Gail Bantiling grew up making spaces beautiful. As a child, her father, Jose, an engineer and now president of nearly 30-year-old company Trends and Concepts, encouraged her to pick out colors and flower arrangements that later on introduced her to the world of interior design.
Growing up in construction through the family business mixed with her passion for arts and interiors has developed a multi-faceted interior designer in Gail. She has become a unique mix of creativity and management.
As head of Design and Construction Management for the family business, she has successfully combined managing a business while remaining creative.
When asked how she is able to fuse the two, Gail said, “The role of a creative is to think outside of the box. In our industry we are often the rebels – we find meaning to break the rules and joy in coloring an apple yellow just because. As a manager, you are in charge of setting objectives, establishing systems to measure development – which is the exact opposite. It was an obvious challenge for me but what helped me was transforming that responsibility into a leadership role.”
Reflecting on the culture of Trends and Concepts, she shared, “In our company, we hate calling our higher ranks, ‘managers.’ Instead, we focus on leaders and teams.”
As a leader, she allows herself to listen to the voices of her team members, she doesn’t simply bark orders but rather encourages collaboration within her groups.
“I ask them what they think. Whatever choice we make, whatever the outcome, I always tell them to deposit it in their bank of learnings and practice sharing the experience with their teammates,” she said.
“It took awhile to couple both responsibilities but maybe if you are doing something you are really passionate about you try to work around these challenges and above all make sure you deliver to your responsibilities and still you have all the freedom in the world to paint oranges to pink. Because, why not?” she reflected.
Accordingly, the process of designing someone’s personal space is not intimidating to her at all and she, along with her team, takes it as a positive challenge.
“Whatever we do we take it all as an exciting challenge. We start by listening to our clients’ vision, exchange ideas with the whole team and translate them all into unique spaces. I never look at it as intimidating rather, an exciting opportunity for me. To be able to brainstorm ideas with your client, share all the creative juices in your mind and more so, turn the vision into a reality. It sounds to me more like fulfillment.”
When asked what is the most fulfilling part of the job, Gail answered with a smile of a fulfilled woman.
“More than happy clients, it’s the fulfillment you get from seeing your team grow and love the responsibility as much as you do. It’s when they do things because they understand the value out of it and you see them work so hard because they are happy where they are. Happy employees mean happy clients, which means more opportunities for the company!” she ended.