Position: Project Manager/ Course Developer
Employer: Oregon International Training Center and Home Care
Location: Dubai, U.A.E.
Filipino trailblazer Robert John Sarona is the youngest continuing medical education course developer and distinguished speaker of several continuing medical education seminars in the UAE.
Defy the norms
He was born in Davao to spouses Gilberto and Teresa Sarona. His siblings are Gilberto Jr., a businessman, and Janine Joyce, a chef.
“My Dad was a taxi driver when I was young, and my mom is a housewife. I grew up in a community where most people are contented with what they have, and wouldn’t aspire for greatness because for them, reaching far beyond your means is being ambisyoso. But at a very young age, I decided to defy the norms,” said Robert.
Robert, who was educated at Piedad Central Elementary School (2000) boldly told himself, “I will become a nurse and an educator one day.”
For his high school, he attended the Brokenshire College, where he graduated in 2005.
“The first paying job I had was when I was in high school and thought of dropping out and instead of finding a job elsewhere. I worked as a computer attendant for a month earning 120 pesos a day. I left my job with tons of realization. One of which was, for you to succeed, you have to have the right education with the right mindset and motivation,” he recalled.
He earned his BSN in Davao Doctors College in 2009.
“After passing the nursing licensure, the St Louis Review Center CEO and currently the DOH undersecretary Dr. Roger Tong-an saw my potential while I was still a student in the center and offered me a teaching position. I started teaching right after I became a licensed nurse. While I was working as a reviewer, I felt the need to be in touch with my clinical profession so I applied for a Staff Nurse position in one of the hospitals. I was working as a nurse and teaching at the same time. It was a hell of an experience. There were times that I had to fly to Manila the following morning after a graveyard shift from working as a hospital nurse,” Robert recounted.
From US to Abu Dhabi
He decided to make significant changes in his life.
“I want to experience the world, see things from different perspective as well as embrace culture, understand diversity and accept differences in beliefs among all others. I flew to the US to take a crash course at Harvard University for Leaders in Learning. After six weeks of training, I decided to try my luck here in the Gulf. I applied online to only one employer and got the job right there and then. I flew to UAE and was based in Abu Dhabi for over a year,” narrated Robert.
His first work abroad was as training coordinator and instructor. He said, “I helped the owner to establish a training center company and laid out the groundwork until it became stable and self-sufficient. After over a year, I decided to leave with gratitude as I saw the company growing self-sufficient. A friend of mine who knew how I placed my business on the map from scratched referred me to another CEO who offered the current position.”
He pursued graduate studies and earned a Diploma in Marketing (2017) at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate in Leaders Training (2016) at Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts. He is expected to graduate by 2018 at Aspen University for his Master of Science in Nursing (Nursing Education).
As a project manager, he is the brain of Oregon International based in Dubai.
“Our primary services are training and professional development. We hold medical events, seminars, symposiums, and also conduct review classes for nurses who want to take licensure in the Philippines, USA, Canada and UK. As a home care company, we cater to both expat and local in delivering home health care and physiotherapy,” he said.
“Running a project is a huge responsibility,” adding, “without my knowledge in marketing from Wharton and my crash course in Harvard, I cannot execute the plans properly,” he added.
He’s on a mission to help a group of obese people trying to lose weight naturally through intermittent fasting.
“Don’t pursue being an OFW if your only goal is to earn money. At the end of the day, the things that matter most, are things that money can’t buy. Do what you’re passionate about,” said Robert.
“I am fortunate enough to meet diverse people who are respected in their careers and also those who don’t care about what will happen in their future. I look at every scenario without any prejudice and allow the information to just flow inside my mind until I am able to process it and make a conclusion or an intelligent guess as to what I can learn from their experiences,” he added.
He lives an inspiring life. His passion for teaching and the motivation to be better make him an achiever. He remembers an episode in his journey, even as he said, “I almost died in a car crash accident way back in the Philippines. I guess the thought of dying scared me most than failing. I am not afraid to fail. I see failure as an integral part of success. In failure, I learn valuable lessons which make me one step closer to my goals.”