Reich Torio: A Creative Powerhouse
There’s no shortage of amazing and interesting people at ASW. And perhaps one of the most impressive individuals we’ve had the pleasure of talking to is Reich, a Team Leader from ASW Philippines. We sat down with Reich and talked about her life at ASW, and how creativity is core to her personality and work.
Hi Reich, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Rachelle Torio, I go by Reich. I’ve been with ASW for eight years now. I’m a Team Leader of Quality Assurance Officers for a claims management company. I actually used to be part of Operations when I joined ASW in 2013 – I was the primary contact for claims tasks, training, and drafting user guides.
Outside of work, I spend a lot of my time reading, hence the glasses. I’m a Batman geek. I also have an eclectic taste in music: pop, classical, old-school hip hop, and 1960s jazz. I’m also a writer – I wrote poetry, and have since then ventured into non-fiction through restaurant and movie reviews, and feature writing for my team’s newsletter.
Can you tell us more about your job as a Team Leader at ASW?
I’m part of the Support Team, handling a total of 14 Quality Assurance Officers. Our work involves claims submissions whenever a worker gets injured. We identify liabilities, create injury management plans, and make sure everything is documented according to the law. I audit all of the transactions completed by our team, and I manage four individuals doing compliance reviews on case managers to see if they’re compliant with our standards.
Can you walk us through your career prior to joining ASW?
I’ve had a varied career so far. I’ve been an investigative journalist tasked to interview a bunch of interesting characters – from inmates at the Manila City Jail, to meteorologists, gang leaders, and sex workers.
I later moved to the outsourcing industry where I’ve had a number of roles over the years. I was a Customer Service Representative, processing billing and programming for customers of a dish network. I did sales where I had to sell movie channel packages. I did acquisitions, calling cable customers to convince them to switch to dish network. I also wound up in a technical support team even if I’m not a techie. But there I learned new skills – I can program your universal remote right now! I learned a lot in sales. I wouldn’t be this talkative if not for my sales experience.
I then moved to banking and finance. One of the critical tasks I handled was transferring funds between accounts, and the amounts went up to millions. Me being painstakingly cautious, I had to check account numbers 20 times before I proceeded, or else I would lose my job.
Then an old colleague told me about a good job opportunity. It was a morning schedule, back-office job. I applied, went in for the interview and thought I wouldn’t get it. But the next day I got the job offer here at ASW! That was 2013. And the rest is history.
What’s your day-to-day like as a Team Leader?
I usually log in early. I start with my emails, check the completed documents from the day before, and update trackers. My day is full of meetings, usually – meetings with operations, checking compliance of the ad hoc reviews, making sure they’re on top of tasks. It’s mostly compliance stuff and day-to-day functional supervision. I do coaching, and I analyse the QA stats of the team. Sometimes if I’m the project leader, I take care of the transition, implementation, writing the user guide, and weekly check-ins.
I have a system I call “organised chaos”. I’m one of those people who don’t have a written to-do list. I don’t know how I manage to remember everything, but let’s say if you’re reporting to my team, I’d remember the thing that you did five months ago. I’d remember a comment or a joke that you cracked when we had a meeting a year ago!
You were recently a participant in the Digital Leadership Program, and you were specially recognised for finishing 151 courses. How did you manage to accomplish all of that?
I believe I had the upper hand here because I like listening to audiobooks, and one of my superpowers is I could listen to two things at once. When I was still in sales, I could pitch a sale to a customer while listening to music in one ear. Until now I can listen to multiple things as I work. So for this program, I listened to the short courses while working, specifically those that didn’t involve assessments. The ones that required extra focus, I did those after work. But the short courses were generally multitasking material for me – I enjoyed doing audits while listening to Alan Alda talk about how to present yourself effectively to a client.
I also had a goal early on that I had to finish ten courses in a month because I knew the licence for this course was expensive. Not all companies can provide this so I wanted to get the most out of it.
Can you tell us more about your passion for writing, because apart from being a Team Leader, you’re a big creative and pop culture geek as well?
Being a literature, music, and pop culture geek started when I was in grade school. I listened to my uncles and aunties’ vinyl collection of Janis Joplin, The Doors, The Beatles, Queen. Then my obsession with reading started when I discovered The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I kept rereading it, and it became one of my favourite books and I read it once a year. Then in high school – this might be considered corny – but I read the Tagalog romance novels, Sweet Valley High, and choose your own adventure books. I also like X-Men and Batman, because he’s such a complex character.
Then in college I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sidney Sheldon. I’m really proud of this, because I could finish four books in a week then. I also started writing poetry – short, free verse, and sonnets.
And then I discovered postmodern literature with Filipino writers like Jessica Zafra and Lourd Ernest de Veyra. I also read Douglas Coupland, and started reading classical poetry from the greats. Nowadays I like reading about religion, psychology, philosophy, and the works of Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury.
How does being a creative help you in your job as a Team Leader?
Good question! Being creative usually assists me whenever I need to come up with a specific action item for an individual. I don’t usually follow the conventional route when I coach someone – we play games, I let them read poetry, and it works! Being creative helps me come up with unconventional solutions, systems and initiatives that would help my team.
Right now, I use my creativity for employee engagement for my team as we work remotely. It took me a while to change the perception of the agents about QAs because they tend to think that we’re an enemy, especially me! They think I’m mean, like Regina George incarnate. But you just have to take the time to get to know them. Join team meetings, crack a joke to make them feel comfortable and show that we’re not each other’s enemies, but partners.
What do you hope to see in ASW in the near future?
Continuing to invest in employee engagement activities would put a spotlight on the many quirks of our diverse community. For me it could be as simple as having a book club! For people who find themselves working routine jobs, activities like this would certainly enhance the working experience.
Of course, I look forward to more growth and more diversity, and culture. I like the people of ASW and our culture, and how we continue to value everyone’s time and welfare.