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OFW-turned entrepreneur gives talk on leadership

11 May 2018

By Daisy CL Mandap

If you want to succeed as a leader, either of a group or a company, you must, first of all, make learning a habit.

This was a key lesson shared by Myrna Padilla, a former overseas worker in Hong Kong who went on to build her own software company in Davao City, when she spoke at a leadership seminar and forum at the Consulate on Apr. 15.

The gathering was organized by the Mindanao Federation, which Padilla founded in the early 2000s when she was still working in Hong Kong. She went back home for good in 2006 to form Mynd Consulting, an offshoot of her fascination with computers that started when her young ward explained to her how a “mouse” worked.
Myrna Padilla stresses a point during her talk.

Padilla said that having a diploma is no guarantee that one will be an effective leader. “Hindi basta may diploma ka, kaya mo na,” said Padilla, who was unapologetic in saying she reached only third year in high school.

What made her succeed, said Padilla, was her determination to learn “Alo yung taong hindi nahihiyang magtanong,” she said. “If I don’t understand what I’m told, I say something like, ‘what does that mean? Please elaborate.”

Sometimes, she would resort to doing a quick search on google to understand what’s being told her, even during a phone convcrsation. “Thank God we have google,” she quipped, to the delight of her audience.

In her line of work, Padilla said continuous learning is a must because technology keeps evolving. “You cannot be slow because technology changes so fast,” she said.

Passion and originality are two other factors that could spell success for a leader, said Padilla.
Passion, according to her, means loving your work to an extent that you want to know everything that has to do with it. “What will make it easy for you is if you love what you are doing.”

In doing business, originality is also very important, said Padilla. She gave as an example the tendency of Filipinos to go with a trend, so that if they see a certain business flourishing, for example an “ihawan”, everybody else in the neighborhood would copy it.

This is a sure formula for failure, unless one innovates, or offers more than what the others are doing.
“Business is not just copy and paste,” said Padilla. “If you do just this you will fail.”

She told her audience they must “think outside the box” or to steer clear away from what is commonplace if they want to succeed.

Padilla said a leader must have the qualities of a good driver. He or she must have a vision for the way forward; empathy for subordinates, and an ability to communicate well.

A leader must also know how to bend or yield to someone if necessary, to listen and be observant at all times, and to learn from interacting with workers or members.

But beyond all these, Padilla said a leader or innovator must be tough, for there will be challenges along the way. “Nothing is easy in this world,” she warned.

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