Be honest: When was the last time you actually felt inspired at work? With everything that has gone on in the past year, most of us have been finding it difficult to muster the motivation to show up, much less excel in our job. Still, you don’t necessarily have to do anything drastic to move forward. These days, taking things one step at a time is all you have to do.
The understanding that Pinays need inspiration to get back on their feet during these trying times is what drove Cream Silk to host the virtual Conditioned For Greater Summit + Job Fair last March 1. This online event was the hair care brand’s way of encouraging women everywhere to never settle in their careers, because growth can be achieved by continuing to aspire for *greater* things.
The event reminded participants of the need to upskill in order to land a job or pursue better opportunities. Thanks to Cream Silk’s and Edukasyon.ph’s Conditioned For Greater Academy, this can easily be done at home by taking short courses online. As proof, the event’s program featured a crash course on digital marketing and a short talk on how to ace job interviews.
The event also featured a panel discussion, wherein guest speakers talked about their success stories. Below are some of the things we picked up from the discussion, along with words of wisdom that will help make you feel #ConditionedForGreater:
Social entrepreneur and advocacy communications expert Lynn Pinugu had always wanted to be a journalist. She had dedicated herself to pursuing this dream despite the financial struggles her family faced, pushing her to take a college scholarship test to continue studying. Realizing firsthand the importance of accessible, quality education, she decided against being a journalist in order to help kids get the learning opportunity they deserve regardless of their financial capacity. This was the start of Mano Amiga, a social enterprise helping underprivileged kids get international-quality education, which Lynn co-founded.
Like most businesses, Mano Amiga had its share of troubles because of the pandemic, losing millions of pesos from sponsors to the point where they were on the brink of closing. To save the enterprise, Lynn had to push her team to unlearn unnecessary practices, relearn teaching for the current situation, and gain new skills that would help them move forward. She adds: “After 13 years [of running Mano Amiga] and after achieving some success, I’m still not immune to failure or even the fear of failure. And the same goes for every person who is successful. [But] what sets a successful person apart from others is not that they don’t face any challenges in life, but really how they respond to those challenges.”
Ayn Bernos was a writer at a digital marketing agency before she launched her own clothing line, Morena the Label. The business was created specifically for the morena community that Ayn holds close to her heart, she being a morena herself.
Ayn learned about business management from the internet before building her own business from the ground up as a one-woman-team. “I was a solo entrepreneur for about one and a half years. I learned that even though I was alone in running the business, storytelling can really take you places. Leveraging social media to grow the business really empowered me as a solo entrepreneur.”
To date, Morena the Label boasts of more than 10,000 followers online. In addition, Ayn has branched out to other endeavors, such as Ideologie Studio, a platform for local merch, as well as Camp Confidence Radio, a podcast she co-hosts.
“I’ve always been a hustler, and I’ve always told myself that if I wanna learn something, then I can just Google it and learn it,” said Ayn. “And I think if everyone knew that—that they can make things happen because the tools are available [all over the Internet]—then anything is possible.”
If you love cold-pressed juice, then you’ve no doubt heard of Pure Nectar, founded by Arielle Escalona. She brought the idea to life back in 2014, the same year she started working at her family business, Fruit Magic. Arielle had to take on many hats, jumping from one department to another at Fruit Magic, in order to grow the business. Today, the company has close to 400 branches nationwide, with global expansions in Singapore and Brunei.
However, these stores almost stopped operations last year due to the pandemic. At the time, she kept to her guiding principle: “Nothing is ever as terrible as it seems, and nothing is ever as great as it seems. This has applied to me in so many different things consistently for the past six years of managing all my businesses. You get a really horrible customer complaint or you get rejected for a brand. All these things seem terrible at that specific moment, but if you take a step back, [you’ll see that] things actually do work out.
“And the philosophy also works the other way around. When [you get] a really big client and you open up a franchise store in an international country or in a provincial city, they can also turn out to be overstating how big it is. And through the years, I’ve learned how to find my center and stay in the middle of these two philosophies so that I don’t get overwhelmed and I get to stay calm.”
You likely know sisters Vern and Verniece Enciso from their vlogs. It’s been more than a decade since they started their careers as content creators, and both credit ~honesty~ for staying on top of their game. “Verniece and I just really stuck to it by believing in how we can really express our true selves without pretending to be other people. I think that’s how we managed to stay in the business for 11 years,” Vern said.
While maintaining their joint YouTube channel, Vern and Verniece have also ventured into perfumery out of their love for perfumes. According to Vern, “It’s good to explore and learn new things, but when you really stick to your core and to what you love, it will really be such a fun and honest thing to do. Honestly, I’ve always believed that every person has their own audience waiting for them. Social media is hard work. But once you really be yourself, it gets so much easier.”
ICYMI, you can watch the whole event here for more inspiring stories:
Ready to feel #ConditionedForGreater? Sign up for one-hour online courses offered by Cream Silk and Edukasyon.ph at the Conditioned For Greater Academy. Take classes on Sales, Communications, Project Management, and more to get the chance to score an interview with hiring companies. The courses are free to take for an entire year—you don't want to miss this, Cosmo girls!
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