Models of Excellence – Paragon: Business Summit 2016

Celadon exceeded expectations last April 16, 2016 when five select paragons inspired the audience of Leong Hall Auditorium what it means to go beyond business.  Lasting from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Paragon Business Summit: Beyond Business impressed the participants with models of excellence, paragons, whom have made their businesses avenues for social change and national development.

The participants came from various universities and high schools, such as Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle Manila University, University of Asia & the Pacific, University of the City of Manila, and University of the Philippines Los Baños; and Jubilee Christian Academy, Philippine Cultural College Manila and Caloocan.

The six speakers in order of presentation were: Dexter Ligot-Gordon, Founder and COO of Kalibrr, Inc.; Meg Yap, Customer Success Associate of Kalibrr, Inc.; Steven Cua, President of Philippine Amalgate Supermarkets Association; George Chua, CEO of Bayan Automotive Industries Corp., President of FINEX and Federation of Philippine Industries; Melissa Yeung Yap, Founder and Executive of Got Heart Foundation, Inc; and Heinrich Cochien, Corporate Affairs Officer of Liwayway Marketing Corp.

Each of them exposed the participants to different businesses with a common belief to contribute to the betterment of society.

Dexter Ligot-Gordon talked about what Kalibrr stands for, by allowing job seekers to become heroes by showcasing their skills. He asks the critical question: “Are you solving a problem that you are passionate about? If you are solving a problem that you are passionate about, it will allow you to be creative, innovative, and persevering.”

In the Q&A portion, he emphasizes the importance of being more passionate about the problem than the solution. And if one is not passionate about the problem, one must be passionate about learning.

Meg Yap, Paragon’s surprise speaker as introduced by Dexter Ligot-Gordon, shared her experience to the youth of going after her passion. In self-discovery, she advises, “You have to make sure that you give your 110% or 1,000% in your work.” In convincing one’s parents about going after one’s passion, she said, “It was important for me to know what I want to do, so I could tell my parents what I don’t want to do.”

“Be open to opportunities and anything that is set on the table,” she concludes.

Steven Cua told a story of his life, “First 18 – Innocence. Next 18 – Lotsa Nonsense. Last 18 – Common Sense.” He finds himself in the third stage, and he encourages the participants to look for what they want and where they see themselves fit.

George Chua puts ethnicity into perspective. In terms of wealth, he breaks through the racial stereotype of the Chinese-Filipino, “There are many Chinese-Filipino that are also struggling. Poverty is color-blind.” He encouraged the Chinese-Filipino participants to go beyond business, “As much as we excel in business, we need to go beyond that and excel in different other areas” He summarizes these areas into the 3Ps (P for Pilipino): to be philanthropists, professionals, and politicians.

Melissa Yeung-Yap related her experience of being a social entrepreneur, whether it be in a nonprofit or in her family’s corporation. She emphasizes, “Money is just a means to an end. Having money doesn’t mean that the quality of life would be better. If you’re really sincere with what you want to do to increase the quality of life of others. There are ways of doing it no matter where you are and whatever industry you are in.”

Heinrich Cochien shows the extent of Liwayway Marketing Corporation’s products in the Philippines and abroad. He relays the challenges of conducting operations and marketing across countries. He closes with an insight, “Love, compassion, and mercy transcends borders, countries, religion.”

Patrick Go, an engineering student from DLSU quotes, “The Paragon Business Summit was well-rounded in such a way that the speakers were from different business backgrounds and fields. In that way, prospective entrepreneurs would have numerous ideas to consider. For me, as an engineering student, I was able to learn from someone with the same field as me, who can contribute to society using technical and business-based knowledge.”

“I loved how all of them had different sets of values when it came to their passion. It was evident throughout their speeches, and that gave such a big message to me that I should do things in my own way with my own priorities no matter what other people say or how impossible it might look,” says Alyssa Tan, a high school student from Jubilee Christian Academy.

On the future of Paragon Business Summit, Vice-President for External Affairs Stephanie Sayson says, “I envision Paragon to continue to expand its reach and impact in sharing the Chinese-Filipino culture through business by tapping into schools and organizations from different sectors, as well as to continue getting relevant, inspirational speakers.”

“Hopefully through this business summit, our audience will be more aware of the relevance of understanding, appreciating, and utilizing the rich cultural diversity present in the Philippines and that they too may be paragons of business.”

Project head Katherine Tsang on her inspiration for the event had this to say, “What inspired me to jumpstart paragon was actually last year’s Celadon summit in partnership with AJMA. I remember attending it and thinking that I wanted to be part of something like that. It made an impression on me so much that I wanted to create something for Celadon to be proud of and hopefully pass on. After much brainstorming, we came up with Paragon.”

“My biggest take-away as a project head was learning how to resolve conflicts and learning how to be flexible and think of contingencies. This experience was really an eye opener for me and really helped me sort through my weaknesses and my strengths.”

Project head Bryant Lee, on the difficults of the project, continues, “[Preparations and finances were difficult.] We [wanted] to provide the best accommodations for the participants, and we needed to budget our money. On the day itself, we had to rush for the start of the registration and the entrance of the participants and speakers. All in all, it was difficult; [stress-inducing] but worth it.”

The event was co-presented with Sun Life Financial, Inc., John Robert Powers, and Sunflower Crackers of Croley Foods Mfg. Corp. Celadon partnered with DLSU JEMA and UPLB Junior Executive Society; and the event was supported by AMA Business Management and Accounting Society, UPM’s OrComSoc, PLM’s Junior Entrepreneur Society, and Chiang Kai Shek College’s JMS.

Bags from Racini were raffled at the end of the program.

Written by Joshua Cheng

Photography by Joshua Tan, Moira So, Quimbe Dy, and Vince Kho

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