The Inaugural Philippines

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We live in a world with so much uncertainty and change.

At the height of the pandemic, people experienced more complex challenges than ever before.

There were also exceptional leaders who were able to rise above the storm and inspire their teams to move forward despite the challenges.

These are the leaders who led great workplaces in times of crisis with: 

  • Integrity: They exhibited honesty and truthfulness at all times
  • Malasakit: They showed compassion and empathy towards the needs of the team
  • Resilience: They overcame adversity and challenges during the pandemic
  • Inspiration: They provided hope and encouragement to people, thereby allowing them to achieve beyond obstacles they encountered
  • Courage: They demonstrated the tenacity to make tough decisions that will be for the benefit of the organization and the team

We celebrate each one of them as a beacon of hope and possibility to their teams and organizations.

They thought of others before themselves—servant leadership at its finest.

They ensured their people’s physical and mental well-being, allowing them to remain productive and engaged despite all the challenges they faced.

These are the inaugural Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn.

The Philippines’ Top 30 Filipino Leaders on LinkedIn is an initiative created by the following:

IAN SANTOS, Founder & Managing Consultant of IMS Learning & Consulting,

ANDA GOSECO, ICF-PCC of Coach Anda, and

VIRGINIA BAUTISTA of VB Consulting and Creator of the Top 100 Filipinos on LinkedIn

This initiative has the following objectives:

• Recognize outstanding Filipino leaders on LinkedIn who exemplify leadership traits worth emulating during this pandemic

• Start a movement to enhance and elevate leadership capabilities in the country

• Create a community that helps each other become better leaders

• Inspire other leaders to elevate their game Filipino leaders are world-class and are among the best in the world.

We want to put a spotlight on these Filipino leaders, and we are excited to release the inaugural edition this 2022!

We have been in challenging times over the last two years. But great leaders rise up in times of crisis, elevating their teams and organizations to even greater heights, hence our Theme:

“Leaders of Great Workplaces in Times of Crisis”

This initiative is a platform to recognize competent Filipino Leaders on LinkedIn who have demonstrated key traits and values that have led to great workplaces, engaged team members, and great results.

We begin with the Top Leaders who represent each of the five leadership values of the Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn:

Top Leader for Inspiration: Dean Pax Lapid

Dean Pax Lapid has inspired many through his five best-selling books (two of which he co-authored with Bo Sanchez), how he has lived his life as a corporate professional, professor of entrepreneurship, and loving husband, father, and grandfather.

The fact that he has been quoted many times for his motto, “I aspire to inspire before I expire”, also shows how his teachings have touched many people.

During the pandemic, he made sure he inspired IT-SPAC employees through his leadership, making sure everyone was safe, had a secure job, and was taken care of by the company. His company is among the few who even expanded during these challenging times.

He extended financial and financial help not only to his employees but to friends and the country through his MSME advocacy (read detailed accounts of his many projects during the pandemic in his writeup).

Those who have been fortunate enough to have become either his students, mentees, or employees undoubtedly will be able to put precious life lessons from the Dean with them to good use.

These make Dean Pax Lapid a true leader for inspiration.

 Keep inspiring, Dean Pax!

 Here’s an excerpt from one of his nominations.

 “Dean Pax Lapid has mentored and inspired micro, small and medium enterprises on how to bounce back from this crisis. He has been mounting seminars and boot camps to guide those devastated by the effects of the pandemic and constantly guides and guards their spiritual and financial well-being.”



Top Leader for Courage: Harvey Ong


Perhaps one of the most courageously inspiring leaders we have seen during the pandemic is the COO of Alfamart, Harvey Ong. Over the last two years, the rapidly expanding chain has opened more than four hundred outlets under his leadership. Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought to the business community, Harvey has demonstrated the true essence of a courageous leader by

  • Sacrificing profit in many stores to keep goods available.
  • Leading a challenging business to success while ensuring the safety and well-being of his employees.
  • Helping retain all jobs and create more than 4,000 jobs in a challenging economy by expanding a business so more neighborhood stores can serve communities needing household goods when movement is restricted.

 Kudos to you, Harvey!

 Here’s an excerpt from one of Harvey’s nominations.

 “A courageous and resilient leader of Alfamart Philippines, Harvey has consistently inspired his team during the pandemic, making sure that they are well taken care of as they thrived amid the challenges of the times.”


Top Leader for Resilience: Louie Banta


Louie Banta, the President and CEO of LJMB Consulting has transformed his company and led it through challenging times to become perhaps one of the country’s most recognized online training outfits today. At the onset of the pandemic, Louie and the team were among the few who could pivot their business model in an agile way, even being recognized and awarded by the Philippine Society for Talent Development (PSTD) as the 2021 Outsourced Learning & Development Company of the Year.

Louie has proven that the most resilient leaders can continue to thrive and succeed when faced with an extreme challenge.

Louie has truly demonstrated the spirit of a resilient leader.

“I’m a fighter and refuse to back down when faced with hurdles. I rallied the team to adopt the same. We may not know what the answer is, what to do and how to do it, but we’ll have to do something and continuously figure out how to make things better.”

 Well done, Louie!

 Here’s one excerpt from Louie’s nominations.

 “Aside from ensuring the welfare of employees, he constantly served the bigger community by providing free coaching and learning services which influenced how others navigated the pandemic. By actively giving back with the perspective that by giving, he enables others to give out too.”

Top Leader for Malasakit: Mariel Tablan


As Associate Director and Head of the AIA Academy at AIA Philippines, Mariel Tablan has proven that leading with compassion, caring, and malasakit can go a long way to inspire people and help them go through the most challenging of times.

 She constantly reminds them that life isn’t just about work and that growth must be holistic. Team members have improved their ability to manage themselves, others, and their work.

She established a cadence of regular one-on-one coaching sessions, bi-monthly one-hour team huddles, monthly general assemblies, and quarterly business reviews to support momentum and growth. 

She ensured that there was time for holistic learning during monthly general assemblies. They learned about empathetic listening, energy management, and personal branding. She provided a lot of coaching sessions to non-employee sales leaders to help them cope and thrive, especially during the two-year lockdown due to the pandemic.

These lists of planned activities for all members of her team show how Mariel truly cares about people.

Great work, Mariel!

Here is an excerpt from one of her nominations.

“Coach Mariel’s “Malasakit” to the team is truly exemplary. She has shown great compassion and empathy towards the needs of my agency even before and during the pandemic. She has been reaching out to my leaders and me. Her never-ending support and guidance to all of us outside Manila (Cebu Team) are exceptional.”


Top Leader for Integrity: Daisy Lacuanan-Callanta


Daisy Lacuanan-Callanta is a firm believer in the importance of integrity in leadership.


When she founded Jesus HUGS Ministries Inc in 2018, she made certain that it was a properly registered and recognized legal entity with the SEC, BIR, LGU, and government agencies. As a non-profit organization, honesty was required in all representations and transactions.

To maintain their integrity, none of the ministry’s board members or officers is paid, and all proceeds benefit the organization. A donation receipt was issued for each amount received. The ministry provided updates as well as transparent financial reports.

These practices earned the trust of local and international ministry partners, donors, and volunteers.

Great job, Daisy!

 Here is an excerpt from one of her nominations.

 “Daisy instituted the policy of constantly issuing official BIR receipts for financial donations received (even when other NGOs do not), and Jesus HUGS Ministries (JHM) regularly provides financial reports to the BIR.”

Let us now recognize the inaugural Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn:



Title/Position: President

Organization: Success Options Inc

Industry: Training & Consulting


“Do what I say. Say what I do. Mean what I say and say what I mean.”

Francis Kong, a keynote speaker and leader, emphasizes that INTEGRITY is about keeping promises and delivering commitments. Do not make promises or commitments that you are unsure of.

It promotes an honest and transparent culture. There will be no blame game, no excuses, but a determination to meet promised goals and commitments.

As a leader himself, Francis does not only train and teach about leadership. Nor does he write about it in his columns and many bestsellers on the subject. He preaches what he practices, whether with his team at Success Options, Inc or in the many behind-the-scenes selfless services he provides to the community.

With his weekend columns at the Philippine Star, which feature his leadership materials, many top business decisions have expressed appreciation for how the principles have helped them in their leadership responsibilities. It also helped them build resilience and other skills required to help people and businesses navigate uncertain times.


“Crisis does not make a character – it only reveals the stuff the person is made of.”

During difficult times, a leader’s character shines through. Great leaders will not take the easy way out but will remain steadfast and true to their values. This, in turn, will strengthen the individual, build up, and enable the leader to take on greater responsibilities and build capacity to face greater challenges.


Francis’s leadership style is based on what he does daily rather than what he preaches. He believes that leading by example is the best way to go.

He understands that his leadership role requires a high sense of responsibility to serve, inspire, and encourage others to improve through daily practice of the right behavior, modelling, and being an example for the people he leads. He constantly reminds himself as a leader that, while leadership begins with him, it is not about him.

He shares the following for leaders to thrive in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world:

  • Understand that a VUCA World is a perfect description of the Pre-pandemic situation.
  • While VUCA (macro) is still operative, this condition has evolved into a BANI World (Brittle-Anxious-Non-linear and Incomprehensible).
  • Focus on the individual. Understand that effective leadership does not follow any framework or rulebook of the past.
  • Level-up leadership requires a playbook of leadership utilities and tools to deal with today’s constantly accelerating world.
  • The focus should shift from programs to people, etc.


Here is a quote from one of his nominations.

“A leader who has brightly shone like a lighthouse in times of darkness this pandemic, Francis’ inspirational talks and webinars in different social media outlets during the pandemic inspired a nation of learners, students, workers, and fellow leaders hungry for hope and meaning amidst life’s many challenges during the unprecedented times. He served as a beacon of hope, an island of optimism in a sea of uncertainty.”





