Juliana “Jay-Anne” Reina Encarnado, the vice president and head of corporate communications and public relations at Converge ICT Solutions, is one of the winners of ‘Empowered Women in Tech’. The recognition initiative, Empowered Women Awards 2023, is MARKETECH APAC’s inaugural effort in recognising outstanding female leaders in the industry. 

Encarnado started off her career with a position with the Philippines’ Department of Finance before moving to a role in Aboitiz Transport System in 2010. She was also with telco giant PLDT for over six years then moved to steel company SteelAsia. She had a brief stint with the digital and PR agency Stratworks before ending up in her current senior position at Converge.

How her leadership style led to building a leading ISP fiber broadband service in the Philippines

As one of the leading Internet service providers (ISPs) in the Philippines that offer fiber broadband service, Converge ICT Solutions needs to maintain its high market position by offering affordable and unlimited (fibre-based connectivity at price points accessible to the wide market.

For Jay-Anne, this was a huge undertaking, considering the fact that the ISP only assumed a corporate communications and public relations function in late 2020. Amid this meteoric rise, the company established a reputation as a cut above the rest – a new kid on the block with something valuable to offer. This was the prevailing message of the company from 2020 and well into 2022, and it was received warmly by the public, especially the media. 

Under her leadership, Converge ranked second among top competitors in the industry in terms of media exposure (as measured by article count). This translates to a 30% share of media exposure among four brands. This is indicative of the value the Philippine media gives to the brand and its relevance in current affairs. 

Moreover, it is now appealing to a wider, mass-appeal image as it introduces fiber prepaid products for developing and emerging markets. Since it is targeting new addressable markets, the company’s corporate image and messaging has changed as well.

A diverse leadership experience journey, from political communication to corporate leadership

On a day-to-day basis, Jay-Anne provides direction in brand-building campaigns and executions, overseeing the process from creation to implementation. She is especially adept in managing the editorial content of the department, always ensuring the key messages remain consistent and intact in all channels of communication, including in social media. 

Through strategic decision-making and with a collaborative mindset, she leads the Converge team in sound corporate image-building and reputation management, as well as fostering strong stakeholder relationships, particularly with media.

Her vision of serving the unserved and underserved communities has been evident in her previous communications consultancy work with high-profile public officials including Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, former Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid, and former Finance Secretary Gary Teves.

With that, she has a deep understanding of monetary and fiscal issues and the macroeconomy in general, as well as the political environment. Moreover, she is familiar with the workings of various media, having been a reporter for print, television and newswires and has an extensive network in the local and foreign media in the Philippines. 

In summary, her expertise lies in handling communication crises, providing crucial insight and advice to top management on responding to developments and news involving the company. 

Juggling advocacies for marginalised and women voices on top of corporate leadership

In her official senior leadership capacity, Jay-anne has extended assistance to marginalised communities and groups. With the ‘Community Relations’ unit under her supervision, the department has led activities in support of environmental, education, and internet safety causes.

Some of those advocacy initiatives include those concerning environmental rehabilitation, charity assistance, as well as connectivity solutions and gadget provisions. All of these efforts were made in consonance with Converge’s sustainability agenda and were executed with careful consideration of the needs of the vulnerable communities. 

Meanwhile, she has also initiated a mentorship program in Converge that aims to give a bigger voice to women and an opportunity for career advancement. Despite in its early stages, key women executives in Converge have already conducted a preparatory meeting to flesh out the guidelines of the woman-to-woman mentorship program.

She has also devoted time and effort to shed light on women’s issues in her column for leading Philippine business daily, The BusinessMirror. Entitled ‘Usaping Babae’ (‘Women Talks’), the column provided insightful commentary on women’s plights, particularly on women rights violations and also gave space for consumer-related concerns.

For Jay-anne, such initiatives are significant for women to gain a stronger foothold, especially in a field such as ICT that is decidedly male-dominated. This program is seen to open doors for women in ICT and equip them with not just technical but leadership skills needed to adapt to the changing needs of the ICT workplace.

“Women get things done. Whether in the workplace or at home, women are active agents of action and should be treated as such. When the situation calls for it, we take things in our own hands and we get things done,” she said.

Aside from Jay-Anne, check out who else made it to Empowered Women Awards 2023 Winners’ list.