Imelda J. Madarang: A Visionary Ceo Leading Fisher Farms In The Aquaculture Industry

Imelda J. Madarang: A Visionary Ceo Leading Fisher Farms In The Aquaculture Industry

Imelda J. Madarang,     CEO

Imelda J. Madarang


This farm-raised seafood industry has become increasingly important as the demand for seafood grows and traditional fisheries become less able to meet that demand. Imelda J. Madarang is the CEO of Fisher Farms, the largest supplier of farm-raised seafood in the Philippines. Under her leadership, the company has become an industry leader in aquaculture food processing and export. Madarang holds a Masters in Management (MM) degree from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in 1985, and an AB Foreign Service degree from St. Theresa's College in Quezon City. Her educational background, combined with her extensive experience in the aquaculture industry, has equipped her with the skills and knowledge needed to lead Fisher Farms to success. Let's hear from her.

Please provide an overview of your educational and professional background, what are some of the most significant achievements you have accomplished thus far on your journey?
I have had a diverse career path, which has included roles in academia, corporate social responsibility, government, and the corporate sector. I transitioned into corporate work when I became the VP General Manager of Swift Tuna Corporation. From there, I set up the RFM Corporate Export Division as VP-GM, where I expanded the range of exportable products to include pasta, flour-based mixes, beverages, canned meat, meat deli, and ice cream. This broad range of products and global exposure provided me with valuable experience that helped me refine my expertise in export marketing, leading to the honor of receiving two prestigious Agora Awards for Achievement in Export Marketing in 2010 (with RFM) and 2017 (with FFI) from the Philippine Marketing Association.

In 2011, I joined Fisherfarms, (FFI), an aquaculture company, as CEO. In this role, my challenge was to establish a professional organization as a foundation for achieving FFI's ambitious growth goal of becoming a significant player in Asia, a leader in going up the value chain, and a preferred supplier of aquaculture seafood to the world.

Can you describe your time at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Manila and how it has impacted your professional life?
My experience at AIM has been instrumental in my professional development, particularly in my transition to the corporate sector. Prior to joining AIM, I had extensive experience working in various governmental roles, both in developmental and regulatory capacities. As I transitioned into the corporate world, which was new territory for me, I faced many challenges. However, AIM equipped me with the necessary skills, boosted my self-confidence, and accelerated my learning and growth in the corporate sphere, ultimately leading me to my current position as a CEO.

The case method and the presence of international students at AIM provided a diverse and wide-ranging perspective, allowing me to approach situations with an integrative mindset. I honed crucial skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making through competitive yet enjoyable daily case studies. The AIM Masters in Management course stimulated my curiosity, refined my creativity, and instilled a new growth mindset. Overall, the transformative learning experience at AIM has been invaluable to me.

I follow the principles of transformational leadership, emphasizing integrity, character, and excellence

What were the challenges you had to overcome to mold yourself into the leader that you are today?
As the CEO of a pioneer aquaculture processing company in the Philippines, I faced challenges such as organizational change and development, asset and process optimization, talent acquisition and retention, and defining corporate culture. Converting a commodity to an FMCG in a business characterized by high volatility in volumes, quality, availability, and price was difficult, especially with the scarcity of specialized experts in the field. Overcoming these obstacles tested my leadership skills, and forced me to think creatively, and embrace mishaps as a learning process. However, the experience made me wiser and a better leader. My passion extends beyond achieving my company's goals. I aim to make the Philippines a significant player in the global seafood trade and contribute to attain food security globally. To achieve this, I actively collaborate with the Government-Private sector and sit as Vice-Chair for Fisheries in the Philippine Export Development Council NCAP.

Define Fisher Farms as an organization and where is it currently positioned in the market?
Fisher Farms, is a leading aquaculture processor and exporter in the Philippines, with the largest milkfish and shrimp facilities. It exports to over 30 countries and supplies local retail channels, fine-dining restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and fast-food chains. Fisher Farms is recognized for its seafood innovation, R&D program, technology, and high standards, earning local and international accreditations and awards such as the SIAL Most Innovative Products, KATHA awards, and Superior Taste Awards.

Can you describe your leadership style and the principles that you follow? Also, what is your key to success?
I follow the principles of transformational leadership, emphasizing integrity, character, and excellence. My goal is to inspire employees to reach their potential by promoting engagement, innovation, and quality orientation. I value open communication, teamwork, continuous learning, and a vision-driven culture. As a leader, I lead by example, mentor and reward excellence, and believe in pursuing perfection for achieving excellence.

What advice would you give to emerging leaders in the industry, especially women leaders, in light of the changing post-COVID landscape?
Challenges and disruptions are inevitable, but we should not allow them to defeat us. Embracing positivity and taking responsibility for our own success can greatly benefit us. Viewing challenges as learning opportunities and transforming problems into progress can increase our chances of success. We must maintain our relevance, exhibit courage in innovation, show resilience, and stay focused on our goals. So, work hard, and dream big!

Imelda J. Madarang, CEO of Fisher Farms Inc., Philippines
Imelda J. Madarang is the CEO of Fisher Farms Inc. She is a visionary leader in the aquaculture industry, known for her commitment to quality, innovation and engagement.

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