Title/Position: President & CEO

Organization: Jesus HUGS Ministries Inc

Industry: Non-Profit Organization


Inspiration in the Ministry

“Inspiration to keep our faith stronger than our fears is crucial. In March 2020, Jesus HUGS Ministries launched “Plugged Into the Power of Prayer,” our first online streaming ministry. Further followed by four more online ministries, namely “Jesus HUGS Faith Talks, Women Warriors of Jesus, Every Man A Warrior and Brick to Breakthrough.” Since then, we have been a weekly voice on social media, in the hopes of inspiring people to be strong in Jesus and rest in Him always. Through these livestreams, we expanded our reach globally, and gained newfound friends, volunteers, and ministry partners.”

In Daisy’s nominations, we see how she impacted many lives as President and CEO of Jesus Hugs Ministries during the pandemic. She encouraged and gave hope through her social media motivational talks. Receipts were issued for all donations she received for the pandemic, typhoon, or volcanic eruption-related outreach programs that provided medical supplies, food, and financial assistance.

Daisy and her team were the first private responders on the field during “Operation Blessed to Be a Blessing,” when the pandemic broke out and Taal Volcano erupted, despite almost zero visibility on the road. They provided relief operations worth P500,000 to families in Talisay, Batangas, three times.

During the first lockdown in March 2020, Daisy and her team gave financial grants of Php 3,000 each to 85 SPED teachers and frontliners near their community. Despite travel restrictions, when Typhoon Isabela hit, they immediately worked remotely with Isabela volunteers and LGU officials to provide relief operations and feeding programs.

When they heard that a Badjao community with 40 families lost their homes due to the typhoon and had no clean water, they remotely coordinated and built two water pumps through “Operation Poso sa Puso.”

During the shortage of facial masks and price increase in January 2021, RBC MDC, a pharmaceutical company and ministry partner since 2018, gave the ministry Php 600,000 worth of facial masks. They used these masks for “Operation MaskLasakit,” distributing them for free to tuberculosis patients, their treatment givers, and medical frontliners.

Daisy and her team launched “Operation NutriHUGS” in partnership with Reeva Noodles to help less privileged farmers and their families in Batangas. Daisy led these major outreach programs during the pandemic.


“The pandemic is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. The number of sick and deceased people each day was staggering. People were cut off from one another and forced to live in isolation. Not to mention, our minds were plagued by worries for our families, health, finances and future. “

The pandemic taught us to

  • value God, our families and others above ourselves.
  • respect the value of life.
  • aim for significance over success.
  • open our eyes to the fact that the material things that many of us worked so hard to get are actually rubbish.
  • see ordinary people become heroes, putting their lives at risk to provide essential needs and medical care to our countrymen, sadly even at the cost of their own lives.
  • be grateful, in the storm and after it.

In a VUCA world, we have to accept that the world will remain volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. It’s given. As leaders, we can always find things to do to make the world a little more bearable. Keeping an open mind and perspective, and doing something to transform challenges into opportunities, and burdens into blessings can help us overcome challenges. With the right mindset and wisdom from God, we may surprise ourselves at the discoveries we can make.


“My resilience as a leader is based solely on the person of Jesus Christ. In times of crisis, I have discovered that leadership is not about my title, position, influence, skills or knowledge – but centered on my faith in the Lord.”

“When the future seems uncertain, my resilience was in the Lord. When times were hard, I held up high my faith milestones. I reminded myself that the same God who cured my son from autism is the same God who will save us all. This alone, gives me hope each day.”




Title/Position: Pambansang Wealth Coach

Organization: Team Positive

Industry: Education

Chinkee Tan is a well-known motivational speaker, wealth coach, and TV personality. He aims to educate and inspire people to become wealthy and debt-free. He has taught thousands of people about money and financial literacy.

Chinkee wants to help people understand what success means, see greatness in themselves, and make better money decisions to reach their goals. He wants to help leaders improve their financial skills by sharing his knowledge of leadership and finances. He says the Philippines needs more flexible leaders to stay ahead of the competition.

He believes a leader must lead by example. Integrity is how he’ll earn his peers’ trust, so he works hard to demonstrate it.

Here are some of his tips on how to show integrity as a leader.

  • Be honest with yourself and others at all times.
  • Do what is right, even if it is not easy or convenient for anyone involved.
  • Do what is right, even when no one is looking.

He also shows compassion because he works with a diverse team and recognizes that everyone has different backgrounds, family situations, and perspectives on life. As a result, he believes that being compassionate to your employees is critical. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

As a leader, Chinkee has learned that being compassionate entails treating others with dignity, regardless of where they are in life or the difficulties they have encountered. Understanding and communicating with others will aid in the development of trust within the organization, which is a necessary component for any successful team.

He believes in inspiring employees to do their best so the team can shine. Inspired leaders can help others reach their potential, he says. They show the way, lead by example, and make everyone feel valued. They don’t simply give orders. They explain why they (or their organization) should do it.

Here is an excerpt from a nomination for Chinkee.

“Many of our countrymen experienced the loss of jobs and loss of income during the pandemic. For those who did, and even for those who still had a source of income, Chinkee provided expert guidance and a lifeline of hope through his many financial wellness webinars and talks. Thank you so much, Chinkee!”





Title/Position: Department Head/Manager

Organization: Kimstore

Industry: Retail/eCommerce


Aileen Zalameda, a seasoned HR practitioner, believes that in every situation, a leader must demonstrate all five key traits: integrity, malasakit, courage, inspiration, and resilience. Nowadays, change is constant, and these characteristics will help the organization become more stable in the face of reality, transitions, and challenges.

“As Human Resource professionals, we have to show the whole organization that they can trust us. Everything we do should have a purpose. Be a “mother” to all, listen, and be composed despite the test of time. You have to be someone that people can lean on during difficult times and that you don’t give up easily no matter what.”

Demonstrating such assurance to your team leads to a better organization that follows the rules and adheres to programs/initiatives without complaining.

Lead with Purpose and Clarity

“As a leader, one of our core responsibilities is to ensure that we provide direction. Lead with purpose. It helps improve the organization’s efficiency and performance to achieve goals/targets. Have clarity or be clear with your intention. Motivate and guide the organization to realize where you want to be and to meet its objective. Don’t micromanage. Empower your team. It can lead to inspiring teams to do their best. Practice leading, not managing.”

Aileen adds that maintaining team cohesion and achieving objectives requires a leader with purpose and clarity in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. It provides the team with direction.


As an HR Leader, you are the organization’s source of strength during a crisis. Leaders must stay on top of the game and seek credible information to communicate necessary information. Proper communication reduces emotional stress and fear.

Leaders must be prepared with tactics and strategies along the way, have contingency plans, be proactive, and benchmark with industry best practices. They must show concern for their people and demonstrate that they are in command of the situation.


Resilience is one characteristic that leaders should have nowadays to withstand a difficult situation.

Aileen shares some tips to cope in times of challenges:

  • Think ahead of time.
  • Be proactive regardless of the situation.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Face reality and conflict with courage.
  • Be rational in everything you do.
  • Reach out to people and ask for help.
  • Take time off, and be with your family, friends, and loved ones (being with them will recharge you to keep going in life).

Here are just some of the heart-warming nominations for Aileen.

“She kept believing in growing and upskilling the employees of Kimstore. While other companies gave up their budget to keep training their people during the pandemic, she ensured that everyone in the company was equipped, resilient, and relevant enough to cope with pivoting the company. She had to keep the business afloat and eventually thrive in the new normal.”

“She managed to ensure that her organization is taken care of, from the physical safety and mental health and wellness of her peers and everyone around her.

“Ms Zalameda’sZalameda’s vast experiences in Human Resource Management in different industries like F&B and e-commerce is immeasurable until now, and people are still searching for her “Alagang Len.” She demonstrates genuine care and concern for our people, from higher management to dishwasher or kitchen staff. She deserves to be recognized as a Filipino Leader for her dedication to her role as human resource leader.”




Title/Position: Founder& CEO

Organization: Scale Experts, Inc.

Industry: Business Process Outsourcing


Maintaining integrity is critical, and she has demonstrated such character by being morally upright in dealing with employees. When Covid19 hit the country, she showed courage and strength by informing her employees of the realistic scenarios the company was facing and willingly giving up some of her privileges to ensure that everyone received timely and full compensation.

As a Rotary Club Past President, she hopes to inspire her employees through her service projects and encourage them to join her.

Resilience was what kept her company afloat during the pandemic. The team had to tighten their belts and push for more projects, which resulted in a fruitful outcome for everyone – new projects, new employees, and the long-awaited raise for everyone.


Pamela believes that a leader should be more visible in times of crisis. Allowing your team to see you in command of the situation boosts their confidence. She also shares her company’s crisis management leadership practices.

  • Empower employees by celebrating their successes.
  • Make a safe environment where they are not afraid of making mistakes and being reprimanded because they know it is constructive.
  • Never humiliate your team in public or chat. It diminishes self-esteem and identity.
  • Instead of keeping the people on the front lines in the dark, gain insight into them.
  • Learn about the struggles of your employees by engaging in constant dialogue with them.
  • Being human demonstrates that you are accommodating.
  • Addressing employees’ concerns makes them feel safer, more confident, and loyal because they know their leaders care about their well-being.

To thrive in a VUCA world, Pamela advises that just because you’re now in charge doesn’t mean you know how to change a flat tire. It would help to do the following:

  • Keep up with the latest trends to help you learn and forecast the following steps and anticipate potential challenges.
  • Create and document your processes to help you track progress and improve your current process flows.
  • Reaching out to your team at all levels can help you broaden your perspective.

“Money is not only the driving force behind your company. Prioritize what your employees and clients require first, and the money will follow.”


“Don’t stay in an ivory tower. Being a leader may bring you prestige, access to power, money, and influence – but whenever you access these privileges, always think of how this will impact your company, your clients, and most of all, your employees.”

