Global Business
Raphnie Leonco
Graduated university with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA)and joined RENOVA in 2018
  • #Mid-career
  • #Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
  • #Global Business
  • #Previous job: Financial institution

Question 01 / 06What is your current job?

I am a member of the Global Business Development (GB) Team, the team that is tasked to spearhead new project development activities outside of Japan. Currently, I mainly cover projects in Vietnam with Philippines as my secondary market.

Since joining RENOVA as an intern in the fall of 2018, I have been given the opportunity to screen and work on different projects from various other countries such as Taiwan, India, and Cambodia, to name a few. Prior to the pandemic, I would typically be in another country at least one week per month with other team members to visit sites or attend meetings with potential partners, suppliers, or lenders.

I am usually involved in the accounting and finance related work streams. However, continuous learning and expansion of work capabilities are highly encouraged and valued in GB team. Thus, our scope of work is not merely limited to project sourcing and screening, but also expands to due diligence phase and all the way to project execution and project management.

The scale and scope of RENOVA’s overseas business has gained so much momentum since 2018. The global arena is a much different battlefield than what we are used to here in Japan. There are times where the experience that RENOVA has cultivated in Japan are successfully put in good use, but most of the time it is necessary to remain open to the different customs, practices, and viewpoints of each and every country that we venture in. There is no time to be bound by conventional ideas in a fast-paced and ever-changing overseas market. The pressure to work quickly but precisely to flexibly respond to challenges that are thrown at our path is always present. Our venture outside of Japan has always been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, but the days when the team overcomes challenges are always memorable and rewarding.

In the spring of 2020, our team finally sealed the deal for RENOVA’s first overseas project. We hope that the three onshore wind farms in Vietnam will be the springboard that further launches RENOVA’s global venture.

Question 02 / 06What do you value?

I have always valued teamwork. No matter how good a single person is, there is just not enough time in a day to get everything done. To have a team of trustworthy individuals working together towards the same goal and having each other’s backs is key to a good working environment. In my view there is no such thing as a big or small task, or my scope versus your scope, you just do whatever task it is that needs to be done to push the project forward and alleviate the team’s load.

In an industry like ours, multiple different components and expertise are essential to successfully develop and build a renewable energy project from the ground up. Effective teamwork is vital to achieve our common goal of growing our portfolio of projects, and ultimately powering a sustainable future with renewable energy.

Question 03 / 06What are the good points of RENOVA?

I was previously from a financial institution and had previously financed a small solar project. Entering RENOVA was my first venture outside of the financial industry as well as my first time to interact with a renewable energy IPP. I had absolutely no technical knowledge about power plants, let alone about different renewable energy technology when I first joined RENOVA. This was a stark contrast with other project members who have been experts in the field for decades and have managed to conquer various engineering feats; and can likely mentally compute for capacity factor and AEP in their sleep.

The good thing about being surrounded by a pool of talented individuals is that everyone in RENOVA is willing and excited to share and impart their knowledge on their particular field of expertise. RENOVA is a relatively flat company that is not only filled with people who are good and knowledgeable at what they do but are also extremely passionate with their work. It is relatively easy to go up to someone and ask questions about extremely technical concepts or difficult equations and receive a crash course on the topic.

The diverse group of experts gathered by RENOVA allows for a wide range of perspectives and a good learning environment where everyone learns from each other and every individual’s personal growth is not stunted and contained to fields that we specialize in.

Question 04 / 06What did you think before joining RENOVA? What do you think now?

I initially came to Tokyo to pursue an MBA after receiving a scholarship from a Japanese university. I never planned or expected to stay in Japan after graduation, let alone work for a Japanese company, due to the language barrier and Japan’s infamous working culture of working extremely long hours plus strict and complex hierarchical relationships.

An agent introduced RENOVA to me, and a Japanese senior in my program pushed me to try out. On my first interview, I distinctly remember reluctantly wearing the standard black suit uniform required for interviews in Japan; and, as if reading my mind, my interviewer (now boss) told me, “You don’t need to wear that, if you don’t want to.”

Safe to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that RENOVA is not a strictly traditional Japanese company. The culture is more relaxed and progressive where the CEO himself knows each of the employees by name and randomly strikes up casual conversations. Curiosity is encouraged, and everyone, regardless of age or rank, is free to ask questions and provide their own opinions.

When I started, I could easily count the number of foreigners working in the company in one hand, now we have teammates working remotely in Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. Recently, I have even started catching conversation in English in the Tokyo office. It is highly encouraging to see RENOVA’s culture evolving further and accepting people from different nationalities and diverse work styles.

Question 05 / 06What is your future career plan?

RENOVA has started to venture out of the Japanese market and step into the international playing field. We are proud of our current progress which hopefully serves as the foundation for further expansion outside of Japan. I plan to continue to hone and utilize my expertise while at the same time continue to expand and acquire a wider range of skills and knowledge. The goal is to eventually grow into a project manager who can handle and manage the entire process and contribute further to RENOVA’s goal of achieving growth globally.

Question 06 / 06Could you give a message to the people who are interested in joining RENOVA?

A lot of people perceive RENOVA and the renewable energy industry in general as “good for the environment” or “good for the society”, which is not untrue. RENOVA aims to ultimately power a sustainable future through the promotion and proliferation of renewable energy and a lot of people are attracted to this. Sometimes though, people forget that it is equally important to consider whether a company and a job is “good fit for you”. Company culture and environment matters as well to maximize your own performance.

A job is a job; but finding a job that fits you well and also allows you to enjoy what you do alongside the people you work with makes each work day so much better. If you are open to new experiences, taking on new challenges, and constantly expanding your skill set and knowledge, RENOVA is a good place to learn and grow, together.

As of 2020