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Doing good business

An Interview with Cecile Dominguez-Yujuico
05:00 PM October 24, 2018

The entrepreneurs of today can do it all. They are no longer confined to just one or two occupations. They know how to manage numerous endeavors. Likewise, the entrepreneurs of this generation are also highly passionate about contributing to society. They continuously innovate ways to give back and help out.

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Cecile Dominguez-Yujuico is the perfect example of this kind of entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of Evident, an integrated marketing and public relations firm she started after she received her Master’s degree in Communication at New York University in 2012. Cecile is also the President of the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation and serves on the board of Teach for the Philippines and the Association of Foundations. She also co-founded All Good – an online social impact storytelling platform.

As the CEO of Evident, Cecile is tasked to make use of communications and technology to help NGOs and changemakers with their campaigns. She has also worked with some of the biggest companies in the country. Most of her clients are from the NGO sector such as, the World Health Organization, Investing in Women (AusAid), and Philippine Business for Education. Her other clients are from corporations such as Fitness First, Phoenix Fuels, Ayala Land Premier and Sarangani Bay Prime Bangus. All the work she does marries her roots with NGO work, which she was exposed to early in her career. Prior to founding Evident, she served as Executive Director of the Alcantara Foundation, where she worked with local government, schools and parents in Sarangani Province to improve the quality of education in public schools.

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She was recently named as one of Campaign Asia’s Women to Watch in Asia Pacific and a Uniqlo future hero.

Here were some of her thoughts on leadership and on creating businesses for social change:

What do you suggest to the youth of today who wish to be entrepreneurs themselves or who desire to be a part of an advocacy?

“You can do both. You don’t have to choose one or the other. You don’t have to be just an entrepreneur or just an NGO worker. In my experience, I’ve been able to do both. It’s about what you care about and finding ways to make it work. When you think about entrepreneurship, it’s all about job creation and growing your own business. If you care about nation building or helping your community, you can infuse those citizenship values into your business. I encourage young entrepreneurs to think about the values that they deeply care about and think about ways to infuse them into their business.”

What distinguishes a Filipino leader compared to the rest of the world? How can we continue to be globally competitive and still contribute to nation building?

“What differentiates Filipino business leaders is that there’s a very strong culture of corporate social responsibility. Many Filipino business leaders have a strong long-term commitment to social impact and nation building and today’s young leaders benefit from this. Leaders of the past have already charted this path which creates an opportunity for the young to continue to grow and expand the culture of social responsibility.”

Who are the leaders that you look up to? What are the characteristics of these leaders do you find most admirable?

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“I look up to my parents, Paul and Rosie Dominguez, a lot. My parents always had a commitment to NGO work, civil service, and social impact, concurrent to leading their own businesses. I think that’s something I hope to follow.”

How do you feel about the country’s future? What do we need to move forward?

“The Philippines has a lot to look forward to. Gen Z isn’t just socially aware, they also act on it and expect more from institutions. It’s admirable to see the next generation is making more informed choices, when it comes to brands and organizations to support. They have higher expectations from institutions. Given this behavior, there’s a lot to look forward to.”

How do young women today overcome barriers that you yourself transcended?

“It was less about being female as it was about being young. Sometimes when you’re a young business owner or leader, you’re perceived to be less experienced. It’s a challenge – it’s something young leaders should be aware of. It’s really about figuring out how to overcome possible negative perceptions about the youth.  

As a woman, we’re lucky that gender parity is better in the Philippines. However, there’s still a lot of work that can be done at home about sharing the workload. What’s important for women to be successful is that they need a strong relationship with their families. For example, husbands should equally share the load of child care with their wives, rather than assigning all responsibilities to the women. This creates an enabling environment that will allow women to succeed in their career. The good news is that Millennial and Gen Z men have more progressive views about parenting and childcare – they are much more willing to share the load equally.”

At the end of the interview, Cecile also added that we should all know our why’s – “Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Understand what is your deeper mission or reason that drives you forward because that is what will get you through the hard times. Young entrepreneurs should also think deeply about the work culture they want to create. They should think about the kind of leader they want to be.” She also emphasized that work culture is very important. “That’s what builds a great company. At Evident we work really hard on this – we’re very open and collaborative. I try to empower people as much as I can. It’s not about me, it’s really about them.”

There are a lot of other leaders like Cecile, with untold stories. That’s why PHINMA created the Ramon V. del Rosario – Siklab Awards. The award is inspired by Ramon V. del Rosario – one of the founders of PHINMA, a renowned entrepreneur and a nation builder. Moreover, it is also inspired by leaders such as Cecile and the spark that they help ignite in today’s youth.

If you know anyone who deserves to be recognized, nominate them today.

Send in your nominations at www.tinyurl.com/SiklabOnlineNomination

You may also download the nomination form at www.tinyurl.com/SiklabNominationForm  

Email your forms at [email protected] or send to: 
De La Salle University 
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration 
2401 Taft Ave., Manila 
0922 Philippines 
RVR SIKLAB AWARD 

Deadline for nominations will be on October 31, 2018.

Visit www.facebook.com/SiklabAwards for more information.

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TAGS: Cecile Dominguez-Yujuico, Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Entrepreneurs, Phinma, Ramon V. del Rosario – Siklab Awards
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