x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New Hero of UAE is an inspiration to overseas Filipinos

Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi is among eight UAE-based recipients of the Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Awards - a national search for outstanding overseas Filipinos.

2009 New Hero Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, CEO of Geoscience Testing Laboratory, wants to influence others by being a role model. Sarah Dea / The National
2009 New Hero Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, CEO of Geoscience Testing Laboratory, wants to influence others by being a role model. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi was recognised in 2009 for bringing honour to her country – and now she hopes to inspire others through her work and community service.

The 43-year-old chemical engineer is among eight UAE-based recipients of the Bagong Bayani (New Heroes) Awards, a national search for outstanding overseas Filipinos.

The award “recognises and pays tribute to their efforts in promoting the image of the Filipino as a competent, responsible and dignified worker”.

Ms Alvero-Al Mahdi won the 2009 Bagong Bayani for most outstanding employee and the Blas F Ople Award for Natatanging Bagong Bayani, the highest and most-coveted recognition given to exemplary overseas Filipinos.

“I’ve become more aware of the meaning of responsibility,” she said. “I’m here to make a meaningful contribution and to influence others by being a role model.”

Ms Alvero-Al Mahdi started out as a quality control inspector at a textile factory when she came to Dubai in 1992. Eight months later, she moved to another company to work as a junior chemist and earned the title of chief chemist after six years.

In 1998, she accepted a job as technical manager of a newly established laboratory. She rose through the ranks to become the chief executive of Geoscience Testing Laboratory, a research and quality control laboratory.

The company now has five branches in the UAE with 450 employees. Sixty-five per cent of the staff are engineers, technicians, microbiologists and consultants.

“My life completely changed in 2008 when I was awarded Emirates Businesswoman runner-up in the professional category,” said Ms Alvero-Al Mahdi, who became the first Filipina to receive a prestigious award in the UAE.

Nominations for this year’s Bagong Bayani Awards may be sent to the Secretariat, Bagong Bayani Foundation, BFO Building, Ortigas Avenue corner Edsa, Mandaluyong City, Philippines, or email to bagong_bayani_awards@yahoo.com.

For more information, visit http://www.bbfi.com.ph.

rruiz@thenational.ae