Roy Quejada, Yellow Cab’s Mr. Pure Energy

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Roy-Quejada, COO-of-Yellow-Cab, Executive-Chronicles

By Rod Gabriel | ExecutiveChronicles

Aside from having to enjoy good food reviews in another blogazine called Foodfindsasia, I get the chance to interview the people behind its successes.Our recent trip to Yellow Cab, Glorietta 5, Makati city recently gave me the opportunity to know more about the man behind the success of this New York inspired pizza chain.

Fondly introduced as ‘Mr. Pure Energy’ by Coochie Mamaclay during company sorties and conferences, Roy Quejada, COO of Yellow Cab shares his ‘good to great story’ and his management style to Executive Chronicles.

From Left to Right. Homer Nievera, CEO of Heartshaper Asia; Coochie Mamaclay, Marketing Manager of Yellow Cab; and Roy Quejada, COO of Yellow Cab (Photo by Jim Moriones)
From Left to Right. Homer Nievera, CEO of Heartshaper Asia; Coochie Mamaclay, Marketing Manager of Yellow Cab; and Roy Quejada, COO of Yellow Cab (Photo by Jim Moriones)

Roy Quejada, a University of the Philippines graduate of B.S. in Education talked about his hobbies, his humble beginnings and his experience from being a McDonald’s Philippines service crew to his being ‘Chief Executive Driver’ of Yellow Cab.

A very sentimental person, Roy quips that he will be celebrating his 10th year in Yellow Cab alongside Yellow Cab’s 15th year anniversary in 2016.

Outside of Yellow Cab, Roy is fond of playing badminton, running and mountain biking.  He used to compete in fun runs. He runs at least 3 kilometers once a week.

Roy is an insatiable reader. He has a library in the house. He has read the Seven Habits of Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and now reads books about Steve Jobs and Starbucks.

He is interested in reading business and self help books and would rather go to the bookstore, off the shelf to buy one than buy them online.

When asked about Roy’s management style Coochie says, “Actually, he is very passionate. Since he is the pilot of the company. He drives the group to his level of excellence, meaning you tend to run towards, you have to catch up or else.

EC : What makes it effective?

Coochie : What’s good about Roy is that he shares his ideas. He is never a dictator. He shares his thoughts. It’s up to you on how you grasp it or want to execute it. He listens. If you have an idea, you can argue with him. He won’t take that against you. So, yun ang maganda sa kanya. (That is what is good about him) You know, marketers are very madaldal (talkative). It’s a norm. Its just work and we learn from each other.

Roy says that he is a believer that he doesn’t know everything and that each member of his team is valuable. They will be able to tell me what are the right things or right path for us to go.

Roy : As a leader, I value the ideas and insights of the people around me. In general, I’m more participative rather than directive but over the years because of training and experience. It’s a balance of when I need to be directive, I become directive, but most of the time, when I know that my team is able to do things their way, I let them do it. Even at times I would encourage them to try something out. If you make a mistake, then lets retract, do it again or do something better.

Coochie is right, apart from energy. I work hard, I play hard. If it’s work it’s work. If I am not in the office, probably I’m in one of the stores, and it’s still work, even after playing a round of badminton.

He says that Yellow Cab has been so deeply rooted in him. He even goes to the stores during his rest day. He doesn’t see it as work, instead he sees it as visiting and connecting with the people inside the restaurant. Over the years I have developed this idea that this work is not really work.

EC : What essential skills do executives need to develop, to be in the same level as Roy Quejada? (We enumerated them below.)

1. Focus.

You must know where you  want to go. If that is not so clear, anything that comes your way becomes important. It should not be. Allot your best time on things that are really essential. I am not saying that you don’t allot time for the small things. You need to focus on the things that you need to achieve.

2. Never stop learning.

Never stop reading books. Connect with people. Don’t believe that you know everything. All information from books and people that I deal with, everywhere I go, I get insights. Insights that make me a more experienced person.

3. Building relationships

Roy says that the team would not probably regard him as a person with a very strong relationship. He builds his relationships by ensuring that each is nourished with information. He challenges everyone to produced their best. If that is not his approach then it would never be him.

EC : Do you have any advice that you want to impart to the new aspiring executives?

Roy : Be prepared to deep dive. The only way for new or aspiring executives to understand the business is to really spend time understanding how it works. Spend a minimum of two years to really understand not just the business but the people who you work with.

EC : How do you see yourself in retirement?

Roy :  If I am going to retire, I would probably be regarded as the COO, or the leader that made my team’s lives more meaningful, more insightful. A person that made them more passionate about what they do. That’s how I want to be remembered. I want people to remember me as the person who challenged them and brought out the best in them.

EC : What would Roy Quejada be doing in retirement?

Roy : I would probably be holding a book, because I have more time to read. I think that I would still have that urge to learn. Reading would probably be one of the things I am going to do. Aside from that, I think I will still continue to network or travel. These are the things that I seldom do at this point. There’s limited time for me to be with friends. I miss talking to my former bosses, Eric Puno and Martin Lorenzo. I used to have ‘once a month’ coffee with them. If I retire, more books to read, more time to deal with key people and more time to travel with family.

That’s Roy Quejada — Mr. Pure Energy — who leads with a lot of heart.