In a city that boasts a diverse population hailing from over 250 countries, Dubai is no stranger to stories of individuals who have come here in pursuit of a better life. Among these success stories, Michelle Dulay’s journey stands out as an inspiring testament to determination, resilience, and an unshakable belief in one’s abilities.
Growing up in a province surrounded by farms in the Philippines, Michelle’s early years were defined by hard work, limited resources, and a strong desire for change. She vividly recalls her childhood, working in the fields, planting rice, and doing odd jobs to make ends meet. Her family’s humble house, made of wood with a leaky kugon roof, symbolized the challenges they faced. Despite the hardships, Michelle’s dreams burned brightly.
“My dream was simple at first – to buy a TV for our home,” Michelle recalls. But as she began her journey, her dreams expanded. She aimed to change her family’s circumstances, to provide them with a better life. “I don’t want my kids to experience the same hardships I did,” she says.
With only a 1st-year high school education, Michelle’s path to success in Dubai was not paved with academic qualifications. She arrived in Dubai as a saleslady, working at one of the largest companies in the region, Majid Al Futtaim, despite having no prior experience in sales. It was here that her self-confidence blossomed, buoyed by the belief that there were people who saw her potential. It was a stark contrast to what some had told her before coming to Dubai, that her job prospects were limited due to her lack of formal education.
“I experienced ups and downs in Dubai, like walking from work to home due to a tight budget. But I never gave up because life must go on,” Michelle reflects. Her resilience and determination were further tested when she lost her job during her cancer treatment. Amidst the global pandemic, Michelle became a sales agent for medical masks, risking her own health to help others.
It was during these challenging times that Michelle encountered people from diverse backgrounds, including prominent families and businesses, all seeking medical supplies. These connections she made during the pandemic would later become clients in her new career path.
As the world gradually returned to normalcy, Michelle found herself venturing into real estate, becoming an agent. Many of the individuals she had met during the pandemic became her clients in this new field. “That’s how I reached where I am today,” she proudly states.
Michelle’s life philosophy revolves around self-discipline, humility, and putting her faith in God. Her family remains a driving force behind her ambitions, and her own self-confidence serves as a constant source of strength.
One of the most significant lessons life taught Michelle was the fragility of life itself. Diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019, she battled the disease with unwavering determination. “Life is short,” she emphasizes, reflecting on her triumph over cancer. “Don’t waste it for nothing. Always give life a good meaning, especially to yourself and your family.”
Michelle’s daily life revolves around staying grounded and focusing on what truly matters. She practices time management and effective communication to balance her roles as a family member and an employee. “It’s guiding me to not forget or escape anything in my daily life routine,” she shares.
Michelle’s experience in Dubai has been nothing short of amazing. She views Dubai as a city that embraces everyone, regardless of their nationality. “Dubai led my way to pursue my dream,” she says with gratitude.
For Michelle, her ultimate dream revolves around providing a better life for her family, ensuring a secure retirement for her parents, and eventually owning her own business. She also aspires to support her siblings in any way she can. “I want more,” she says. “I am a dreamer, and I want to achieve more.”
A Message of Inspiration
Michelle’s advice to others striving for success is straightforward: “Keep trying, keep learning, have determination and work hard. Be a dreamer and never underestimate your ability to grow. Keep the bad experiences in the past as lessons and put family as your inspiration.”
Michelle Dulay’s story is a testament to the limitless potential of the human spirit. From humble beginnings in a Filipino province to her current role as Chief Financial Officer at TMLAK Property, Michelle’s journey is a reminder that with determination, resilience, and the unwavering belief in one’s abilities, anyone can achieve their dreams in the city of opportunities, Dubai.