On April 16, 2022, ABYA worked together with the National Youth Council Singapore (NYC) to organize a webinar to help the Youths with these pressing dilemmas. Titled “A Future in ASEAN: Trends & Opportunities of ASEAN’s Future Economy”, distinguished speakers Atty. Jo Kristine “Kaye” Celera, Head of Manila Water Company’s Enterprise Regulatory Affairs Group for the East Zone and Wafa Taftazani, an award-winning executive-entrepreneur and an angel investor, took the virtual stage to share their individual experiences which served as an inspiration for the young audience. With the indispensable presence of Malminderjit Singh, Regional Content Lead and Senior Account Director of Hume Brophy, to complete the program as a moderator, several takeaways emerged from a webinar that merely lasted an hour and a half.
Pursuit of one’s purpose
The first portion of the webinar was led by Atty. Celera takes pride in the sustainable operations of Manila Water which has been providing a “reliable, safe, inclusive, transparent, and responsive water supply and sanitation services through best fit practices.” During the pandemic, Manila Water assumed responsibility to provide 24/7 round-the-clock water supply to communities. She emphasized the formula to sustainability which was balancing between environmental and economic impact. She also shared that Manila Water is equipped with digital technology and continuously innovates for resilience and sustainability. Wafa Taftazani furthered the conversation by introducing his innovative business model which he had planned during the pandemic. He started by surveying small businesses which 94.7% reported a drop in revenue and 72% to be at the brink of bankruptcy. Based on these data, he created the Modal Rakyat, which allowed start-up businesses to function on indirect investments. Soon enough, Modal Rakyat flourished into an accomplished company with a social cause. Despite this, Taftazani still continued to create more fintech platforms that cater to different entrepreneurs, including one for content creators.
Lessons from the journey
The second half of the webinar was spearheaded by Malminderjit Singh. He asked the speakers regarding the 3 habits that a “successful” person should have. Atty. Celera draws from her own experience. The first habit she emphasizes on is her willingness to continuously learn and be open to opportunities to study, and to apply the knowledge gained and challenge already existing ideas. Second is the mindset to excel and never be contented with just doing substantial. Lastly, Atty. Celera places importance on good character, having empathy, compassion and heart to be of help to others, especially those in need. Taftazani also speaks from his experience. He told his story during the first few months of the pandemic wherein everything had stopped functioning and everyone were forced to isolate. He revealed that it was during that time that he personally learned about the benefits of meditation. To compliment his meditations, , he would do daily intermittent fasting, strictly eating only from 12pm to 6pm. This has surprisingly helped him focus in the morning as he does not need to think about breakfast, freeing up more time for other tasks.
The next question thrown by Singh is the key traits that the audience should hold to help them achieve their desired careers and to make them uniquely stand out. Atty. Celera once again went first and answered the importance of having technical skills to actually be good at your job to be competent and competitive at the workplace. She went on to describe the best traits of a leader which is to be actively involved and to be empathetic. However, she also mentioned that leadership skills is not always about leading others because sometimes you also need to lead ourselves individually. Taftazani acknowledges Atty. Celera’s answer regarding technical and added to it business and management jobs. He also brought out the discussion about remote working being an irreversible trend, which is why it is important to know how to lead through social media channels.
Overall, the webinar ended with a lot of meaningful insights from the speakers and from the moderator. After the event, the audience were also given the opportunity to ask questions using padlet, wherein the speakers were able to answer them one-by-one. Indeed, we are transitioning to a modern era with new trends, and new digital platforms are perhaps the few better ways to conquer the anxiety of tomorrow. ABYA would like to thank everyone who had made this webinar possible as well as having the opportunity to be contributory to such a productive event.