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For the past few weeks, I’ve had the honor of intro-ducing the 2011 STARpreneurs — women we recognized for their achievements in entrepreneurship and contributions to the community. This time, allow me to recognize the Go Negosyo advocates who helped us inspire and empower over 25,000 Filipinos, women and men alike, during the Go Negosyo Entrepreneurship Summit and Expo this Women’s Month.
One of the “womenpreneurs” who made time from her busy schedule just to join us in inspiring women during the Women Summit was Wynn Wynn Ong. She’s known for her one-of-a-kind jewelry creations made with unique materials, which all reflect her love for Filipino art. Her pieces have been featured in prestigious magazines in the Philippines and the US; and her unique creations, sought-after by collectors, have been sold in Hong Kong, Morocco, California and New York.
We are honored that she joined us in the forum on how women can achieve a balanced self. Her message of inspiration to women is that they can conquer anything when they pour their heart into whatever they do. It’s also very inspiring to know that despite her upscale negosyo, she has remained humble and generous to her fellow Filipinos. Aside from designing jewelry, Wynn Wynn is also active in leading “Hands on Manila,” a non-profit, volunteer foundation.
CHED commissioner Dr. Nona S. Ricafort has always been an advocate of women empowerment. Despite being educated in distinguished universities abroad, Nona’s heart has always been with Filipinas. She has devoted much of her career to different women’s causes, not just here in the Philippines but in the international scene as well. She served as president of the National Council of Women Philippines and the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organizations; and as vice president of the International Council of Women.
Apart from her noble work in the academe, Dr. Nona’s involvement in women’s causes is her way of reaching out and serving others. Indeed, her words of wisdom and inspiration during the summit have left a mark on the women who need a little bit more encouraging that they can achieve all of their aspirations by being the best they can be.
Another successful woman who inspired and entertained us was Regine Tolentino. We know her as a talented host of Unang Hirit and a glamorous dancing diva, but she’s also a successful entrepreneur. She’s the owner of Regine’s Boutique, a shop that offers gowns, dance wear and costumes for all occasions, and Regine’s Dance Studio, where she conducts rehearsals and gives dance classes to young kids.
This mother of two’s secret to attaining success while maintaining balance in all aspects of her life is that she follows her heart’s desire. Her negosyos are in line with what she enjoys and despite the challenges, she has continued to pursue what she’s truly passionate about. Being an entertainer also helps Regine become a better entrepreneur. As a performer, she knows what she wants from clothes, and so she’s applying it into her own creations for others to enjoy.
We were also very fortunate to have Dr. Carmen Valdes as one of our guests during the Women’s Summit. Dr. Pinky, as she is fondly called, is the associate dean of Assumption College and is an adjunct professor at the Ateneo Loyola School of Theology. Dr. Pinky also goes all around the Philippines, Southeast Asia and California to share her expertise in leadership development.
One does not need to be a graduate of a business course to become an entrepreneur. However, a negosyante must have leadership skills to manage a negosyo effectively. Just like what Dr. Pinky teaches, it’s important to be innovative and to think out of the box when faced with challenges.
Her dream of giving her children quality education is what encouraged Lorna Banzon to venture into negosyo. She used to accept laundry and sewing jobs to help her husband, who was a tricycle driver, earn a living for the family. To increase the family’s income, Lorna joined Avon in 1989 as a certified beauty counselor, and it became her first step to success. She eventually became an Avon service center operator right in her hometown of Balanga, Bataan, where she also helped other women earn extra income.
Lorna was also one of the inspiring mom-preneurs who shared their story of success to help encourage more women to venture into negosyo to fight poverty. Her advice to aspiring negosyantes is the same formula she follows to this day: stick to your dream, work hard, be disciplined and maintain good relationships with clients.
Khristine Gabriel, the business development manager and spokesperson for Ever Bilena Cosmetics, is living proof that any woman with big dreams, determination and a positive outlook on life can be successful. Khristine had very little growing up, and she often depended on the help of her generous classmates. Today, she’s the one helping other women find success through Gandang Pinay, Ever Bilena’s foundation that teaches battered women, widows and elderly women marketable skills in beauty to help them find their way back to a happy life. She also introduces them to the company’s direct-selling business, which allows them to start their negosyo with just P20 for a brochure as capital.
Khristine doesn’t hesitate to share her story to help empower and inspire women to use entrepreneurship in fighting poverty and overcoming hardships in their lives. Her message to all women is simple yet essential, and that is to never stop dreaming.
Cory Quirino, an advocate of beauty and wellness, also took time out to join us in empowering women to venture into entrepreneurship. Despite her busy schedule as a radio and TV host, writer and entrepreneur, Cory made time to personally share her story during the summit.
Like many womenpreneurs, Cory found satisfaction in following her passion. She’s the owner of World of Wellness, a shop dedicated to bringing the best in beauty and wellness products from all over the world. Cory is a hands-on entrepreneur. She personally chooses products that meet her own standards of excellence. She’s also leading the new Miss World Philippines as chair and CEO. With all her blessings, Cory also gives back to the community. She’s currently the chairperson of Tuloy Foundation, a foundation that aims to help street children, and the director of the PGH Medical Foundation.
Another inspiring womanpreneneur who’s been one with Go Negosyo in promoting entrepreneurship to Filipinos is fashion designer and wellness advocate Jeannie Goulbourn. For more than 30 years she served as a fashion consultant for SM. Her clothing line, JM Goulbourn, gave Filipinas sophisticated options at reasonable prices. Wanting to do more exciting things, Jeannie decided to purchase a silk hand-weaving company — Silk Cocoon.
Today, Jeannie’s company supplies colorful silk fabrics to Europe, the US and the Middle East. Aside from fashion, Jeannie is also passionate about wellness and she’s generous about sharing her knowledge with fellow Filipinos. Because of this, she established Global Vital Source, Inc., a company that promotes a holistic lifestyle and natural prevention for illness.
Mylene Abiva, president and CEO of Felta Multi-Media, Inc., is another Go Negosyo advocate who’s been continuously helping us spread inspiration and entrepreneurial know-how to Filipinos. Mylene is dedicated to improving and innovating education in the Philippines through her company, which develops educational materials, courseware and laboratory equipment for Filipino children. This mother of two has also been at the forefront of organizing the Philippine Robotics Olympiad each year since 2001.
She shared that the key to striking a balance in life as a woman, a mother and negosyante is to make time for everything, including yourself. She admitted that being a woman presents many challenges, but it should never discourage women from striving hard and proving that they can succeed.
These womenpreneurs and their stories truly give Filipinos the encouragement to start a negosyo and not to give up on life’s challenges. They’ve also made Go Negosyo what it is today — a movement of change with close to 700 advocates and counting.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top-rating entrep show Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! on GMA News TV 11 every Saturday and Sunday at 8-8:30 a.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips on your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.