A salute to all women

PA Joey Concepcion led the ASEAN Women of Impact awardees: Kemariah Duraman (Brunei), Veronica Colondam (Indonesia), Khin Lay (Myanmar), Amb. Delia Domingo-Albert (Phl), Mom Luang Preeyapun Sridhavat (Thailand), Nguyen Thi Nga (Vietnam), and special awardees Bibi Russell (Bangladesh), Sopheap Chen (Cambodia), Supna Rania Karwanamurthi (Brunei) during a courtesy call to President Duterte at the Malacañang Palace last March 3. Alice Eduardo and ASEAN BAC PH council member George Barcelon were also present.

As part of our advocacy this year, we have launched three consecutive events, opening up opportunities for women to showcase their creative and innovative business models, and to learn from other inspiring women who have led their own respective enterprises with grit and passion.

Last Feb. 28, we mounted the biggest women mentorship event which gathered 800 mentees and more than 100 women mentors. This was followed by our Forum on Philippine Indigenous Weaving last March 2 where we showcased local and international speakers and the four Manlilikha ng Bayan on Weaving.

On March 3, we held the Women 2020 Entrepreneurship Summit, the biggest women negosyo summit of the year, with more than 9,000 participants from all over the country. More than 50 women icons and leaders shared their inspiring stories before the excited crowd.

Here, let me share with you some of the valuable insights from our events:

Honeylet Avanceña: “Allow me to pay tribute to these women. These women who weave, you know, wake up early in the morning just to weave. These are the women who make an impact.”

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray: “Sometimes purpose takes a while to figure out. But once you discover it, you’ll know what it is, because it will grip your heart in such a way that you won’t be able to let it go. When you do find your purpose, I hope that you will forge towards it with all your might, with all your heart, no matter the setbacks, no matter the drawbacks, no matter the failures. Remember, even if you fail a hundred times, the purpose will always be worth it.”

ABS-CBN executive consultant Charo Santos-Concio: “Be your authentic self. Listen to your heart. Don’t be someone you are not. Follow your passion and have that sense of purpose and sense of commitment to follow your dreams which can only come true through hard work, patience, perseverance, and complete dedication. Do not be discouraged by failures. Failures are the best teacher you can ever have, so keep getting up and just face your fears. That’s the most liberating moment one can experience in life – when you face your fears.”

SGV & Co. senior advisor Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert: “You have to know, you have to learn, you have to study. Life is a continuous learning process. And if you know your product well and you know the market well, then you will gain confidence. But aside from that, there’s communication. You must be able to communicate what you are promoting, whether it is a country or a product. We buy a product because we believe in it, we have confidence in it, we know the content, not just physically, but also what goes behind it.”

Belo Medical Group president and managing director Dr. Vicki Belo: “You cannot achieve anything great if you don’t make sacrifices. When you feel like you can’t handle it anymore, lift it up to God. Value family.”

Bibi Productions (Bangladesh) founder Bibi Russell: “My dream is to promote our culture and weaving. Fabrics called Muslin were being made by Bengal weavers as early as the 18th century. Now they can be found in every museum in the world, that is why I couldn’t imagine why many (weavers) still live in poverty... I didn’t forget my dream. I have had many opportunities in Europe (as a model), but I came back to Bangladesh to fulfill my dream. I cannot tell you enough the feeling inside to have my dream come true. There’s nothing in the world that can take that (feeling) away from me.”

BRG Group (Vietnam) chairwoman Nguyen Thi Nga: “Either you’re a small enterprise, medium or large does not matter. The important thing is the purpose that you aim for. Once you have set your goal, your purpose, then try to strive in order to turn that purpose or aspiration into a reality. I believe that if I can do it, then you can do it, too.”

Magsaysay Group of Companies president and CEO Doris Magsaysay-Ho: “Do not try to be what you are not; don’t try to change your values. I had decided long ago to (embrace being a woman in a male-dominated industry) and I had realized even customers would like to give both men and women opportunities. I had also realized that being a woman gives you a lot of abilities.”

Aivee Group co-founder Dr. Aivee Teo: “For me, what drives me is really innovation. It’s bringing innovation to the Philippines and showing the world that we are at the forefront of innovation. Of course, we excel as well because of our unique care which is founded on compassion and service. Those things have really motivated me to pursue my calling.”

Angkas CEO Angeline Tham: “It is important to believe in yourself. That is the number one starting goal. First is you have to believe in yourself and set goals for yourself. Challenge yourself to achieve things that you think is an achievable goal (and strive to make them come true).”

Sunnies Studios, Sunnies Face, and Sunnies co-founder Cafe Georgina Wilson Burnand: “The fear will always be there. But what sets apart successful entrepreneurs is that they have the guts, the ‘balls’, to get things done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and just keep learning.”