By Daniel Mogato
One cannot miss out on Rosemarie Rafael. She is a woman who braved the tides of the male-dominated cargo industry, bringing with her all the courage to lead Airspeed International Corp. to continuous success. Rosemarie shares that proving herself in an industry where men are more known to lead is no walk in the park, but she says that she makes sure that she uses wisdom in all the actions she takes. Being recognized as a leader in the cargo industry makes her feel that she is well-received and respected, and this is what keeps Rosemarie moving forward.
“I did not lose faith in what I was doing and kept my integrity, no matter how tempting it can be at times.”
We may know her as one highly esteemed personality in the cargo industry, but Rosemarie’s childhood dream was actually quite different from where she is now. “I always wanted to be an ambassador or a diplomat,” she shares. Playtime with her friends who role-played dignitaries from all over the world was the usual set-up for young Rosemarie. To this day, she still believes that she is an ambassador in her own right in the industry where she is planted by the Lord; something to remind us that life goes on even when you don’t get you what you want at first. Expect that better days are in store for you.
Rosemarie used to work for an airline company after she graduated from college, until a significant event led her to join Airspeed International Corp. After taking an urgent phone call from her desk that was from a huge account, her boss sent her out of the conference room as she was late for the meeting. What happened next appeared as an opportunity in the middle of an adversity for her; she went back to her desk and received a phone call asking her if she was interested to come for an interview for a cargo agency. “Of course I said yes, and that started my career in the cargo industry!” she says.
In everything she does, Rosemarie seeks the guidance of the Lord; a trait which makes her even more admirable.
“I need a lot of wisdom from the Lord to know what to do when faced with a particular challenge. I just remind myself that I’m not alone in this, and I am accountable for all the people with me at this particular time.”
Her achievements include being the first female president and director of the Aircargo Forwarders Association of the Philippines from 1996-1998. In January 2010, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Global Cargo Carriers Incorporated for her outstanding efforts in the industry.
Airspeed International Corp. is involved in distribution, both locally and internationally, forwarding of cargoes in an out, brokerage and warehousing. “We are involved in anything that needs movement,” Rosemarie shares. In the beginning of her career with the company, she says that one of the challenges was having to stretch whatever funds you have and using them on what matters most to the business.
When asked about how the Airspeed International has evolved through the years, she says that change was not easy, but it’s important for a company to be attuned with what’s happening in the industry and adapt accordingly. She adds that it is important to embrace change and do what is needed so that you won’t get left behind. The cheerful CEO proudly shares that “Airspeed International Corp. is now going on its 30th year and is a healthy company.”
After all she has been through in her career life, how then, has leading Airspeed International Corp brought out the “Bring it on!” attitude in Rosemarie Rafael? The answer is quite striking.
“There are moments when I want to stay the way we are, as going to the next level means another level of challenges and pressures, but what comes with it is another level of excellence, victories and expertise. We do not rest on our last laurel, as we definitely don’t want it to be our last!”
Aside from conquering what seemed to be an uncharted industry for women, the inspiring entrepreneur is also an iconic personality in the field of finance. She has held talks for various crowds all over the country; from business and church organizations, she also went to provinces to impart her knowledge about financial literacy to fishermen. Rosemarie started studying and reading about finance because she believes that having knowledge about this matter is a God-given tool, and that we are merely stewards so that we may take care of God’s possessions. She shares that when she goes through financial challenges herself, she is able to cope up with these and is able to gain more learnings. Rosemarie says that financial literacy is knowing what matters most, and allocating what is important not only now, but years later.
“It is like a compass that helps one allocate his or her finances to the right direction.”
Being a career woman has never hindered Rosemarie to be a nurturing mother to her children. She shares that by knowing her priorities—God first, family, and then work—she is able to know what is important at the moment. In life, there will always be seasons wherein we will have to focus on work, but Rosemarie reminds us that we should come back to what matters most. She shares that her favorite thing about being a mother is seeing her children be who God wants them to become. She is forever thankful for the gifts He has bestowed upon them, and being a mother to her wonderful children makes her praise God even more.
During her free time, Rosemarie likes exploring places and reading books, one of which is the bible, which she also deems inspiring. “It is the guide I use in decisions I make. We all make mistakes, but when we refer to the bible, we can be re-directed to the right path,” she says.
With this, Rosemarie adds that we should not fear, instead, trust the Lord with all our heart. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is Bringing it on even when you fear.