How the 2018 MAP CEO Conference Surpassed My Expectations

Written by Dennis Pabelico

On the night before the MAP CEO conference held last September 4, 2018, I had been busy looking for a dress shirt that would go well with my charcoal grey coat. Should I wear a dark shirt or a white shirt? Finally, I decided to go with black for attractiveness and extreme confidence. That alone was a sign of excitement because I don’t usually try on an attire the night before any particular event.

My excitement was evident — as early as 6:10 AM, I was already near the Makati Shangri-La. There I was at Starbucks 6750, waiting for the 7:00 AM registration with my morning coffee.

I was among the first to arrive at the Rizal Ballroom and, after I had registered, I proceeded to my assigned table to have my early bird photo taken. While waiting for the conference to start, I went around to do some networking with the first few people around. As soon as I returned to my seat, fruits were served, along with a warm glass of water.

To commence the morning’s program the opening prayer was sung, followed by the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. Several messages, including one from the co-presenter, the MAP president, and the MAP conference chair, were delivered to formally open the conference. The common theme of their messages was simple: there will always be a choice when you compete in this age of disruption —be the disruptor or be disrupted.

Shortly after the welcome messages, the conference’s keynote speaker was introduced — Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia. As he walked up onstage for his keynote address, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Among all morning speakers, his talk resonated with me most. He shared that humility and compassion are virtues we should practice and narrated that he has already forgiven the people who persecuted him and jailed him in solitary confinement. He added that his passion for justice and freedom is stronger now and stands firm in his fight to return the billions corrupted by the government to the people. These virtues exemplify love for God and love for country. And so, as a believer of Jesus Christ who personified these virtues, I should also aspire to always be humble and compassionate.

After a series of morning talks, networking and lunch followed. And since post lunch could be very challenging for most people, the host encouraged us to exercise a bit and look under our seats for a winning message. 70 participants won a hardbound book entitled “Winning: Management Lessons Outside the Classroom” — and I was one of them!

During the afternoon session, a speaker that caught my attention was Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, Undersecretary for Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology. Her talk was about a young Filipino scientist’s success in creating inventions that would help the Filipino people move the country forward. Interestingly, one of the MAP representatives wants her to be part of MAP and urged the private sector to support and market these inventions to spread awareness.

Finally, after all the speakers had done their part, the most anticipated portion of the program followed. All participants were glued to their seats, awaiting the announcement of raffle winners. Unfortunately, none of the John Clements delegates won a raffle prize. Nevertheless, being able to attend this conference was already a prize in itself. We learned a lot, met new people, and had a great bonding experience with our colleagues. And speaking of bonding, we took advantage of the photo booth for our souvenir photos!

At exactly 5:00 PM, we were already at the exit doors, ready to part ways and call it a day. Indeed, attending this auspicious event made our day well spent!

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About the author:

Dennis is an avid collector of authentic NBA jerseys. He also sells some of them on his online store. Despite his busy work schedule, he makes sure that he goes to the gym for a workout and an aerobic class at least once a week. During his free time, he reads spiritual books and attends meditation classes.