Theories learned from books and lectures provide a strong foundational platform for a learner. However, throw actual demonstration and the voice of experts into the mix— and takeaways of a learner become a kaleidoscopic adventure. Sooner rather than later, the College of Business and Accountancy (CBA) of Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) puts this powerful formula into action with one key initiative being their Synergy Institute events that are staged every semester.
Driven by the goal of empowering students by infusing them with professional opportunities and networks, the OLFU CBA through its Synergy projects gives students a feel of an actual event and how it would really play out in the real world of marketing and business. Through Synergy, business and accountancy students are exposed to market trends, emerging ideas, and innovations. The discoveries happen through the interplay of thought-provokers from industry experts, case studies, networking, and social interaction with peers.
Last December 6 to 7, 2022, OLFU CBA hosted the hybrid conference, Synergy Institute Season 7 and led with the message, “Entrepreneurial Mindset Innovation: Bridging Tomorrow’s Business Leaders, Today”. Attendees were a mix composed of OLFU CBA’s 4th Year Seniors who are currently completing their practicum, as well as students from schools such as the University of Santo Tomas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, College of Saint Benilde, University of the East, Earist College, and Institute of Creative Computer Technology.
Staged at the Assembly Hall of the OLFU RISE Tower, the two-day event percolated with speakers imparting their wisdom, learning, and experience.
The first day showcased entrepreneurship via an engrossing core of talents: Jordan Patente, Founder, Transform Media & Clean Zone PH; Ian Santamaria, Founder and General Manager, Shania’s Bakeshop; Vin Orias, Creative Director, ORIAS Studios; Julius Barcelona, Chief Operating Officer, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation; Rachelle Leones, Founder, Creativity Studio, and Anna Melissa Nava, Co-Founder & CEO, 1Export. Coming from diverse industries, all six share one thing in common— they all come from the experience of growing their businesses and founding these in the values of grit, selflessness, and purpose, and matched by plain, good, old business sense and the humbleness to accept that running a business is a never-ending learning journey.
In his keynote address, Patente touched on taking on the entrepreneurial mindset and the relevance of values transformation in attaining such. He averred that digitalization is a salient ingredient in the success of a business, and that being a successful entrepreneur can allow one to retire at an early age and enjoy life to the fullest. Just believe in yourself and stay ahead of the game, he urged. On the other hand, Orias, Barcelona*, Leones, and Nava* participated in a panel discussion, zeroing in on entrepreneurship and sustainable development as catalysts in empowering the youth (*present via Zoom). They all agreed that NOW is always the right time to start a business, and urged the audience to be driven by their passions and take advantage of their bottomless well of energy.
In the afternoon, Patente, Leones, Orias returned onstage to present their respective mentorship programs that are offered through GoNegosyo.
It is also worthwhile to note that the first day kicked-off with a recorded message from Jose Ma. Concepcion III, Founder of GoNegosyo, and currently the Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship. Further, an interesting segment featured Sarmiento whose testimonial served as a case study for the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) of the Department of Trade and Industry. Sarmiento, having been a mentee of KMME, shared his real-life experiences and realizations as an entrepreneur of his start-up business, Shania’s Homemade Food Products/Bakeshop. Product innovation, having the courage to get out of one’s comfort zone, and doing due diligence in calculating risks are factors that helped him succeed, and are the same factors that should help future and existing entrepreneurs and business owners prosper, Sarmiento said.
All about marketing, the second day billed an equally impressive squad of resource persons: Conrad Paul Pascual, Senior AVP and Customer Acquisition Department Head, Philippine National Bank; Ariel Tolentino, Founder & CEO, Masterminds Training Institute & Development Services; Sy Bryan Lato*, Managing Director, 360 Next Creatives Solutions, Inc.; and Abel Buddahim*, Chief Marketing Officer, Primer Group of Companies. (* present via Zoom)
Pascual amusingly advised that everyone should get to know and follow “Kuya SIM”, his acronym for Save, Invest, and Manage. Stating that digital banking has taken the banking experience of the individual to new highs, Pascual added how much more advantageous and beneficial it has become to save money. Nevertheless, he warned the audience to be vigilant about digital or online threats such as phishing, vishing, smishing, and social engineering.
Toletino, on the other hand, had his own acronym— ACT— which means Apply, Change, Teach. He likewise underscored how important it is to believe in yourself and to always be aware of the value that you can offer to future and existing customers.
Moving on, the future of retail through the Phygital concept was revealed by Lato. As defined in the website, peertopeermarketing.co, Phygital uses digital technology to create a retail “experience that is user-friendly and seamless for the customer”. With Phygital stepping up the customer experience in retail, the landscape of the industry will be changing, as well. To navigate and flourish in that, Lato emphasized that business owners will use Phygital to build awareness, image, and trust.
The last speaker, Buddahim of the Primer Group, narrated his success story and claimed that others can have their own when they allow themselves to be driven by goal and focus. Further he explained that it is the marketer’s role to ensure that the business stays relevant in a fast-paced and evolving marketplace.
Notably, on Day 2 of the conference, Arielle Alejandrino, Federation President of the Philippine Junior Marketing Association (PJMA), opened the proceedings on an inspiring note. This, coming after welcome remarks from Jerilyn Jimenez, the President of the Junior Executive Business Council (JEBC) of OLFU Valenzuela.
Ending the day as energetically, the conference culminated in networking amongst the participants, some entertainment and fun; with the latter courtesy of the Wish 107.5 Bus and their roadshow featuring Off Mercury and Denim Sy who performed their repertoire to the huge delight of OLFU Wishers.
Synergy Institute Season 7 is appreciative of the leadership of Dr. Ignacio Cordova, Jr., Dean of OLFU’s College of Business and Accountancy (OLFU CBA), and the movers behind the event, namely the Program Heads, the Coordinators of the Supervised Work Experience Program (SWEP), faculty members, and the engagement efforts of OLFU’s school organization, the Junior Executive Business Council (JEBC).
OLFU CBA is also grateful to industry partners, the Philippine National Bank, and Wish 107.5.
Story contributed by:
Marvin Jay Deloria
OLFU Quezon City