During challenging times

  • Never show fear to your employees.
  • Never blame anyone.
  • Keep your chin up and look at the situation from a different angle.
  • Treat your employees, your immediate team, as your data sources – because they usually know what’s happening.
  • Take their information with a grain of salt, and then channel your creativity and critical thinking into improving the situation.
  • Share your victory with your team because it will make them proud and empowered.

A good leader is someone everyone can say, “I improved because I had a great leader who motivated me to be better.”

As a leader, she wishes to contribute to the advancement of leadership in the Philippines. She hopes to assist leaders in becoming more compassionate while maintaining firmness and equality in their decisions. She wants them to practice Kaisen or continuous improvement.

She intends to create a community of business owners and assist them in improving, upgrading, and elevating their leadership through coaching, skill development, and support.

This excerpt is from one of her nominations.

“Our CEO has certainly exemplified these traits. She looks after her employees and ensures that we are well taken care of since the pandemics start. She has provided us with a permanent Work-From-Home setup assuring everyone can still generate income and make ends meet safely within our homes. She also has Pamela Ann Baluyo, the founder and CEO of Scale Experts, is a leader who cares deeply about her employees, whom she treats like family. She is fair to everyone and draws the line between personal and professional relationships.




Title/Position: Managing Director

Organization: IT-SPAC

Industry: IT Consulting Services


“A  leader’s value foundation starts with the Lord.”

Dean Pax Lapid, Managing Director of ITSPAC, strongly believes that in everything we do as leaders, trust in the Lord. He has practised integrity, malasakit, courage, inspiration, & resilience with Christ as his guiding light.

These leadership values were ingrained in him by his mother who used to tell him these words of wisdom while growing up:

  • “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.”
  • “God has given us the talents to create wealth. We need to use our time and talent to create our treasure.”
  • “It is better to be at the losing end rather than be greedy.”
  • “It is just a matter of time. It is in God’s time, not man’s time. What man proposes, God disposes.”

“We work hard for growth even during the pandemic knowing that God is in command. We have grown in leaps & bounds in 2021. 2022 is our banner year. Having said this – we play and have fun harder as we celebrate our 18th Company Anniversary. But not to forget – we pray hardest for everybody.”


When the pandemic hit, Dean Pax decided to keep as many employees as possible. They even had five hires in 2020.

He saved lives & livelihoods. He made sure the business ran and stayed connected to employees and customers. At the height of the pandemic, he showed more compassion (or “love in action”) by helping those in need.

Dean had a remarkable insight on the word RESILIENCY, which he dissected into REST-ILL-NC. He said you’ll only know if you have it in a real crisis. RESTING – many lockdowns…nowhere to go, ILLNESS – hard hit by covid/death, NC (NO CUSTOMER), the business died.

He added that recovering from a period of rest, illness, or a lack of customers is a difficult battle. It’s as if you’re starting over. Bouncing back occurs when your resilience triumphs and, with luck, you recover.

Dean recognized the importance of public-private partnerships in mobilizing a recovery movement during a crisis. So he and his partners created/designed/delivered advocacy programs to help entrepreneurs deal with financial constraints.

  •  USAID Women Global Dev Program. IT-SPAC led the training of 800 “Nanays” to become online sellers. At the height of the pandemic, it generated 300 online storefronts with a revenue of 36 million pesos.
  •  OWWA-National Reintegration for Repatriated OFWs. Dean mentored aspiring entrepreneurs with homegrown brands in three batches (360 mentees). OWWA, on the other hand, provided a $10,000 start-up grant.
  •  DTI – National Women’s Council. Over two batches (200) of displaced workers were trained to become online entrepreneurs. AFFI provided graduates with a $10,000 start-up capital and/or food kiosks (Association of Filipino Franchisors Inc)
  • SBCORP DTI Mentored struggling entrepreneurs in pivot strategies/financial management/digital marketing across three batches (150). Graduates were given access to interest-free loans of up to 5 million pesos.


    Dean expresses gratitude to Mert Tangonan (USAID), Sec Ramon Lopez (DTI), OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, and Director Roel Martin (NRCO) for their collaboration during the pandemic.

    CRISIS is an example of what happens in a VUCA world. What is Dean Pax Lapid’s advice to leaders to THRIVE in their business?

    • Leaders need to have a VISION and a long-term view. Leaders have to re-craft the existing company vision that is doable.
    • UNDERSTAND the global, regional & focal situations, reading/listening from other leaders
    • Manage crises with CLARITY.
    • After getting some clarity, take the AGILITY route moving quickly & easily. Quick is based on clear short-term inputs while easy is based on medium/long-term capability.


    “There is an urgent need for a leader to get in the zone of resilience during times of crisis, not in times of abundance. But for the leader to stay in that zone, he must have set aside (some funds) in times of plenty. A leader needs both to lead & to bleed…that’s the reality.”

    “A leader in times of crisis must have a strong set of values and lots of courage. THIS IS NEVER LIP SERVICE. This is where real sincerity comes into play for both staff & clients. After all real service starts with sincerity, then sincerity begets trust, then trust begets respect. ONLY THEN WHEN ONE IS RESPECTED, then he is able to lead his family, his organization and his community thru advocacy to prosper.”

    Being a leader who inspires, Dean Pax Lapid believes that a leader is both nature and nurture. The traits of a natural leader can be seen early on in life maybe through his genes & his environment & a parent’s love. LEADERSHIP nurturing starts in the home.

    As a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the Philippines, he started with his son who is now the COO of my ITSPAC.

    This excerpt is from one of his nominations.

    “While most business owners were in a state of panic due to the uncertainty of the business environment during the pandemic, Dean Pax showed exemplary resilience, inspiration, and courage by proving that he can grow his company (IT-SPAC) while helping other Filipinos through his advocacies. This was no ordinary feat because, during a pandemic, a leader would only think about protecting his business. For Dean Pax, the pandemic was a trailblazing moment because he was not only thriving but he was also helping others to survive, and thrive well with him. His leadership quality of malasakit moved beyond his team, he also extended it to help his friends and the country.”

    #7. JOSIAH GO


    Title/Position: Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist

    Organization: Mansmith and Fielders

    Industry: Training & Consulting


    Josiah is widely regarded as the country’s leading Marketing Mentor and Guru, and he serves as Chairman or CEO of several companies, including Mansmith & Fielders and Waters Philippines.

    Josiah and his team always considered Mansmith and Fielders’ 4Is: Information, Ideas, Inspiration, and Infrastructure, whether things were going well or not. So, as a leader, he and his team decided to do the following during the pandemic:

    •  Sacrifice some revenues and profit and take a long-term view, leading them to decide money won’t be an issue if smaller companies would approach them for help,
    • Launch and accelerate programs to inspire the nation (Mansmith Marketing Inspiration Festival, Mansmith Innovation Summit and Awards, Mansmith Business Model 55-video course in 4K quality, Business Model Pivot research, etc.).
    • Launch Continuum Academy, one of the first online academies to emerge during the pandemic
    • Accept all invitations to give talks from professional and civic organizations and launch a FREE book for MSMEs now available on to do his share in helping the country recover from the challenges of the last two years.”


    says that one of his advantages is that he had been through a crisis before and was regretful about some things he did when he was younger. So, he wrote a blog post called “The New 4Ps to Survive and Thrive During a Pandemic” and posted it on his blog.

    1.  Protection (safety of workers, save jobs)
    2. People (retrain, recruit)
    3. Product (pivot, dual business)
    4. Payoff (cut fats, operational efficiency)

    This pandemic taught us about four things: Humanity, Opportunity, Utility, and Community. He made the connection because he kept thinking about the idea of resilience. He is also lucky to have a great leadership team that always backs him up.

     For leaders to thrive in a VUCA world, they must welcome different perspectives, be willing to give way to a better idea from a subordinate, develop their ecosystem before they need it, seek partnerships, and ask for help.


    For leaders to maintain resilience, Josiah shares the following:

    • Zoom out to your higher purpose, spirituality matters.
    • Consider self-care a priority (exercise, ME time, etc.).
    • Have a social support group.
    • Choose your role models carefully.
    • Learn new things.
    • Face your fear.
    • Have a moral compass.
    • Here is an excerpt from a nomination for Josiah.

    To elevate the level of leadership in the country, Josiah suggests the following:

    • Be one instead of expecting one.
    • Have a possibility mindset.
    • Communicating and rallying the troops are indispensable.
    • Remind everyone of your mission, even if you are already all tired.

    “As a marketing and strategy Guru, Josiah Go did not let the pandemic stop him and his team from sharing knowledge, insights, and advice to many Filipinos and organizations in the last two years. Continuum Academy, his online training company was born just as the pandemic started, demonstrating his leadership agility and acumen in real-time. His advocacies to help MSMEs and other small companies continued when it was needed most, showing genuine malasakit for his countrymen.”


    #8. HARVEY ONG


    Title/Position: Chief Operating Officer

    Organization: Alfamart Trading Philippines

    Industry: Retail


    Alfamart’s goal is to improve people’s lives in underserved communities by making everyday shopping more accessible. During the pandemic, Harvey Ong, COO of  Alfamart Trading Philippines, accomplished the following:

    •  He kept most of the stores open during the height of the pandemic, even in places where there was a significant drop in foot traffic. Harvey could have temporarily closed some of its stores because that was the smart thing to do financially. But given Alfamart’s purpose, he thought keeping the store open was more important for the communities, even if it meant hitting their bottom line. It was their way of showing “malasakit,” or caring, by making financial sacrifices to continue serving their customers when they needed them the most.
    •  He decided to keep opening more stores to help more people who didn’t have access to a supermarket. He and his team opened more than 400 stores during the pandemic (2020-2021). Despite the financial risks, he thought it was important that they open stores where needed.
    •  Due to its continued growth, Alfamart could keep all of its employees’ jobs (no layoffs) and even create more than 4,000 new jobs over the past two years. This is on top of the economic benefits to more than 400 new landlords and contractors who help build their stores.
    •  When businesses were closing left and right, Alfamart’s constant growth was a source of inspiration for some in the business world. They were given the 2021 ASIA LEADERS AWARD (Service).
    •  Alfamart spent money on e-learning tools to reach more employees and stepped up their training programs. To serve the communities well, it was important to have skilled and interested employees. The best way to get employees to work hard is to show that they care about their development. Harvey made it a point to participate (i.e., lecture) in the training programs. He also met with supervisors weekly for Kamustahan sessions and went to each store to see how the store crews were doing.



