Dynamic Duo: Twins at Work
Young and enthusiastic, Lisa and Sasha Zakharka hail from a background that cultivated their love for culture and travel. In this feature article, they share how their relationship as twins became a strong support and a source of motivation in their career.
Born in Belarus and raised in Marbella, Spain, Lisa and Sasha learned to adapt to multiple environments and to embrace different ways of life at a young age. They found their way to the Philippines when their parents decided to do business in Asia. Here, they made a home in Subic and studied in Brent International School. Eventually, in their search for a college institution, their friends introduced them to Enderun, where they pursued their passion for travel.
Summing up their decision, Lisa said, “The main reasons why we chose Enderun and the Hospitality course was because of the opportunity it would give us to travel and further enrich our knowledge of language and culture.”
They both graduated with a degree in International Hospitality Management, major in Hotel Administration, and after leaving the country to acquire knowledge and experience, they returned to the Philippines and are now working for Enderun Hospitality Management (EHM). Currently, Lisa is the Business Development Manager of EHM and General Manager of the soon to open Feliz Hotel in Boracay, while Sasha is the General Manager of Privato Hotel.
Competitive yet complementary
Asked how they would describe their relationship as twins, “We have different personalities. But when it comes to our work ethic and values, we’re very similar. We’ve always worked really well together because we motivate each other to give our best,” Sasha remarked. Of course these differences in personality led to certain defining events in their lives. One of them being that at some point, “We just wanted to create our own identity– she wanted to move to Europe and I wanted to stay in Asia,” Lisa said. Sasha supported this by saying that as twins it is important to “stand out as individuals.”
This led to being highly competitive as well. Sasha said, “When we argue, it is because we want to see whose idea is going to have a better outcome.” “And exactly this competitiveness has helped us excel each and every time,” Lisa added.
Clearly they are both relentless in the pursuit of their goals, and they truly are each other’s motivation.
Character in the workplace
Not only are they versatile in their field, but one can also feel the passion in their voices as they speak. Lisa shared, “Every company we’ve joined, we’ve never seen it as an 8 to 5 job. We treat it like it’s our own business, and when it’s your own business you’re talking about, there is always work to be done and many things cannot wait until tomorrow.”
For Sasha, success involves being able to adapt to the changes around you. “I think more than anything, we’re chameleons. You have to adapt to your work environment and get out of your comfort zone in order to succeed.”
As managers, being fair is their common ground. In terms of how they lead their subordinates, they differ slightly on their approaches. On one hand, Lisa has learned that “Management is an art. Although I have a foundation, which I consider to be my personal management style, I think it is important to keep an open mind and continue to develop your own management approach, because every work environment is different from the other.”
On the other hand, Sasha’s idea of management “was based on three pillars: respect, trust and empowerment.”
In line with this, when asked how they tackle the challenges they come across, Sasha answered, “I remind myself that every problem always has a solution and I do my best to find it.”
For Lisa, in decision-making, looking at a problem through different angles is key. “I always ask myself three questions: What’s the best decision for your employees? What’s the best decision for your guests? What’s the best decision for the business? If you consider all of these factors, it will lead you to a positive outcome.”
They also shared what they appreciate about working with EHM. Having visionary mentors like Jack Tuason, Bobby Horrigan, and Tricia Tensuan make them feel grateful.
“The main reason why I chose EHM was because I knew that I was going to be maximized, challenged and above all, taken care of,” Lisa said. “I’m grateful for all the doors that EHM has opened for me. For over a year I was assigned in Misibis Bay as the Resident Manager, and now I am the General Manager of Feliz, a beautiful resort hotel opening in 2017.”
As for Sasha, “When I joined EHM, I said I would be in it for the long run. I’m grateful to be part of a company that pushes me to live up to my full potential.”
Truly, being young did not stop them from aiming high and turning their goals to accomplishments. Lisa and Sasha concluded with three points for aspiring students to bear in mind: One, treat the property or the company you’re working with as your own. Two, always put yourself in the shoes of the owners. Lastly, don’t compare yourself to others.
Sasha emphasized that it takes initiative to excel in all sorts of tasks. “If you look at the company as your own, you never stop thinking of ways to improve.”
They have proven that passion is kept alive when you have someone to share it with.