Great leaders inspire. For 30 years, Ateneo Celadon has produced a string of great leaders, and this year’s batch is no different. Hence, we’ve decided to interview Celadon’s current executive board, so we can learn valuable insights from the very best of the organization!
Meet the great COMMpany behind Celadon’s Communication Department (COMM): Vice-President (VP) Joal Lin, and Associate Vice-Presidents (AVP) Erika Angeles & Matt Yu!
What made you want to become a Celadon leader?
Joal Lin (JL): “My first real leadership position in Celadon was being promotions head for Binondo Amazing Race 2015. At the time, I only joined the project on a whim and felt like I bullsh*tted my way through the apps [laughs]. I was pretty sure they only accepted me because there wasn’t anybody else who applied who could do promos, not because I was particularly leadership material. Working on the project enabled me to see the flip side of the organization – its inner workings, and boy, was promos a hard department to work in. There wasn’t much of a structure then, so it was difficult coordinating blasts and scheduling. Because of my control freak nature, I remember wanting to help fix the system, but being a relative newbie, what could I possibly do? About a month later, Celections came out, and this time, my application wasn’t on a whim anymore. It was passion.”
Erika Angeles (EA): “Funny story, actually. In highschool, I already had this inclination to being a leader. I was president of my org back then. When I was a freshman, Celadon was the only org I joined and I ended up joining a lot of projects. One of the first projects I joined was JuMP and I really got immersed in it. Before, in Celadon, we were grouped by departments and I was under Correl for random reasons. So I tried out Correl things. I think, in my time, I was the freshman in Celadon who was very active alongside my co-EB today EG and Kimball. I was part of the first ever Marketing Executives program and also a number of marketing teams. I sealed my first deal during my first project and that felt really great. I actually wanted to be a manager first because I thought it would be cool.
“I went to LDP as well as a requirement for JuMP and even back then, being an EB member wasn’t in my mind. As LDP passed and as I experienced being part of a group of potential leaders, I saw that potential in me. I ended LDP considering the possibility of running. I joined more projects afterwards and as people noticed, they invited me to run for at least an AVP spot. I took the shot and ran under the department I was inclined to in the beginning. I guess that’s the history of it. Wanting to be a leader in Celadon was a rollercoaster of an experience and a lot of times, it was of doubt if I would be able to make it. Staying and becoming a better leader is a different story inspired by the members who went through or are going through the same experience I did before. Seeing them stepping up in their own way pushes me and motivates me that I’m doing this for them and hopefully, I’d inspire them as well.”
Matt Yu (MY): “I wanted to become a leader because I felt like I could do so much more than just follow orders. I felt like I wanted to go beyond that that. I wanted to experience something I probably wouldn’t have attempted maybe if I was younger, but I did and I’ll never regret taking that first step in becoming a Celadon leader. 🙂 ”
Summarize leadership in one sentence.
JL: “Leadership is inspiring progress.”
EA: “It’s probably the last thing on your mind but the first thing your heart wants to do; it takes time for you to actually realize that.”
MY: “Leadership is sacrifing things and doing things that most people wouldn’t have done.”
What was the biggest leap/risk that you’ve had to take as a leader?
JL: “Hands down, probably my attempt at a Top 9 position – Vice President for Communication. It was such a spontaneous decision that it was only until the fourth day after apps came out did I decide to run. Undeniably, it put me on a lot of people’s radars, which is both good and bad. Not being a manager nor AVP at the time, my application was a gamble to a lot of people, and it placed me under harsh lights. I remember these incredible feelings of self-doubt and possibly regret for even thinking to apply, but since I’m here now anyway, why not just finish strong. Come what may, I thought.”
EA: “I think every moment is a big risk. Each word you say, each action you make, it’s a huge thing especially when you’re one of the people on top. Everything you do reflects to the organization. I guess taking on the position is that big risk. You have to be sure about it because if you aren’t, it will really show up and domino in the long run. If you’re taking up the position, may it be a manager or an EB member, it’s always a big choice to make. Planning projects, getting systems done, and pushing that into the bigger picture for our members isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to learn how to decide and deciding is probably one of the hardest things to do as a leader; you can’t just decide on your own, you have to consider everyone working with you. When you’re a leader, you’re not a single person anymore (di rin taken), you’re a whole bunch of peoples; you represent a bigger set and being that representation, you have to be with them when it comes to whatever choices and actions you make. Being a leader is a big leap itself. If you’re up for it, there’s a whole lot of risks ahead. It’s how you deal with them that counts.”
MY: “The biggest risk, I guess, is asking other people who didn’t really know who I was or my background to trust me. Trust is just so important in any org. It’s an ongoing challenge of trying to do my best and not letting anyone down.”
When was your most memorable Celadon event? Kwento please.
