'Discovering your purpose with humility': UOG alumna and a DFS regional director for HR reflects on road to success

'Discovering your purpose with humility': UOG alumna and a DFS regional director for HR reflects on road to success

'Discovering your purpose with humility': UOG alumna and a DFS regional director for HR reflects on road to success


Photo of Catherine Galsim
Catherine Galsim, a UOG alumna, is a regional director, human resources, for luxury travel retailer DFS.

Catherine T. Galsim enrolled at the University of Guam as a merit scholar and graduated in 1997 with a major in political science and a minor in communication.

She recently visited the campus as a guest who spoke with a group of graduating business majors about the paid internship program for potential managers at luxury travel retailer DFS, and she enthusiastically shared her connection with UOG. 

She looks to her UOG education, and her UOG mentors’ guidance, as among the factors that helped get her to where she’s at now: A human resources regional director at DFS.

A full-ride scholarship and being able to stay with family were her main considerations for having chosen UOG.

After her initial jobs in classroom teaching and magazine writing, Galsim began her employment at DFS in 2018.

In the corporate environment at DFS, Galsim rose through the ranks, most recently moving from Human Resources Director of the mid-Pacific Division, which covers Guam and Saipan, to now Regional Director, which expanded her scope of responsibilities at DFS' HR to include Japan and South Korea. 

We caught up with Galsim on May 5 to learn more about her success and what attributes helped take her to this point in her career.

Here are some excerpts of a Q&A with Galsim.

Question: Why did you choose UOG? 

Answer:  I received a merit scholarship and all my siblings were UOG alumni. The convenience to get a four-year degree while being at home was a huge enabler and motivation in making this choice. I knew that having family around would be a huge support in pursuing higher education.

Q: What trait/attitude helped you reach the level of success you're in now?  

A: 1. Curiosity – the unending learning agility and exploration of thought. 2. Resilience amid failures and challenges – these became added fuel to determination and grit to achieve success and satisfaction. 3. Humility – It kept me grounded in my principles, values, and spirit of learning, and keeping in mind that growth means accepting imperfection so you can go from good to great.

Q: How did your previous experiences help you overcome obstacles?  

A: You learn from it, take in the best practices, know where to tap in resources to collaborate and innovate when you are short on some of your skills, deliver the results and reflect on how to improve, and REPEAT.

Q: What lesson can you share with students who might find themselves hitting roadblocks in their academic path? 

A: Step back and reflect on what makes you happy and avoid coupling it with other people’s expectations of you. Discovery is a journey, so don’t expect perfection. Expect you will fail several times, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  Once you discover what is meaningful to you in life, the investment of time and money is all worth it. Discovering your purpose with humility will sustain you in the twists and turns in life. Regardless of several changes in your career in the future, your TRUE self will guide you to achieve your aspirations. 

Q: What can you say about the quality of your education and mentorship at UOG?  

A: As a product of the University of Guam, though you may start to venture out as a small fish in the big pond, your knowledge in comparison to other bigger universities makes you the bigger fish.  At UOG, we are challenged to learn more from the bottom up. There is more effort on learning with a global (view), and this curiosity of wanting to know more about the world and what the world is for Guam is magnified 10 times compared to those already exposed to a bigger picture.  I was very fortunate to have professors who demonstrated the epitome of true mentorship – and some remain mentors to me to this day. My UOG professors provided me with a unique perspective on the subjects I have learned and helped me build my confidence through pathways they created, such as internships that widen my network of learning. As the Regional Head of HR, I look for talents that have a high level of learning agility. UOG has given me this agility to continue to learn and pass the torch of knowledge to aspiring talents ready to take on the world.

SBPA students invited to apply for DFS management trainee program 

Group photo of some graduating SBPA students with Dean Roseann Jones and Catherine Galsim

Some of the graduating seniors in the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Guam gather for a photo after a presentation about luxury travel retailer DFS’ Graduate Development Program. The competitive program is open to applicants from SBPA's seniors and new graduates. The successful applicant will get a paid internship as a management trainee over 12 to 18 months. Seated, center, SBPA's interim Dean Roseann Jones; Catherine Galsim, seated, left, Human Resources Regional Director for DFS in Guam, Saipan, Japan, and Korea; and Tiffany Angoco, Learning and Development Manager, Human Resources, DFS Mid-Pacific. The students, standing, front, from left, are: Savanna-Hope Chaco, Shelyn Shiro, Mikha Dizon, Christianna Ebio, Andrea VelasquezQueensly DeLeon, Joseph Donato, and Beatriz Arcilla. Standing in the back, from left, Gerofel Carino, Danson Piyelit, Darnel Taman, Charles Denight, Ericca Tomada, Jazzyx Yeban, Austin Cabero, and Napu Aguon.