After years in corporate banking, Fatima made the shift to development. It has been a decade since, yet every day is still as fulfilling as the first.
In search of something more
Updated: December 2022
Fatima Bautista, operations analyst, is soon hitting her 10-year mark in ADB this October.
Perhaps one of the most recognized faces in the Urban Sector Group (being the custodian of needed budget and consultancy monitoring, after all), she only began her stint with the group on December 2014. Previous to this position, she was the gatekeeper to senior director concurrently chief sector officer Gil-Hong Kim, having been his assistant for four years.
But prior to joining ADB, Fatima—a management graduate—spent 12 years in the Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI, supervising performance and targets of select branches, among other responsibilities. However, instead of climbing the corporate ladder further, she decided to go right up the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—self-actualization through ADB.
Fatima: In business, you focus simply on products. In ADB, you see your value to society. Since this is working for development, there is an unquantifiable satisfaction. In your own little way, you feel you make a difference.
In your 10 years here, you spent most of your time with Director Kim. What is it like working with him and handling all the sectors?
Fatima: It was a valuable part of my career which prepared me for the responsibilities of my current position. Unlike my role in SERD (Southeast Regional Department), where I first started, here I learned time management. I was able to balance my time more and work efficiently despite the demands of the position. With Mr. Kim, I also developed my confidence in decision-making especially since all international staff in the division reported to him, which meant I also had to manage dealing with them, as well as other national staff.
What made you shift to urban?
Fatima: I guess it was time to move on from an admin role. You have to bring your career to the next level. While I have no technical knowledge, all the experience I have gained in my years with ADB has helped me navigate my present position. Basically, I learned while doing my job. Maybe if I finally find the time, I’d really like to take this one-week crash course on urban planning in UP (University of the Philippines), so I can relate to the technical terms used. Instead of working simply day in and day out with contracts from different firms, when I read a terms of reference I’ll be able to understand more. The unique thing about urban is it’s crosscutting. You don’t focus on hard infrastructure alone; there’s a lot more to learn.
What makes you stay in ADB?
Fatima: When I moved here from BPI after 12 years, I think I was experiencing what you call a midlife crisis. It was the time of my life where I was looking for something more, and this opportunity with ADB came at that time. It has been 10 fruitful years professionally and personally, and I look forward to the next 10 years.
What has been one of your most exciting moments at work so far?
Fatima: Everyday! In urban alone, there’s always something popping up, challenges or issues, and when you overcome it, it’s rewarding. It’s exciting.
“ In ADB, you see your value to society. Since this is working for development, there is an unquantifiable satisfaction. In your own little way, you feel you make a difference. ”