“A Profile in Perseverance.”
Royal Cargo’s Elmer Sarmiento opens up about life and leadership.
A man of humble beginnings, Elmer Francisco U. Sarmiento has overcome many challenges in his personal and professional life. In particular, a labour strike in 1990, led to a suspension in operations and a downturn in investments. In order to quell the protests, the company had to weather a diminishment in assets.
The CEO remains undaunted. “There’s always a first time,” he says. “Failures are just steps towards success. My failures were memorable and powerful. It made me stronger and wiser.”
Sarmiento, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Colegio de San Juan de Letran Manila University, began his professional journey with SGV & Co., where he learned accountancy, auditing and preparing drafts for management reports.
Sarmiento’s stint in SGV would eventually serve as his launching pad to Royal Cargo, where he availed himself to the practice of logistics and general management.
Royal Cargo, which Elmer has helmed since 2002, is a company offering unique logistics services in the Philippines. Additionally, Royal Cargo boasts their own fleet of equipment and facilities. The company also offers self-improvement and developmental programs that, amongst others, span the technical aspects of the business. “Our employees are proud to be part of Royal Cargo Inc.” the savvy top executive gushes.
Royal Cargo is also committed to several Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, including funding and support for NGOs and schools. “We offer our equipment and expertise for free to various NGO’s and to the Red Cross to help evacuate and save people in disaster-stricken areas,” Sarmiento beams. “We’ve also donated Henry, a fire truck, to the City of Paranaque.”
The top executive, who was selected as one of Smart Enterprise Global Filipino Executive of the Year during the Asia CEO Awards in 2017, shares his insights on the meaning of real success and true leadership by saying, “A person is successful if he is respected and is looked up to by people.” He reflects, “I believe I am a gentle person, which is different from being authoritarian or autocratic. I’m not pushy and believe in leading by example.”
“I think the difference lies in my engagement with a lot of people. I ask a lot of questions, analyze issues with them and share my thoughts. Being honest and responsible makes a good leader,” the CEO opines. “Integrity, being an exemplar at work and maintaining a positive attitude remain keys to leadership. I think my leadership style was developed over the years through observation of other leaders such as my bosses, my peers and colleagues.”
“I am a participative leader. I like to hear others’ opinions and thoughts and seek their input, ” Sarmiento continued. “Ultimately, I make the decisions and am responsible for them.”
“Winning an award, especially the ACES Awards is a recognition of my ability as a leader. This nomination is not just my own but my co-workers as well, who contributed to the success of the company.”
Royal Cargo has previously garnered several accolades and awards including Philippines Project Logistics Service Provider of the Year 2015 by Frost & Sullivan and Best Service Provider, awarded by San Miguel Purefoods in 2013.
“Not all top executives are hard-hitting, aggressive individuals. Royal Cargo’s Sarmiento demonstrates the gentler aspects of leadership which is people-centric, but ultimately driven by a sure grasp of the lay of the land where his industry is concerned.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group