     Harvey Ong was awarded as one of Asia’s Rising Tiger leaders for 2022. Here is what he says about leading during a crisis. 

    • People are our biggest asset, especially in retail, a people business. If you treat your staff well, they’ll treat customers well. If you treat your people well in good times, they’ll help you in bad times. 
    • Not everything should be left to the government. Private sector leaders can lead change and be a positive force. We must do our part if we want our country to improve. 
    • We must return to our corporate and personal purposes in times of crisis. Our mission will help us make long-term decisions with clarity. Purpose keeps us going when we want to quit.


    For leaders to THRIVE in a VUCA world, Harvey believes that being a life-long learner is the key. To do this, one must

    • Be open to networking and meeting people with different backgrounds to continuously feed and stimulate our minds
    • Have a growth mindset. We shouldn’t be afraid to try out new things, and we need to accept that we will fail every now and then.
    • Beware of our enemy — Ego, Pride, Arrogance.



     Harvey has never fought his battles alone, fortunately. He draws strength from his personal relationships, mainly his wife and a few close friends. He adds that leaders should practice mindfulness and be in the present.

    “Unless we are in the present, we fail to appreciate the positive things in life. Being in the present allows us to be grateful.”

    As a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the Philippines, he believes that the best way is by sharing his knowledge and experience, especially to the younger generation.

    Since 2018, he has been a Guest Lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila Graduate School (Center for Continuing Education) for their Retail Management & Strategy programs. More recently, he was a speaker at the 2021 National Retail Conference and Expo and a Panelist at the 12th Market Masters Conference. He was also part of the Executive Jury of the 2022 Asia Pacific Tambuli Awards.

    Here is an excerpt from one of his nominations.

    “A leader known for his integrity in business dealings, he has spearheaded the tremendous growth for Alfamart in the last two years, becoming one of the very few companies that have exponentially grown and thrived amidst the crisis. Alfamart was seen opening multiple stores on a monthly basis, providing employment to many and ensuring people had access to basic goods in their neighborhood.”



    Title/Position: President & CEO

    Organization: Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy

    Industry: Learning and Development


    For Boris, trust is the currency in his line of business. He has been training and consultancy since 2001, beginning with Salt and Light Ventures. For him, one’s integrity and credibility are crucial to keep and sustain engagements with clients, meaning they keep coming back for repeat and further engagement.

    Furthermore, Lead Like Jesus (founded by Ken Blanchard) continues to trust Boris and his team. Aside from the training programs, Lead Like Jesus has become his advocacy alongside Save the Children Philippines and The Bible League Philippines, both of which he serves as a board member. For Lead Like Jesus, he started as their country representative for the Philippines and is now the representative for South-East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Many of his clients and partners consider his involvement in Lead Like Jesus as a testament to integrity, courage, and inspiration.

    Aside from supporting the community development work of Save the Children Philippines, Boris adopted a community of the Dumagat in Taytay Rizal (featured by CNN Philippines). Being a training and learning practitioner, he advocates for education and empowerment. He believes that you must teach people to help themselves. Boris and his team do work among the Dumagat tribe’s livelihood programs that teach them how to maximize their ancestral domain and make a living for their families.

    Boris’s advocacies are a testament to his “malasakit” to his communities. He also founded Project Purpose Team, Inc., which provides subsidized or sponsored training programs and learning sessions (discovering your life purpose, designing and implementing your life plan, DISC, etc.) to schools, government agencies, and NGOs. Breakthrough is also one of the training companies that pivoted successfully in the last two years. They have maintained profitability and sustained the support they give to their advocacies. It is a good sign of resilience, noted by media outlets requesting Boris to write articles and help others navigate the current disruptions.


    • Understanding people will enable you to strategize better in leading your people through change.
    • Stay purposeful. A clear sense of purpose will be most important as a leader. It will serve as your motivation for you to soldier on.
    • Take this opportunity to find clarity.
    • Think of your strengths, failures, triumphs, and valuable life lessons others can learn from you. Think of your design. You were God’s idea: you were not put in this world to exist.
    • Be proactive. Once your purpose and goals are clear, being proactive has excellent value.
    • Apply the feasibility vs. impact mindset to chart your action steps in a VUCA world.
    • Recalibrate the way you do work.
    • Repurpose your offering.
    • Be grounded and focused.
    • Recall your purpose. Focus every day on your “why.”
    • Look at the possibilities in every challenge faced.
    • Challenge yourself to go beyond the bounds and grasp for meaning in your life.
    • Rethink your thinking. Growth begins with your thoughts.
    • Develop your critical thinking skills.

    Here is a statement from one of his nominations.

    “Boris Joaquin has a selfless heart to mentor and coach people. Despite the pandemic and being cooped up at home, he helped people experience free online training and even helped raise funds for Save the Children through webinars for a cause. He had shown resilience even when his company suffered financially for a short season due to suspension and cancellation of training booked due to the pandemic. He has inspired many to press on towards their purpose no matter what. I am one of those too. His humility as a leader impacts people around him because, despite his achievements, he remains grounded and ready to mentor those seeking his guidance.”




    Title/Position: Senior Business Operations Manager

    Organization: KMC Solutions

    Industry: IT and Gaming


    When the lockdown was announced for the whole country on March 16, 2020, Brycan took the lead.

    He needed to let their operations in the Philippines know what would change if the lockdown went on and the pandemic got worse.

    He had to tell them everything he knew, even if he thought it would hurt their morale. He felt they needed to learn the hard truth because it was necessary for their jobs and careers.

    Given the impact on operations, one of the difficult decisions that had to be made was that not everyone would be able to receive full compensation. But Brycan and his colleagues also offered their leaves and distributed them to everyone.

    Brycan and other managers sacrificed 60% of their salaries to give those impacted regular salaries. Once their leaves were exhausted, they spread the remaining 40% to the remaining employees. During the first six months of the pandemic, the spirits seen were Bayanihan and Malasakit.


    During a crisis, there are three essential things that you can’t fake and are essential during a time of crisis. 

    • Character
    • Competence
    • Purpose

    In a VUCA world, leaders can thrive when they

    • Figure out their values and moral compass.
    • Think of their negotiables and non-negotiables as a leader.
    • Don’t do things for themselves but for other people and for future leaders.

    Brycan’s resilience as a leader stemmed from his experiences and wisdom from leaders and other people. With this, he shares the following tips to maintain resilience. 

    • You can’t give what you don’t have.
    • Start with yourself.
    • Understand yourself.
    • Try things for yourself, and then you will see one day that everything happened for a reason, as all paths and experiences will lead to where you are supposed to be.
    • Never stop learning in any size, shape, or form. 

    AS a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the country, Brycan leaves these words to ponder.

    • Concentrate on the things you can control and improve the volume or capacity every year or two.
    • Be authentic about what you believe in, and everything will follow.
    • Don’t be afraid to learn from mentors and from all walks of life.
    • Admit that you don’t know everything in leadership.
    • Be open, listen to what your world tells you, and then act on it.
    • Be kind, be human in whatever you do.


    This excerpt is from one of his nominations.

    “Boss Brycan, or “Byke” as we call him, is the best leader anyone could have. There had been so many changes in our company since the onset of the pandemic, such as adapting to a WFH setup and then working onsite again, returning to working from home, and so on. He always makes it a point that we’re well-informed before implementing changes. During the ECQ last year, he ensured that we kept our jobs; nobody was retrenched, and our family kept growing. Also, we have door-to-door shuttle services until December 2021 to ensure we can arrive and leave work safely.”



    Title/Position: Associate Director

    Organization: AIA Philippines

    Industry: Financial Services


    Since taking on the role of Associate Director at AIA Philippines, Mariel Tablan, has made sure that the team begins the year with each of her team members painting a clear picture of their best self for that specific year, which is not limited to work. 

    In addition to being known for her “malasakit” values, Mariel exhibits other leadership traits and this is what she says. 

    “Resilience is having the strength to be vulnerable, accepting that I too will experience breaking downs,  asking for understanding and support from those who matter and moving forward learning from the experience. This has led the team to also open up and be vulnerable. They share with me and each other what they experience without fear of being judged.”


    Mariel points out two things when leading during a crisis. Take care of yourself before you take care of others. Taking care of our well-being, physically, mentally and emotionally, serves as a foundation for helping others take care of their well-being as well.

    She adds that people come first before numbers (targets). Taking care of your team members is a priority. When they know you care, when they see you invest time and effort in helping them out, when they know that you got their backs, they open up and show their true selves. This gives leaders opportunities to support and help their team grow in ways that they can never do when they prioritize targets above people. This also encourages people to be more and do more.

    In a VUCA world, Mariel believes that focus is equal to feeling. Focusing on volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity will make us feel overwhelmed, scared and maybe helpless at some point and this doesn’t help us to lead from our best self. SHIFT your focus. Here is what a shift in focus looks like. 

