PANAF YOUTH CONGRESS – Wholistic, Exponential, and Real, Me

    lean-legarda-leviste-keynoteThe 6th PANAF IMC Youth Congress focused on preparing oneself before going out to the real world. With the theme “Wholistic Me,” the forum provided tools and tips—from dressing to financial education—that would hopefully arm the youth in their future endeavors.

    Keynote speaker Leandro Legarda Leviste is only in his early 20s and already promoting social entrepreneurship. He founded Solar Philippines that aims to provide low-cost solar power or energy to the marginalized sector of society. He urged the youth to tread roads less traveled, “because one should push ideas in ‘unsexy’ industries.” Leviste was a consistent honor student and overachiever from grade school to college at Yale University. He was also a champion debater. But, he said, “In chasing trophies, you are not creating values.” Leviste encouraged the participants to not be afraid to innovate, or “not accept dogma as fact.” In his speech, he wanted the youth to discover their own strengths and maximize them to their full potential. “We are living in the most exciting times in human history,” he said. “The rate of innovation is not linear but exponential.”

    Celebrity stylist Liz Uy’s talk revolved around beauty inside and out. She stressed the need to always feel good, because it would reflect on the outside. It is important to have your own style, she urged, and acknowledged that the youth are still in search of that style. She said they still had all the time in the world to try new and different things. But when they step out of their comfort zones and face real-life problems, they must be able to handle themselves well. “Being put together adds up to your self-confidence,” she said. “Your personal branding is your way of presenting yourself to the world.”

    Dr. Michael Pineda, a physician by profession and also an organizational speaker, advised students to not be afraid of changes. He began with an explanation of understanding one’s emotions, and went on to guide the participants on change, and the reason it’s necessary in life. “If you don’t know what you need to change, nothing will change,” Pineda said. “Change feels awkward (at first), but keep trying.”

    Pastor and radio personality Jojo Baldo stressed the importance of integrity, reciting several Bible verses and sharing anecdotes to make his point.

    Life coach and popular psychologist Randy Dellosa gave tips on taking care of oneself. The tips were simple, and served as reminders from mothers, but at the end of his talk he emphasized the need for youths to ask for help if they feel the signs of depression. “It is brave to seek help when you need it,” he said.

    Rose Fres Fausto is a newspaper columnist, and a one-time investment manager. She talked about one of the most important aspects of work, the financial education quotient (FQ). Fausto told the participants the importance of starting their financial education early. Investing has been a subject many think is “for adults only,” but then she shares her own children’s early investments, proving there is no age requirement when it comes to managing finances.

    According to Nonong Noriega, “It’s almost revolutionary when they talk about the things you need to get you through life. We talk about IQ, EQ,  and technical skills. But what about other qualities, like inter-personal, and leadership qualities?”  Noriega, who is the Division Head of Employee Development at PLDT, espouses deep retrospection of one’s self in order to achieve a positive presence.

    Driving the importance of interpersonal strength, Noriega’s background—in a traditional telco entering the digital race–is crucial. He asks questions on the effects of technology on people, and their outputs. “What is technology doing to us?  And, who are we selling our brains to?,” he asked.

    Ask yourself, “In your school, or community, are you a positive presence?”

    Certified EQ Executive Coach, Founder and Chief Emotions Officer of JP Center for Creative Learning and Leadership Development, Jesulito Cornejo shared that, “IQ growth stops at age 17, therefore, you have to work on your EQ.”

    The byword nowadays, the millennial phenomenon was in the thick of Cornejo’s talk. An image of a generation entering the workforce, “Millennials lack interpersonal skills, and have difficulty handling change,” he shared.

    And just like the recurring theme, “Inner self starts with knowing who you are,” stressed Cornejo.

    Once an aspiring priest, Atty. Noel del Prado capped the afternoon’s talks. Sharing with Noriega a humble family life in their youth, Del Prado narrated successful stories of changing lives working for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).  He has since devoted his life to volunteerism. “You are not the sum of your Facebook posts, or Tweets or Instagram pics,” said Del Prado.

    Transferring trades from social work to public information, he was soon writing for the Secretary of Justice, whose ideals did not match his. He knew he needed a new voice, and even wider skills. “Between my boss, and me as a ghostwriter, who would the people listen to? For my words to mean something, I had to make my life meaningful.  That’s why I decided to become a lawyer.”  

    By Aye Ubaldo