Malou Orapa | IT Director- Business Application | Robinsons Land

Leading Change, Embracing Self-Care with Malou Orapa

Explore the dynamic leadership journey of Malou, and how during the pandemic challenges, she led her IT team with agility, ensuring seamless system changes and prioritizing team well-being. In this feature, Malou reflects on breaking gender barriers, fostering positive work culture, shares her insights on self-care, and gives a word of advice for women starting in their careers.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as an IT Director and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge I had was during the start of the pandemic. Were all caught off guard. Our team in IT needed to do rapid changes in the system to support the volatile business. We made sure the system is available 24/7 for onsite and remote work arrangements. We helped everyone to cope up with the technology and that no single employee is left behind. We needed to deliver system enhancements with agility, as the arrangements with tenants kept changing almost every week. While doing all these, we also needed to keep the members engaged, uplifted and helped them deal with their fears and mental health issues.As a leader, I had to be strong. I needed to set aside my own fears as the team were drawing their strength from me. I focused on our deliverables and was proactive in addressing concerns. With management support, especially Sir Farr, I believe we were able to deliver what was expected from us in IT.


Considering your role as a woman executive, is it difficult to lead in a male-dominated field?

No, not at all. I think leadership nowadays is no longer about gender but more about skills, competence, and the ability to inspire and lead a team effectively. By living up to these principles, you can contribute to a positive work environment and break down gender-related barriers.

From teaching to leading the IT Business Application team, what is next for you?

I still see myself in IT at least in the next couple of years. There’s a lot to do! I’ll be focusing on delivering value to the organization, fostering a positive work culture, mentoring future IT leaders and hoping to contribute more to the overall success of RLC.


If you could go back in time and change anything, what would it be in terms of your personal life and in your career? 

I did the right and best choice to stay in RLC. There was a time in 2008 when I was retaliated due to the HP managed service in GG, but since my heart really belongs to RLC, I opted to stay due to the following reasons. One, I have endless possibilities for growth. Two, I'm happy with what I'm doing. Third, my contributions are really appreciated. Lastly, I've earned friends that are like family now. In RLC, I found not just a home, but also a place where I can nurture my growth and endless possibilities.  There's nothing else I'd like to change. 

On a personal note, I wish I could have cared for myself more. Remember the time when I collapsed in the middle of a meeting? All of a sudden, I woke up in an ICU for seven days and recovered afterwards. I was focused on work and with my family, and I forgot to take care of myself. If I could go back, that's one thing. I want to really adjust to care for myself more and my health most especially so that I can be able to share with others. 

If you could give advice to a woman who is just starting in her career, what would it be? 

As we've always seen and observed, women are at the forefront of great achievements, breaking barriers and challenging norms. To the young minds of the women in RLC, you have the power to be a trailblazer. Let our stories be your fuel to do what is best and work hard for your goal. Support each other, uplift each other and be a champion equally. Remember that diversity is our strength, and everyone deserves a seat at the table. Keep up.


Special thanks to our partners from Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., Robinsons Hotels & Resorts, and RLC Residences for providing the ff: 

Fashion: Robinsons Department Store 
Hair & Make-up: Y.O.U. Beauty at Robinsons Department Store
Location: Westin Manila and The Residences at The Westin Manila 

Editorial and Creative Direction by: Pat Mendoza
Photographed by: Sela Gonzales
Styled by: Pat Mendoza and Sam Capulong
Interview, Write-up and Logistics by: Rose Legaspi, Patricia Cardenas and Trina Mendiola
Layout and Graphics by: Sam Capulong