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Empowered Female Leadership: Rossana Adao’s Journey to Success and Excellence

Posted: 2024-04-02

Empowered Female Leadership: Rossana Adao’s Journey to Success and Excellence

Armed with difficult life experiences that shaped her and her unwavering dedication to achieve excellence, Rossana Adao not only embodies a capable leader but also represents an empowered woman within FEU Institute of Technology.

Reflecting on pivotal moments in her life, Adao shared in an interview when she felt most powerful as a woman, citing the time she realized how far she had already come. From losing her father at nine years old, witnessing her mother struggle to provide for the family, and maintaining scholarships to finish school, she managed to become an educator who successfully rose to the ranks 25 years later as an Executive Director.

During these years at the institution, Adao has demonstrated her exceptional talents and commitment, serving as a Computer Engineering and Information Technology faculty, Network Administrator, Computer Services/MIS Director, ITE Program Director, and Senior Director for the College of Computer Studies and Multimedia Arts.

Yet, amidst these remarkable achievements, she remains grounded in her admiration for her mother’s resilience, striving to emulate her example of a ‘strong independent woman’ in various aspects of life.

“I realized na I’m powerful as a woman by achieving self-sufficiency and by being a source of strength and guidance to others. Also, I feel powerful when I am able to successfully navigate life transitions, like getting married, becoming a parent, and performing leadership roles. And of course, I feel powerful as a mother, when I see that my children grow responsibly and  independently,” she explained.

Leading with Passion and Dedication

In her role as an Executive Director, Adao highlighted the unique strengths and perspectives she brings to the table as a woman.

“When I work, I really work with passion. So the strength that I can bring to my role is my heart. Women are often labeled too emotional, too kind, too caring, and the like. But I think being emotional and empathetic is not a bad thing as a leader, if anything, in a profession that involves a lot of technicalities and numbers.”

Additionally, she values collaborative leadership, recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives, particularly those from young associates. Through this approach, she aspires to empower the next generation of leaders who will carry forward her enduring visions for the development of FEU Tech.

More than anything, she steadfastly upholds excellence, one of the core values of Far Eastern University, as she strives to use her leadership position to make a meaningful impact on students and the greater community.

“We always believe that quality education is not just a mandate. Quality education is a power—a power to inspire minds and to change students’ lives for the better.”

Breaking Gender Barriers in Leadership

Throughout history, women have experienced unequal treatment, faced limited opportunities in the workplace, and have been deprived of rights afforded to men. Nowadays, although society has already progressed and the number of female leaders has increased, we still hear about the persistence of discrimination against women.

In this regard, Adao considers herself fortunate to belong to an organization that fosters respect for everyone, regardless of gender, status, or rank. Throughout her extensive career at FEU Tech, not once did she encounter any discrimination. Nonetheless, she recognizes the significance of implementing progressive programs and nurturing an inclusive culture among the associates and students to advocate for women empowerment.

Being a female leader in a male-dominated industry may seem daunting for some, but the Executive Director affirms that gender should not hinder them from excelling in what they do. If they have a strong passion and commitment, then they have all it takes to thrive and succeed.

Minsan sinasabi na there’s gender discrimination kasi women have to work harder than men para masabi na ‘you deserve that position.’ ‘Yun ang ayaw sana natin, because we want women to have equal representation. You continue to believe in yourself pero you have to back it up with hard work. And of course, you have to develop yourself. Huwag kang makuntento kung ano lang ‘yung alam mo, especially in our field of technology programs na very fast-paced talaga—you have to keep up also.”

As she encourages young women who aspire to achieve leadership roles, Adao also urges them to firmly believe in themselves and never lose sight of the unique strengths they have. 

Indeed, Adao’s journey to rising above life challenges serves as a testament to the strong power that women hold. As they bravely break barriers and forge their own path to success, may society continue to stand alongside them, advocating for genuine empowerment and shaping a future where gender inclusion has become the norm.