Welcome to The Level Up! podcast

We know it’s not always easy to talk about issues we face as professionals especially about managing one’s finances.

So why don’t we talk about it?

Every week, we will bring in guests and experts from different industries so we can talk about the most common concerns of every Filipino employee. Whether you want to improve your financial wellness, be better at navigating life as a professional, or if you want to upgrade your mindset to give your overall well-being a plus — The Level Up! Podcast is for you!


Episode 20: Effective Strategies to Keep Employees Motivated during this Pandemic straight from HR LeadersThis episode extends the discussion with HR Leaders across industries from last week’s episode.

Episode 19: Level Up at the Revolutionizing HR Practices Round UpIn this episode of Level Up, HR Leaders confer on our current work situation and discuss challenges to employee engagement.

Episode 18: Include a Mental Health Policy in your 2022 Plan – To honor world mental health day, the 10th of October, Bea Lim, CEO of the award-winning integrated marketing experience firm TEAM ASIA interviewed our host Jenn for her podcast: Breakfast to Business.

Episode 17: ICYMI: Mental Health in the Workplace – In this episode, recorded in May of 2020, Mental Health first aider and Wellnest.ph founder Zarah Hernaez takes us through practical ways to rest your brain and recover from the sustained stress of these pandemic times.

Episode 15: Workplace Wellness Revisited with Madam HRMore than a year into the pandemic, we look back at one of our most listened episodes about Workplace Wellness with Ms. Fleur Saguid.

Episode 14: How to Keep Teams Agile with Julia Robillos and Shane BaetzIn this month’s Level Up episode,  Jenn takes on a conversation with People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP)’s Julia Robillos and Sykes’ Shane Baetz about why ongoing training is a must for your company. 

Minisode: Does Makeup make you More Productive? – Our hosts Jenn and Firas took on a makeup challenge – wear makeup for four days straight and then four days again without makeup. They then assessed if wearing makeup made them more productive at work. 

Episode 11: Ready for Your Money Quest? – Our hosts Jenn and Firas review a new book entitled Money Quest: A New Perspective on Spending, Saving, and Investing.

Episode 9: Health is Wellness with Mitch GenatoOur host Jenn Simons has an extensive conversation with Mitch Genato, founder and group CEO of the Romlas Health Group and the man behind Life Science Center for Health and Wellness. 

Episode 7: Company Culture & Employee Wellness with Sar Castillo – In this episode of Level Up!, we say culture is important and so is your wellbeing. We are with one of the country’s best HR experts, Sar Castillo, who shares with us his thoughts on how company culture can make or break your employee wellness efforts.

Episode 4 : How to be Happy with Dr. Lia Bernardo – On this episode of The Level Up! podcast, Dr. Lia Bernardo will teach us how to be friends with our past selves so we can embrace the present and create a harmonious future.

Minisode: Whole Body Health: A Review of 2 Tools – Needless to say, being in lockdown for more than a year can take a toll on one’s mental health. Thus, it’s important to invest time in developing a habit that helps your mental health, which also benefits your body. After all, mental health and physical fitness are connected.

Episode 3 : Raise your Frequency with Dr. Lia Bernardo – Use this episode to clear your mind and control the stress in your daily life to raise your frequency, become happier, and create your own heaven on Earth.  Our hosts, Jenn and Firas, review this wellness tool in our next episode.

Episode 2 : “Can I afford this?” with Ton Patron – One secret to achieving your financial goals is having a mentor who can give us advice and tips on the do’s and don’ts in the plans that we make. Thus, if great recommendations are what we want, Ton Patron is back with us to share his insights on the things we plan to pursue in our lives.

Episode 1 : Start your Financial Wellness journey with Fitz Villafuerte – Notable author of Ready to Be Rich blog and registered financial planner Fitz Villafuerte further explains the first steps on how to begin ones’ financial wellness journey in the Level Up! podcast with its hosts Jenn Simmons and Firas Abboud.

Minisode: Expense Tracking Apps – Tracking how much you spend daily is even easier with the help of free and freemium expense tracking apps. On this minisode, we try the best options available for download so budgeting can be a breeze.


Episode 15: The Best of Level Up! Season 1 – It’s the final episode! Join our host, Jenn Simons, as she recaps the best of season 1! Get nuggets of wisdom on financial wellness, mental health and employee wellness!

Episode 14 : Shift from Surviving to Thriving with Shian Chuan – In our latest podcast episode, our host, Jenn Simons talks to Shian Chuan, NLP Master Practitioner & Executive Coach, on identifying a roadmap that will help us shift from surviving to thriving.

Episode 13: Find Your Power in Positivity with Dr. Omy Romero- One effect of the pandemic that is not often discussed is how it can impact one’s mental health. Experts believe that having a positive mindset can help protect us from the effects of long-term stress. Our host, Jenn Simons talks to Dr. Omy Romero on how we can find power in positivity during the pandemic.

