What I Learned About Personal Branding Coupled With Grit From A Lady CEO

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Workshops and webinars seem to be a trend in the recent years.

Workshops and webinars seem to be a trend in the recent years.

I haven’t seen a single social media platform without ads on either webinars, seminars, workshops and what-not. All of them seem to be offering all sorts of topics – from leadership training to personality development, to personal branding coaching, to financial literacy, to stock trading, to blockchain and cryptocurrency, to ethical hacking, to life coaching. The list just goes on and on.

It’s a bit of a challenge to differentiate the ones that are really professional from those merely following the trend.

Let’s face it. In today’s digital world where all the information is readily available in just a single tap or click, people crave more for something that’s raw and authentic. And that’s what makes onsite training and workshops more appealing.

But it’s not really workshops that I want to talk about.

I’ve had the rare opportunity to work with a young accomplished woman who now runs her own company. She belongs to those rare group of species who have grit in their genes. And that perhaps is what made it fairly easy for her to establish her own personal branding.

Cristina Nira Macaspac, LPT (Licensed Professional Teacher) is one of those who has found her niche early on in life.

Upon seeing her profile with quite a long list of educational accomplishments, I couldn’t help but ask her, “Don’t you get tired of always studying?” To which she replied humbly with a shy smile, “No, not at all. I guess I’m just really like this.”

Ms Macaspac, or Nira, as she prefers to be called, is the CEO of her own startup company, U-Progress Philippines Inc., a management and consultancy firm that specializes in providing corporate training and seminars, educational and personal development workshops, as well as professional board reviews.   

Nira thought of creating U-Progress Philippines because of her passion for learning. As an education advocate and a licensed teacher at that, Nira has always loved learning new things sharing them to contribute to other people’s success.

I have always believed that there is ALWAYS something new to discover and something in ourselves that we can improve on, and that’s what my company stands for – UNLIMITED Progress.

I created this startup with the vision of being a bridge builder for people and help them become the best version of themselves.”

Nira actually obtained 2 degrees in Business and Education and now, also doing her MBA at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. Recently, she also earned her Masters in Entrepreneurship units at the De La Salle University. Nira’s passion for learning eventually paved the way for her to establish and manage her own preschool and enrichment centre, which was prior to creating U-ProgressPH.

That’s just personal branding to the core, in my opinion. And perhaps if there’s one thing that easily marked Nira’s personal branding, it was her GRIT.

Clearly, personal branding is about defining who you are and what you believe in. While it takes years to create a personal brand, it’s the grit that catapults you and keeps you on track to become who you want to be, and at the same time, it doesn’t make you feel that it’s a long wait. The continuous cycle of doing and learning, and walking the talk despite what the end-day outcome is what makes it a remarkable personal branding journey.

To this day, Nira still likes attending short courses and seminars and wouldn’t stay put when not busy with her company.

Like others who had a dream, it wasn’t all bed of roses for Nira. As they say, success, after all, is not a straight line.  Like all those who eventually ended up victorious, it’s the trying times that lead us to introspect, revisit our goals, and get back on track.

I’ve been through quite a few jobs and I felt lost at one point when my mom died. I didn’t know back then what I really wanted to become. Perhaps the good thing about being lost is you’ll eventually need to do something to find your way out. So I decided to learn more and become better. It was in the process of improving myself that I have developed the love for studying. That is what led me to create my startup company.”

Today, Nira is even strengthening the core values and foundations of her company, U-ProgressPH, as she makes that bridge builder she envisioned a reality for people, school and companies who aim for continuous improvement and development.

As an advocate of education who wants to make an impact in people’s lives through teaching, Nira is also a member of Toastmasters International and Philippine Advocates for consultants and Trainers (PACT).

Now, I do remember talking about onsite workshops earlier.

And yes, I guess Nira’s story on personal branding says a lot about value and authenticity. That says a lot as well about my take on choosing the right workshop to attend to.

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