Responsive and responsible young leaders

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In an article written for the 2017 World Economic Forum, Alberto Alemanno, founder and director of the Italy-based nonprofit civic start-up The Good Lobby, stated that “In a world characterized by epic political, social and technological transformations, there has never been a greater need for responsive and responsible leaders.” He defines such leaders as having 10 personal qualities that he asserts are all too often deficient among our leaders, including compassion, emotional intelligence, integrity, openness, fairness, inclusiveness, competence, respect for evidence, consistency and sobriety.

When we launched the Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab Awards in 2018, this need to promote responsive and responsible leadership among our youth was a key consideration. Marking my father’s 100th birth anniversary, the De La Salle University Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business and the Phinma Group, with support from Junior Chamber International Manila, set up the Siklab Awards to honor young Filipinos who have embraced nation-building as a mission and passion. Our initial search generated close to a hundred nominations who were screened down to 12 finalists, until finally, on the awards night on July 25, 2019, five young Filipinos were honored as the first Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab awardees: Clarissa Delgado, Melissa Yeung Yap, JB Tan, Edgar Elago and Gary Ayuste.

For all of us involved in that screening and selection process, we became convinced that there is much to be hopeful for, because responsive and responsible young leaders were actually being formed out there in the trenches of various battles being waged against poverty and inequality across the country. Allow me to share some updates on their continuing adventures in responsive and responsible leadership.

Clarissa continues to lead Teach for the Philippines (TFP) and was recently honored as one of the 12 outstanding Filipino women of 2019 by the TOWNS Foundation. TFP today is currently managing 93 teachers across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, creating impact for over 8,000 students through better education. Melissa, for her part, tapped the P100,000 Siklab award prize money to pursue the creation of a support system for 150 micro-entrepreneurs and co-op leaders in Victoria, Tarlac, organizing workshops on business and financial planning, leather crafting, and soap-making, as well as organizing bazaars for them.

Edgar, our teacher awardee from Agusan, has shared with us that since receiving the award, he has successfully implemented two projects: Native Smile and Give Love on Valentine’s Day. The projects helped more than a thousand beneficiaries and mobilized hundreds of volunteers. For the coming summer, Edgar’s team plans to organize what they have dubbed as the Summer Saya Project 2.0, aiming to serve and inspire hundreds more of young Filipinos. Our advocate for mother nature and bees in particular, Gary, was unfortunately a victim of Typhoon “Ursula” that brought much damage to Leyte. Despite the damage suffered by his Beengo Farm, Gary used the disaster to further strengthen his resolve and today boasts of training 800 future beekeepers, conducting a livelihood workshop for the indigenous people of San Vicente, Palawan, and doing stingless bee honey production livelihood training for 14 farmers’ associations and 190 individuals in his hometown in Tunga, Leyte.

JB, recognized as last year’s Grand Siklab awardee for cofounding iVolunteer Philippines and The Good Store Philippines, reports that their organization has now engaged 130,000 volunteers over its 10 years of existence. They recently launched a social innovation challenge, empowering seven innovators to provide solutions to existing social challenges in the areas of education, sustainable spaces, housing, mental health, and urban agriculture, and organized their fun run for a cause dubbed the BayaniRun.

JB, Gary, Edgar, Clarissa and Melissa are not the only promising responsive and responsible leaders that the country needs more of, and on whom we pin our hopes for a better Filipino nation in the future. Help us spread the word about the 2020 Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab Awards. Nomination forms for this year’s run may be accessed and submitted online via http://bit.ly/RVRSiklabAwards2020. Deadline for nominations is on March 31, 2020.

Ramon R. del Rosario Jr. is president and CEO of Phinma and former chair of the Makati Business Club.

Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club (makatibusinessclub@mbc.com.ph).

Posted on 29 February 2020 under Business Matters section of The Philippine Daily Inquirer