by RONALYN BANAKEN
(From left) UB’s Kier Ocampo, Kama-i Sulikam Okubo, Candace Dawn Fernandez, and Noah Rex Talosig joined other students from across the archipelago in a gathering of the country’s most promising business leaders.
Four students of the University of Baguio have been part of this year’s Future Leaders’ Business Summit – an annual gathering of the nation’s young and promising leaders which is spearheaded by the giant business firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures.
Candace Dawn Fernandez (BS Information Technology), Kier Ocampo (BS Business Administration), Kama-i Sulikam Okubo (BS Accountancy), and Noah Rex Talosig (BS Accountancy) joined over 90 students from across the archipelago in the yearly convergence of the country’s future corporate leaders.
The three-day conference – held in Cebu City on Aug. 14-16 – highlighted discussions and challenge exercises on business leadership. A pack of business moguls from some of the country’s biggest companies – most of them from Aboitiz which operates across a diverse range of fields such as power generation, banking and finance, and food.
On Aug. 15, Erramon Aboitiz, a member of the board of directors of Aboitiz Group, talked about Aboitiz’s beginnings, sharing the “Aboitiz way to becoming one of the most successful organizations in the country.”
Meanwhile, Jaime Jose Aboitiz, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Aboitiz Power Distribution Group, underscored the core values needed in business – service excellence, teamwork, innovation, integrity, and responsibility. He further played up the importance of desire and determination, echoing the world-famous industrialist Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Likewise, Eugene Acevedo (Union Bank and CitySavings Bank), Rene Ronquillo (Aboitiz Power), and Tristan Aboitiz (PilMiCo, part of Aboitiz Group) hammered on some wisdom in handling people and organizations.
Moreover, Andoni Aboitiz (Aboitiz Land), Jon Ramon Aboitiz, and Romy Ronquillo (both members of the Aboitiz Group board of directors) emphasized the basics in advertising along with the classic premises on success.
After the talks, the participants were immersed in character-building activities prepared to develop their problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.
“I had some realizations – being a leader means you should be a follower as well; active listening is really important; and proper planning will lead the organization to success,” Ocampo noted.
“Another realization is that coordination from everyone is important. Working with a group of people with different knowledge, skills, and perspectives is helpful in becoming successful. And, no matter how tough the problems are, if we have the support group or companion, we can overcome and succeed,” added Ocampo.
In addition, on Aug. 16, Xavier Aboitiz (Aboitiz Group), Manuel Lozano (Aboitiz Power Generation Group), Susan Valdez (Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.), Sonny Carpio (Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.), and Celso Caballero (Weather Philippines Foundation, Inc.) pounded on the essentials of a successful leadership.
Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong, who was called up to play for the Azkals in 2013, also got on the platform, inspiring the student leaders with his story. Caligdong is one of the few full-blooded Filipinos who have had his stint in the country’s national football team dominated by footballers with foreign ancestry.
Shared Ocampo, “Being one of the newest alumni of the Summit, I can say that… it [the Summit] has truly inspired me to pursue my dreams.”
Prior to the summit proper, the participants were taken on a tour of Aboitiz’s plants and the family’s ancestral home as well as Fort San Pedro, a 118-year old site in Cebu City.
“It was a one-of-a-kind experience,” quipped Ocampo. – With reports from Candace Dawn Fernandez, Kier Ocampo, Kama-i Sulikam Okubo, and Noah Rex Talosig