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!
Let’s meet the exciting peeps from Celadon’s External Affairs Department (EXT): Vice-President (VP) Steph Sayson, and Associate Vice-Presidents (AVP) Himig Marcos & Kimberly Ang!
What made you want to become a Celadon leader?
Steph Sayson (SS): “Even before college I was the type of person to join several organizations and strive to serve and lead, entering Ateneo was no different. What made Celadon stand out the most amongst all the others was its people, the feeling of 家 (jia), something the organization has been pushing for. Though it may not be a home org, that’s how it feels. You know you’ve found the org you’ll stay and serve in once you feel it. And of course, when you feel the love, you want others to feel the same way too. That’s what continually motivates me to produce quality events and tap into potential leaders– because it’s all for the org.
“Whenever I’m asked how I was able to decide which org I wanted to be EB in, I’d always respond that they should invest their time, effort, and love (masakit magmahal kung alam mo naman di ka mamahalin pabalik) on the org that they have no doubt will always return to.
“Celadon is that for me.
“Like when I graduate, I know that whenever I just want to go out or feel bored, I can call a random Celadonean and be set for the day. Celadon talaga yung una kong pupuntahan.”
Himig Marcos (HM): “Well, from my experiences in high school, I found that being active in organizations gave me a sense of belonging and achievement. I gained a lot of friends, learned and experienced a lot of things, was opened up to many opportunities, and above all, I had a lot of fun doing all these. Ateneo Celadon would be a good continuation to this fun yet very impactful growing experience, I thought, which is why I joined the organization.
“While inside the organization, I found that Celadon gave me much more than I expected. It gave me everything I wanted, and more. After just a short while of being in Celadon, I could already say that it had become my second home. So as Celadon was being my second home, I was passionate to do something for it as well, I wanted to give and to share, to everybody that I could, what Celadon had given to and had shared with me, and what better way to do that than to step up and be a leader in the very org? I do this because I want Celadon to be at least as much as what it is to me in my growth, as it can be to others. I want others’ Celadon experience to be at least as great as mine, and so I work towards helping Celadon maintain that.”
Kimberly Ang (KA): “I knew that I wanted to become a Celadon leader after I joined the Leadership Development Program in 2013. I believe that the LDP magic had a lot to do with it. I was a freshman back then, and after seeing the passion and love the upperclassmen had for the organization, I knew right then and there that I wanted to be a part of it.”
Summarize leadership in one sentence.
SS: “Being in position doesn’t inherently mean you are a leader, neither does being a leader mean you deserve one; leadership is the commitment to serve passionately, with or without a position.”
HM: “Using a candle analogy, leadership is shining bright and sharing the flame to others so that together we may light the way.”
KA: “Leadership is leading a team and learning things from them at the same time.”
What was the biggest leap/risk that you’ve had to take as a leader?
HM: “My biggest risk as a leader, I guess would be running for my AVP position. I admit that I wasn’t the most confident or the most future oriented person at the time I decided to run for the position, but I knew that I was passionate, that I wanted to serve the organization more, and that I was willing to learn and willing to make mistakes. So I took the leap, I did whatever I had to do, and now here I am, happy that I took the leap. Not only has this decision been beneficial to my growth and well-being, but this decision has helped me develop in my wanting to serve the organization. Through the support system and the guidance of my fellow EB, my mind was opened to many things. I learned a lot, and experienced a lot. And now, I’m ready to give a lot more for the org.”
KA: “The biggest leap that I had to take as a leader was when I had to do organize an event without knowing how to. Basically, my team and I had to do everything from scratch because that was my mentors’ teaching style. From that experience, I became stronger, more independent, and more confident in myself. I will always be grateful to my mentors because I would not be able to do everything that I have done without their guidance.”
When was your most memorable Celadon event? Kwento please.
SS: “Well, any event in the organization is a memorable one for me. As one after the other passes by, I get to have a new favorite. But, seeing as I have to choose one, I’d have to say the most recent LDP, Ascend. I met and became close with so many newbies there! I don’t think I’m alone when I say that our love and trust (winks) for the org intensified through its activities plus heart-to-heart sessions outside of them. Sobrang nakaka-motivate lang talaga mag-serve ng org especially when I saw how they didn’t care that they were getting wet and dirty or on the brink of getting sick. We suffered and enjoyed together. That’s the greatest feeling of being in an organization. The feeling of family and oneness! I don’t wanna kuwento much because I want all the readers not being able to relate right now to be active and join an LDP and make their own memorable experience!”
