Joanne de Guzman Rico, Salma Rehabilitation Hospital’s Head of Marketing, exemplifies perseverance and empowerment. Joanne has conquered several challenges since her humble beginnings in Manila to become a global marketing professional as she brand-leads a fast-growing rehabilitation unit under SEHA, which comprises the largest network of government medical facilities in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
From Academic Achievements to Professional Success
Joanne’s story is one of grit and academic excellence. Recognizing the value of a solid educational foundation, she worked hard to succeed despite financial constraints. She overcame the restrictions of poverty by earning scholarships through her dedication and hard work, and she embraced a future full of possibilities.
Joanne pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines – Diliman after graduating as Valedictorian with several academic and special distinctions. Her commitment to excellence laid the groundwork for her exceptional career journey.
Rapid Growth in the Marketing Industry
Joanne’s corporate career started when she joined Globe Telecom, where she worked as a Sales Administrative Associate and then as a Customer Service Associate, earning the company’s honors and special distinction. Her marketing career took off when she joined Ministop Philippines as a Franchise Marketing Officer, where she received the coveted Rookie of the Year Award in just six months despite having no formal schooling in the field.
Joanne’s professional performance caught the attention of the higher-ups at the age of 23, and she was promoted to Advertising and Promotions Manager. Under her leadership, she managed a team of seven and spearheaded marketing strategies and campaigns for the company’s chain of over 250 stores. Mentored by one of the Philippines’ business tycoons, Joanne underwent training at Ministop’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, where she mastered the core brand strategy and successfully implemented it in the local market.
Pioneering New Frontiers in Healthcare Marketing
In 2009, Joanne broke new ground as the first Filipino woman to venture into healthcare marketing in Doha, Qatar, joining Al-Ahli Hospital as the organization’s Marketing Executive. Her drive and expertise were further recognized when she joined Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as part of its pioneer team. Charged with launching the brand and expanding its market share within the capital and beyond, Joanne single-handedly power-moved all marketing campaigns across various platforms.
Her dedication and contributions did not go unnoticed. Joanne was honored as the Burjeel Star Employee in 2013 and received further recognition during Burjeel’s 2nd Annual Day in 2014. In 2015, she was promoted to Senior Marketing Executive, and a year later, she became the Assistant Marketing Manager, overseeing PR communications and corporate events verticals.
Rebounding Healthcare Institutions
Joanne’s skills piqued the interest of NMC Healthcare, one of the UAE’s leading private healthcare organizations, in April 2018. As Marketing and Sales Manager, she was instrumental in turning around Bareen International Hospital, which had been in the red for three years. Joanne’s strategic marketing approach and relentless commitment to deliver results catapulted Bareen to its breakthrough growth in terms of volume, revenue, and profitability. Due to this, NMC stepped up business expansion plans, acquired more medical centers in the emirate, and placed them under Bareen team’s supervision. The Bareen Cluster expanded from one facility to eight in a short period of time, strengthening its place as a key player in the healthcare industry. Joanne’s remarkable achievements propelled her to the position of Cluster Head of Marketing and Sales, where she optimized the brand positioning, increased brand awareness, grew brand loyalty, and increased footfall, revenue, and profitability for each medical facility.
In August 2022, Joanne joined PureHealth and SEHA’s Salma Rehabilitation Hospital as Head of Marketing.
Championing Education and Empowerment
Joanne’s career is defined not just by her professional achievement, but also, by her profound determination to make a positive impact in the community. She has become a strong advocate for children’s right to education after personally seeing the value of academic access, particularly for impoverished children.
Joanne has been a steadfast supporter of World Vision Philippines for 18 years, assisting several children, families, and communities in underprivileged parts of her home country. During her time at Ministop Philippines, she introduced the Child Sponsorship Program to JG Summit employees and Ministop franchisees, and established the World Vision Coin Bank campaign across all locations. Her passion to help led her to arrange and conduct pro bono events for the community. She is now an advocate and spokesperson for World Vision Philippines on a global scale.
Women’s Beacon of Inspiration
Joanne wrote a book chapter on her experience to inspire other Filipino women to rise above obstacles and break glass ceilings. Her chapter in the Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network’s “Disrupt 4.0 Filipina Women: BEING – The Fourth Book on Leadership” is a chronicle of her challenging journey. The book was launched in the prestigious Gremio Literario in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2022.
Joanne has received numerous awards and recognitions for her outstanding achievements throughout the course of her 18-year career. Notably, The Filipino Times named her Marketing and Advertising Professional of the Year in 2017. In addition, she was named a Thought Leader in Illustrado’s 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf, Legacy Edition in 2020.
The Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network named her one of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the WorldTM in 2021, making her the only awardee from the Middle East. She was awarded Outstanding Leadership at the Health 2.0 Conference in Dubai the following year.
Joanne was most recently recognized in the field of marketing in 2023 at the Marketing 2.0 Conference for her extraordinary accomplishments spanning international markets over the previous decade.
Joanne’s journey has not been easy, as she has navigated obstacles and broken stereotypes based on nationality and gender norms in the workplace. Equipped with her basic principles of faith, passion, grit, and resilience, Joanne rose to the challenge and has emerged as a trailblazer, placing her at a distinguished position in the international arena. Her substantial accomplishments in the workplace and significant contributions in the community inspire those who want to make a difference.