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09.07.2012, Mute Monday, 17:11

If you can still remember this entry, I made mention of my own cute efforts to promote domestic tourism. It’s been 2 years since that entry and I’m clueless how to measure my influence so far, if I should still go on or come up with more specific means to encourage fellow Pinoys to see the rest of our arresting archipelago. Besides, I got sidetracked since I dove into my body acceptance campaign for more than a year now. Being a one-woman team is never easy, you know.

Like what I’ve stated in my prior entry, I’m immensely grateful to be selected as one of participants for Unilab Ideas Positive‘s 3-day social marketing bootcamp. The back-to-back inspirational stories and case studies for community change are exactly what I need to figure out what else to improve in my personal campaigns and rouse the aspiring social entrepreneur in me. Also, this would be an opportunity to hobnob with the future leaders, seasoned mentors and fellow Facebook winners who, to my delight, happen to be fellow Caviteños (Jaypee, Earl and Ralph) and fellow bloggers (Jamie and Argee). What a productive Saturday!

Tribu” auteur director/producer Jim Libiran got the party started by asking one of the cast members (forgot his name, sorry) share his experiences during filming and conclude it all in freeverse rap. He started that we should be careful in saying “Gusto naming tumulong!“, especially when introducing oneself to our indigenous tribes. The Spaniards told us the same thing and conquered our so-called primitive ancestors for 333 years to convert us into Roman Catholics. And so did Americans and the Japanese, they wanted to help us.

But helping others might result to pushing our own ideals to other people whether they are in favor of this change or not. Just like what I’ve learned in my Anthropology class, that’s when participant observation or pakikisama comes in. Libiran spent valuable time with his cast members, expounded on his vision, spoke their language and showed them he’s one of them. “Tribu” was not just an indie film, it is a social project and youth advocacy.

Jim Libiran: "Nakakaadik tumulong sa tao. The ones you help end up helping you."

Jim Libiran: “Nakakaadik tumulong sa tao. The ones you help end up helping you.”

I admit I haven’t heard of “Tribu”. But I remember begging the lady in Greenbelt’s cinema counter so I can get to watch Happyland during the 9th Spanish Film Fest, even if it means being seated in the floor or standing at the back. Unfortunately, tickets were sold out 7 days before its actual screening date. So imagine this football groupie’s joy when he started talking about this film – its etymology, his frustration for our own futkaleros to represent us in competitions abroad and his firm belief that we Pinoys are made for this sport. It truly resonates with my heart’s desire.

The next speaker was the force behind the growing line of organic housing cleaners, Messy Bessy. Krie Reyes-Lopez had always wanted to put up her own social enterprise and did vast research on it. She flew to the United States and work alongside beneficiaries of a certain social enterprise (I missed to jot it down) to have a full grasp of what she needs to know.

She’s had her share of failed ventures (Happy Helpers) but she showed resilience and willingness to help others help themselves. After finding the out-of-school girls to employ for Messy Bessy, she ensured they’re also enjoying alternative learning system that also covers work training, core values and work ethics. They even practice yoga all together for work-life balance, much to my envy. It was also touching to know that her marketing strategy is always about the quality of their products, not about the dark past her employees had endured. As conclusion, she shared her 5 lessons: 1. Man is perfectible; 2. Have an un-sticky plan; 3. Sustainability is an obligation; 4. It’s always about the people; and 5. Perfect the seed.

Krie Reyes-Lopez: "It's ALWAYS about the people. You're in the people business."

Krie Reyes-Lopez: “It’s ALWAYS about the people. You’re in the people business.”

Ma. Christine Reyes‘s lecture on setting evaluation measures and timelines was my much-awaited moment since I need guidance on my pet projects as stated earlier. However, it proved to be too quick and only applicable for the participating teams as the results of their project can be monitored and measured. But, hey, I learned that the importance of being mindful of what lies ahead and what you might have overlooked. And if I may quote Bill Hewitt: you can not manage what you can not measure. Ouch.

Ma. Christine Reyes: "I think you are here because you have the heart. But also make sure to use your head. Make sure that you have good intentions."

Ma. Christine Reyes: “I think you are here because you have the heart. But also make sure to use your head. Make sure that you have good intentions.”

Dr. Carmencita Padilla came in next to discuss how to raise awareness through tapping the community’s resources. In handling Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health in their folic acid awareness campaign and rare diseases campaign for the past years, she shares their strategies were all about educating, organizing and mobilizing. Their reasons for success? 1. Focus; 2. Dedication and passion for volunteerism; 3. Leadership; 4. Funding; and 5. Institutional Support.

Social entrepreneurship and earning profit? Rags2Riches founder Reese Fernandez told us it’s possible. Her company’s philosophy is firmly rooted on People (quality of life + quality of dreams), Planet (shared home and shared future), Profit (surplus for sustainability) and Positive Influence (belief in the power of generosity). It was so inspiring how she helped rug-weavers in Payatas have fair access to the market (instead of the middlemen who give them so little profit) and so astounding how scarps of cloth become fashion and home accessories! Her lessons? 1. Do what you love; 2. You can never be too “big” to do small things that must be done; 3. Find love in a hopeless place; 4. Why are you doing this? Before she made an exit, she asked: what decision are YOU making today that will make a revolutionary difference?

I believe one of the student leaders asked her for advice. I completely forgot the question, but she responded that going corporate for sometime is OK, but we shouldn’t get too comfortable. How did she know about my recent observation about my stay in the corporate world? I admit I have big dreams for this nation and for my fellowmen, but I just can’t find the balls yet to leave my comfort zone. I can only devote my free time for my payback efforts. Join me pray for that day when I will get to do my work with no impediments along the way. In God’s time, I will.

