Ahead of the Curve: Connie Haw on Being a Pioneer

A woman ahead of her time, Connie Haw—the CEO of Advance Paper Corporation—shares how learning and improving have helped her business thrive.

Connie Haw believes that challenges are opportunities to improve our lives. After all, as the CEO of Advance Paper Corporation, she is no stranger to dealing with hurdles and roadblocks. In fact, she tends to welcome them with open arms. “We will not see progress if we are complacent and stagnant,” she shares.

Instead of groaning through these struggles, Connie recommends approaching everything with a positive mindset. “There is always a silver lining to every challenge, and we may not see it right away but as long as we learn from it, we can improve ourselves.”

In fact, improvement has always been baked into the Advance Paper philosophy. Its mission even states, “To continuously improve our people, our processes, and our technology,” in addition to ensuring availability and achieving a level of growth that exceeds the norms of the industry.

Connie Haw on Improvement and Resilience

However, like most companies, they too were affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they experienced a major shift in consumer behavior, thus having to act quickly. “Since many consumers shifted to online buying during this pandemic, we also shifted some part of our business to focus on building our digital presence and increase our online sales,” she explains.

These changes also resulted in more streamlined operations, “We evaluated our business operations to find opportunities to work smarter and more cost-efficiently. [We] introduced short-term, as well as long-term goals and made appropriate changes in our organization.”

One of the great big advantages they got to work with is having a stable foundation for Advance Paper as a name in the industry. After all, their products speak for themselves, and putting in the work early on helped ease some woes. “Advance’s strongest legacy today is the strength of its brands—many of which have been part of the Filipino people for three decades,” Connie says proudly.

Learning Lessons on Both Family and Business

Through her years of experience, Connie knows that being the commander-in-chief of one of the leading paper product companies in the country required learning—both in and out of the office. Likewise, mastering their craft and continuing to expand into computer forms and printing were the tangible results of her success.

However, another thing she learned from all this was balancing time between business and family. “I have to admit that in the past, it was all about work and more work,” she confesses.

Like most people, it was the pandemic that made her take stock of her life. “I have learned to slow down and take the time to spend with my family,” she shares. “I have also found it fulfilling to join charitable events as part of giving back.”

Advance itself has a long history of partnering with clients, suppliers, environmental and charitable organizations, government, and other key stakeholders. Connie shares, “These partnerships allow us to participate and be part of areas and activities where the greatest strides can be achieved in making a positive difference in the communities where we operate.”

“Take in the good,” is a phrase that Connie Haw lives by. Likewise, she believes in the need “To remind me to focus on the beauty around me, the positives in my own life, and what I’m grateful for.”

And if you take your philosophy to heart, in addition to hard work, a vision, and a goal, there’s virtually nothing you can’t achieve. “You have to be focused on what you are doing and how you want to achieve it,” she advises.


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