journey. De los Santos wanted to test the waters and thought it was better for her to work on her ambitions in a country like the UAE while she was younger so that if things don’t work out as planned, the Philippines will always be there to welcome her back.
With her background in PR and journalism in the Philippines, she was hired by Gulf News, one of the biggest media companies in the Middle East. She started as a proofreader before moving to the digital department to prepare her for the new digital trend. “I knew then that this would be the way to get on with the transition to digital ‘new’ journalism,” she said. The experience paid off and she was promoted as editor and section head of the online magazine department of the media outlet.
“It was an honor to create many firsts with that experience,” she said noting that she became the first Filipino editor of the online magazine division, the second Filipino in the company to become an editor, and the only Filipino to become a section head, until today it seems.
While she was preparing for her ultimate plan, which was setting up Expat Media Group, she was awarded the prestigious Journalism Award by the Dubai Government twice.
“Setting up Expat Media Group was the icing in the cake. I envisioned it to be the best of the media and PR worlds that I came from. It is the realization of a lifelong dream of a media company in the UAE that has global appeal and is solely owned by a Filipino,” she said.
De los Santos, who started as a reporter in Manila before moving to Public Relations, understands that the UAE’s multicultural environment would be the exposure that she would need to widen her horizon and that this is one of the key formulas for success.
“In life, we are bound to gamble in one way or another, and I am always up for it. But I don’t just jump into things blindly. I take calculated risks. I make sure that I plan ahead so that there is room to adjust and still make things work out the way I want,” she added.
As the brainchild of the company, De los Santos said she loves the way it allows her to be her own entrepreneur and journalist at the same time. “I enjoy the entrepreneurial part of my work as CEO and owner of my company and meeting clients from the government and other sectors. I am happy to run my own show and be able to implement unique ideas that create great opportunities for the company,” she further added.
The entrepreneur proved that not everyone who goes abroad has a sob story. She said that she didn’t experience struggles as she is the type of person who likes to be prepared for the unexpected and who has solutions always in place before anything becomes a problem.
“I always do my best to win my trials before they become a battle so that struggles will be out of the picture. I make it a point to always feel inspired so when life throws me some bitter fruits, I can make these into a sweet dessert,” she said.
The seasoned media practitioner plans to launch an Expat Media scholarship grant in the Philippines for the less fortunate children so they will have a better chance at having a brighter future.
When asked about her advice to Filipinos who are currently struggling, she said: “Dream big, focus on your goals, work hard, do good to others, and never give up. On top of it all, consistently excel in whatever you do.”
This story has been featured on the 9th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.