PMA and Me: 25 Years of Growth and Community

In the mid 1980s, I found myself in a precarious situation when I discovered some salespeople engaging in unethical behavior during my early entrepreneurial days. This discovery led to serious consequences, including death threats.  It was a time when I carried a Walter TPK, reminiscent of James Bond’s gadgets, and even had a couple of bodyguards for a brief period. This lifestyle wasn’t what I had envisioned; I preferred a simple life.

A death threat served as a wake-up call, prompting me to reflect on and redirect my life. I was immersed in work, devoid of outreach or associations, solely focused on business. In 1988, I made the decision to join the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA).

I vividly recall my journey: I became the category chair for the Agora Awards in 1988, chaired membership in 1989, joined the board in 1990, and became the national president in 1991, making me the youngest president at 28 years old then. This term was memorable, introducing me to remarkable individuals, including Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore. The following year, when I launched my first marketing book, “Contemporary Marketing Strategy in the Philippine Setting,” PMA officially endorsed it, with full support from National Bookstore.

PMA continued to endorse my marketing books over the years, with the latest endorsement under the leadership of Bryan Sy Lato, the third youngest president of PMA. Equally capable and outstanding.

This year, my association with PMA intensified. They tapped me, along with my co-authors Chiqui Escareal-Go and RG Gabunada, to train marketing professors, a task we’ve been committed to since 1997, interrupted only by the Covid pandemic. 

PMA also invited me to keynote their Stratmark Conference with the topic “The Future of Marketing.” This October 18, Chiqui, RG, and I will be speakers during their membership meeting.

My memories of PMA are a blend of both positive and challenging experiences, but I choose to focus on the positive aspects. In 1990, recognizing the issue of having only a single winner, I took the initiative to establish two awards: the Ten Outstanding Marketing Students and the Three Outstanding School Marketing Associations. These awards were subsequently rebranded as the Agora Youth Awards.

In 1994, I was honored with the Agora Awards, becoming the youngest recipient in marketing education at the age of 32. A decade later, in 2005, the Association of Marketing Educators (AME), an initiative of PMA, “elected” me as president despite my part-time teaching position at Ateneo de Manila. They generously acknowledged my Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco professorial chair in retail marketing at Jose Rizal University as a 3-unit course, even though I only lectured once a semester. I eventually accepted this esteemed honor.

Subsequently, in 2007, the AME bestowed upon me the Lifetime Achievement Award, a recognition granted to only two marketing educators, and I was the youngest recipient ever. During the challenging period of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998, I took the initiative to initiate and launch a book for the PMA titled “Marketing Excellence in Good Times and Bad” (co-authored with AIM professors Jose Faustino and Dr. Ned Roberto). Prior to that, we had compiled and published the enlightening discussions from PMA’s annual conference, resulting in the book “Marketing Shift: From Basics to Breakthroughs.” This book perfectly encapsulated the essence of the conference, especially when PMA achieved a record-breaking attendance.

One day, while I was in Greenbelt, a lady approached me and shared that, after reading my book, they decided not to close their company and instead persevered through the crisis. It was an immensely fulfilling moment for me as an author.

I’ve heard stories of how my books impacted people’s lives, and I even joked once if they read an original copy, given the prevalence of photocopying. 

PMA has experienced a significant revival under Bryan Sy Lato’s leadership this year. His enthusiasm is infectious, and I couldn’t decline requests from an open-minded president known for reaching out.

As I write this, I realize it’s my 25th year as a PMA member (honorary since 1992). It’s where I started to become involved in community work, a path I continued at Mansmith when CEO Chiqui Escareal-Go transformed it into an advocacy-based organization.

Kudos to the PMA! 


Josiah Go is Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc.

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