Something worth sharing

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Something worth sharing
With Jollibee Foods Corp president and CEO Ernesto “Ato” Tanmantiong (center) are from left: the author, MAP Management Person of the Year (MPY) Judging Committee and PHINMA independent director Atty. Lilia B. De Lima, MAP president and Du-Baladad and Associates (BDB Law) founding partner and CEO Atty.Benedicta Du-Baladad, and MAP MPY chair and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. president and CEO Rogelio L. Singson.

While the future looks bright, dark clouds still gather on the horizon, unleashing headwinds that will temper — maybe even damage or trample — our optimistic outlook.”

This is what President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) said, in describing the outlook on the country’s economy, in his speech during the oath-taking of the new Cabinet officials — Secretary Deck Go, the Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs (SAPEIA), and new Finance Secretary Ralph Recto.

The challenge thus before us is “not just to grow the economy but to make sure that such growth is felt by our people of all parts of society,” the President said.

It is in this regard that we take inspiration from the most recent awardee of the Management Man of the Year award of the Management Association of the Philippines, or MAP.

This award is arguably the most prestigious award given for managerial excellence. It is given by the MAP to recognize outstanding achievements of any individual who has exceptionally distinguished himself or herself in the practice of management, whether he or she be a MAP member.

Karen Batungbacal, Benedicta Du-Baladad , Ato Tanmantiong, Dr. Cielito Habito and Alex Cabrera.

In 54 years, the award has been given only 46 times, and of those 46 times, I was able to host the awarding ceremony for a record 16 times.

The award was first given out in 1967 to the late Washington SyCip, an icon in Philippine business and corporate finance.

The awards were again given out in 1977, and the list of distinguished awardees reads like a who’s who list in Philippine business and government: Washington SyCip, Geronimo Velasco, Henry Brimo, Jose Soriano, Cesar Virata, Jaime Ongpin, Vicente Paterno, Dante Santos, Cesar Buenaventura, Roberto Villanueva, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Ramon del Rosario Sr., Jose Fernandez Jr., Raul Concepcion, Oscar Hilado, Alfonso Yuchengco, Juan Santos, David Consunji, Rizalino Navarro, Gabriel Singson, Delfin Lazaro, Henry Sy Sr., Oscar Lopez, Tony Tan Caktiong, Jesus Tambunting, Rafael Buenaventura, Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), George S.K. Ty, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, Jose Cuisia Jr., Antonio Aquino, Jesus Estanislao, Lilia de Lima, Ramon del Rosario Jr., Erramon Aboitiz, Aurelio Montinola III, Edgar Chua, Albert del Rosario, Amando Tetangco Jr., Tessie Sy-Coson, John Gokongwei Jr., Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Nestor Tan, Federico Lopez, and Isidro Consunji.

The awardee for 2023 is none other than Ernesto “Ato” Tanmantiong, president and CEO of Jollibee Foods Corporation.

Al Panlilio, Nora “Noya” Terrado, Atty. Lilia De Lima, and Atty. Ebot Tan.

Ato was recognized, among others, for “accelerating Jollibee’s globalization and transforming it into one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing restaurant companies; for steering his group to an impressive and quick turnaround after its first-ever loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and post record-breaking, system-wide sales and operating income; for his leadership role in his group’s substantial contributions to job creation, income generation and national development; and for raising the Philippine flag with pride in many countries around the world, concretely manifesting national pride, and proving that Filipino companies can compete successfully alongside global big brands.”

In his acceptance speech, Ato credited the success of the company to the hardworking Jollibee Group team. “All of this would not have been possible without the dedication of all the people who have worked at Jollibee Group throughout the years. Without their passion, their love for the brand and country, their belief that this company is something worth sharing to the world, we would not be where we are today,” he said.

Indeed, one need not emphasize how popular Jollibee is right now, how it has been identified as a brand that is truly Pinoy. It has come a long way from the small ice cream house started by the Tanmantiong family back in 1975 to the worldwide conglomerate housing 18 brands with over 6,600 stores in 34 countries and counting.

Ato’s life is also quite a story to tell, how he was already exposed to the food business when he was a child as he helped in his father’s Chinese restaurant in Davao City, how he worked from busboy to working student at Jollibee, to store manager and eventually to becoming the chief operating officer and ultimately the chief executive officer of the Jollibee Group of Companies.

MAP Conference Committee chair Undersecretary Alma Jimenez.

As he also says in his acceptance speech: “I have learned many things on this journey, and would like to share four of them with you:

1. It is important to surround yourself with people who are competent, passionate and dedicated. We always knew we didn’t know everything and couldn’t do everything. Very early on, we worked with consultants and individuals to professionalize the company and chose people who shared the same values.

2. Share your success and prosper together. I have learned that genuine sharing is when you are willing to give even things you need for yourself, whether it be time or resources. It is important not to get caught up in your own success, but to be grateful and share it with the people who helped make it happen.

3. Always keep a positive outlook on the future. It doesn’t mean being blindly optimistic, but rather, looking for opportunities in every situation. We shouldn’t be angry at the people who bring up problems to us; we should thank them for being honest and helping us pinpoint a problem that, when solved, could make us or the company better. I take comfort in this thought that every crisis or setback comes with a learning moment to progress myself or the company.

4. Finally, it is important to always dream big with passion and commitment. From that year we set up shop 45 years ago, it was our big “crazy” dream that brought us to where we are now. We’ve encountered our own fair share of failure in the process, but thanks to our team and our shared dream, we persevered.”

Wise words, indeed, born from experience and of rising to the challenge that always lay ahead.

And in juxtaposing these words against that which President BBM said: “We will work towards creating an environment that encourages investment, stimulates economic opportunities, and uplifts the lives of every Filipino citizen.

“Let us join hands and build a future where economic prosperity is shared by all, where opportunities abound, and where the Philippines stands tall on the global stage.”

Congratulations, Ato, for the award, and to Secretary Deck Go and Secretary Ralph Recto for the appointments. None more deserving. Cheers!

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