“If you don’t need change, [then] you don’t need leaders; you just need managers. If you need change, then you need leaders. And leaders should be pushing people for change, and influencing others to join the push for change.”
These were the words of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto as he addressed the delegates of the 2021 Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC), which kicked off online on July 3.
Speaking to the 84 delegates to the congress, which carried the theme, “Leaders Reimagining Hope,” Sotto shared the story of his leadership journey, starting with the inspiration of his family (particularly his brother) all the way to his experience working in both government and civil society. These experiences, plus the strong support and mentorship of people who believe in change the way that he did, helped drive him, and continue to inspire his work in government.
He challenged the young leaders: “If we want to see the changes, what are we going to do? As the next generation of leaders, are we just going to think of our own interests, are we just going to think of what position we can get, what power we can get, what fame we can get, what money we can get? Or are we going to challenge the status quo?”
He said that for any good work to be done, leaders must learn to continuously question their motive and intention. They must also be prepared, both with the help of theoretical knowledge and on-ground experience, to tackle the work at hand. Lastly, leaders must also have allies as they fight for positive change.
He said: “If we keep pushing, the changes we want to see in our society, big and small, will come in the course of our lifetimes. So let’s keep pushing, let’s not be frustrated, but keep pressing forward and fighting the good fight.”
Now on its 23rd year, the annual AYLC gathered some of the most promising young leaders from top colleges and universities nationwide. The congress features several interactive sessions with various speakers on servant leadership. AYLC will run throughout July.
Ayala Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala who gave the opening remarks, encouraged the participants to value hope in leadership. He said: “Leaders are those who can inspire hope in themselves and in others. I believe hope is not about waiting for good fortune to come. Rather, it is a deeply meaningful act of building towards a better tomorrow for everyone, regardless of the uncertainties that are still to be faced.”
He added: “It continues to be our hope that the youth leaders that we engage will meaningfully impact various organizations across different sectors – government, law enforcement, academe, business, and social development.”
AYLC is the flagship youth leadership program of the Ayala group of companies. Implemented by Ayala Foundation which began in 1998, AYLC is a student leadership summit designed to build confidence, hone leadership skills, nurture commitment, foster nationalism and idealism, and encourage faithful stewardship. To date, it has 1,681 alumni, who now take leadership roles in government, business, academe, civil society, the religious sector, and the military, among others.
This year’s Ayala Young Leaders Congress is one of a series of initiatives that are being held to celebrate Ayala Foundation’s 60th anniversary, as it reaffirms its Faith in the Filipino.