Reese Fernandez: "Find love in a hopeless place. Think about others. Involve them in your dreams."

Reese Fernandez: “Find love in a hopeless place. Think about others. Involve them in your dreams.”

Sample of Rags2Riches merchandise. Photo taken from the R2R website.

Sample of Rags2Riches merchandise. Photo taken from the R2R website.

In her aim to promote pro-Pinoy products and advocating a green lifestyle, Chit Juan and her partners Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco decided to come up with ECHOstore (short for Environment & Community Hope Organization STORE). According to her, the cornerstone of her store are Self, Community and Planet. With her previous role as CEO of Figaro, I was not surprised to see local coffees in their shop. Go here to see more of the products they offer.

I’ve been devastated before for a business venture that didn’t fly and I’m hoping to come up with a new one that has a big heart for our neighbors. She was encouraging in saying anybody can become a social entrepreneur. We’ll just need to figure out what’s that one thing that will make us rise up from bed each morning, what’s that one thing that we can do for the rest of our lives with much gusto. I think I have an idea what it is, but I need more time to reflect and polish everything.

Chit Juan: "You can change communities; you can change a person. I wish you luck that you will find that special carrot that would make you get up in the morning. "

Chit Juan: “You can change communities; you can change a person. I wish you luck that you will find that special carrot that would make you get up in the morning. “

Raise your left hand if you tend to be pessimistic like I do. Isn’t it easy to dream big about that one thing yet it gets highly stressful when we face the balance sheet. How will I get started if I have no funds to begin with? Will one’s great dream enough? Jayson Lo has the answers. He earned his first million at age 23 and lost it all and accumulated debts instead at age 30. And he managed to earn them back again. It’s all about the mindset.

Jayson Lo: "Change perspective, change the game. Everything starts with mindset. Mindset is everything."

Jayson Lo: “Change perspective, change the game. Everything starts with mindset. Mindset is everything.”

Based on the guideline he found on how to become a millionaire, educational attainment ranks 20th. The top ingredients, you ask? 1. Hardwork; 2. Discipline; 3. Good people skills; 4. Supportive spouse. Wow! What’s more shocking? He discovered that those who are good in algebra have good decision-making skills. Oh, no.

Aside from his wit, I appreciate how he always attributed his success to God. He was very faithful to Him during his speech that I wanted to accept Christ again even before he was done. He even disclosed that the Bible is one of the best business books out there and advised us all to read a chapter of Proverbs each day as it’s like earning MBA. I’m happy to share that perusing a chapter had become a recent daily habit. So far, doing so taught me to live an austere life and to be amicable to everyone.

In conclusion, he disclosed the 3 C’s to be unique and/or have a good career path: 1. Character; 2. Competence; and 3. Conviction.

As a finale, Harvey Keh, director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship and Kaya Natin, came on stage to talk on how to induce action, ensure maintenance and forge partnerships in such undertakings. He expressed that faith that doesn’t do social justice for the poor is nothing. And I agree. Who’s that guy again who said faith is not confined in one’s activities inside the Church, but it’s what you do once you step out of it?

His learnings from Pathways to Higher Education: 1. Share what you have; 2. Ask and you shall receive; 3. Never let age or inexperience be a hindrance for you to make a difference in our society; and 4. In marketing, put a face a to your human stories, not just statistics.

Lessons from AHON (Acts of Hope for the Nation) Foundation: 1. Let’s not depend on the government to solve all our problems; 2. Anyone can take part in helping bring about social change; and 3. Stop finger-pointing and start doing something.

So how do we start the change? 1. Stay informed about current affairs; 2. Register for the upcoming elections and encourage others to do the same; 3. Vote and campaign for good leaders; and 4. Use technology such as social media to become more involved.

Harvey Keh: "Be careful when saying "We want to help" because it's saying you want to impose something. Build relationships first."

Harvey Keh: “Be careful when saying “We want to help” because it’s saying you want to impose something. Build relationships first.”

***

There goes my notes from this insightful event. I hope I got to impart meaningful messages from these inspiring mentors and I truly hope I didn’t misquote anyone. I If I did, please please let me know.

By the way, the student leaders and their mentors have 6 months to work on their respective projects with monthly gatherings to discuss their progress. Come February, they’ll all fly back to Manila to present how their implementation went. The most successful will become this year’s grand winner. I asked Sir Barry if we Facebook winners may also join again to make usi and, to my delight, he said yes. He made us all nod in agreement in saying, “Para naman may kabuluhan ang pag-la-like nyo ng fanpages sa Facebook”.

Now before I conclude this entry, here’s more snapshots with my newfound friends.

L-R: Anne Apostol from Unilab, Facebook winners Jamie, myself and Earl

L-R: Anne Apostol from Unilab, Facebook winners Jamie, myself and Earl

L-R: Facebook winners Argee, Regine, myself and Earl

L-R: Facebook winners Argee, Regine, myself and Earl

And that's my proof that I'm one of the happy bootcampers!

And that’s my proof that I’m one of the happy bootcampers!

And not all bootcampers get to take home these freebies. It pays to stay until the end! Haha!

And not all bootcampers get to take home these freebies. It pays to stay until the end! Haha!

And this Kodak moment with Sir Barry!

And this Kodak moment with Sir Barry!

Photos by Jamie Ann del Mundo. Facebook winners photos from Anne Apostol.