A journey of opportunities and growth

  • January 24, 2024

Change is a gateway to growth and success. In embracing it, I find myself adapting to new circumstances and achieving remarkable outcomes.

Right now, my work revolves around making sure our team feels like they’re part of something special. I work in the travel and hospitality sector, specifically with an account for a prominent hotel company. At the same time, I also lead employee engagement initiatives focusing more on people's experiences than traditional Human Resources practices. The role in project management is dynamic, with each day presenting fresh challenges and growth prospects.

It’s an adventure constantly unfolding new professional and personal growth chapters.

From Manila to Dubai

I am from the Philippines, but I live and work in Dubai. Initially, I was all set for Manila, but then, life provided me with an opportunity in the travel and hospitality sector. I grabbed it and moved here. Now, shifting wasn’t easy, especially with my family rooted in Manila. But here’s the best part: NTT DATA made this transition smoother for me. Their full support made what seemed like a daunting move a lot more manageable.

Leading a team here in Dubai is like being on a daily world tour. We’ve got individuals from Brazil, China, Germany, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Spain. It’s an incredible mix of cultures and ideas. We recently celebrated our fifth anniversary as a team — a real milestone that speaks volumes about our journey together.

Xavier Sampson, my mentor, has been amazing. He’s pushed me to explore new horizons in people management. I am now extending our employee engagement initiatives across the Philippines, Dubai and India, reflecting NTT DATA's global and inclusive ethos. Such opportunities to lead and make a real difference are exhilarating. I'm inspired by the impact we can have, driving meaningful change and leading initiatives that matter.

DEI initiatives

Here’s something I'm very proud of — our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has been phenomenal. It’s not just talk; we’ve walked the walk and earned gold certification for our efforts, a first for NTT DATA in Dubai. Being part of the Hotel Technology Client Support (HTCS) team, we’ve embraced our diversity initiatives like Be REAL. This acronym is Reveal Relevant opportunities, Elevate equity, Activate diversity and Lead inclusivity.

One of our standout projects, ‘I Am, But I Am Not,’ has been breaking down stereotypes and empowering team members to express their true selves, challenging common misconceptions. This achievement in DEI reflects our everyday commitment to creating an inclusive, vibrant workplace. Our 'Sharp Mind' sessions are another highlight. These sessions involve engaging in discussions with leaders, cracking open their secrets and sustaining the learning. These initiatives continue to be a vital part of our growth, creating an environment of continuous learning and insightful exchanges.

At NTT DATA, the culture of open communication and learning is paramount. The Catalyst platform, for instance, is a hub for continuous learning. My team is engaged in a series of active training courses. To provide cohesive progress, we've scheduled one course per week, setting a goal to cover all topics within 30 weeks.

Receiving the Asia Pinnacle Award was a personal highlight. Initially approached to write an article for a global Filipino magazine in Dubai, my story resonated with many. This recognition under the Business Excellence Category is a testament to my journey and NTT DATA's unwavering support.

Time with family

Outside of work, I cherish time with my family. We enjoy activities like camping, cycling and swimming. These moments of togetherness are what I treasure most.

My 16 years at NTT DATA have flown by in a fulfilling blur of growth, learning and memorable experiences. The open, inclusive culture here makes it feel less like work and more like being part of a vibrant, supportive community. Here, every voice matters, and every idea is valued. This environment makes NTT DATA not just a workplace but a place where you can truly thrive.

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Cherry Maliwanag-Sumugat

An expert in change and project management, Cherry Maliwanag-Sumugat is a dynamic leader with more than a decade of experience in strategic planning, delivery and operations in Hospitality and Account Management. She's been involved with complex projects with multiple stakeholders, and her ability to work with an inquisitive, confident and curious mind is key to her success. She's been recognized for excellent performance, innovative thinking and a notable ability to manage and lead international team members, earning professional and enterprise-level awards. Her career objective is to expand her leadership role with a team that appreciates hard work, dedication and diversity. She lives in Dubai, U.A.E. with her husband, Jomar, children Charles and James and her cat, Akira.


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