HM: “Honestly, I can’t choose. I spent a long time thinking about which project was most memorable for me. I finally decided on LDP 2015. The most recent LDP was such a solid event that I had a post project hangover for around a week! LDP was really one of the highlights of my 2015 because aside from being able to see so much passion in one place, the project was able to achieve its goals of developing and inspiring Celadoneans, in a fun and relatable way. Of course there were a lot of bonuses to the project which really helped me have such an amazing time. Especially the group that I handled (our group chat is still alive right now) whose members became big parts of my life in just a few days through all the kwentuhan, all the lokohan, and the touching moments that we shared with each other (the story is that it was raining and our cabins were far from the dining area and we only had one shuttle that had to make several roundtrips just to transport us. I let my group go take the shuttle first so that they could eat breakfast first, knowing that they were all pretty hungry. Later on, when I finally boarded the shuttle as part of the last batch of transported people, I discovered that my group was waiting for me and they got me food and that they didn’t eat until I was there with them 🙁 Aww!) Also, LDP 2015 is the first time I’ve jumped in a jump rope while two people swung the rope [laughs].
“Bonus project: Celadon Ball 2014: I was an Onesimus model for that project [laughs].”
KA: “Binondo Amazing Race 2015 was the most memorable Celadon event for me. BAR 2015 was the third BAR ever, and the whole team had the vision of making it the best BAR yet. Because we have a lot of participants who really come back and join the race every year, the team had to think of activities that were unique and that were never done before. BAR 2015 was probably the most difficult project that I had to organize in my entire life, but I met a lot of people and had a lot of fun! We encountered a lot of problems too, but all was well in the end.”
Has there been anyone special to you during your Celadon journey?
SS: “Definitely Eg Dizon! I can confidently say he’s one of my best friends (if he denies it, he’s lying!). I don’t remember much of him when I was a freshman since he is a person who keeps to himself but when I entered the Executive Board as an AVP, I got to know him outside that mysterious façade. I learned so much from him. Ang wise niya kasi with all his sayings and his cool demeanor (which crazy me needs more). He’s special because he was one of first friends in college that I was sure I would keep past college. We would always go out, even if it’s not Celadon-related. As in I think there was not one week we have not eaten out, kahit with a bunch of friends?”
HM: “A constant in my Celadon journey, among many others (that I don’t have to mention- you know who you are 😛 ), is my good friend Stephanie Sayson. I actually met Steph a little before entering college. My first impression of her was that she was an emo or goth person (mainly cause she was wearing all black as in all black ha), but little did I know that Steph would be a bubbly face that would constantly be around me for the next few years. Through the three years that I have known Steph, I have seen her passion and love for the things that she does. She is very committed to the things that she does, she stays true to herself and above all, She has that fire burning in her eyes that she wants to be able to share to everyone. Although we are from the same batch, I look up to her as a friend and as a leader, especially seeing as how she really embodies the candle analogy I used in #2. And even if we don’t always see eye to eye, I know that Steph will always have my back, and I hers, which is why I’m very comfortable working with her and that I am inspired to strive for better, especially when working with her.”
KA: “Steph and Himig are the most special people in my Celadon journey. We have been together since day 1. From JuMP groupmates to being this year’s External Affairs EB, I can say that we have been through a lot together. In the span of three years, we have seen each other grow, we have seen of a lot of changes in the organization, we have gone through good and bad times, and we have seen a lot of people come and go. Even then, we are still together, now stronger than ever.”
Where do you see Celadon in 5 years?
SS: “In 5 years, I’m looking forward to continually wanting come back since Celadon taps into alumni relations. It’s nice to imagine that everyone still knows everyone (since we’re family!). Think of it as Celadon being a typically large Chinese-Filipino family where you might not know this great aunt who is 2nd cousins with your guakong but you still warmly welcome and hug her.
“Besides that continued bond as a family, Celadon having a positive impact inside and outside the Ateneo community is something I envision – that the organization continues to be more relevant in society, contribute to nation-building. People will see that culture is an integral part of society as it helps us understand and appreciate each other and live harmoniously as we discover great things together.”
HM: “From the trends I’ve been seeing through my three years in Celadon, I believe that Celadon, although it is not the perfect org, will be striving more and developing its members more to be globally competitive catalysts of change in the world. I believe that when the 35th year celebration of Celadon comes, we will be able to see a bigger-than before Celadon that is not only more established, but also more socially relevant, and more quality-conditioned that will be the fruits of the efforts of the people in the next few years who will share their passion with Celadon.”
KA: “It’s hard to really pinpoint where Celadon will be in 5 years because that will depend on the next batches of the Executive Board, but I know that Celadon will always be “home” for everyone.”
Interview conducted by Faith Ong
Get to know the rest of the EB!