Words by MJ Viernes & Joaquin Ferrer
Art by Victor Bisuña
Better Together. Sustaining meaningful relationships, creating value for partners, and cultivating marketing excellence.
These were the major feats of the University of the Philippines Junior Marketing Association (UP JMA) in the recently concluded school year 2021-2022. Yet all these achievements were only possible due to the people comprising UP JMA. Likewise, at the core of this growing organization is its people. This year, not only was UP JMA able to develop the skills of its current members but it was also able to provide avenues for growth for people beyond the organization.
But how exactly does UP JMA serve as an avenue for people to grow as a whole? Let’s take a look back at how UP JMA was able to bring out the best in the people who make the organization what it is today!
KIDS: Giving back to the heart of UP JMA
At the heart of UP JMA is the Kids Integrated Development Through Schooling (KIDS) Program, which supports 41 bright yet underprivileged students every year. With the ongoing pandemic, The KIDS Program underwent a few adjustments, with the main challenge being the transition from face-to-face events to online get-togethers, as mentioned by Niña Diño, KIDS Co-Chair.
Nonetheless, the online setup did not hinder both sides from reaching out to form meaningful and genuine relationships with each other. On one hand, Niña mentioned how the KIDS are happy, optimistic, and excited, especially as some of them have already started attending face-to-face classes. On the other, “JMAers remain [as] a constant presence in the kids’ lives, especially as we try to be the best Ates and Kuyas to them,” she added.
“JMAers remain [as] a constant presence in the kids’ lives, especially as we try to be the best Ates and Kuyas to them,”
One such way of keeping both the KIDS and JMAers in touch with each other is the KIDS Sundays. These are held regularly through Zoom with varying themes and games per week. Sandy Panis, KIDS Co-Chair, recalled how one can feel the kids’ energy emanating from the screen, which is truly a great way to get the week started!
All in all, despite the current situation, seeing friendships form between JMAers and the KIDS was a great reminder to Sandy of how “[UP] JMA will always find a way to bring its members to the heart of the organization – the kids”.
TEAM RECRUITMENT: Growing the UP JMA family
As with every organization, the recruitment team – called Team Recruitment (TREC) here in UP JMA – ensures the longevity and diversity of its member pool by attracting applicants from different courses, introducing them to the organization, and immersing them in the marketing excellence UP JMA is known for.
In the shift online, bringing to life the face-to-face application process to the applicants’ screens was the main challenge, as mentioned by Reneé Tan, TREC Co-Head. This year, Team Recruitment focused its efforts on tailoring the application process “to best embody UP JMA and its activities in the new normal,” while still making the applicant’s journey fun and value-adding, Reneé added.
Mike Morco, TREC Head, also mentions how TREC was able to design this year’s application process by building on the strengths of last year’s and improving on its weaknesses. With this, various improvements to the application process were born. One such notable innovation is the introduction of the online signature sheet – created by no other than Mike – which allowed the applicants get to know the members and keep track of their progress.
Given the challenges brought by the online setup, TREC tried its best to strike a balance between the applicants’ well-being and workload. Mike mentions how “at the core of it all, the [application process] is supposed to help you make new friends and new experiences, [as it is] not just about learning what marketing is”. Even though doing such work is difficult, what makes being a TREC Head “worth it” for both Mike and Reneé is seeing the applicants overcome challenges, become full-fledged members, and thrive in UP JMA.
MEMBER DEVELOPMENT: Prioritizing welfare
An organization will not stand firm without its member base. Thus, UP JMA developed initiatives which cater primarily to its members' development. These projects aim to take care of JMAers’ well-being and empower them to learn a variety of skills.
First, the Internal Development (IntDev) team helped welcome our new members into their committees and the organization as a whole. At the beginning of the semester, IntDev planned events and initiatives which allowed new members to be mentored by experienced JMAers as they developed their marketing competencies through a case competition and as they immersed themselves into the systems and work style of their team.
Moreover, responsible for member welfare, IntDev was able to respond to a variety of member feedback through their monthly check-up forms. Trisha Arago, IntDev Head, mentions how many of the problems raised were mainly due to external factors and how “despite this, everyone tried their best to [still] balance their responsibilities and carry out deliverables”.
An organization will not stand firm without its member base.
Second, the JMAsterclass team creates member-led masterclasses, which are avenues for JMAers to showcase their skills and learn from each other. When asked regarding which skills stood out to him, Pao Arteficio, JMAsterclass Co-Head, says: “What struck me the most, however, weren’t their ‘hard skills’ but the soft skills that they were able to display”, including but not limited to life lessons and niche interests. “Their passion for the things that they’ve taught and their unique experiences and learnings definitely struck a chord with me and continue to even now”, he adds. By providing a medium for JMAers to tell their stories and share their skills, Pao acknowledges how the JMAsterclass project is proof of how “members with diverse skill sets help the organization and its members reach their potential and maximize growth”.
EMBASSY: Honing marketing excellence
Dedicated to UP JMA's brand of marketing excellence, Embassy provides both competency programs and consultancy services to its stakeholders.
Within the organization, Embassy’s key initiatives include UPSTART and the Advanced Marketers Program (AMP), which develop the marketing competencies of UP JMA members regardless of experience or expertise. UPSTART is a case competition for new members while AMP is a training initiative for those that seek an industry perspective on marketing. This year, Embassy prioritized “making learning about marketing more accessible and value-adding for JMAers,” as discussed by Gabby Lazo, Embassy Chair. Accordingly, changes implemented were the formalization of the mentorship program in UPSTART and the emphasis on application-based workshops in AMP.
“making learning about marketing more accessible and value-adding for JMAers”
However, Embassy caters not only to the marketing needs of its members but also to those of its external stakeholders through its External Consultancy team. Despite the challenge brought about by the pandemic and passing trends, some of their accomplishments in collaboration with respected brands include pitching social media marketing, integrated marketing communication campaigns, and marketing deals, as enumerated by Angi, Embassy Co-Chair. Through these projects, JMAers are able to apply their marketing competencies – may it be through consultancy, market research, or brand execution – and excel in the professional world, as Jake Mariano, another Embassy Co-Chair, proudly noted.
Above all the training, insights, and recommendations that the team provides in pursuit of molding better marketers, ultimately, Embassy exists for the people and their holistic development. The internal marketing workshops enable JMAers to build their confidence, thus inspiring them to take on external marketing competitions and set their sights on achieving even greater heights. For one, Gabby recalls how she has witnessed “JMAers transform from applicants nervous about their marketing pitches to new members acing the UpStart Q&A segment, and some even volunteering to mentor applicants themselves”. Along the way, JMAers also develop professional skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and relationship-building – which are all essential to a well-rounded marketer.
Through and through, UP JMA is filled with people who are brimming with the potential to become well-rounded marketers in the future. Developing this potential and honing members’ skills is Embassy’s legacy within the organization, as Jake pointed out. Angi also expresses how “even the greatest marketers started from a seed that was nourished by practice, experience, and great mentors”.
With this, Embassy can be compared to the water that enables the organization to sustain its brand of marketing brilliance across generations. In line with this, she and the other Embassy chairs expressed their endless gratitude as they too experienced growth with UP JMA through various opportunities that empowered them to foster excellence within themselves and in their communities.
For an organization centered on creating and promoting value, UP JMA itself stands to create value for the people who share in its success. The organization is a place for different people to grow and thrive together. It is through the diversity of the people that comprise the organization that make UP JMA what it is today.
Just like how different pieces of a puzzle – that have varying shapes and sizes – come together to form one big picture, so do we, JMAers with varying yet complementary talents and personalities, come together to form one UP JMA.