Uratex’s positive family dynamics | Inquirer Business


(Second of three parts)

For many first generation family businesses, in-laws provide ready and trusted labor. But as the business grows, some in-laws trigger conflict, so much so that many families ban them from working in the firm altogether.

But some in-laws can be invaluable. Through his expertise and demeanor, my husband earned the esteem of my father, who entrusted him with sensitive matters. The same holds for the RGC/Uratex Group of Companies.

William Lee, executive vice president, is the brother-in-law of the late founder Robert Cheng. He worked alongside Robert and wife Naty to grow the business into what it is today.

Dindo Medina, the husband of Robert and Naty’s child Peachy, who is managing director, also works in the business. Dindo and Peachy are my college friends, and now they share thoughts on how in-laws can help family enterprises.

After graduation, Dindo worked for a multinational and ran other businesses, but when Robert passed away in 2003, a need was felt for more hands on deck. Dindo took to heart what his mother-in-law said, “What is applicable to multinationals may not always be applicable to our company.” So he worked with care, aware of the needs and situations of his wife’s family members, and he earned their respect.

“Dindo fits well into our family and business culture,” says Peachy.

“I view myself as a professional,” says Dindo. When interacting with employees, he never refers to himself as a son-in-law or a spouse, but instead adheres to his function, as director of consumer sales or trade marketing, or as business unit head for monoblock or home accessories, as the case merits it.

“I do not view myself as an owner,” he continues. “When the family talks about rights and other matters as owners, I do not engage myself. If they ask for my advice, I give it. But I know [stories] about in-laws who cause problems among siblings if they interfere. I know when to talk and when not to.”

I wish more in-laws act the way Dindo does, I tell Peachy. “Mabait talaga siya (he’s really a good person),” she says.

As a child, Dindo witnessed how some people who were formerly well-off could have their economic positions reversed, and vice-versa. He treats everyone equally. In school, his humor made us laugh and his hugs brought comfort.

Peachy herself is likewise kind. Once, when I remarked that my heels hurt terribly upon waking, she sent me a graph showing that indeed, our heels suffer the most from a too-hard mattress. She was in India at a mattress conference and promptly snapped a photo of the speaker’s slide.

Peachy takes the time and effort to learn from experts, a reflection of the company’s innovative culture. In 2020, Uratex acquired a German foam machine that is the best of its kind globally.

Uratex values and treats their people well.

Dindo also talks about their boss, Employee No. 1 and executive vice president, Eddie Gallor. During the firm’s beginnings, Kuya Eddie worked closely with the founders, and under the mentorship of Robert, he absorbed knowledge and skills, including Japanese business culture such as kaizen and continuous improvement. With initiative and drive, he joined Rotary and honed his communication skills.

“Kuya Eddie brings world-class culture into the company,” says Dindo. “His story is inspiring.”

How does it feel to work with your wife? I ask Dindo.

“In terms of company structure, Peachy is my boss,” Dindo says, and smiles, “also personally.”

I laugh, and ask him for advice to aid spouses working together.

“Of course, occasionally we have differing opinions. When you spend much time and share things together at work, at times it may be hard to draw the line.”

Honest arguments are good, I say.

“We have healthy discussions,” Dindo affirms. “If we agree all the time, then there is no growth. Peachy and I are honest with each other. We all have good intentions, and at the end of the day, we have the same objectives.”

(Next week: Looking to the future)

Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada or Shopee, or the ebook at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected].

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