    • from Volatile to Vision. Lead by purpose. Paint a picture of where your team is heading and what success looks like. Identify the possible routes and roadblocks to get there. Involve your team in determining areas that need to be upgraded or discarded. 
    • from Uncertain to what is Certain. What is certain is that we can always grow where we are planted to make the most of the current situation now. What is certain is your purpose, your vision, your role and your team’s contribution to making this happen. 
    • from Complexity to Clarity. Clarity and meaning of purpose, people involved, indicators of progress and ways to celebrate it and strategies and systems to support. 
    • from Ambiguity to Agility. Agility in the head (reframing mindset), heart (emotional agility) and hand (upskilling/updating both hard and soft skills). 

    Mariel’s contribution to elevating the level of leadership in our country is to L.E.A.D. 

    • Lead with purpose and passion and use your God-given gifts to add value to others.
    • Empathize with others, especially those whose values and beliefs are different from yours.
    • Agility in learning and developing self and others.
    • Drive change by standing up for what is right, educating others but also by respecting others when they don’t see your perspective.


    The following is an excerpt from one of Mariel’s nominations.

     “Mariel’s leadership in overcoming challenges and her courage to move forward has always astounded me. Her circumstances did not deter her from carrying out her promise. She is not afraid to experiment. We witnessed her bravery as she led her training team through several changes in the company. Even before the pandemic, she was always encouraging. She was not my coach at the time, but she was always willing to assist me, which resulted in improved performance. Her most significant contribution to the company was establishing the performance coaching culture.”



    Title/Position: President

    Organization: Philippine Society for Quality (PSQ)

    Industry: Non-Profit Organization


    As a leader, Rey believes it’s a must to lead by example. Whatever it is that one says, one must do. During the height of the global health pandemic, one of the essential things he thought of was to help. 

    He believes it was his calling to mobilize his team at the Philippine Society for Quality (PSQ) on what type of help they can extend to various professionals and companies here in the Philippines to survive in the new ways of working. 

    It was not an easy ride since there were a lot of uncertainties in the air, but Rey and his team believed they could do something. They started rolling out free learning events not just to members of PSQ but to non-members here and abroad as well. 

    They received a great turnout from participants, as they eventually introduced new innovative programs in PSQ that drove significant growth in the organization even during a pandemic. The crisis did not stop them from pursuing their crusade for quality, as they kept looking for better ways of doing things. 


    Maintaining resilience as a leader requires constant self-reflection on what happened during the day, the learnings, and how to improve. Being optimistic also helps.

    As a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the country, he leads a non-profit professional organization where he collaborates not just with individual and corporate members but with other organizations locally and internationally to work on meaningful endeavors in raising the voice of quality in the world. 

    Here is what one of Rey’s nominations said. 

    “Rey Fremista had shown the five leadership traits as he led two organizations. He is the President of the Philippine Society of Quality (PSQ), which helps many private organizations in the Philippines uphold the Quality Standards. He is also one of the founders and leaders of Vloggers Academy. In both organizations, some of the examples he has shown include: 

    1. Malasakit to all the members and leaders. His genuine concern manifests through his conversations with people.
    2. Integrity – he always fulfils his words and promises as a leader
    3. Inspiration – Despite his many achievements in life, he inspires many by staying humble and being always ready to share ways to succeed with others through his speaking engagements.”




    Title/Position: Chief Marketing Officer

    Organization: Team Recruit

    Industry: Staffing and Recruiting


    As a co-founder of Team Recruit, Cybill’s leadership is a vital & guiding force for their corporate governance. Here are some concrete and reliable ways she practised key leadership traits. 

    She is a firm believer in “practising what you preach.”As the founding leader of their company, she has done almost every job within the organization. She leads with not just the knowledge but also the empathy of working from the ground up. 

    She practices servant leadership. Therefore, she works to serve their people. She is in the trenches with her people and humbly works alongside them as their leader. In their company, everyone calls each other by their first names: no “Ma’am” or “Sir.” 

    According to Cybill, they are a people-first organization. Because of this, all their values are hinged on what makes the lives of their employees better. Under her leadership, they surveyed all of the needs of their workforce. 

    She recently rolled out a mental health service for all our employees in the Philippines, India, Australia, and the U.S, where every team member has access to mental health counselling. She also initiated company-wide physical fitness challenges as well as financial literacy courses. 

    The business has grown tremendously over the last year. Team Recruit now has over 200 employees starting with only a handful of people. They have done this while simultaneously continuing to invest in people regardless of the business’s financial challenges at specific times. They have increased benefits, salaries, and incentives for the people, ensuring they and their families are always well taken care of. 

    Maintaining resilience is a walk in the park with God by your side. Hope and faith in God are undying and steadfast drivers.
    “As a leader, one of the best ways I can contribute to elevating the level of leadership in the Philippines is to practice the multiplier mindset, ensuring I bring the best out of my people. We have built an environment where my people are well-paid, valued, honored, and set out to lead better lives. As an individual leader, I constantly hold sessions on Purpose, Being an Impact Player, Unlearning, Change & Remote Leadership, and most especially Self Leadership.”


    Here is an excerpt from one of Cybill’s nominations. 

    “Malasakit and Inspiration. Based on our interactions, I realized how kind and people-oriented Cybill is to her employees. She and her company organize this regular event where her employees get the chance to earn extra money to augment their income. Their company also offers higher profit-sharing/commissions compared to other recruitment firms. Most importantly, Cybill’s manner of screening applicants goes beyond their interview performance. She goes in-depth about their character and potential. Cybill is both compassionate and inspiring”.




    Title/Position: Founder & CEO

    Organization: Prosperna

    Industry: E-commerce, Software


    As the chief executive officer and founder of Prosperna, Dennis considers everyone to be a leader. They live by the seven pillars of what they call their ETHOS each and every day. 

    1. The Challenger. The willingness to challenge the status quo for the greater good.
    2. Transparency. Transparency and good communication keep everyone on the same page and aligned toward the same goals.
    3. Measurable Value. Whatever we do, it’s important to align it to deliver measurable customer value.
    4. Passion for Learning. Get empowered to find, seek and take your personal development into your own hands.
    5. The Extra Mile. Whenever we go the extra mile, we can inspire others around us and multiply success instantly.
    6. Make the Rocket Ship Go Faster. Always find a better and more efficient way to deliver better quality and customer experience.
    7. Keeping it Real. Be yourself. Everyone’s idea matters, and whatever you do, have fun. It is how we find our best selves.



    On being resilient, Dennis shares his formula. 

    Always find the right mix of PEOPLE + PROCESS + TECHNOLOGY + CULTURE that will create a competitive advantage. 

    As a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the country, he is always happy to educate, inspire and share the specific step-by-step details and how he executes.


    Here is an excerpt from one of his nominations. 

    “Dennis has always been honest and open about the company’s goals to empower Philippine MSMEs. He is the only CEO I know that was able to keep all of his employees during the height of the lockdown, and instead of being forced to close down, we even grew exponentially. His Silicon Valley background brought the remote work culture before it was even a norm. Prosperna has the best employee and work culture I’ve seen compared to other companies out there.”


    #15. LOUIE BANTA


    Title/Position: CEO & Chief Consultant

    Organization: LJMB Consulting

    Industry: Training and OD Consulting


    2020 and 2021 were true tests of courage and resilience for a leader known for navigating his team and company through the ultimate crisis. Because of the lockdown, all training projects were put on hold indefinitely. 

    In 2020, he was among the first to offer free webinars, which eventually led to their transformation into an online training company. Indeed, by offering 100 free webinars from April to June 2020, LJMB persuaded many company decision-makers to invest in virtual training. 

    LJMB was top-of-mind for many companies by the time their training budget was ready, and they were back in business by the fourth quarter of 2020, able to thrive in a new virtual training environment. The Philippine Society for Talent Development, the country’s premier organization of training professionals, named LJMB the “2021 Outsourced Learning & Development Organization of the Year.” 

    PSTD recognized LJMB for paving the way for more trainers and business decision-makers to embrace virtual learning. In the last 26 months, LJMB has delivered 600 virtual workshops in 15 countries.

    People who will never run out of things to do end up more resilient. Here are tips from Louie.
    • Develop the mental strength to think ‘out of the box’.
    • Deepen your self-belief and growth mindset’
    • Diversify your knowledge and skills.

    “I believe in the talent of the Filipino worker and believe that, if we can only hurdle our cultural barriers of ‘hiya’, ‘bahala na’ and ‘pakikisama’, we can unleash the global leader within us!”

    Louie has been a leadership trainer and has been contributing to elevating the leadership skills of managers since 1996.  Since he worked with clients in the BPO/ Shared Services and other global organizations in 2007, he has vowed to use his leadership courses so every Filipino team leader or manager can shine at a global arena and lead at par with how other nationalities do it.

    Here is one of Louie’s nominations:

     “He continued to work while in isolation. His company actually grew during the pandemic because his thrust was online seminars and learning. He shared many inspirational nuggets, not limited to management but on self-reflection and I found his posts helpful. He talked about resilience and moving on.”


    #16. RAY C. BERJA


    Title/Position: Managing Director / CFO

    Organization: Air Asia App PH / Philippines AirAsia, Inc.

    Industry: Travel, Transportation and Tourism


    Ray defines integrity as being truthful and having strong moral principles. In his field, integrity refers to the completeness, accuracy, and coherence of business reports delivered to shareholders and the board of directors. 

    “We ensure that there is transparency throughout the organization about the real issues during the pandemic and what needs to be done because it affects people who may lose their jobs. Such an exercise must be carried out based on strong moral principles, in which we observe fairness and eliminate biases.” 

    “Malasakit” for Ray means taking care of both people and the company. 

