(The following is an interview done by the Business Mentor with Ms. Gianina Napo. A 2009 graduate of Mass Communication from the Far Eastern University (FEU), she currently works for an advocacy organization, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. otherwise known as Go Negosyo. The organization aims to promote the culture of entrepreneurship in the country as a means to solving poverty. Gianina was named one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) awardees.
Business Mentor (BM): What were the challenges you encountered as a student?
Gianina Napo (GN): I am proud to be raised by parents who value education and whose sacrifices and hard work encouraged me to do my best in my studies. Fortunately, I was able to get a scholarship to study in a private Catholic college in high school and in college for graduating as Class Valedictorian.
During high school, I had to work double-time to catch up because I came from a province where the quality of education was lagging. While my classmates spent their hefty allowances on which movies to watch or on expensive gadgets, I had to save mine so I didn't have to always ask for money from my parents when the need arose.
In college, awards and recognition were not really my priority. I entered college, keeping in mind that I couldn't disappoint myself and my parents who were working very hard to provide for my needs. While my mother sold everything, from viands to snacks, and my father drove a tricycle, I studied hard so I wouldn't lose my scholarship and further burden my parents.
Looking back and remembering all our sacrifices, I am very proud of myself and especially my parents for we were able to get through all the obstacles and more importantly, to use them as motivation and to serve as inspiration to all those families who are also experiencing the same adversities.
BM: How were you chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines?
GN: I entered FEU to study hard and to graduate and eventually get a career that will help us improve our life. It was in my first year when I was introduced to this organization called the FEU Tamaraw Volunteers, a socio-civic group which aims to expose the students in different volunteering opportunities so they can find their advocacies and do concrete actions for the causes they feel strongly about.
Not only did I fall in love with the organization but it actually became an important part of my college life. It was a way for me to give back for being so blessed despite all the challenges I had encountered. It made me realize that to actually build a nation, no act is so small and that no matter how little, what you do can actually help in changing this country.
I was able to overcome my own apathy and--instead of complaining about all the negative things in this country--be part of the solution. And more than that, the FEU Tamaraw Volunteers became a avenue for me to serve the FEU community to also transform people and encourage them to help build the country through their own little but significant contributions.
I was so humbled when the university entrusted me and sent me to join the search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP). I was so hesitant at first because I knew deep in my heart there were other better student leaders, but the whole process was life-changing. I thought it was intimidating at first because I met the best of the best students from different schools. Beyond the accolades, I met passionate people who were exemplary in their own fields for choosing to be great examples every day. Nevertheless, I was fortunate to be one of the National Finalists of TOSP in 2013.
BM: How has working in Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc. changed your life?
GN: I’ve always wanted to work for an NGO (non-government organization) because aside from the salary, real satisfaction comes from the people whose lives you are touching or have touched. It is through their "thank you's," testimonials and touching messages that validate that I am actually doing what is right. The numerous seminars and events, though tiring, gave me inspiration and hope that soon, every Filipino will truly be part of alleviating poverty in the country via entrepreneurship.
For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] or on Twitter https://twitter.com/philfranguru. His website is www.gmb.com.ph