Margot Bautista Henry: An Empathic Leader Creating Value For All Stakeholders

Margot Bautista Henry: An Empathic Leader Creating Value For All Stakeholders

Margot Bautista Henry , President

Margot Bautista Henry


The attributes of what defines strong leadership in business has evolved over the years. N o longer is it enough to simply have technical knowledge and industry-specific experience. Today’s leaders need to also possess the soft skills that inspire people and create loyal employees that are passionate about their work. Margot Bautista Henry, President of GRB Enterprises, is one such leader who brings the perfect blend of empathy, innovation, and positivism to operations and team leadership.

In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights Asia, Margot Bautista Henry walks us through her professional journey along with the unique traits of the company.

Could you give a brief account of your professional background and experiences? What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?

I began my professional career in the finance world as an intern at Bear Stearns in San Francisco in the early 2000s. I moved to Credit Suisse, where I worked in the institutional equities sales and marketing department from 2006 until 2013. In the quest to further enrich my experience and gain a better understanding of the world of business, I pursued my MBA at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

The untimely passing of my father came in 2018. Having built and founded the company himself together with some long-time employees, GRB was in a fortunate position of having had a solid foundation underneath it, with relationships within the industry that span 30+ years, and a spotless track record. We decided, as a family, to move back to the Philippines from the US, to carry on what our father left behind. My path as a business leader has been about gaining experience and educating myself on the Philippine corporate setting.

As we were ramping up to expand our business, the pandemic erupted. We had to work hard to figure out how to run our business within that constraint. Being in the food safety industry, we were able to move much more freely than those in other sectors— this allowed us to continue as close to 'business-as-usual' as possible, encountering a relatively minimal disruption to sales and operations in the midst of the strictest lockdowns in the country. This afforded us time to learn a lot more about our clients, the way they think, and the way they make decisions. We learned to move in sync with their objectives and demands to provide them with best-in-class solutions.

What kept you going beyond the tough times or challenges which you have faced so far, or what you have experienced so far?

The promise I made to my father to continue the legacy of the company which he had left behind has definitely continued to motivate me amidst challenging times. It is important to the Board of Directors to ensure GRB’s going concern, in large part because the livelihood of some 80+ employees depends on it. Our longest tenured employees have been with GRB for more than 20 years, and a majority have been with GRB anywhere from 5-20 years. The low employee attrition rate (close to zero) at GRB is something we are extremely proud of, and that we view as a testament to a culture that promotes loyalty and partnership, hallmarks of a successful business, and an organization that is invested in its employees’ wellbeing.

How would you define GRB as an organization and its current position in the market?

GRB Enterprises, is a market leading distributor that has largely been focused on distributing products and solutions for the food safety industry. Founded in 1990, its long-standing objective of offering innovative solutions and exceptional service has been the cornerstone of its growth and success. We have been successfully serving our clients across a variety of sectors with actionable results for over 30 years, thanks to our ever-growing and ever-adapting list of offerings and extensive industry knowledge. We strive to deliver service excellence and handle the changing demands of businesses by sourcing innovative, high-quality solutions from anywhere in the world, while remaining committed to the success of our partners and employees.

Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the guidelines or methodologies you follow as a leader?

My role is to support the success of our team and set the tone for the culture of our organization. As a leader, I try to ensure that I’m bringing humility and empathy to my role. We’re all doing our best to earn a living and support ourselves and our families. We don’t know what others are going through and I try to create an environment that is understanding and supportive of each individual team member. Our team is filled with extremely talented people who possess significant knowledge, expertise, and long-standing relationships. When we provide our team members with the tools to be successful and empower them to take ownership of their area of responsibility, we achieve great results.

What are the kinds of goals that you have in your mind that you want to accomplish in your professional journey as you move forward?

My professional goals and journey are all tied to the perpetual success of GRB Enterprises. It’s more than continuing the legacy of my father for me. I ’m passionate about our purpose and about the prosperity of all of our employees and clients. We have grown and evolved over the years and we have really hit our stride in regards to efficiency and productivity. We’re continuing to expand our reach and product offerings to ensure that the businesses that we work with see us as partners that provide wide-ranging solutions to their needs. There is no 'finish line' for us; we’re just going to continue to strategically and sustainably grow while keeping our Mission and Values as our North Star.

In the light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to the budding industry leaders?

Stay humble and listen. We’re surrounded by experience and knowledge and if we’re open to hearing it, we become stronger and more effective. Empower the people you lead to speak up, make suggestions, and provide feedback. You’ll grow as a leader, inspire the trust and loyalty of your team, and achieve greater success as an organization.

Margot Bautista Henry, President, GRB Enterprises

Margot Bautista Henry is an empathic leader who has been spearheading GRB Enterprises with accountability, adaptability, creativity, and positivity.

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