MANILA, Philippines—Women are often underrepresented in almost all industries, and tech is not an exemption. That’s why when Jocs Pantastico showed up heading Olivia, Philippine Startup Week 2021‘s 2nd placer, her story deserves to be heard. A story of a woman solving women’s problems through technology:
Jocelyn “Jocs” Pantastico, founder of Olivia, is a former directress to multinational companies like Danone and Nielsen. Born to a family of academicians, both her parents hold PhD degrees from abroad, venturing the science/STEM area. Having grown in the University of The Philippines Los Banos, she did not follow what others would say, “the ideal path” for her. Pantastico instead took up Development Communications majoring in Journalism. Although she graduated with the said degree, she never put it into practice. Right after getting out of the university, she became an expat having lived in countries like Singapore and Indonesia working for market research companies.
Later, as she progressed in her career, one thing caught up with her— expense management. On an interview, Pantastico revealed she often received memo and would be in discussion with people from the finance department as she submitted her expense reports late. She went on and said, “When you’re in marketing, all you want to do is hustle. You don’t want to be bugged down by dealing with details like expense reports.” She added, “I was trying to look for a solution but couldn’t find any that was built for the Philippines and Southeast Asia.” That, according to Pantastico, was how the seed of idea for the Olivia App as an expense management tool came about.
Years after, she took her MBA at the Chicago University. With the Chicago Booth being identified as an overly quantitative finance university, she recalled, “The reason why I went to journalism was because I wanted to avoid numbers… When I took my MBA, scratching their head they’d ask me, ‘Jocs, do you really want to do that? That is heavy finance?’ I said ‘No, no, I’m gonna do this.’” Elatedly, Pantastico said she did not only survive it, but she also enjoyed it.
For her, the biggest mistake she had was when she ingrained in herself that she’s not good in numbers and science because she’s a woman. Years after, she considers having taught her daughter at a young age to be comfortable around numbers and finances her greatest achievement. She also has been helping and mentoring women in finances. All these led for her to see the importance of women’s presence in the tech industry. She mentioned, “Women have problems and tech can solve problems for women, and the best people to do it are women— and women in tech!”
Pantastico said both men and women worry about finances, it’s just they see it differently. “Although a man can sit through and hear it, it’s not gonna be as intuitive as a woman’s [recommendation] since it’s a woman’s problem” she said. Because of this, she firmly believes that women should have bigger representation in the tech space.
It has now become her mission to help solve problems with technology she, and her team, created— The Olivia App. She said, “Olivia is about automating processes, specifically expense management. Automation is often associated with eliminating people and eliminating jobs. It’s often depicted as this Darth Vader that kills the good in the world, but it’s actually quite the opposite.” She went on and said, “When you automate tasks that are repetitive and non-value adding, it leads to faster economic growth.” She also revealed that before Olivia, they spend more time encoding when they could be closing deals and increasing revenues for the company. They want to do higher level of analysis so when they get bored, they resign from the job because of the tedious and repetitive tasks.
She ended by saying that automation is not just about the time that you save but what you do with that time saved. “Olivia allows employees to auto-generate expense reports so that they can now focus on work that adds value. [One] that obviously benefits the company; but more importantly, it allows them into advance in their jobs and move into higher roles.” Lastly, “For Olivia, automation is a tool to empower everyone, actually, not just women.”
adobo magazine is an official media partner of Philippine Startup Week 2021