Despite having no plans to work abroad more than a decade ago, Dubai-based overseas Filipino worker found himself playing a huge role in the international shoe manufacturer C&J Clark International Limited as the Director of Buying and Merchandizing for Middle East & Africa. The multi-company that he belongs has over a thousand branded stores and franchises across the world and has over 200 years of history in footwear, operating in almost 81 countries.
In his two decades of career, he has been exposed to numerous tasks and projects that range from simple reporting and research to a full-blown feasibility study to product development and design. But for him, the one project he is most proud of and has given him the fire to continue his career in retail was a project he spearheaded in his first job in Dubai, the Lost Prevention Task Force where he ensured that the inventory accuracy of the brand is less than two percent absolute variance. This has resulted in positive revenue for the company and catapulted him into the career he never thought he would be in.
Although he was having a great government career and was enjoying public service in his hometown in Bulacan, it dawned on him one day that he would not succeed in life with just working in the public sector. Viray, who has a friend in Dubai, convinced him to work overseas so as to ‘not waste his talent’ adding that he’d fit well in the city.
“So, I packed my things, applied for an indefinite leave of absence,” he said.
He arrived in Dubai in 2005 on a visit visa. At that time, Viray was trying to secure a job in planning and research as that was his qualification. After seeking an opportunity, he was hired as a merchandise planner which at that time he had no clue what the position was about.
He started at a private label company and then moved to Majid Al Futtaim Fashion where he worked for some five years–started as the wholesale sales support manager, promoted as the senior buyer for big brands. He then joined Burberry Middle East as the regional merchant manager in 2012 and then briefly joined Al Tayer Group handling planning for the Men’s Department of Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdales before joining Clarks.
In his 15 years in the UAE, he said he noticed how resilient, hardworking, and brilliant Filipinos are across all spectrum of employment. “And yet there is one flaw that I have noticed, the lack of sheer confidence in oneself and the pride of being a Filipino. “If we embrace our culture and ethnicity and be proud of it, I think other nations will be able to respect us and treat us equals,” Viray emphasized.
“My advice for everyone is to believe in yourself, stay hungry and never settle for less. Our work ethic is the best in the world; we have the best minds there are. Our attitude and our positive outlook in life define the culture that we have, and we must embrace it,” he added.
For him, success is very subjective and he believes everyone is successful on their own right.
“Success habits purely stem up on loving what you and having the passion and the fire inside to do and accomplish things, and most importantly having the faith in yourself and God first and foremost,” Viray said.
This story has been featured on the 11th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.