Rappler 10th anniversary

Rappler at 10: Lessons on courage that give me hope

Carla Yap-Sy Su
Rappler at 10: Lessons on courage that give me hope

For Rappler's 10th anniversary essay

(2nd UPDATE) Leading business development, marketing innovation, and new strategies allowed me to be a part of a team that brought together the power of stories, the scale of technology, and the strength that comes from communities

We are publishing a series of essays from Rappler employees, old and new, as part of our commemoration of Rappler’s 10th year anniversary in January 2022.

MANILA, Philippines – Dreamers, change makers, and a community filled with hope fighting for truth is the space that Rappler has built.  In the last decade, it’s built a haven for ideas, imagination, and a sharp vision of crafting stories that matter, sharing new perspectives and amplifying different voices. 

Rappler was my haven for nearly seven years. Leading business development, marketing innovation, and new strategies allowed me to be a part of a team that brought together the power of stories, the scale of technology, and the strength that comes from communities – all made possible by a strong and unique group of resourceful innovators.

REBELS WITH A CAUSE. Carla Yap-Sy Su (second from left) with members of the Sales, Community, Editorial, and Tech teams

It’s been often said that Rapplers are rebels with a cause and are always ahead of their time. Rappler’s strength is driven by a lean, talented, and collaborative team that is not afraid to build bold, daring ideas and bring them to life from the ground up.

These include creating award-winning content for topics that resonate like women empowerment, gender equality, entrepreneurship, and climate change. We also launched new platforms such as #ThinkPH and Detours, celebrating new heroes through Move Awards and pioneering new formats such as interactive stories, 360 images, VR, merchandising crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding. All this with the goal of sparking new conversations, introducing new experiences, and innovating with purpose. 

Be the good

It was a great time to create. In our first office along Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City, open discussions were always the norm, quick ideation and different opinions were encouraged, and even missteps became the right step towards discovering something new.  

That was the environment that sparked the message of “Be the good” in 2015, when we were abuzz with preparations for two big events that year: the annual Social Good Summit organized by the UN globally (with Rappler as its Manila partner) and our very own ThinkPH summit, which tackled innovation and the world’s new challenges. The two summits had the same goals: to get communities and thought leaders together on issues concerning technology, climate change, empowerment – and what we needed to act on for a better 2030. 

We knew that the conversations had to go beyond these two events. And what better way to achieve this than by literally carrying the “Be the good” message – inspired by a Buddhist quote – in big Rappler color on a shirt?  In true Rappler fashion, we launched the shirt in two weeks – from ideation to finalizing the design to printing and selling it in Rappler’s booth at the Social Good Summit that year. It was an immersive collaborative experience among various units such as Sales, Creatives, Admin, and Move.PH, which was the lead organizer of that year’s event.  

SOCIAL GOOD. Rappler CEO Maria Ressa shows Rappler’s 2015 ‘Be The Good’ shirt during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2021. Nobel Prize/YouTube

And before we knew it, the shirt would kick off Rappler’s merchandise line.

Bold and fearless innovators

As the world continued to shift and change, Rappler and Rapplers’ tenacity remained constant. Each story has been an opportunity to inspire courage, each effort presented a way to renew grit, each win pushed the team to power through. 

This has always been what makes Rappler an amazing space to grow and create; it is constantly driven by a team with a clear view that determination, truth, and courage matter. We learned from experience how inspiring courage can drive change.

INNOVATING WITH PURPOSE. Rappler’s Sales team in one of its events for social good

Innovation and pushing for purpose is never easy. We’ve battled through countless ups and downs, each time drawing from the high of every win that helped us pick ourselves up when we’re down. What underpins this to this day is a collective sense that what Rappler does matters, what each person brings to the table is valued, and that the mission of fighting for truth is worth it. 

These are some values we lived by as we built the vision of daring to be different in our mission to inspire courage, one conversation at a time. But indeed, courage looks different on everyone. And these are some of the ways we approached it.

Courage is daunting. Where do I start? Will what I do matter more than the others? Will it even count? What I learned in Rappler is that everybody has their own expression of courage. From stories we craft, to conversations we start, to relationships we build, your act of courage is uniquely yours. Find and build your own brand of courage for what matters for you, it is yours to define and act on. 

Courage is an act of selflessness. We tend to gain strength when we know it’s for a bigger purpose, for what we believe in, for people we live for. While the act of courage starts with you, know why you’re doing it and what you’re aiming for that can cause ripples and inspire others.

Courage is contagious. You are not alone in wanting and needing to be courageous. What you start can lead you to discover like-minded people or communities that have the same purpose and journey as you. Start by sharing stories that matter in upholding the truth and showing facts

Courage does not need to be loud to be heard. Every act of courage counts, small and simple actions can lead to meaningful impact. Start your own journey and build towards more momentum in how you would like to express your own brand of courage.  

Courage creates opportunities. Don’t underestimate the impact of your actions, your next courageous step can lead to opportunities for yourself and others, whether it’s discovering a new skill or discovering something new about yourself that can lead to new growth. 

Learning these lessons on courage made me realize that we all have a part in choosing to do better, be better – despite and because of the circumstances we live in. These lessons are my anchors as I navigate through a different world, where new worlds are continuing to take shape. 

What gives me hope would be the values and lessons that we carry with us to continue to push towards the next step and help shape the next generation of fighters and dreamers that will make a difference, one courageous act to the next.

The Rappler journey continues, as each Rappler carries on with #CourageON. – Rappler.com

Carla Yap-Sy Su built her career in dynamic and innovative industries such as telecom, online media and data.  As Rappler’s chief revenue officer from 2013-2019, she led the creation of BrandRap’s strategies, award-winning content and events, new innovations and new customer engagement solutions, all made possible through Rappler’s powerhouse team. She now heads the Data and Innovation team of JG Summit’s data analytics unit, DAVI.