MM’s Messages and Moments – 3/19/09

Creating a Culture

Vol. 1, No. 8 * 19 March 2009

2009 President

I’m back.

For somebody who talks and writes a lot, I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog for two months now. Part of it is not intentional. I’ve been trying to focus more on ensuring that the outputs of our Strategic Planning last October and our Tactical Planning and Evaluation last January are implemented the best way we can.

But partly because, I never really want to write unless the message I want to convey is so strong, it somehow becomes an advocacy.

Many things have been going on and many things need to be thought of, no single message stands out for me to share at any given time.

Until now.

Everything significant and everything that seems predestined in my life needs to be properly defined. In the absence of which, at least there should be one single thing that will guide me in discovering that definition.

Case in point, my entry in politics. At the onset, I have been certain on what I want to do and what I what to happen. Ever since college, my advocacies about women empowerment and education (more specifically, early childhood education) have been my chosen causes. They’re what my heart cries out for. Even if I have somehow failed my own expectations on some level or the expectations of others, I still know and I’m still guided on what my priorities are and what I stand for.

I’m not confused.

But this level of certainty, focus and conscious decision making have not really reverberated on other areas on my life. Though, I have been certain what I want to happen during my presidency (membership development and growth, fiscal and operational stability and project relevance), I have not consciously determined what culture I should define for our chapter.

Until three respected individuals in the national movement enlighten me that I should. In his January 30 blog, ITF REggie articulated it well when he answered the question: “Why should our JCI Local Presidents care about their leadership legacy?” (Read his blog here). In our discussion on a different yet controversial matter, Coach Gleendo also opined that it is up to me to define what my chapter’s culture should be being at its helm now. I also remembered Coach Mennen saying during the 9th Academy last year that with only one year to lead, we should be like the differently-abled kid in the video he showed. We should make every second count.

Hence, my introspection and contemplation.

Some of my choices on what culture our chapter should have have been my personal philosophies already. But I am forced to affirm them not just because of what Sir Reggie, Coaches Gleendo and Mennen have said but because for the past three months, my difficulties as a president have not been about how to pool resources nor how to motivate people. My difficulties were on making difficult decisions, choosing between two people, most often, equally friends of mine, or standing and choosing sides on difficult issues.

Therefore, in the past three months, I have been constantly confused.

But I have always decided to choose a side, albeit, sometimes unpopular, and not just be a fence sitter or not to play politics about it.

So, what exactly guided me on the choices I made?

 “I Stand Up for You”

One particular issued that gnawed on me was having to choose between two people I’ve decided to be loyal to. They don’t know that they’re in the list of people in my life under that category, the list that says “I will never compromise these people nor their interest if I can help it.” Until they were on different sides of an issue that cannot be ignored and needed my stand.

It was difficult.

But I made a decision without much drama or having to apologize about it. I’ve disappointed one person. And probably made enemies when I chose that particular stand from people who supported the other side. But I don’t regret making it.

Because I want each of us in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel to always choose to fight for friends especially if they have been deprived of what they deserved.

 “I Do It For You”

Most often we are asked to give more than we perceive we will be getting. And most often, I hear people saying, sometimes, indirectly, “What’s in it for me?” I recognize the value of fairness and the need to make everything worthwhile. In fact, constant evaluations about relevance are conducted to guide us on how we do things and how we choose projects.

But sometimes, there is a need for us to do things not for us but for something greater than us. It might be for the good of the majority or for the benefit of a friend. Sometimes, we need to help out not just because we can expand our network, make money, or develop a skill. Sometimes we need to help out because a friend needs help.

Because I want each of us in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel to not just build transactional relationships but friendships.

“Thank You”

In the course of our journey in JCI, we will make use of a myriad of opportunities — opportunities which are either provided by somebody or opportunities which you are able to take advantage of because somebody has prepared you to be skillful in making use of them.

It is almost always, then, that you owe your growth to somebody.

And regardless of the current state of your friendship or relationship with that person, always be grateful for what he or she has given you. Always.

Because I want each of us in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel to always know where we’ve been and who helped us grow in the process. I want us to always choose to be grateful.

“It’s OK. You’re OK”

I’ve had several disappointments.

I was even majorly disappointed, not once, but three times, these past three months at three diffferent people either because of negligence, selfishness or lack of regard. But we’re still in a good place now.

Each of us will fail at one point or another. It might be for lack of skill, indolence or because of lack of character. Though I so love the uncompromising attitude of some officers and members like what our efficient Treasurer is exhibiting, sometimes, we just need to be a wee bit more understanding of each other.

Though I sometimes fail in this and have even participated in bitch-out sessions where we lament the failures of others whether in our chapter or in other chapters, I want each of us in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel to be compassionate and to remember that we’re all struggling individuals and that we all fail at some things.
“I Respect You”

Members come from different walks of life and different backgrounds. Others are not as rich, as intelligent, as beautiful, as classy, as skillful or as talented as others.

Regardless of where they came from, people need to be respected and deserved our politenes.

And even if we differ in our views or at we’re at different sides of an issue, I want each of us in JCI Cebu-Mactan Channel to consistently be respectful and polite with others. Don’t ever think that someone is “beneath you” to not deserve your respect.


I have been grateful of what I’ve been through. They forced me to evaluate what matters to me and what philosophies I’ve adapted in life and to infect people with them.

Because I now realize that one of the reasons I’ve been placed here is to be able to share with you easily what I want to advocate.

Hope you share my sentiments.

What do you think?

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