The year 2020 was not everyone’s favorite year, and it brought with it a lot of crises, anxieties and uncertainties— foremost among them being the COVID-19 pandemic and, closer to home, the denial of the ABS-CBN franchise in July. Fresh on everyone’s minds also was the damage brought by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses just a few days earlier.
Amidst this setting, the Lopez Group HR Council and the Lopez Group CSR Council teams presented the Lopez Learning Synergy Summit (LLSS) on Nov. 20 with the theme “Without Exceptions: Forging Partnerships Through Collaborative Pathways.”
On past occasions, the LLSS had always been a traditional gathering of Lopez Group employees held at a physical venue where the attendees get together to learn, meet and exchange updates with each other. This year, however, in response to the new normal, the LLSS organizers found a way to transform the summit into an interactive event on a purely digital platform.
This became the first summit where Lopez kapamilya attendees were able to attend virtually regardless of where they were located. As a result, the event had more than 1,020 registered online participants, a number more than any other summit has hosted in a physical venue.
Surviving the new normal
The president and executive director of Lopez Group Foundation Inc. and head of the Lopez HR Council, Mercedes “Cedie” Lopez Vargas (MLV), opened the summit with her welcome remarks.
“As we collectively look back at how 2020 has been for the Lopez Group, it has been how we faced the extraordinary, painful challenges brought about by pandemic health risks and the adversities of business, economic and political conditions—but it is also about how we learn to live in the midst of fear and uncertainty, and how we found our footing to survive and thrive bravely in this new normal, and also how we have begun to embrace possibility and positivity in this new world we find ourselves in,” shared MLV.
The summit’s keynote address came from Energy Development Corporation (EDC) president and COO Richard Tantoco. Tantoco inspired and challenged the attendees to achieve great things through the kind of collaboration that he defined as a series of acts of management and leadership driven by a culture of radical transparency and humility, and an unyielding commitment to a shared purpose that results in a superior outcome.
Lopez Synergy in Action
Following next were the presentations of the first three advocacy clusters of Lopez Synergy in Action. Presenting for the Environment Cluster were Berta Lopez-Feliciano, ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) managing director, and OML Center executive director Dr. Rodel Lasco. The Education Cluster was handled by First Industrial Science and Technology School COO Karmela Marie Sarmiento, and Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. director for operations Edric Calma took the attendees through the Children’s Rights and Development Cluster.
Giving their reactions to these presentations were Fr. Dakila Ramos, assistant director of Archdiocesan Ministry of Environment of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Batangas; and Dr. Fe Hidalgo, an advocate for human rights, gender and development, peace education and values education. ABSCBN’s Jing Castañeda-Velasco acted as moderator.
Following their part of the discussion, Feliciano took the opportunity to launch the book about the late Gina Lopez, “I Am Gina,” written by Jenie Chan.
The presentation of the next four advocacy clusters were done by First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) communications officer and ThermaPrime Drilling Corporation and First Philippine Industrial Corporation ESH community relations officer Catherine Marie Cabrillos for the Humanitarian Action Cluster; EDC CSR officer John Kevin Benico and AFI ILOVE project lead Celina Rotea for the Livelihood (Social Entrepreneurship) Cluster; Bantay Bata executive director and “G Diaries” host Ernie Lopez for the Health and Wellness Cluster; and Lopez Museum and Library assistant to the director/manager of conservation Marga Villanueva and Ang Misyon Inc. partnerships and communications officer Jennifer Rivera for the Arts and Culture Cluster.
EDC’s Lesly Ann Yulo moderated the discussion that came after, together with reactors Asian Venture Philanthropy Network country director Dr. Arnil Paras and INCITEGov lead for social protection and community-driven development Dinky Soliman.
The presentation that followed after the advocacy cluster was that of Matatag Kapamilya by Ateneo Center for Organized Research and Development executive director Dr. Joy Teng-Calleja. Matatag Kapamilya was a program participated in by the Lopez Group HR Council to provide support to ABS-CBN Kapamilya who were retrenched after the ABSCBN franchise denial.
In a stunning intermission before the final messages, more than 40 talented members of the Ang Misyon’s Orchestra of the Filipino Youth performed a virtual orchestra production of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 for the participants.
What followed next was an integration of the day’s learnings led by EDC talent acquisition and OD head Cecilia Batalla.
Call to action
FPH Group chairman and CEO, and awardee of the Management Association of the Philippines Management Man of the Year 2020 Federico R. Lopez (FRL) imparted his call to action.
“Businesses need to align themselves, their resources and their capabilities towards a mission that should elevate everything they touch,” said FRL. Further, he added that there is an urgency for us “to go beyond incremental sustainability and transform into regenerative forces.”
The summit closed with the message of EDC HR head Beth Nasol, who thanked the participants for attending and congratulated the organizers for a job well done.
Taking turns as hosts for the summit were ABS-CBN’s Tina Marasigan, EDC’s Chocy Geotina and FPH’s Ayesha Volpane. The participants joined the socials that came after the summit, and they had fun playing games and jamming with DJ Jai Ho.
For those who missed the summit, there is a video recording up at the Lopez Learning Synergy Summit 2020 Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/llss2020/. (Story/Photos by: Dimpy Jazmines)