    In his own words, “Kindness is inherent in my leadership style. We prioritize human resources in all of our decisions. In our industry, we were the last to implement retrenchment. We pushed such a decision until the end of 2020 to give those affected enough time to transition and adjust. Headcount reduction was our last-resort cost-cutting strategy. We also pushed for a pay cut across key executives and management levels in the organization to soften the blow for the majority. We also let go of our previous year’s bonuses to help the entire organization keep as many people as possible. I actively participate in our “kamustahan” initiative, bi-monthly casual catchup with our people, and daily conversations with colleagues to stay grounded in our people’s situation. Every day, I make an effort to contact several people to stay in touch and provide words of encouragement to continue to pursue our endeavors with the mindset that our situation is only temporary; the best is yet to come.”


    For example, Ray and his team launched the Airasia Super App within a year to create a platform to meet their customers’ daily lifestyle needs. They launched the Airasia Super App in the Philippines earlier this year. To date, he has served as its pioneering managing director and the Chief Finance Officer of Philippine AirAsia.


    ●        Practice compartmentalization.
    ●        Keep in mind the vision and goals, then map out action steps on a short-term and long-term basis.
    ●        Reinforce the team to be resilient.
    ●        Make sure everyone is heard and aligned so that when challenges arise, every member is ready to address the problem based on their expertise.  Have a positive perspective in any situation.


    “I believe I can best contribute to elevating the level of leadership in the Philippines by leading by example. While we continue to innovate our processes, we must continue reinforcing the value of malasakit, integrity, resilience, and inspiration. I’ll continue to advocate for responsible innovation and inclusivity. This way, our efforts will be sustainable in hopes that we can replicate this leadership model across our growing industry.”

    Here is a statement from one of Rey’s nominations.


    “Sir Ray had proven, especially in the midst of the pandemic, that setbacks are necessary in order for one to appreciate the good times. Experiencing a sharp drop in revenues had tested how Sir Ray, Philippines AirAsia’s CFO, would lead his team and the organization to get back up with integrity. Despite necessitating the laying off of employees, he was able to bring them back again to the company because of his contribution to ensuring the company’s resilience. With his daily reminder on attributing every success to God, he is able to inspire and motivate every single one of his connections. He didn’t back down and instead displayed courage by being the pioneer managing director of Airasia SuperApp PH.”



    #17. ROCK CLEO


    Title/Position: Chief Innovation Officer

    Organization: Lightweight Solutions, Cosmo+

    Industry: Social Commerce


    “I’ve shown malasakit by listening sincerely to subordinates. By doing this, I can better understand what they want and need and give them the resources required to do the job. Although I have to say, this can be a tricky balance since there are times I’d be forced to make decisions without all the information I’d like to have.” 

    Rock is not afraid to let subordinates take control from time to time. He would also let them know that he trusts them enough for them to make decisions on their own. 

    Being a design thinking expert, Rock has applied the design thinking methodology in his leadership style— Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. The resulting impact is that he and his team has a more aligned, creative, and collaborative group of people who are not afraid to make mistakes. 

    “I’ve realized that an effective way to become a better leader is to keep trying to improve in every interaction and seek out the most valuable feedback from those I lead.”


    To be a resilient leader, one must:
    • Stay informed and in control when things get crazy.
    • Being resilient means having people who will encourage you when you need it.
    • Get enough sleep – Sleep is essential for top leadership performance. Sleep refreshes the body and mind so we can function well mentally and physically, and it helps us deal with stress.

    Fostering a culture that values learning and growth and encouraging everyone to be a leader are vital to developing new leaders. Empowering people to take ownership of their work and solve problems is key to developing leaders who can make decisions without fear.


    Here is an excerpt from one of Rock’s nominations: 

    “During the pandemic, he made an online webinar called Visual Communications Master Class. He taught creative and non-creative professionals to improve their skills in graphic design using Design Thinking so that professionals could do part-time jobs, graphic design freelancing, and career switching.

    Offline, he helped many students and professionals by giving expert advice about creativity, career, and leadership. Roq has consistently helped new graduates and beginners use his design thinking tools to get ahead in life. He has given free webinars on Facebook and Inspirational messages on LinkedIn to encourage professionals and non-professionals alike to be the best that God created them to be. “




    Title/Position: Founder & CEO

    Organization: Ask Lex PH Academy

    Industry: Training and Consulting


    During the pandemic, Felix founded PINOY IEs, an online community of 14,000 Filipino Industrial Engineers. This is to ensure that, despite the pandemic, these professionals can exchange ideas and best practices collaboratively and have created a safe space to share their thoughts about the field. 

    He also founded ALPHA Cares, which hosted several webinars to benefit victims of the Taal Volcano eruption, typhoons, and the pandemic. All event proceeds were distributed to beneficiaries by partner organizations. Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission Inc., JCI Batangas Balisong, and Heart Warrior Philippines are the partners. 

    He assisted retrenched professionals by providing full scholarships to assist them in finding their next job, connecting them with other professionals, and even partner organizations with current openings. 


    To maintain resilience as a leader, continue looking on the positive side of things.

    As a contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the country, Felix has represented the Philippines in several areas as a leader and thought leader. He created several events and programs to develop and equip young leaders in the country.


    Here is an excerpt from one of his nominations. 

    “Felix radiates positive vibes and motivation within ALPHA and even outside the organization. During the chaos brought by the unforeseen pandemic, he was able to serve as an inspiration to his team members and always reminded them that they could overcome this challenge. They did do so and even exceeded what they expected. He challenged everyone to capitalize on this opportunity to become significantly better versions of themselves and contribute more to the organization and their respective communities.”




    Title/Position: Senior HR Manager

    Organization: Jollibee Foods Corporation

    Industry: Food & Beverage


    Back in 2020, during the height of the COVID19 pandemic, Raymond was the Head of Talent Management & Development of another company. Management directed that the budget for training be put on hold. He suggested online learning because he had no funding for training. 

    Since he didn’t have a budget, he thought of tapping some of his LinkedIn connections for free webinars to help the employees manage their anxiety and prepare them for returning to the office. The topics revolve around emotional mastery, leadership, resilience, and pivot performance. The themes were integrated into a webinar series on dealing with the covid crisis without cost to the company. 

    He received fantastic feedback from the participants. It equipped them to be well prepared as they reported back to the office. It was all done out of malasakit for the employees.



    A resilient leader goes back to his why every time he falls. His why is the reason he gets up no matter how hard it seems. 

    Raymond feels that to contribute to the improvement of leadership in our country, he must first be a good leader at home as a family man. Second, he must be a decent role model for his coworkers. Third, he must display effective leadership in all his leadership positions. Finally, he must develop other good leaders who are far better than himself. 

    Here is a statement from a nomination for Raymond.


    “Raymond is one of the most inspiring and consistent Filipino content creators on LinkedIn. His daily posts helped many go through the difficulties of the pandemic. He also leads by example, showing his resilience and faith in God during his trials that he humbly shared with others on LinkedIn to inspire them and give them hope that after failures and darkness comes light.”



    #20. GINA ROMERO


    Title/Position: Co-Founder & CEO

    Organization: Connected Women

    Industry: AI Training and Services


    Gina is the CEO of Connected Women, a company that offers online skill development and remote work opportunities to women. The same highly skilled, low-cost talent that global corporations require in their operations. Apart from providing many opportunities for remote work for women during the pandemic, Connected Women collaborated with Infinit Care to provide mental health support to its 75,000 Connected Women global community. 

    Connected Women has also collaborated with VB Consulting over the last two years to highlight the influence of women on LinkedIn through the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women on LinkedIn initiative, a project that has positively impacted the LinkedIn community at large.


    A crisis is an opportunity to re-evaluate and think about how we can do things differently.
    “As a leader, my goal is to put aside my ego, stay passionate and curious, and be a good listener. None of these are easy but at the end of the day, leadership is about doing whatever it takes to help people win.”

    “As a leader, building resilience means overcoming our insecurities, dealing with failure and criticism, and having the tenacity to overcome difficulties and setbacks. We must be courageous enough to make difficult decisions quickly and stand by them, but with the humility to admit when we are wrong.”

     “The best thing I can do to contribute to elevating the level of leadership is to lead by example with transparency and integrity. Knowing and understanding my strengths and weaknesses help others to realize theirs and continue to be a voice for those underserved in society.”


    Here’s an excerpt from Gina’s nomination.


    “Gina reached out to and inspired many people from all walks of life through the Connected Women community and her online platforms, particularly during the height of pandemic lockdowns and quarantines. When COVID-19 hit, she wanted to be a leader on whom her team and community could rely. During the first few weeks and months, she spent many sleepless nights responding to messages asking for advice or assistance.


    She didn’t have the answers right away, but she was there to listen and encourage us to get through the crisis together. Her team and community underwent significant changes, allowing them to eventually refocus on what is important and build their business even stronger. She discovered that a crisis is an opportunity to re-evaluate and consider how we can do things differently.”




    Title/Position: Operations Manager

    Organization: Equus Software

    Industry: IT/Software


    “Working together anywhere” was one of the concepts she shared and implemented with the team. She was confident in rolling out plans and projects because they all stayed in constant communication. She actively listened to their struggles and concerns and encouraged them to share their ideas. 

    From 19 employees, her team grew to almost 70 employees. To stay connected, she hosted team events once every two weeks. They did different activities, like playing online games, attending mental health talks, meditation, online painting, etc. 

    In 2021, she was invited as a speaker for an online event called “Employee Engagement: Ways To Keep Remote Workers Engaged And Connected.” More than 2000 people globally signed up for the event. It was an excellent opportunity to share her expertise and exchange ideas with people worldwide.


    Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Leaders must have self-awareness and a clear understanding of their purpose and invest in themselves. 

    Here is an excerpt from a nomination for Denise.


    “Denise has been an exemplary leader during the pandemic. Our team in Manila was so thankful to be able to reach out to her at any moment when they were struggling with personal, family, and work issues. Her integrity, compassion, resilience, inspiration, and courage are exactly on point with everyone. She is a compassionate leader even when challenging conversations have to happen. It is evident in the respect we see her team give her. Denise has kept the team engaged with fantastic team-building events to which they are so appreciative. I have the privilege of knowing this unbelievable woman and having her as my colleague.”


