Work-life balance is an elusive concept, like a unicorn being constantly chased by professionals who have families and passions. But for Herbert Hernandez, work-life balance is dictated by God, who guides him to where he’s supposed to be. As co-founder of the wildly successful Filipino ad agency GIGIL, as well as a bona fide rock star, husband, and father of three, Herbert Hernandez keeps a very full plate. But he never loses sight of what’s really important.
“When people ask me how I manage my time between my job and my family, I always tell them that it’s not about time management, but rather about God’s management of your time,” he says. “When granted the time, I sometimes bring them to my work either in advertising or at a concert. I show them what I do when I’m not with them. My wife and I still go out at least once a week.”
On a daily basis, Hernandez eats lunch and dinner with his family, as well as ending each day by playing Mobile Legends with his wife. This is fit into a schedule that includes meetings, alignments, and presentations to GIGIL clients and partners during Hernandez’s 9-6 gig. Many nights, he’s playing gigs around the country with one of his two bands, Moonstar88 and 6cyclemind. It’s a busy life, but Hernandez wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think the only time I doubted my career choice was when I was starting to get leadership roles in advertising,” Hernandez recalls. “I thought about letting go of my music career and focusing on advertising alone. Luckily, my boss urged me to just continue doing it because it helped me with my work too.”
It may be hard to believe, but Herbert Hernandez makes time for some passion projects, too.
In addition to advertising and music, Herbert Hernandez co-founded The Indierectory in 2018, which provides a platform for ad independents and freelancers to showcase their work that’s directly available to hiring agencies and companies. He is passionate about connecting Filipino independent talents with paid gigs, hoping to eventually do so on a global level. A future goal is to open multiple GIGIL offices around the world and bring Filipino talent to the masses.
In 2010, Hernandez also started Lakihan mo Logo (“Make the Logo Bigger”), which he calls “a commercial break for people making commercials.” Lakihan mo Logo is a concert series featuring bands made up of Manila-based ad agency talent, with the simple objective of giving ad people an outlet for their stress. They have performed 58 concerts over the years, and some of the participants have become actual recording artists. Hernandez also put together 12 “Rockovery” concerts to raise money for seriously ill members of the advertising industry.
How He Does It
We all get the same 24 hours in a day, so how does Herbert Hernandez manage to fit so much more into each of his days? Coffee is essential, but so is a strong team around him. Hernandez learned early on that he can’t rely on only himself in order to get it all done and still push the limits of what’s possible.
“It’s really all about that mindset to never rely on myself alone. My music career taught me that I couldn’t jam all by myself. So I put my trust in God and the people I work with. And because I’m guided and supported, it has made me fearless to do things that I have not done before.”
At GIGIL, Hernandez is partnered with Badong Abesamis, whose writing talents perfectly complement Hernandez’s eye for visuals. Together, the two have created numerous viral campaigns and earned worldwide acclaim for pushing advertising to new heights. By seeking out a team with different skill sets than his own, Hernandez knows that what they’re creating will be special and unique.
Although it is Hernandez’s God-given talents that have propelled him to early and tremendous success in both music and advertising, it is hard work and calculated risk-taking that have allowed him to reach the level he’s at now. He and Abesamis credit their GIGIL success to passion and hard work over raw talent and prioritize these values within their company.
With such a hectic life (often sleeping only four hours each night), the precious time dedicated to family rejuvenates Hernandez, and he tries to make the most of every minute and hour he has with them. “The rare times I get some space between my schedules, I make sure to allot it for my health and my family,” he says. It’s important to him that they exercise and travel together on a regular basis.
Herbert Hernandez hopes that retirement is possible within the next 15 years, but in the meantime, he’s not slowing down. He has big plans to “explore uncharted territories, collaborate with huge world-class Filipino talents, and open multiple offices around the world with each having its own strengths and expertise,” all while “helping Filipino brands, talents, and communities succeed globally.”
If anyone can do it, it’s Herbert Hernandez. And knowing him, he’ll garner national and international attention as he does. But with so many God-given talents bestowed upon him, what else would you expect?
Just keep the coffee coming!