Episode 12: Is There Such a Thing as Good Credit with Atty. Aileen Bautista- We’ve all heard about good and bad credit, but what does it really mean for you and your finances? We discuss the most common misconceptions about borrowing money, and the benefits of keeping a good credit score.

Episode 11: Finding Strength in Your Mission with Roberto Sanchez-Mejorada – Building great company culture can be a challenge for a lot of organizations especially when they simply equate spending money to employee happiness. The biggest asset an organization can have to build culture is their purpose or mission – and everyone in the company has a role to fulfill.

Episode 10: Can I Afford to Save for My Retirement during the Pandemic? – The pandemic has inadvertently given us all a taste of retirement. Staying at home, simply letting the time pass until it’s time for bed again. A lot of us seem to have felt this way during these past few months. Depending on how you felt during that situation, you may have given some thought on what you’re going to do when you’re actually retired.

Episode 9: Does insurance even matter right now with JC Zozobrado – Minor spoiler: Yes, having an insurance policy is as crucial now as it ever was. But even more important is having the right one that fits your needs.

On this episode, our host Jenn Simons talks to Macy Alcaraz a freelancer writer and digital strategist along with JC Zozobrado a licensed financial advisor who is currently working as an Associate Unit Manager at Pru Life UK currently working as they find out which insurance product would work best for you.

Episode 8: How Covid-19 has changed HR forever with Ivy De Borja – COVID-19 has dramatically changed how HR professionals and People Managers function in an organization. Even with their ever-evolving role in an organization, it can be quite a challenge for HR professionals.

On this episode, our host, Jennifer Simons – Castillo talks to Ivy Paraluman De Borja, sHRBP, Senior Director of Human Resources at Acquire BPO to give us some insight on how an HR professional must adapt to excel in this new world!

Episode 7: It’s never too late to build your financial safety net with Kyla Rivera Soong – On this episode of The Level Up! Podcast, our guest speaker, Kyla Rivera Soong gives some advice on how to start saving for an emergency fund even in the middle of the global pandemic along with our host, Jennifer Simons – Castillo!

Episode 6: Losing your job and moving forward with Patricia Paredes and Darwin Rivers – Losing one’s job in the middle of a pandemic is truly a harrowing experience. Most companies had no choice but to let some of their employees go due to the effects of COVID-19 on businesses.

On this episode of The Level Up! Podcast, we talk to Patricia Paredes and how she has gone through being laid off from her job and the strategies and mindset she employed to move forward with her professional life. Together with our host, Jennifer Simons – Castillo, Coach Darwin Rivers, CHRP® CPM® CLC® CEIP® returns to provide valuable advice to job seekers especially in these tough times.

Episode 5: Talent acquisition during Covid-19 with Darwin Rivers – With a lot of businesses being affected by the pandemic, a lot of Filipino employees have been displaced. Now that we are slowly easing into the various steps of quarantine to try to restart the economy, recruiters are seen at the forefront to provide their organizations with the right talents for the job.

Our guest speaker for this episode is Darwin Rivers, CHRP® CPM® CLC® CEIP®. A multi-awarded HR Executive and Certified Life Coach. Together with our host, Jennifer Simons – Castillo, they will look into what recruiters need to take into consideration despite the pandemic to make sure they get the best applicants fit for the roles that they will play in their organizations.

Episode 4: Personal Finance is Personal: Early Retirement with Ton Patron and JC Abarca – One thing that might have crossed your mind as we go though the quarantine period is early retirement. We all know we can’t go to work for the rest of our lives and we all dream of spending the rest of our days in bliss knowing that we have achieved financial freedom.

But how can you make it happen? On this episode of The Level Up! podcast, we talk to our guest, John Christian Abarca, who is on his way to achieve this lifelong dream and to help us understand the how we’re going to do it ourselves, our favorite financial advisor, Kristoffer P. aka Ton Patron is returning for Part 2 of this discussion on personal finance with our host, Jennifer Simons – Castillo!

Episode 3: Personal finance is personal with Ton Patron – When was the last time you had a serious conversation with anyone about your finances? On this episode of The Level Up! Podcast, we have Kristoffer P. aka Ton Patron! He is a personal finance advisor for 20 years and he has worked with the SEC and BSP to help our fellow Filipinos make smarter decisions with their finances. Tune in to this episode to learn how making simple changes with our perception with money can help you make better financial decisions.

Episode 2: Mental Health in the Workplace with Zarah Hernaez – She is a Corporate Communications Consultant for the country’s largest firms and she is a certified mental health first aider. We recently conducted a webinar where she spoke about managing stress and anxiety amidst the global pandemic. Join us on this episode as she talks about mental health in the workplace, and solving the challenges that HR professionals face during the quarantine period.

Episode 1: Developing a workplace wellness program with Fleur Saguid – Our first guest is our own Human Resources Director, Fleur Saguid. She walks us through her journey as an HR professional as she sees its evolution firsthand from her decade-long experience in the field. Get more of an insight as to why companies should place their employees’ well-being at the forefront of the conversation to succeed as an organization.