(Delivered by President Rene Calandria during the Induction Ceremony of PACC-DC Officers & Board Members held at Tyson's Marriott Hotel, Vienna, Virginia - Dec. 20, 2013)
Two months ago during the 20th Anniversary Gala Ball of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of the Metropolitan District of Washington (PACC-DC), in this hotel and in the same podium I have emphasized the significance of networking as the best tool for small business owners to grow, expand and survive the complexity of the business world.
Today, I am not only reiterating its significance but I would like to highlight its necessity as the core philosophy of the Chamber. It shall and it should define our essence and identify our existence. Networking will not only give us the opportunity to grow socially as a person and prosper financially but as a professional entity, it will make the Chamber shine and be different from the rest of the organizations.
While I totally subscribe to the traditional concept of networking as spelled out in the Chamber’s mission/vision, I wish to expand its definition to include community building and involvement. It is only by expanding the conceptual framework of our mission that we are able to sow the “seeds of awareness and trust” within the community. When trust has taken its roots within the locals then we start to build our database of future clients and loyal customers. It is by being actively and passionately involved in the community that we are able to give back to that same community that has given us so much and has inspired and encouraged us to aspire and realize our American dream.
We cannot remain as existential bystanders if we want to develop the full potential of our being. While we do not encourage the culture of dependency, we have to realize that we are not just rational beings as defined by Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Our individuality is not only the embodiment of the “acting person” in Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy, rather, our life radiates the cosmological meaning of the Cross. Our existence involves a vertical relationship with our God (whoever He is) and a horizontal relationship with our neighbors and the community around us.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the factors that will define my leadership in the Chamber – Business Networking that mirrors the existential irony of the Cross.
While we pursue the idea of Business Networking, we shall be mindful of the power of media (either digital or print) in order to maximize our marketing leverage and ultimately boast the status and awareness/presence of Filipinos and Filipino-American business owners. To that effect, I have created an ad hoc committee who will explore the potential and profitability of a quarterly Business Journal.
Mindful of the economic impact of a healthy workforce, I will try to lay down an agenda geared towards good health and fitness. It is with great passion to say that employees can perform more efficiently and effectively when they are sound both in mind and body.
As we move forward and continue to rebuild what my predecessor has started, I encourage everyone in the Board to remain focus, positive and maintain a high standard of excellence and professionalism. I believe that being an Officer and Board Member of this esteem professional organization is a privilege and we ought to carry it with pride but at the same time being responsible and committed. Our contributions and voluntary work to the Chamber is by itself a community service and in essence constitute our way of giving –back.
In a nutshell, the first year of my leadership in the Chamber will focus on four things: Business Networking, Community Involvement, Health and Fitness and Fundraising.
The tasks ahead seem enormous but if we all work as a team, there is nothing impossible in this great nation of the United States of America.
Thank you and Good evening.