Interview with Cebu Manager Jonny Lis

Tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in Harrow in north-west London although have lived in various parts of the capital, along with a 3-year stint in York, where I attended University. I've always been a very active individual, having represented the school and university teams in a variety of sports, and football, in particular, has always been an integral part of my life.


After graduating from York, I did some temp work before eventually joining Groupon full time as an Account Manager. At the time, Groupon was in its infancy in the UK and not the household name that it is today, so it was exciting being part of a rapidly growing tech startup that went from relative obscurity to a global brand.


Eventually, I decided to pursue options elsewhere, and somehow this led me to a once in a lifetime opportunity to relocate to the Philippines. I subsequently worked for a British digital agency that had technical operations based in Cebu, and I have stayed here ever since. Living in this country has been an unforgettable experience, and I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful and easy-going place.


How did you end up joining the Cloud Employee team?

Through mutual friends, I met one of Cloud Employee's founders in Cebu, who told me more about what they were doing and what they were trying to achieve. What I liked, in particular, was how innovative the company sounded, and the office environment was way ahead of traditionally stuffy outsourcing operations, so it looked like it would be a fantastic place to come to work on a daily basis (which it has been). Everyone involved at Cloud Employee has a huge amount of drive and ambition for the business, and so the opportunity to work with inspiring entrepreneurs and for such a unique company was one that I couldn't turn down.


You are Operations Manager of the Cebu/Manila office, talk us through your average day.

It's hard to say what an 'average' day is as no two days are the same, and that's what I love about the job. One thing I will say is that my day never really stops (until I sleep!), as I am always responding to emails and Skype messages at all hours of the day, regardless of whether or not I am in the office.


A typical day in the office starts with calls to our clients in Australia and New Zealand, as they are slightly ahead of our time zone. More often than not, I will then be assessing applicants' resumes who have applied overnight for the various roles that we are hiring for at any given time, before inviting the best candidates to be screened internally.


Once that's done, I'll monitor the inbound leads to see if we have potential new clients who are interested in working with us, and subsequently arranging Skype calls with them. Following that, I will spend some time sourcing skilled candidates for our vacant roles through a variety of methods, which probably takes up most of my day.


At some stage, I also check in with our staff and clients to make sure that everything is running smoothly at both ends. Then at the end of the day, I just make sure I've arranged my calendar and know what needs to be done the next day.


What do you love about living in the Philippines and what do you like to get up to on weekends?

What I love about living in the Philippines is that it's possible to live a very good lifestyle out here on a relatively small budget, along with the obvious advantages of the tropical weather and seemingly unlimited number of exotic islands surrounding me. I'm fortunate enough to have an outdoor pool and gym in my building complex, so usually, part of my weekends are spent there. I also usually play football once a week with other expats, along with eating out in restaurants, watching films, having a massage, and the occasional local beer!


What do you enjoy about working with Filipinos?

What I enjoy about working with Filipinos is how well mannered and positive they are. They are always very respectful and professional, and you can tell that our staff really enjoy coming to work every day. They never complain or try to compete with each other like you might find in western offices, and they're always happy to talk about anything (they are all fluent in English). Not only that but I have been pleasantly surprised at just how talented and passionate they are about their work.


What are your core values when it comes to managing people?

My core values are integrity, compassion, and communication. In order for our business to be a success, both the clients and the employees need to be satisfied. I believe that every single one of our employees has a fantastic ability in their respective disciplines, and I do everything I can to support them every step of the way, as well as trying to ensure that they feel valued. In order to do this, regular communication with the staff is crucial.


What 3 words best describe you?

Calm, Competitive, Adventurous


What are your 3 favourite movies?

Apocalypse Now, The Dark Knight, Drive


Favourite city in the world and why?

London will always be my favourite city. As much as I love the Philippines, there's no place like home!


When are you your happiest?

Being around friends and family is something that makes me happy, especially as I don't get to see many of them too often (I usually visit the UK once a year).


If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

I've been told by some of my Filipino friends that I bear some resemblance to Captain America (although I don't see it myself!), but if I could obtain his powers of impeccable athleticism and inspirational leadership (if those count as superpowers), then that would be very useful in all aspects of my life.


How do you recharge and relax?

I usually get a massage at least once a week and enjoy playing video games on PS4.


What's your favourite meal?

I really miss English food sometimes, so I would say fish and chips!




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