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Lead-In 2019: Becoming a Catalyst for a Meaningful Impact - The Business Advisor

Lead-In 2019: Becoming a Catalyst for a Meaningful Impact

Times are changing. Climates are shifting. Trade wars are affecting economies. Some communities still lack the basic necessities to live comfortably. 

As the world drastically evolves, how do you use your influence to make a meaningful impact on society?

This was the overarching question for the executives and company leaders present during the Globe Business Leadership Innovation (Lead-In) Forum. Celebrating a decade of influence, Lead-In 2019 decided to shift its focus from making an internal organizational transformation to creating an impact that transcends enterprises.

The Starting Point

“[Businesses are] the starting point of change,” Peter Maquera shared during his opening remarks at Lead-In. The Senior Vice President for Globe Business kickstarted the event by introducing this year’s theme, Catalyst: Igniting Your Influence, and defining what it takes to be a catalyst as a business.

Peter Maquera Opening Remarks

Nowadays, businesses are urged to take cultural innovation and extend it beyond their organizations. They must surpass the mindset that having a corporate social responsibility is enough. To make an impact involves so much more than that. The end goal must be to encourage everyone to be better, do better, and create a better world.

As an example, Maquera mentioned Globe’s initiative to promote digital transformation, local tourism, and sustainability in Siargao, as the surfing capital grows into one of the best tourist spots globally. Globe continues to enhance connectivity on the island by putting up cell sites, laying fiber networks for faster internet connection, and enabling GCash in select establishments. By empowering Siargao with its services, the company can connect the island to the rest of the world and vice-versa, helping the Philippines make its mark in the global economy.

A Reflection of What Matters

Unilever Philippines Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Benjie Yap, continued Maquera’s talk on purpose, reiterating that companies must be purpose-led and future-fit, meaning they need to have the vision to improve the world people live in.

Benjie Yap

Present consumers rally for businesses that are driven by social change. To remain relevant, companies must learn to reflect on what matters most to people, align their workforce’s core values with their own, and make a bold move to help out because they have the resources to do so.

Yap gave the example of Unilever’s Tindahan Club, which aims to assist sari-sari stores to operate efficiently and enhance revenues with the use of technology. The project encourages Filipino store owners to work with tools that give them access to Unilever’s best-selling items, exclusive discounts, and product launches.

Sustainability at the Core

Building on Yap’s insights, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Ayala Corporation, spoke about how human capital is any company’s strongest competitive advantage.

Jaime Augusto Zoble de Ayala

Zobel de Ayala touched on how the Ayala Corporation has had a strong presence in diverse industries catering to the needs of individuals and families. From housing, water, and telecommunications to financial services, transport, healthcare, and education—the Ayala Group has always placed people at the center of its operations. The company runs with a goal in mind: to address customer pain points that involve affordability, quality, and accessibility.

To fulfill this, Zobel De Ayala emphasized that businesses must not only hire people who are in line with their core values, but also collaborate with other organizations. Companies can no longer afford to operate in a vacuum. They must learn to harness their competitive energy and use it in tackling bigger-picture issues. It is the responsibility of the private sector—and not just the government—to work together in solving global problems.

Business objectives, strategies, and decision-making processes must be aligned with the social and economic development of communities. Apart from this, organizations must get past promises and ensure that targets are both actionable and measurable.

The Bridge Between Business and Social Good

How does one begin to measure impact? What makes solutions impactful? Lead-In keynote speaker, Kate Krukiel, began her talk by engaging the audience with these questions. The entrepreneur, impact-maker, and former Microsoft Global Director of Strategic Partnerships emphasized on how impact involves many individuals. She further explained that for businesses to ignite a positive change, they need to listen and engage in discovering their sustainability mission.

Kate Krukiel

She illustrated her work in Malawi, where she and Microsoft worked with a refugee camp to assist them in improving their quality of life. To get an insider’s look into the dynamics of the population, Krukiel and her team appointed and collaborated with refugee ambassadors who could coordinate with them on what the camp needed. 

Looking at it from a technology company’s perspective, Microsoft thought that the most obvious way to help the community was to provide them with mobile phones. However, doing so would have done more harm than good. Krukiel and her team had to stop their initial plan, as it posed a threat to Malawi’s economy, with local vendors making a living from selling phones. 

In this light, Krukiel emphasized the importance of understanding communities and identifying the problems that truly need solving. Collaborating closely with the refugee ambassadors, Krukiel’s team found that they could use other means of technology to make a larger impact on the Malawi camp.

They discovered that Malawians have a knack for coding. Together with Takenolab, a local computer programming and app development academy, Microsoft was able to pinpoint how they could make it easier for students to code. Takenolab had been teaching refugees with merely a blackboard and printed out keyboards. Krukiel and her team were able to encourage locals to learn by providing the camp with more computers and a three-month program that catered especially to women.

Not only did the program help the students, but it also had a rippling effect on the community. These students ended up creating innovative solutions to automate processes within the camp. For instance, they developed an app that notified camp residents whenever there were food deliveries. This was an improvement from the usual announcements written on paper and posted on a wall. Instead of waiting for the delivery schedule and the food, the refugees were notified via their phones, providing them more time to focus on their day-to-day responsibilities.

With this, Krukiel relayed the impact a group of individuals can make. Had her team relied only on what they thought the refugee camp needed, they would not have made as much impact as they did.

Catalysts for a Meaningful Impact

It all starts with you—your influence, how you use it, how far you’ll take it. You can fuel a culture—a culture of innovation, world-changing solutions, and a digital revolution.

Before Lead-In’s conclusion, the program featured Globe Business’ #IgniteYourInfluence video, urging the audience to go beyond and not just focus on personal goals. The audience was asked to take on the challenge of being catalysts for a better future. The video calls on both individuals and enterprises to use their influence to do good—because change starts with everyone. This is in line with what Globe Telecom Chief Human Resource Officer, Renato Jiao, said during his closing speech, “Be your own catalyst. Give, serve, sustain, and, most importantly, lead.”

Globe Business has always been a strong advocate for going beyond. This era is no longer about enterprises focusing solely on numbers and profit, but rather creating a much larger impact on a greater socio-economic need. Businesses have the power to ignite transformation within the four walls of their offices—and hopefully beyond. It is only by being catalysts will they be able to contribute to the Philippines and the rest of the world, setting the path toward a more sustainable future. 

Peter Maquera Benjie Yap Jaime Augusto Zoble de Ayala Kate Krukiel


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