Yoko Manzano is currently the Head of Projects and Partnerships for APAC at The Ortus Club. Yoko started as a Project Coordinator in Manila but has since moved onto sales, brought in 19 new clients and has relocated to Singapore full-time. We asked her what she enjoys the most about her role.
Tell us about your role at Ortus and how you got there.
I joined Ortus about two and a half years ago as a Project Coordinator. Like everyone else, I started by assisting our team members with their projects with tasks such as sourcing venues, researching leads and making cold calls. Eventually, I was given my own projects. I began with two events in Manila before stumbling into sales.
Back then, we didn’t really have anyone working in sales other than our Managing Partners. I actually remember mentioning that I didn’t want to be in sales during my interview. But I soon developed a fascination for the business model and found myself selling our services to my network.
My first international trip with Ortus was to Singapore back in 2018. I had scheduled a couple of sales meetings which I didn’t end up closing but it was still a great experience for me. Today, I’m fully based in Singapore, seeking new clients whilst managing and handling our existing ones. I also help the Projects Directors that are working on my clients’ projects to ensure that we’re producing high quality events.
What first made you join the Ortus team?
I applied from a job post online and was immediately invited for an interview. To be completely honest, one of the reasons why I joined Ortus was because the office was 2 minutes away from where I used to live! The interview process was very straightforward and they were quick at making decisions. They got back to me right away and offered me a one-week trial to see if I was a good fit for the role, and obviously for me to see if I liked the role too!
On my first week of work, I immediately noticed they had interns and employees from different parts of the world running projects in non-English speaking countries. I was very impressed by this and thought it made the entire team culturally open-minded.
What do you like the most about working with Ortus?
I like how Ortus gives me the freedom to work on my own and trusts me to deliver good – if not great – results. Ortus was also extremely supportive when I mentioned my desire to move to Singapore. Not a lot of jobs offer such flexibility, and this is one of the things I truly treasure about working here.
We’re a small company made of young talents and I guess sometimes this can become one of our biggest challenges, but it’s also one of the most impressive things about our team.
A lot of things changed for businesses all over the world this year, especially in the events industry. Do you think your role changed as a consequence? How?
Not too much has changed for me in terms of handling clients and working with the team as I was already working remotely from Singapore. I speak to almost everyone virtually on a daily basis and that’s something I had already gotten used to. Even when we were office-based, we would always be very active on Skype and other video tools.
One of the hurdles we faced this year lied in reformulating the way we organised our events. We had to move everything online and had to learn to deal with many things that were simply beyond our control: technical/network difficulties, guests leaving in the middle of the event, speakers/moderators running overtime, etc.
What’s one thing you are excited about, thinking about the future of Ortus?
Well first of all, I’m excited about things going back to “normal” so we can continue our physical events and I can visit and spend more time with the team. I’d be thrilled to see the team grow and for Ortus to become one of the top events agencies in Singapore!