    #22. PAULO TIBIG


    Title/Position: CEO

    Organization: VCargo Worldwide / Paulo Tibig Corporate Trainings

    Industry: Logistics / Training & Consulting

    Paulo exemplifies leadership in his roles as an inspirational speaker, corporate trainer, and executive/team coach. As a leader, he is a firm believer in walking the talk, performing ethical work, and providing superior customer service regardless of the complication of the requirements or the difficulty of the circumstances.

    As the CEO of Paulo Tibig Corporate Trainings, he believes in sharing success with others. As a result, they carefully tailor their programs through the speaking platform to meet the needs of the organizations with which they collaborate. One excellent example is their “Love of Work” program, which assists thousands of individuals in rediscovering their passion for their work and demonstrating “Malasakit” to the organization.

    This platform has provided Paulo with the means to speak and empower current and future leaders to emphasize the significance of Ethical Leadership in conjunction with exceptional competence. It is what Standout Leadership is all about. The world requires more ethical leaders, so Paulo’s mission is to cultivate more principle-driven leaders.


    As a motivational speaker and leader, Paulo encourages other leaders to avoid complacency because it kills. Leaders should pursue continuous development to strengthen their core foundation.

    “Be the strong coffee who intensifies its strength and potential in the hot waters.”

    “Wander and wonder forward. Standout leaders are humble learners, so strip the crown off your head! Never let the feeling of superiority get in the way of your learning from your subordinates. Be a sponge and absorb different insights.”

    “Remember, updated knowledge and competence in times of challenges equal resilience.”


    As a leader, Paulo believes that he can help elevate the level of leadership in the Philippines through his speaking platform, his leadership programs, as well as his books. 

     “Through our leadership programs, we emphasize the importance of Ethical Leadership going hand in hand with excellence and competence. This is what my book Standout Leadership is all about. The world needs more ethical leaders and I commit to the mission to raise more leaders driven by principles”.


    Here’s an excerpt from a nomination for Paulo:


    “Paulo Tibig is a leader who not only teaches leadership principles. He has the actual, real-world experience and achievements to back up what he talks about. Known as the ‘Entrep Champ”, he has successfully steered his logistics company VCargo through the pandemic, allowing it to thrive. A perfect example of a crisis turned into an opportunity.”





    Title/Position: Founder & President / VP-Global HR Operations

    Organization: Philippines HR Group / Inspiro

    Industry: ITBPM


    Darwin strongly believes that traits such as Integrity, Malasakit, Courage, Inspiration, and Resilience are reflected in how a leader thinks, speaks, and acts. You must learn, acquire, and incorporate these fundamental values into your life as you mature. 

    “I believe that as people leaders, our teams reflect who we are as individuals, so we must always be mindful that we should positively influence them.” 

    “My mission has always been to advance HR to help develop a truly world-class Filipino worker, not just in the companies with which I work, but in the entire HR community. 

    With God’s help, I’ve mentored high-potential leaders in my previous and current companies, built high-impacting teams, and established a culture that meets revenue targets while also caring for its employees.


    Through the Philippines HR Group (now with over 270,000 members), I have also built a professional community that demonstrates the value of “Bayanihan” and “Malasakit” through daily sharing of factual industry news and updates, best practices and processes, job opportunities, learnings, and so on. The PHRG community has demonstrated that even amid a pandemic, we can thrive by helping one another.”



    Darwin offers three tips for remaining resilient as a leader:

    • Maintain your modesty.
    • Continuously strive for betterment.
    • Have faith in God.


    Here’s an excerpt from a nomination for Darwin:


    “Darwin Rivers is a prominent, gracious, and influential HR leader in the Philippines. He founded and leads the Philippine HR Group on Facebook, as well as The HR Cafe: Usapang Buhay, Trabaho, Atbp., a weekly online talk show that promotes accessible and practical HR learning, which is now in its 88th episode and has an average viewership of 1,000 to 10,000 people per show.


    The most admirable aspect of Darwin is that he has always allowed others to shine. The Philippine HR Group on Facebook has grown to over 270,000 active, strong members under his solid and dependable leadership. They are joined by a diverse group of highly experienced and talented HR mentors who have assisted thousands of Filipino HR Managers in navigating the challenging waters of good human resource management in the Philippines.


    He is a man of character. Darwin tells the truth but in a gentle manner. He is a compassionate and empathetic man, as evidenced by his numerous advocacies, all of which he does for free in his spare time. Despite personal challenges, a family tragedy, and a pandemic that killed everyone, Darwin remained committed to who he is, what he does, and what he wants the Philippine HR community to be. A competent, hardworking, selfless individual who is both malasakit and firm, with just the right amount of sweetness and finesse.“





    Title/Position: CEO

    Organization: Proselect Management Inc. (PM Consulting)

    Industry: HR Consulting


    ENGLEBERT CAMASURA, CEO of Proselect Management Inc., sees himself as a People Leader. He believes that the heart of any business organization is great people who drive business for growth and profitability.  

    With people strategy, he leads with a great passion for inspiring and encouraging people to discover their inner selves. It motivates them to uncover their potential.  

    “I have always considered people not just our workforce or assets, but my business partners whom I trust, empower, and care for. Malasakit is my natural way of leading people – considering their limitations and converting them into opportunities for us to work together and become better individuals. I connect with every member of the organization to know more about their journey in their chosen career with us. I encourage members to align their values with corporate values, driving appreciation of our mission “to make others better every day.” 

    “I have gone through the ups and downs of life. I have always reminded everyone that challenges are part of the life cycle that can lead to success. These make us better if we know how to learn from and manage every obstacle. I teach people how to appreciate, understand real-life challenges and bounce forward with a great desire to become better. I am proud and happy to see people working with me become successful leaders today.”



    Gilbert always believed that one must learn how to lead oneself before being able to lead others successfully.  Challenges are part of success.  Our lives are designed to be abstract.  It has lots of challenges and opportunities.  We need to find the silver lining of these dots and take forward the lessons learned from our mistakes and bounce forward as resilient and future-ready leaders. 

    As a leader himself, he would like to contribute to the elevation of leadership in the country by encouraging more fellowmen and business leaders to pursue organization excellence by integrating both business and people in strategy. 



    Here is a statement from a nomination for Gilbert.


    “Gilbert led a volunteer group of HR leaders in the Philippines in designing a free program, “Malasakit Transition Program,” to support individuals laid off from companies during the pandemic. He has been organizing free learning series for the HR and business community on mental wellness. Several industries also tapped him to share advice to future-proof careers amidst the crisis. Gilbert Camasura was featured several times on National TV and social media channels.“





    Title/Position: CEO & Founder / Recruitment Manager

    Organization: HIP Careers Philippines / Aboitiz Power

    Industry: Recruitment


    As a first-time CEO and Founder of a start-up executive search firm, Pat leads with integrity and continues to be an inspiration not only to his employees but also to other people outside our organization. He aims to continue to inspire and use his platform to provide career guidance and sow a positive impact on the lives of all job seekers. 

    “In HIP Careers, we have the 4Ms– May Puso, May Malasakit, Maaasahan, and Mapagkumbaba.” 

    “I always see a crisis as a learning opportunity. I built HIP Careers PH during the pandemic. When everyone said it wasn’t a good time, I pushed for it because I saw the need to help more Filipinos who were struggling to look for work.



    Patrick believes in leading by example, especially to the younger generation who would eventually become the future leaders. 

    To maintain resilience as a leader, communication is an important skill. Show your people that you trust them and acknowledge all their contributions (big or small) and be the champion of change and teach your team to be adaptable to changes.


    Here are some excerpts from Pat’s nominations:


    “Pat always sees a crisis as a learning opportunity. He built HIP Careers PH during the pandemic when everyone said it wasn’t a good time. He pushed for it because he saw the need to help more Filipinos who were struggling to look for work.”


    “He has provided valuable inputs and insights to people in the LinkedIn community concerning talent acquisition and other HR concerns. I had clarifications on unclear processes of recruitment teams, and he was kind enough to address them and explain them clearly. He is very approachable, even if you have not yet personally met him. Patrick has a way of making you feel comfortable to ask questions and proactive offers guidance and helps as he deems fit.”







    Title/Position: Founder & CEO

    Organization: Modern Ads & Promo Inc

    Industry: Marketing and Advertising


    From humble beginnings, Annaliza and her husband knew how it was like to have nothing and make ends meet with barely anything. Despite going through all of those challenges, they could reach their dreams of stability and security, something they did not have while growing up. 

    “I keep returning to this part of our lives because I think I did not easily acquire integrity, malasakit, courage, inspiration, and resilience. My history profoundly influences the person I am today, and because of this, I can connect and reach out to the community of workers and craftsmen in our team. 

    Working with them reminds me that while I may now earn the fruits of my labor, there are many more who struggle with the same hardship I had experienced. This thought compels me to work even more complex and show them that achieving one’s dreams is possible, even amidst a crisis. As their leader, I find myself accountable for their welfare, including their economic and financial standing and, more so, their mental wellness. 

    We share this familial bond in the workplace, where each one looks after another and puts effort into keeping our home an excellent place to work. Jess and I share an open office where everyone can walk in and talk with us, and we feel grateful that everyone is confident to do so. That is how we are at Modern Ads.”


    To maintain resilience, Annaliza shares 3 things to consider.

    • Practice mindfulness.
    • Set boundaries and respect them.
    • Set an example.


    Here is a statement from one of Annaliza’s nominations.


