CMDC scholars discuss leadership with Citi Philippines CEO Batara Sianturi
Manila – Citi Philippines recently celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) with CEO Batara Sianturi hosting a roundtable discussion with women microentrepreneurs at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC) in Quezon City.
The affair brought together eight CMDC scholars who shared their thoughts on business leadership, empowerment and challenges. After listening to the inspiring testimonials of the women, Sianturi acknowledged their hard work and commended the women on their successes. He then offered his advice on how they can overcome challenges in sustaining and building their microenterprises.
“The Philippines is actually one of the most progressive countries when it comes to women empowerment,” Sianturi said. “You have had two female presidents, some of the top corporate CEOs are women, and the country can claim a robust microenterprise and microfinance industry comprised of mostly women. Filipina women are known for being empowered and strong-willed and I must admit, from my experience in Citi, also make some of the best managers.”
Sianturi also shared his insights on leadership which were influenced by more than 25 years of working for Citi. According to him, there are many different leadership styles that work for different types of individuals but the best way to lead is through servant-leadership, where leaders put their people first and look after their development. “I believe that many of you do this — providing jobs to people in your community, your families, and really assisting them to prosper and grow. I know it is tough but the fact that many of you are here shows that you are all doing a good job,” he added.
At the end of the discussion, the women thanked Citi for giving them the opportunity to take part in CMDC’s programs. Regina Paller, whose business was affected by typhoon Yolanda, shared that “with the new things we learned from training, we hope we can rebuild, and possibly even grow our business. In life, we should not lose hope, especially because our workers and their families also depend on us.” Regina Paller joined CMDC’s training program as a regional awardee from the 2013 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.
Lucia Brondial, who has completed the entrepreneurship training and is now receiving customized business advice and mentoring, lauded Citi and Bayan Academy for their generous and consistent support to Filipino microentrepreneurs as they persevere to improve their businesses. For Marylyn Cleto, another regional awardee from the 2013 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, she welcomed the opportunity to articulate her business concerns and appreciated the attempts of Citi and Bayan Academy to address these and help her enterprise.
As he closed the discussion, Sianturi challenged the participants to become better entrepreneurs and leaders so that they may continue to inspire change not only in their families and businesses but also in their communities.
Now on its 4th year, CMDC aims to reach more than 800 beneficiaries with training and coaching programs, and will seek to expand beyond Metro Manila to cover Palawan, North and South Luzon, as well as Visayas and Mindanao. The center works with the country’s high potential microentrepreneurs who are identified by microfinance institutions for capacity building and skills training in the hope that they will make the jump to small and medium sized enterprises.