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[Legacy Lumine] We Lead: Lessons on Leadership

Hear from UP JMA's 2021-2022 Executive Committee as they reflect on their year leading the organization.

1. What made you step up to the challenge of leading the organization?

Annika Ponco, President: Knowing this role is challenging before it even began, my choice of leading UP JMA was backed by a lot of belief. On one hand, it was my hope in the potential of the organization – in the growth it offers its members and its ability to forward causes and communities beyond it. On another hand, I owe it to the trust I received from fellow UP JMA members. If it weren’t for people who believed in my leadership capabilities, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being an Executive Committee member in the first place!

Atari Academia, External Affairs: Credit goes to the people in and around the organization that I hoped to serve. I wanted to do what I could for the members I continue to learn from, the stakeholders we dedicate our efforts to, and those I have to thank for believing in me and pushing me to go for it!

Santi Palmiery, Finance: Being inspired by the people I work and interact with in UP JMA is what primarily encouraged me to step up to being the Finance VP of the organization. This inspiration was particularly strengthened during my time as JMAster Class Chairperson and FP Head, as I came to the realization that I have much to learn from our diverse member base, all coming from different walks of life and equipped with different yet equally meaningful skills and knowledge. Thus, running for VP, it was important for me to listen to and reflect on the concerns and ideas of members not only in my committee, but those also from all over the organization. Ultimately, I decided to step up only when I felt confident that I could dedicate my 110% in delivering on these ideas and truly being a representative of the people and causes we serve.

Kelly Alviar, Internal Affairs: Much of who I am today is a product of my interactions with other people and challenging work experiences, from the moment I applied four years ago. Each conversation, each frustration, each risk I have endured ultimately translated into and evolved my love for the organization. Honestly, because of these experiences and more, the mere action of running in the election with or without the victory was something I truly owed to UP JMA.

Joaquin Mercado, Publicity and Communications: Beyond the grandeur of the title and the position, being a leader is ultimately a commitment to serve. Thus, the foremost consideration I had in signing myself up for the task of being Vice President was the question of “do I have to something to offer to my committee and to the organization?”. It turns out the answer was a resounding yes. So, despite all the fears and what-ifs that ran abound, I knew that my experiences inside and outside the organization led me to this very opportunity to be of service to UP JMA.

Jeridi Rubis, Socials and Public Relations: While leading UP JMA may seem like such a daunting task, my motivation to serve lies in the ability to make a lasting impact on both internal and external stakeholders. I attribute a lot of my personal and professional growth to my earlier positions and find service-oriented work to be very fulfilling. Leading the organization is truly the best way to give back to the organization that has given you so much.


2. Walk us through your vision. What changes did you want to make and what legacy did you wish to leave behind?

With marketing essentially being a problem-solution fit, I wanted UP JMA to provide as much value as possible to its internal and external stakeholders.

Annika Ponco, President: With marketing essentially being a problem-solution fit, I wanted UP JMA to provide as much value as possible to its internal and external stakeholders. Internally, I envisioned the organization to tune into what truly matters for its members – from personal development to genuine relationship-building. Externally, I envisioned UP JMA as an org in-touch with the times, and is able to innovate yet sustainably solve underlying need gaps of its partners and beneficiaries.

While this was a somewhat vague two-pronged vision for UP JMA, I am also a believer that legacies need not be tangible or grand! In retrospect, maybe the legacy I wanted to leave behind was a way of leadership — of navigating through problems simply and grounding solutions to the people of the org.

Atari Academia, External Affairs: I hoped to work towards a UP JMA that empowers its members to take on challenges creatively and develop an environment where we as members are able to celebrate the org’s wins, but also address its points for improvement, all while striving to offer only the best to our partners and beneficiaries.

Santi Palmiery, Finance: My vision for UP JMA was for it to bring about meaningful, innovative, and sustainable impact toward its stakeholders, which includes its members and beneficiaries. For this, I wanted to create more efficient and effective systems for raising money and processing transactions for the org, increase financial transparency, and give more help to the KIDS. For the most part, my teams and I were able to fulfill these through introducing PayMongo, regularly releasing financial transparency reports, raising and sustaining the KIDS stipend, and even creating a new team to raise funds for JMA teams called Financial Executions or FinEx.

In ensuring that our internal stakeholders always have opportunities to grow as leaders in a healthy organizational climate amid increasingly pessimistic times, I hope that JMAers have in some way become empowered and inspired.

Kelly Alviar, Internal Affairs: Empowerment, sustainability, and connection were my main platforms as I began serving UP JMA as its Internals VP. Throughout my term, I like to think that these were most expressed through my priority for development and welfare of members, applicants, and alumni. In ensuring that our internal stakeholders always have opportunities to grow as leaders in a healthy organizational climate amid increasingly pessimistic times, I hope that JMAers have in some way become empowered and inspired. This was evident in the iterated innovation of the teams and their projects, such as welfare initiatives and grievance forms, the reinstatement of Alumni Relations for continued connection, and the introduction of the Internal Development team focused on new members and the face-to-face transition plan for sustainability.

Joaquin Mercado, Publicity and Communications: With everything transitioning to the online space, I envisioned a UP JMA that led not just in the projects it mounted, but also in the manner in which it communicated them — ultimately, I envisioned a UP JMA that could cut through the noise. To do this, I, along with my committee, worked towards a UP JMA grounded by purpose through developing a cross-platform media strategy which included revitalizing our social media platforms and maximizing the potential of our website. Moreover, the committee built the foundations for an organization driven by data which included pioneering market research for our recruitment campaign and application process. And to finish it off, with our talented members, we were able to construct a UP JMA connected by design, developing the organization's graphic language and ensuring its brand consistency in the years to come.

All in all, the legacy I wished to leave behind was not that of revolutionary measures or head-turning changes, but rather I simply wanted to help the organization remain one step ahead of the rest — institutionalizing creative thinking founded on the pursuit of purpose-driven innovation and imbibing in our members the willingness for creative experimentation, allowing UP JMA to truly understand what it means to lead.

Jeridi Rubis, Socials and Public Relations: Going beyond its role as a marketing organization, I envisioned UP JMA to use its platform to amplify purposeful advocacies and take action on pressing national issues. Through mounting several socially-relevant campaigns and initiatives, the organization would be able to actualize its core thrust of service – providing impactful and sustainable solutions that would help address society’s needs in the long run.