Rochel Abrasaldo

Director of Product

Knowing Rochel:
Managing through Human-Centered Principles

Leadership involves a lot of responsibility, a dose of creativity, a mastery of skills, an ability to inspire others, and a motivation to help individuals grow. A good leader must know how to juggle all these factors in sync despite numerous challenges and pressures.

Thankfully, we have such a person in our team. That leader is Rochel. Let us know more about her and her style of management.

1. Can you tell us more about you?

Hi, I’m Rochel! I took up Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in college. For the last eight (8) years, I designed websites and software, finding ways to make them more effective and efficient. Anything that is creative and useful makes me happy.

Outside of the office, I love playing with fluffy dogs, reading good books, and creating watercolor paintings.

2. Can you explain your role at Vectto?

I’m currently the director of product at Vectto. I handle two groups that comprise the Vectto team, the illustrators and developers. Managing the team and ensuring the quality of our products are my key responsibilities. When required, I also help on design. Seeing my teammates enjoy their work is one of the best things about this role.

3. How do you describe your team?

The Vectto team is fun yet focused. Everybody loves music, art, and food! But more importantly, our members know the importance of their tasks. Each understands how his or her accomplishments affects others. They work together not just to complete sprint items and achieve targets but also help each improve their skills.

4. How do you inspire the team under you?

The team is just so full of energy and passionate with their respective fields that they actually inspire themselves. They are innately confident and happy people. Each person knows the value he or she added to Vectto, and how valuable our assets will be for the designers, graphic artists, and other creatives like us.

5. As a director of product, what challenges do you face?

I may be a director, but I still have a lot of things I need to learn. I have to incorporate balance in my team. While everyone at Vectto is excited about accomplishing our goals, controlling that excitement is imperative. I need to know each person’s limit and personality quirk to make sure I’m not putting too much on his or her plate while giving him or her opportunities to grow. Basically, it’s about being realistic given each other’s capabilities and limitations.

6. But despite those challenges, you love to lead people. What are the rewards of leadership?

First, there’s a certain kind of pride in helping people. I guess it’s human nature to feel happy that you made a difference in a person’s life.

Second, being a leader makes me a person of influence. As such, I practice and maintain a higher standard for myself, which results to a positive change. Such an outlook makes me a better person.

Finally, seeing my teammates are happy, committed, and engaged gives me a sense of indescribable satisfaction.

7. What’s your secret to leading your team?

I believe it’s customization. Funny because it sounds like software. Hahaha!

What I mean is, I adjust my approach for each person and invest time on him or her. Some people might be friendly and open-minded, so I can talk to them easily and casually. For others, some time is needed so they can feel comfortable enough to open up to me. When I need to build that connection, I always show to them that I am sincere with my intentions.

8. Which is more important for you? Quality of your team’s work or quantity of your production?

Majority of us prefers quality over quantity. However, I prefer to have both. It can be done with the right mindset and the right support system.

My teammates Claudine, our project manager; Ryan, our lead illustrator; and Kristian, our founder; are constantly working together to achieve this.

9. How do you overcome the burden or fear of carrying out a huge responsibility?

When I was a student, I used to do random tasks such as making sure our classroom is clean, keeping records, checking papers, and more. Doing these tasks is not normally required for a student, but I was happy to oblige. I’m not afraid of responsibilities; in fact, I enjoy them because I have an opportunity to learn new things.

What I fear are the consequences of my decisions. I dread the thought of my team members or the company suffering a costly consequence due to a choice I directly made. Thankfully, that has not happened to me yet, but I did learn a lesson: when in doubt, ask people’s advice, thoughts, and opinions before making a major decision. Then be sure to keep everyone involved in that decision in the loop.

10. You have done talks about the design industry. Can you tell us more about?

I shared to fellow designers and students how I got into the design industry during the first TechLadies forum. I was pretty nervous, but my audience was very attentive. The feedback I got was extremely positive.

Google Developers Group Cebu invited me for a second talk as one of their Women Techmakers. I shared design insights, resume tips, career paths, and design workflows. Next was with Drupal Cebu Community where I shared tips on web design in Photoshop. In my latest talk with the same community, I introduced the importance of Design Style Guides.

Inspiring budding designers is a humbling experience. I feel energized when I see them motivated to pursue a career or passion in design.

11. What are a few of your professional and personal goals?

I’m striving to become a better leader and effective director of product. I want to become more reliable and able to help my teammates better. I believe in this quotation by JW Marriott:

Take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.

After this, I want to learn how to become a good product owner like Kristian. Perhaps I can make a revolutionary digital service or software that can help web designers, graphic artists, and computer programmers.

12. Any advice to people who want to venture into the design industry?

You have your own way of doing things. The best way for you is the right way. Practice constantly. Be patient, and keep yourself challenged. Remember what Steve Job said: “Be hungry.” Finally, when applying for a job, build your portfolio and show your best work.

13. Any advice for newer employees who are interested in becoming managers?

You need to put yourself at a higher standard in your work, output, and even your attitude. Take your growth seriously. Ask for help, offer help, appreciate honest feedback, and be eager to learn from teammates and other leads.

Rochel’s people-centric leadership is a crucial glue that keeps the Vectto team together. Her skills, positive attitude, enthusiasm, and genuine concern to help people are key elements in Vectto’s road to success. What an amazing lady, and with Rochel at the helm, Vectto is surely headed for exciting times.

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