JCI president on working in and out of family business

JCI president on working in and out of the family business

/ 02:10 AM February 15, 2024

(First of two parts)

Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila has a very rich 76-year history,” says president Charles “Calel” E. Gosingtian, who also heads the home purifier family business Waters Philippines. “It is in practice that we learn more and improve upon ourselves. Our projects are geared toward helping and partnering with the community and maximizing impact and sustainability.

“I experimented on ideas with JCI Manila because it was a relatively risk-free environment where I could make mistakes, and people would process them with me. I learned what activities motivate people, what leadership styles work in different occasions. I practiced execution, strategizing and creativity in various projects. People would give you the real talk and be the first to be happy with your growth and success.


“Growing up, I have always been active with extracurriculars: theater, a retreat organization, student council, event group, varsity teams. I am used to juggling different things.”


The son of marketing guru and Inquirer contributor Josiah Go, Calel worked outside the family business for a year after graduation at the Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Jackson Hole (FSJH) in Wyoming, the top ski resort in North America.

“Three things stood out that I carry to this day,” says Calel. “One, the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. People have to experience the elevated level of personal service before they are able to do it to others. Two, take care of your people, so that they take care of the product, which will bring profit. Three, understand the processes, why things are, for you to know when to break the rules.”

“In FSJH, I was a fresh graduate who was not a child of the owner, and who was living in a foreign country. I learned to live by myself with no external support, and handled my own taxes. I learned that I could compete with the best of them. I was nominated employee of the month at a crucial period of time for the hotel, but eventually lost to longtimers due for promotion.”

Many young people who study and work abroad do not want to return, particularly if the money and the environment are perceived to be better. Calel, though, made a wise decision to come back.

“Things were going well, but I plan to stay in the Philippines for the long term. I would be wasting my time building a career abroad if I could get used to local conditions with a local network instead.”

Upon his return, Calel did something not many heirs manage. His proud father stated in a blog that his son “gave back the placement and airfare fees his mom paid for, by using his savings while working in the US, net of his monthly rent shared with other people.”


I ask Calel the difference between working in FSJH and Waters Philippines. He says, “People did not treat me differently in FSJH. In fact, it does not matter who you are there, everyone goes through the same thing, no exemptions. When I came home, I had to make an effort to make the Waters team feel that I was one of them. I had to keep proving to people that I wasn’t there just because I was an owner, but because I wanted to grow the business and help them out in the process.”

Waters Philippines was born in 1995, becoming the first local company to use network marketing for purifiers, and to offer consumer financing and a 90-day warranty.

“We were at the tail end among distributors in Asia Pacific in 1995,” Josiah blogged. “In three years, it became number one in Asia. The Philippine team was teary-eyed when our national anthem was played during the awards ceremony in Shanghai. After 26 years, Josiah retired from Waters in 2021, and Calel became president and CEO.

“When I started, I had challenges launching this new business concept in the Philippines, which required many years of educating the market,” says Josiah. “Calel has taken over with his own set of challenges (COVID-19 and digital transformation, among others). He will be backed up by his team of professional managers.”

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Next week: Insights on working with family.

TAGS: family business

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