Honoring Those Who Took a Chance on Me

As I celebrate turning 62, I find myself pausing to reflect on the journey that brought me here and the remarkable individuals and groups who have shaped my path. In this blog, I want to express my deep appreciation for the people who recognized my leadership potential and took a chance on me, despite the uncertainties and risks involved. Their belief in me has been a guiding light, and as I look back, I am reminded of the profound impact they have had on my life and career. Join me as I express gratitude to these individuals who have been instrumental in my journey.

  1. College Friends from La Salle: Irving Sy, Valencia Keh, Susan Chua, Chester Chua, Anton Lim, Wilson So, Alex Lee, and the late Espie Khu. They entrusted me with leadership roles in Englicom, the Fil-Chi organization of De La Salle University. Despite my total lack of leadership experience, they saw potential and supported me as president as we built Englicom into the largest student organization and garnered the most outstanding organization awards together.
  2. Wilson Lim, Founder of Abenson: Wilson Lim took a chance on me when I was only 23 years old, inviting me to venture into entrepreneurship despite my limited startup experience. He mentored me to navigate challenges, outmaneuver the multinational market leader at low cost, and gave me leeway to innovate business models. His faith in me led to various opportunities, including the chance, two decades later, to acquire the company we formed together with an uncle.
  3. Philippine Marketing Association: At the age of 28, I ran unopposed and won as the National President of the Philippine Marketing Association, marking a milestone in my career. Despite my youth, I was entrusted with leading the organization, where I had the opportunity to contribute to the marketing industry and make a meaningful impact on its members and stakeholders.
  4. Socorro Ramos: Socorro Ramos, the matriarch of National Book Store, was instrumental in making my first marketing book, written by a 30-year-old unknown, a bestseller. Her support and belief in my work not only led to more bestsellers but also opened many doors for me thereafter.
  5. Manny Fernandez and Rudy Ang: The late Manny Fernandez invited me to teach at the Ateneo de Manila in 1990, while Dean Rudy Ang appointed me as Director for Marketing Minor from 1992 to 1995. Their mentorship exposed me to the world of academia, igniting a passion for teaching that remains close to my heart. Notably, at the age of 32, while teaching at the Ateneo, I was honored with my first major award, the Agora Awards in 1994, which marked a significant milestone in my career journey.
  6. Fil Guba, JCI and the TOYM Judges: Fil Guba nominated me for the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines in 2001, a decision supported by the final board of judges who recognized my potential. Their belief in me led to greater recognition on a global scale, as I was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of the world the year after, selected from among 1,000 TOYMs from over 100 countries.
  7. Edwin Bautista: Edwin Bautista, my student organization mate, recommended me to serve as an independent director of Unionbank, despite my lack of experience in a publicly listed company. His endorsement opened doors to new opportunities for growth and learning.
  8. Chiqui Escareal-Go: My wife and college girlfriend, Chiqui, has been a constant source of support and encouragement. Despite my early challenges with articulation (English being my third language), she saw the best in me and instilled confidence in my abilities, including my aspiration to become an author.

As I conclude this reflection, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the individuals who have believed in me and entrusted me with opportunities for growth and learning. Their mentorship, guidance, and unwavering support have not only shaped my professional journey but have also enriched my life in countless ways. As I look ahead to the future, I carry with me the lessons and values instilled by these remarkable individuals, acknowledging the role of divine providence, knowing that their influence will continue to inspire and guide me in the years to come. To them, I offer my heartfelt thanks, for they have truly made all the difference in my life.

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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