Sheila Lina: The young female CEO (Herword.com)

(This was published in Herword.com last August 28, 2013)

Usually, 20-somethings are just beginning to climb the corporate ladder, but Sheila Lina was an exception since reached the top at a young age. At 28 years old, she became the chief executive officer (CEO) of Shopinas.com.

“I’m blessed to be in a start-up within my family business (Air21), which gave me the support to build and launch this new business venture as the head,” shares Sheila. This was not part of her original plan though, as she was very much into film making and acting after she graduated from college. She even had a chance to be a part of an independent film, but did some soul searching after that and realized that she craved for other things beyond her Hollywood dream.

“I came home to Manila after living in the U.S. for about nine years.  Once I was back here, I started exploring possibilities of what I could really pour my energies into that would have a significant impact in helping Filipinos succeed on the global stage.  With our family business in logistics and my personal affinity with online shopping, I saw ecommerce as a viable option for me to pursue.”

A day in the life of a CEO

Before she even reached her 30s, Sheila founded Shopinas.com, a dynamic platform that works to advance the online shopping experience of Filipinos, locally and abroad, at the same time engaging and empowering the local entrepreneurial community. She also wears a lot of professional hats since she is currently the President/CEO of Air21 Global, President of Dun & Bradstreet Philippines, and Treasurer/Director for Government Liaison at Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM). One of her notable achievements is being the youngest and only female governor in the PBA Board of Governors.

For this young corporate head, flexibility is a must. “I have a very unorthodox work schedule, so I don’t really have a routine or typical workday.  I work at home a lot because I find myself more productive when I’m isolated and have long stretches of uninterrupted time. I do come into the office to check in with my teams, both at Shopinas.com and Dun & Bradstreet Philippines. When I do, it’s like an endless succession of one-on-one meetings with my managers as well as other key partners within our organization. Outside the office, I meet with clients, partners and industry peers.  I’ve also been fortunate to be invited to speak at forums and conferences.”

Despite her seemingly hectic professional life, she finds time to engage in her passions related to wellness and spirituality. “I aspire to be a leader that is rooted in spirituality and the teachings of Jesus Christ.  How I conduct myself in business should always uphold the highest good and the dignity of each person that I encounter.” Sheila considers having pursued spirituality as her top achievement in life. She heads a non-profit called Society for Social Awakening. “The peace and contentment that I experience regardless of what my external circumstances may be outshines any worldly achievement that I have done. Of course, in spirituality, you are never ‘done.’ It is a constant work in progress of being refined by the Holy Spirit.”

Work life balance

At this point in her life, Sheila has managed to strike a balance between her work and personal life by setting non-negotiables for herself. Her tried and tested formula is to make sure to get enough sleep, exercise and meditation for her to properly function in the office. Aside from that, she spends enough time with her family, especially when they need her.

Interestingly, Sheila used to be a strict vegan but is now a pescetarian, which allows her to include seafood, eggs and dairy in her diet. This young and fit CEO follows a certain nutrition plan and exercise program that she regularly practices.

According to her, “Being healthy has its perks, most people think I’m much younger than I am.  Aside from not getting sick and having enough energy, I do believe that having a healthy lifestyle has helped build my willpower, as written in this book entitled ‘The Willpower Instinct,’ by Kelly Mcgonigal.”