13 June 2024

A strong and bright flame - reflecting during Pride Month - guest blog by Joey Javellana

A strong and bright flame - reflecting during Pride Month - guest blog by Joey Javellana

I grew up in a family that has struggled in making ends meet. My father is the only one working and has to support my mom and the five of us - with me being the youngest of five. Since I started schooling, I have seen the difference in our situation compared to the rest of my schoolmates. I can still recall those times I would ask my mother why I can't have new shoes and a uniform at the start of every school year? Why can't I join all the school excursions? Why can't I have a birthday celebration and gather my classmates and friends together to celebrate with me? My mom would just respond with fierce eyes: "Study hard and get a good job, then buy stuff you like and do the things you wanted to do because we can't have them for now."

As the years went by I fully understood that side of financial struggle but there also came another huge challenge - I began to feel and see that society was not so accepting and inclusive to people like me. In the late 80s until the 90s, it was very different. Sometimes in school and on the streets in the community we live in, people would make me feel like I am different and look at me as somebody who will never be of help to my family and society, calling me names, or the worst - that I will just be a burden to my parents. Hearing these judgmental and hurtful words from people who don't know you and lack the understanding of the LGBTQ+ community has flamed the motivation in me to prove that I am way more than they can think of and I will never be a burden to my family.

Joey with family

Fast forward, at an early age I thought of how I can be of help to my parents in any way I can to ease the financial challenges of the family. I began to join local beauty pageants and I would use my earnings to buy canned goods and rice for family consumption, and give a portion of cash to my Mom. It continued until I finished college. Then an opportunity of working abroad came and I took the chance carrying with me that flame of motivation to help my parents and siblings in all possible ways. Being an overseas Filipino worker at that time was a good source of income - it paved the way to helping my family more, and has caused a change in our lives. After a couple of years working abroad, fate brought me to another interesting world - the BPO industry!

I started my career at Transcom as a Team Leader and currently I am a Senior Director of Operations. When I joined the company, I had very little expectations in terms of growth and learning, but I was amazed with how Diversity and Inclusivity is given value and importance by Transcom. It is one key reason why I have blossomed and maximized my potential as a leader. I felt supported by the company and the people around me. The LGBTQ+ community here is empowered, united and strong, we are encouraged to participate in events and company activities to further develop, understand and strengthen our competencies. I am able to provide for my family, especially for my 2 adopted kids.

Joey with children

Everytime I look back at life's struggles and the difficult journey that I went through, I think of several things. The past, society, or the perception of anyone do not define what a person can achieve in life. The ability of a person to turn struggles into motivation and building blocks towards becoming successful is critical. I am beyond blessed with Transcom and the company's support and opportunity given. I know we have a lot of "Joeys" out there and I hope my story will reach them and trigger that flame in them and they too will start to unfold the stories of successes.

By Joey Javellana, Senior Operations director