Students learn how to lead with purpose and passion from industry execs

Raisa Serafica
Students learn how to lead with purpose and passion from industry execs
Student leaders from across the country participate in the 10th Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit (AFLBS) held from November 5 to 8 in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines – Being a student leader is not something Carla Bayquen, a fourth year Biology student in UP Mindanao, planned for.

Her leadership experience started with a spontaneous invitation from an acquaintance to run as a member of the student council. That small, random moment eventually spiraled to 4 years of fulfilling opportunity to serve as a student leader in the state university.

It is the same opportunity that led her to be one of the 92 delegates in the 10th Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit (AFLBS) held from November 5 to 8 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. 

The AFLBS is an annual two-day gathering of student leaders aiming to produce young talented leaders from the private sector. Celebrating their 10th year milestone, this year’s AFLBS carried the theme “A decade of building future leaders”.

The summit began in 2006 as a gathering of Cebu student leaders. Through the plenary discussions and team building exercise, the summit aimed to hone the leadership skills of the students, inspiring them to lead with passion and purpose.

Leadership and teamwork 

During the first day of the summit, students in corporate attires listened to Aboitiz executives talk about leadership and how to find one’s purpose 

LEADERSHIP. At the 10th AFLB Summit in Cebu, student leader Carla Bayquen asks one of the Aboitiz executives about leading with purpose. Photo by AFLBS

In his speech, Aboitiz Equity Ventures president and CEO  Montxu Aboitiz told delegates how the choices they make now will mold the leader they will become by highlighting the company’s core values – integrity, innovation, teamwork, and responsibility.

“AFLBS is about the difference you make for the people around you, for the country, and for the economy,” Montxu said.

For Bayquen, the most valuable lesson she learned from the summit was how collective leadership contributes to effective teamwork.

“I’ve learned that it is important to grow as a team because, in growing alone, you fail as a leader,” Bayquen said.

This was underscored by Chief Human Resource Office at Aboitiz Equity Ventures Txabi Aboitiz in his speech on human resources and empowering teams as partners for growth.

Effective leadership, according to Txabi, is also about “getting the right people into our buses or fleets of buses” and, consequently, allowing each one to drive their own careers to become futture leaders.

“People are our greatest asset which means that human resources holds a key role in the organization – that of finding the right people to occupy the right positions and motivating them ot excel and be the best at what they do,” Txabi added.

Passion for better ways

The Aboitiz executives noted that a key ingredient to effective leadership is having the passion to lead and help others.

“We challenge you with the same question we answer everyday: What is your purpose?” asked Emmanuel V. Rubio, President and Chief Executive Officer of SN Aboitiz Power Group 

Responding to Rubio’s challenge, Bayquen said she found her purpose in being able to inform and educate her fellow students in issues relevant to them.

The importance of finding one’s purpose at work was echoed by Unionbank Assistant Vice President Ana Aboitiz-Delgado. An Arts Major graduate in college, Aboitiz- Delgado also shared how pursuing a career on banking allowed her to help make a difference in other peoples’ lives.

Delgado said that her experience with Unionbank made her realize how leading a team is also about serving a public to which they are accountable to. 

We bankers do a lot more than just deal with money…We listen to our customers in order to uncover what it is they need or what are hey looking for,” Delgado added. 

Likewise, Bayquen agreed that, as a youth leader, she is more than just a student juggling her academic responsibilities. The graduating Biology student shared how, like Delgado, she reaps inspiration from the people she serves and their continous affirmation of her effective service. 

This year’s AFLBS capped off with a whole-day team-building activity at the Ramon Aboitiz Foudation Inc Balamban where students participated in an ecosystem challenge and went through a grueling rope course. 

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Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.