JL: “I’m not sure if this counts, but I would say Celadon’s EB PlevSem just last January. Working closely with 20 people for more than half a year forces interactions that I at first wasn’t completely inclined to have. Don’t get me wrong, these people are great. I’m just not a particularly sociable person, nor was I used to working with people. I always felt like I worked better alone, and that changed because of 20 reasons. I know the PlevSem was just an opportunity for the EB to fix whatever we did wrong and plan for the second semester, but somehow, amidst all the work-related stress and despite “logistical concerns”, I felt like we all grew significantly closer. If you’ve noticed, new friendships cropped up, tensions faded, and maybe it’s just me, but I honestly felt more at home working with these people. Funnily enough, in all three days we were out of town, we all couldn’t wait to go home, but in retrospect; I think we all needed that. I think the org needed that.”
EA: “LDP is always the most memorable. No matter what year (okay, maybe my first and last would be my favorites), it holds a special place in my heart and Celadon experience. LDP is where I met the best of friends, experienced life-changing things, and probably saw a different side of this family. LDP is one of those projects that, because you shared a bathroom, you get closer with people. I made a lot of fun memories in LDP, all the kwentuhans, discernment, doubts, and whatever emotion it may bring. Minsan nga, LDP mo pa malalaman kung sino may crush kay kanino e. So it’s really funny to see people get closer over a course of a few days.
“LDP friends are friends for life because we have this common experience na Celadon lang or na kayo-kayo lang talaga. I think I haven’t had an LDP-mate or LDP-baby that I don’t say hi to when I pass by them. Most of them are active in Celadon and some of them ventured into their own leadership paths. One of my LDP babies is actually my VP right now. She was my LDP baby when she was a freshman. I remember that she lost her bag or na-shuffle in some other room so we had to find it [laughs].”
Has there been anyone special to you during your Celadon journey?
JL: “Yes. I’ve acquired quite a few treasured friends over the years, people whom I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for Celadon. Recently, I’ve gotten close to someone in my year, also in Celadon. Since we met, I learned more than a couple of valuable things. I was introduced to an inspiring new perspective on the dynamics of human friendships, and I realized that no two relationships are fundamentally alike, that no relationship that completely fits a pre-constructed mold, and that we just need to stop making pieces fit. I realized we need to leave things as they are, let evolve what would and ignore what couldn’t, in effect, changing the social landscape for me entirely.”
EA: “There have been a lot! Everyone I met is a special part in my Celadon journey. But I guess big shoutouts to President EG and EVP Kimball because they have been my ‘constants’ ever since JuMP up until the three years we’ve been in the EB together. They know all the weird stuff we’ve been through, all the hardships we had, all the highs and lows whether it may be org, acads, friends, life, love (???), they know it. I guess the same experiences made that bond and I never really pictured us to be where we are right now.
“EG’s my blockmate who, I remember, I always bring to the projects I volunteer in. So lagi kami magkasama. Forever partner when it comes to volunteering in CUL projects in freshman year. Since he’s my blockmate, we have a lot of inside jokes. He’s one of the people I could freely talk about things to. For Kimball, I met Kimball in JuMP as the other dude who knows how to breakdance for some reason which I think is cool. He’s really quiet so I know he won’t tell people if I tell him about my dilemmas. Sometimes, because he’s too quiet, I don’t know if he’s still listening. But he always gives the best advices even to the shallowest problems. They’ve been always the ones who would help me in making great decisions or snap me out of it when I’m making bad ones. They’ve been there for me especially in my lowest and never left. I’m thankful for that. I couldn’t have had it any other way with these two. 🙂 ”
MY: “Definitely! Joal, my VP, has been there 100% I don’t even know if I could’ve attained anything without her help. I really owe a lot of things to her and I am extremely grateful for everything she has done for me.”
Where do you see Celadon in 5 years?
JL: “Still full of Chinese people [laughs]. We can’t really remove that part of us, I guess. But on a more serious note, I can’t give you anything other than a cliché answer, which other people probably would have already. So I’m just going to say this. Whatever happens, whoever they are, Celadon will be as much home to them as it is right now to me.”
EA: “I’d like to see Celadon as the org that people freely sign up for. I’d like to see the day that we wouldn’t have to say that ‘we welcome everyone’ just to make people join. I want the Atenean community, no matter from what background, they would freely sign-up for it because they believe in the organization and that they see themselves growing in it. I’d like to see Celadon not as the ‘cliquish Chinese org’ but the org that brings the Chinese culture to everyone and shares the whole festive feel to the community. Nation building, not much, but I just really want to see the whole Atenean community enjoy what Celadon can give them. That’s always been the goal, to share the Chinese-Filipino culture so that people may know and understand that we’re not that different.”
MY: “I’m very optimistic about Celadon’s future and I really do hope we achieve a lot in the next five years! I see Celadon breaking away from old stigmas, stereotypes and boundaries and finally, establishing itself as an organization nobody in Ateneo would have second thoughts about joining. Even if Celadon is a bit ‘tame’ compared to other orgs, I hope people will see the simplicity of meeting new people and the essence and joy of sharing culture to others.”
Interview conducted by Faith Ong
Get to know the rest of the EB!