    “Vocal in her beliefs but quiet in her actions, Annaliza Laxamana, or as we call her, ABL, has been an inspiration and a role model to our team, especially during this pandemic. With her passion for helping our team brave these tough times, she could retain as many employees as possible and even extended her assistance to all of us. Aside from “ayudas” in different forms, she has shown genuine concern for all of us. One-on-one heart talk? Tell her, and she will leave everything behind to take care of you. If there is one characteristic to describe her, it would be “May malasakit.” And she doesn’t stop there. 

    Last year, amid another Covid-19 wave, she increased our value as assets to our company (a.k.a salary increase). I, for one, could not imagine how it happened while sustaining our enterprise. She is an icon of courage and resilience, fueled by her passion for making her dreams come true, and she is a heart set on bringing all of us with her.”





    Title/Position: Chief Human Resources

    Organization: Aboitiz Renewables

    Industry: Power, Energy


    Ruby Jaucian demonstrates the five traits of Integrity, Courage, Malasakit, Inspiration, and Resilience by

    • Practising radical candor in her feedback to her team, peers, and leaders.
    • Setting up an environment where people feel psychologically safe to give their opinions and learn from mistakes.
    • Caring for her people and practising empathy in different situations.
    • Facing challenges at work and home and not being afraid to show vulnerability.
    • Walking the talk and being authentic.


    “This work-from-home arrangement has changed how we see our coworkers. We learn more about their personal lives. We must practice relationship skills and empathy with this understanding. Understanding improves employee experience and engagement.” 

    “As HR chief, I recognized the company as a “safety net” for employees, their families, and dependents. In the previous two years, we’ve protected our personnel with health campaigns, safety standards, health inspections, and testing.” 

    “We ran immunization programs, bought vaccinations, and vaccinated staff and dependents. We check our team members’ health, comply with the new government and health rules, and provide everyone with booster shots.”

     “The Covid crisis reinforced my notion that leadership is 24/7. Leaders need rest and harmonious life, yet we’re on a call in emergencies, especially crises. Our hearts and thoughts are constantly on those we lead.”


    How should leaders maintain resilience?

    • Know and accept that people are not always positive, happy, or content all the time. Everyone goes through tough times, and it is normal to feel down or unhappy or tired sometimes. What is important is not losing hope, that no matter how dire the situation is, you can hope it will get better.
    • Be prepared for the challenges ahead of us. Prepare mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
    • Know that you are not alone. Reach out to trusted family, friends, and mentors when you need to think things through and get a new perspective.
    • Do not lose hope to lead people through dark and gloomy times until we can navigate dark times to better days ahead.

    “As a leader, I contribute to elevating the level of leadership in our country through volunteer work and speaking engagement regarding leadership development. I am involved in leadership development as part of the organization’s talent management strategy. I design and implement leadership development programs for different levels of leaders in the Group.”

    Here is a statement from a nomination for Ruby.


    “Ruby’s leadership is defined by practising radical candor as she gives and receives direct feedback from my team, peers, and leaders. She ensures that she sets up an environment where people feel psychologically safe to give their opinions and learn from mistakes. She shows genuine care for the people she works with, practices empathy in different situations, and courageously faces challenges at work and home, not afraid to show vulnerability. By walking the talk and being authentic, she can spark inspiration among the people I work with and deliver the goals and outcomes expected of my team and me.”




    Title/Position: Co-Founder/Senior Human Resources Manager

    Organization: Leading with Success, Iyuno-SDI, MultiplyMii

    Industry: Training and Consulting, Media Localization, Offshore Staffing Solution


    As a leader, specifically an HR Leader, Michelle believes that the essential leadership characteristics are critical for her team to add value to the organization. 

    Here are some of her thoughts. 

    Integrity: Having a high level of moral principles in providing HR services and partnering with our internal stakeholders are always at the forefront of our role. We ensure that every service, action, or program we extend to our employees is anchored to the company’s core values. It is not only me who is practising this, but I influence and make sure that my team members also lean toward doing their job with integrity. I believe that, in that way, we can better affect everyone in the organization by driving our core values.


    Malasakit: Being in HR, I learned that this is non-negotiable for all HR practitioners. But personally, when I started my career in HR, I always believed that people are the most valuable asset of every company; regardless of industry, it is always the people. People drive the company’s success and growth. Thus, as an HR leader, caring about the welfare of others and feeling compassion for them became my auto-response. I listen to people and reflect on their situations. Listening is a powerful act of showing “malasakit” to others. I listen to others, either setting a fixed schedule for a catch-up meeting or allot time if they need it, regardless if I’m doing other stuff. I make sure that I’m available for them. I may not solve all their problems but being present is a game-changer.


    Inspiration: I see to it that I’m inspired every day so that I can inspire others. Each day is an opportunity for us to seek inspiration to further thrive at what we do. In my current organization, we have this monthly Management Brown Bag Sessions (MBBS), and my part is to facilitate an HR for Leaders Series aiming to inspire our leaders on their HR functions. This activity helped our leaders adapt quickly to their roles, especially our new leaders. My team has HR focus and progress meetings to promote focus and productivity weekly.



    To maintain resilience as a leader,

    • Choose to live with a positive outlook in life, acknowledging triggers to get back on track quickly.
    • Have at least one learning goal every year.


    To help elevate the level of leadership in the country, Michelle calls for all leaders in the Philippines to show their willingness and actions in developing our team members and other people. 


    Here is an excerpt from one of Michelle’s nominations.


    “She is very reliable and always ready to extend help to others. From the start of the pandemic, she never stopped learning and sharing what she thinks can help, even on the simplest things like safety measures in a workplace. She encouraged people, friends, and colleagues to fight mental battles during the peak of a pandemic, which is very important and timely, especially since many people struggle with depression. She kept reaching out to us and making sure we were okay. Those acts from her magnify how a true leader can be amid the pandemic. She shows great empathy at the right moment to many people.”



    #29. TOM SANTOS


    Title/Position: General Manager

    Organization: McLane Global Philippines

    Industry: Food & Logistics


    During the pandemic, Tom was the VP/Head of Operations of Great Deals E-Commerce Corporation, the leading e-commerce solutions provider in the country. The only way the business could continue at that time was if the people were physically present in the warehouses. Otherwise, business would grind to a halt as orders of customers won’t be delivered to them.  

    Their responsibility to their customers was to provide them access to essential goods. During a time of lockdowns, this became more important than ever. Understanding how they felt and empathizing with them is fundamental on the people’s side. They were in a situation that had an economic and health impact on their lives. 

    The challenge he faced was how to lead people who were afraid for their lives, families, and livelihoods and ask them to come to work every day despite lockdowns, with some having to walk far and go through scrutiny at checkpoints, work hard, and risk their lives with all the uncertainty. Keeping people’s safety and well-being paramount are the areas Tom and his team focused on: Safety, Mobility, Job Security, Leading from the front, and Being present at all times. 

    GDEC was the only ECommerce enabler open from day one of the lockdowns to ensure that the platforms could operate and that people could order essential goods. They not only survived, but they and their people thrived during the pandemic.


    • Make spiritual wellness a priority. Remember that God is always in control.
    • Make mental and physical wellness a priority.
    • Have a constant desire to learn and improve.
    • Go through the experience. Adversity can only make us stronger.

    “My contribution to elevating the level of leadership in the Philippines is to keep impacting the lives of people I work with by bringing out the best in them and developing them as good leaders.”  

    Here are excerpts from his nominations.

    “In the face of personal health risk and adversity, Tom courageously led the Operations team of the country’s largest e-commerce service provider during the pandemic. With malasakit for teammates, he inspired the frontline heroes of the company even during the worst times and during a record-high number of cases.” 

    “Resilience best describes Tom’s leadership as VP Operations of Great Deals. He succumbed twice to severe COVID as he continued to perform his duties. His efforts have led in a huge way to the record-breaking growth of Great Deals in the last two years. Never compromising integrity, he is one of the industry’s recognized mentors, helping many former subordinates advance in their careers over the number of companies he has worked for.” 

    “When businesses were closing shops and letting go of people during the first part of the 2020 pandemic, Tom was at the forefront of all the problems and was helping to solve them.”




    Title/Position: Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

    Organization: Tristar Group

    Industry: Energy Logistics Solutions


    Art ‘Popoy’ is a well-respected Filipino professional and socio-civic volunteer in the UAE and has even been named for four years as one of the Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf by Illustrado Magazine. 

    He was also a recipient of the 2019 Philippine Pride awardee in Public Relations by the Philippine Business Council in Abu Dhabi.

    He is a Senior Manager for Corporate Communications of the Tristar Group, as well as a servant-leader in the Filipino Community through Couples for Christ (CFC) and his advocacy for Filipino Excellence in the Middle East (FEME). 

    The pandemic has not affected his advocacies, socio-civic services, and missionary responsibilities in the last two years (April 2020 to April 2022) with the many hats he has worn, namely:


    • Servant-Leader of Couples for Christ in the UAE as Social Development national coordinator by co-organizing Zoom awareness sessions with experts and resource speakers on Mental Health, Creative Ways to Combat Depression, Vaccination Update, SSS, and Pag-Ibig Programs, Legal Issues and Cases, Consular and Labor Services and Repatriation. 
    • Founder of advocacy movement Filipino Excellence in the Middle East or FEME by co-organizing the 7th FEME Forum with Vice President Leni Robredo (video message) and Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana in celebration of International Women’s Day/Month. 
    • Public Relations professional by sharing best practices with Filipino entrepreneurs, professionals, and community leaders in the UAE.
    • Public Speaking expert by sharing with Filipino professionals in the UAE and globally.

    Here is an excerpt from a nomination for Art ‘Popoy’.


    “Aside from being a successful professional as the only Filipino in the senior management team of the Tristar Group as Senior Manager for Corporate Communications, Art ‘Popoy’ has always shared his time and talent with the Filipino Community in the UAE, with Filipinos globally, and even with Africans and Mozambicans in Mozambique as the Mission Country Coordinator of Couples for Christ.”


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