Editor’s Note: The Aboitiz Future Leaders’ Business Summit is an annual gathering of 91 carefully selected student leaders from across the Philippines which focuses on business and leadership. It aims to hone the leadership skills and potentials of young students through workshops and small group discussions as well as prepare them for their future role in nation-building.
Three students from the University of Baguio were chosen to join the Summit for 2016, which was held at Marco Polo, Cebu City on November 3-5, 2016. Here, Kevin Adrian Fabros (BSAC 5), Alona Halover (BSIT 4), and Melchor Oliveros (BSCE 5 and BSESE 5) share their experiences and reflections.
Kevin Adrian Fabros, Alona Halover, and Melchor Oliveros
The leadership summit exposed the delegates to the corporate world, social responsibility, and nation-building. It also gave the student leaders the opportunity to learn from the Aboitiz executives and develop their leadership skills.
With the theme “Filipino Youth, Global Leaders,” the AFLBS continues to build young global leaders and empower the Filipino youth in nation-building.
Among the speakers during the summit were Kenneth Cobonpue, an internationally acclaimed and multi-awarded Filipino designer and furniture manufacturer, and Paul Rivera, one of the country’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs and CEO and co-founder of Kalibrr, an online job site.
The third and last day of the summit was an experience at Kool Adventure Camp, which provided the young leaders with learning and development opportunities through experiential education. – Kevin Adrian Fabros
Desire to excel and to serve
Globalization is here and it challenges every Filipino to adapt and excel in a constantly changing and competitive global arena. Being one of the 91 selected millennial student leaders across the nation gave me an opportunity to learn and be inspired by the best ‘A’ people on how to withstand the challenges of globalization.
The Aboitiz Future Leaders' Business Summit aims to equip graduating students about leadership and management strategies and how they are concretized in the corporate environment. It gave us a sneak peek on what is waiting for us after we leave our respective universities and colleges.
The pre-summit was beyond ordinary. We had a chance to visit the ancestral house of the Aboitiz family in Cebu and we were overwhelmed that Jon Ramon Aboitiz personally toured us around the house. It was evident how they value family and the role that family plays in achieving success. What we saw in the ancestral house was reaffirmed during the tour in the different business units of the company. The success of their businesses was really because of their hardworking employees whom they refer as family members.
Our desire to excel and to serve was strengthened when the summit officially opened. The plenary sessions were indeed inspirational. CEOs, COOs, CFOs, presidents, and vice presidents of the different business units of the Aboitiz Group shared their own inspiring stories. Moreover, Kenneth Cobonpue, a multi-awarded furniture designer, also gave a talk on how one can excel in a competitive market. “We should love what we do, be good in what we do, make sure that the world needs and is willing to pay for what we do, and then give back,” he said.
Day 2 was packed with physical and mental challenges at KOOL Adventure Camp. We were able to realize, through the rope courses, how vital teamwork is in achieving our goals. We also realized that the working environment affects our output. I enjoyed working with my groupmates and so we were able to hurdle every obstacle along the course. It was indeed an unforgettable experience filled with so much realizations and reflections.
The summit only lasted for three days but I will forever cherish this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With all the talks, discussions, sharing, and processing, I must say that the whole experience sums up to the core values that the Aboitiz Group holds – integrity, teamwork, innovation and responsibility. These values will be my lifetime armor to take on the challenge of globalization.
To my fellow youth: “Dream big. The future will always belong to those who see the possibilities before they become obvious.” – Dmi Lozano, Chief Financial Officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures
– Melchor Oliveros
‘Wastes are inevitable’
With this year’s theme “Filipino Youth, Global Leaders” and tagline “Juan for the World,” the three-day summit included various activities which exposed us, student delegates, to the corporate world setting.
During the first day of the summit, we went to the different business units of Aboitiz around Cebu, such as Pilmico, Visayan Electric Company, AboitizLand, and City Savings Bank. We were introduced to the story of each company, and learned the different services each company offers to its clients, at the same time what it returns back to the community.
The second day included plenary and break-out sessions where senior executives from the different Aboitiz business units, spearheaded by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. President and CEO himself, Erramon Aboitiz, delivered talks about leadership. Furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue and Kalibrr CEO Paul Rivera were also invited as keynote speakers and shared their inspiring success stories. Before the day ended, we had the chance to sit down with the executives and dine with them. We were able to ask them questions, share our thoughts and ideas, and network with them.
The last day was reserved for various outdoor activities in Kool Adventure Camp – Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. in Talamban, Cebu. The activities were done by group, which allowed us to strengthen our ability to work in teams as well as enhance our leadership skills. The activities also taught us that fears are not to be conquered, but to be embraced. The things we have learned in the different activities cannot only be applied in school and in the corporate world, but also in life.
The highlight of my experience would definitely be the Product Systems Challenge. The activity tested the leadership, teamwork and strategic capabilities of each team, as well as the physical and mental abilities of each of the delegates. I have learned so much from my teammates during the activity. They showed me what a true leader is – someone who is capable of strategizing an effective plan and driving his team to achieving a common goal without having to compromise the efforts of his teammates. I have also learned a lot from one of our group’s moderators, AEV HR Vice President Nina Pedro, who explained to us that in the corporate setting, employees are not less important than executives, that they have a big role in the organization and that wastes are inevitable but how you control the wastes is what is important.
The Summit has widened my perspective on the opportunities for student leaders. One of my key takeaways from the summit is from Paul Rivera, CEO & Co-Founder of Kalibrr, Inc. On taking every opportunity that comes your way, he said, “Get on a plane whenever someone offers you a free ticket. Get out of your comfort zone.” Another is from one of my groupmates and co-delegates, Sandra Mae Cabueñas, who said, “Sometimes, there is a need to take a few steps backward so that we can finally see the bigger picture. In this way, we can move forward and finish strong.” Finally, my last key takeaway is from Txabi Aboitiz, AEV Chief Human Resources Officer, who shared a principle by James Collins: “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And then figure out where to drive.”
My experience is definitely one for the books. It was an experience that helped me become a better youth and student leader today and a future global leader tomorrow. I believe that my experience is truly one of the best moments of my life, one of the most memorable experiences I’ve been through, and one of the greatest happenings I will cherish. I know that I learned what I had to, I gained what I needed to, and I got what I deserved. In the near future, I see this experience as one key to my success in life. It will make me stand as a bright leader in the society and mold me as a better individual and a greater being in the corporate world. – Alona Mae Halover