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Yna Valenzuela-Torres

Anthony Fallarme

Rey Espino

Chito Rabadam



Career-Talk: Success and Why?

                  by Yna Valenzuela-Torres


What makes a success a success? This is one of the elementary questions defined and discussed during the talk. As in life, success is a complex issue with a simple solution – in the end it boils down to attitude and a correct understanding of happiness. The appreciation of that which are true and lasting. Applying the same measure and principle the recently concluded USTHS Career Orientation turned out to be a resounding success. Even if I say so myself (am I tooting my horn here?)? No! Because I was there and I saw it. It presented itself before my disbelieving eyes.

Was it a success because the speakers were good and articulate?

Long before their eloquence was manifest I never doubted the capabilities of our batch volunteers not only to deliver a speech but from where they are coming from. Allow me to write about this at length. This is a tribute to the band of men and women who answered the call for volunteers when the working was plenty and the planning was rough. Who took time off from their busy schedules, eagerly yet humbly prepared to share their trove of experience to these young boys and girls, wishing only to enlighten them, endured my kulit texts and emails, answered them ever so politely, and merrily went along.

I thank Leo for entrusting to me this project. It reacquainted me with Rocky Cabanes, the elusive Rene Molano(presidente ako ng fans club nya), Chong Hans Lopez, dear Margie Agapinan-Alfonso (suki!!), the more elusive Tato Martinez, dynamite Joel Navarro and of course I need no reacquainting with Teng and Leo. I get to work for the first time with affable Rey Matias, and met a fine gentleman in Buddy Tan. I get to have a Heckle and Jeckle or a version of those two decrepit dudes who quarterback in The Muppet Show as my egroup consultants. Who I will hide behind the alias, Will Fly. Zipped yun, ha. I received mails of support from batch mates from different points of the globe; Rita Hans-Maclang, Titoy, Andrea (miss you!), Lyn, Onald, and Nonoy (from different points of the Philipppines). Working with friends surprisingly turned out to be one delightful experience. I guess they left their egos in their workplaces, or, they never had one. Shucks!! Nerds! Of course we miss Vita, her story would have inspired. I thank those who previously volunteered their services for those two postponed Career-Talk dates: Gina Navarette, Benjie Mallari and Wendel Mediarito..and Teng, who came just the same to give us moral support.

Going to the next question: Was it a success because it was well organized? No false modesty, it was a bit of a challenge to plan a program involving hard-nosed professionals with packed schedules, a newly installed high school Principal, and two twenty-something guidance counselors who keeps appending "po" to their every sentence making me. Kidding aside, Ms. Leny and Ms. Olive are no less professional and dedicated as they are sweet. The theme was chosen by the school and we three ladies decided on the program content and format, or so I thought. I did a little writing here and there, a lot of texting, updating and hounding. There was a point Margie was tweaking me na, "O, Yna, kulang na lang dry run." In the end, after all the elaborate planning and brainstorming, Murphy’s Law has to reign. Everything seem pat down in place, even parking for speakers were reserved, then the two hour wait - before we were able to start "rockin." It was, I was informed, because of this unforeseen, never-heard-of technical difficulty? Oh, but that was soon forgotten when our esteemed batch mates started to rattle their wares. It was mostly heart-speak laced with cautionary tales and replete with wisdom and experience.

The effervescent Rene presented the Big Picture and the BIG entertainment. The gallery was roaring with laughter. Forget about time! Dra. Margie was in her best form, so motherly even in her function as a doctor-lecturer. Her mother was present that morning to proudly watch her baby all grown and wise. Dr. Rey Matias with that Rey smile on his face gently lectured on a very grisly topic (Physical Therapy) complete with pictures of broken bones and severed limbs. The tribute of Jojo Sayson I read after the end of his lecture got a lively reaction from the audience. Then came an impromptu intermission number from our very own Happy Dos Santos, looking gorgeous as usual, and who else, but the star for all seasons – Rene! They sang this tagalog song- a love song. Crowd lapped it up.

One more speaker before lunch break and that was Rocky Cabanes. Rocky’s story of his rocky path from frat guy in high school who almost got kicked out to a well rounded, well traveled executive is worth emulating. A poem of his he wrote (which I read) when he was in high school elicited a collective sigh from the young female audience. After lunch a speaker not from our batch talked on Actuarial Science. Hans Lopez was next, he who is considered the court jester of the batch turned out to be a very cool, serious lecturer. Now, talk about split personality. The teacher who introduced him took ten minutes to read his Curriculum Vitae. Tato Martinez talked on Architecture and clearly differentiated common misimpressions people have of architects and engineers. Of course he was handsome as he was lucid. He significantly pointed out that the most important career talk he ever conducted was when he advised his child as to what course to take. Joel Navarro’s high school photo (Veirtas photos of the speakers are flashed on a huge screen as the speakers mount the stage) drew a sigh from the audience, male and female. Like his field of expertise, which is, business management and insurance, he provided much of the cautionary tales. For our final speaker we had Leo. The other speakers had members of the faculty to introduce them, I was given the task to intro Leo and boy was he toast! If Joel’s photo drew a sigh, Leo’s was not to be outdone. As I thought, Leo would be ideal to speak last as he would deliver a strong finishing kick. That, he did – running an extra lap after crossing the finish line! He held the crowd in his hands.

It was a good show, ladies and gentlemen. It was more than a program. It was a show of professionalism, competence and service. It was a show of success and humility, of characters forged not through the fiery stove of youthful fervor and ambition but through the slow furnace of hard-work, patience and careful deliberation.

It was a success because the students held on to their seats despite the two hour overtime. To behold their bright gazes, ablaze with hope and encouragement from the life examples of our speakers. It was a success because they wanted more and jauntily marched into their designated (break-out)rooms. Buddy Tan, joined us in the break-out session. Articulate in language as he is in urban planning and transport and traffic design. Jo Medina-Manalad joined Leo in the IT room. Every college was assigned a room and this for me was the best part of the day. We all lectured and answered inquiries pertaining to subjects close to our hearts. I took charge of those who wanted to take up liberal arts, Philosophy and Journalism. The high you get is incomparable when you talk to kindred minds. At the end of the sessions, more than half enlisted in the Career Buddy Program, final tally not yet out but growing. We have just begun, we can do so much more. We do not ask much, just a little of your spare time and it will redound to much good. There is a multiplier effect in sincerity and downright service. We believe in the principle of "won by one." Capture one soul, change for the better and we set off a quiet revolution that will not be limited to one person but to a new generation.

To Rene, Margie, Rey M, Rocky, Hans, Tato, Joel, Leo, Buddy, Teng, Chito and Jojo (ayan, lumabas din), it was a great pleasure to work with you people. I look forward to working with you again. Cliché, cliché, but true.