by Jan Shaira Malicay
Amidst the period of waiting for the results of the interview, I was always on edge. Each day was a mix of thrill, horror and a bit of excitement. It was like waiting for my final judgment. Then, on the 14th of December, 2018, before my classes started, I checked my email and screamed silently as I read the much-awaited email from the Secretariat of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC).
Out of more than a hundred interviewees, I was blessed by the heavens to represent Foundation University as one of the final 80 delegates for the annual congress. And finally, on February 18,2019, I flew to Manila, with my co-delegate from Silliman University, Gail Gabor, and met all the other delegates from the different regions of the Philippines.
Our arrival was the start of all the fun and fruitful moments in the congress. From befriending fellow “bisayas” from Mindanao and Cebu to handshakes with our fellows from Luzon. Not only was I able to dine with these smart and fun fellows but also with the executives from the different Ayala industries. Our facilitators for both our workshop and outdoor groups were always so sweet and attentive to every sessions and activity which made all the late nights and challenges worth doing.
AYLC is where executives are happily mingling with the young leaders; where young leaders are joyfully sharing each others thoughts and have endless Q and As; where all, even the alumni, are scared to be scolded by Manang Minnie; where everyone loves and respects Tatay Monchito; where everyone is always awestruck by the presence of the Ayala’s; and where all meals are served in full course and coffee is unlimited.
Joining the congress, I realized that as a youth, I can actually do so much. Especially, now that we have access to the different platforms to influence a change in something, if not all. Realizing one’s personal goal, sharing that vision to others and creating a network of shared passion, going big by starting small is achievable. I am reminded that leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. I need not go fast or go big all in one time. Instead, I can go slow but steady for life is a journey after all.
I am sincerely thankful to have been accepted to a new family. It is a family where everyone has a vision, willingly shares that vision to others and has created a network of leaders to act on that vision. It is where each one is a servant and a leader at the same time and where everyone races with no one but their own past selves.
AYLC 2019 was a great avenue for new learning and growth. I learned so much from the panel discussions, messages from our keynote speaker, messages from the Ayala’s themselves and from all the workshop sessions and outdoor activities. There was meaning to each activity that after each we were highly encouraged to share our point of views to the point where we cried our hearts out for we realized the depth of our cause and why’s.
As I am writing this, I realized that it’s becoming more of an entry to one’s journal rather than an article in a publication. Yes, I would think the same but, as a delegate, I believe this would be the best way to share my experience, to let you know that AYLC is like a wonderful dream you would wish not to wake up from.