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These 7 Leaders Show That Helping Others Will Never Go Out Of Style

Positive change occurs when people become brave enough to take on a new idea.

Here, in this special campaign for SM Woman and Metro, we take a look at an amazing group of women who have not only come up with brilliant solutions, but also made an impact in their respective communities and industries through their inspiring leadership.


Joy Abaquin

Founder, Multiple Intelligence International School

To say that Joy Abaquin is an educator and school owner is an understatement. As the founder of Multiple Intelligence International School, Joy has advocated for the progressive learning of children and has gone out of her way to prepare her students not only for “big school,” but for life itself.

“Education is everybody’s business. Everybody is a stakeholder. I actively and mindfully use my position and my influence to advocate and teach others how to empower kids, parents and teachers. By opening our doors to the community, it empowers people to get involved also in education. My favorite part is empowering the business community.Our classroom doors are open to the world like one of our partners, the GoNegosyo movement. We get our kids to be youth entrepreneurs so their ideas are not just limited to the classroom. I’ve always felt that you can shortcut the learning curve. Why do you have to go through the whole learning curve when there are mentors who can tell you, this is how you can do it?”


Kaye Tinga


Kaye Tinga, a former banker and founder of W17, is one of the pivotal figures in high society who has spearheaded numerous charity events, one of which is the highly anticipated Red Charity Gala. With the fashion event celebrating its 10-year milestone, Kaye is excited to introduce something new and different, and which hopefully will leave a lasting impact on the future of the Philippine fashion industry.

“Don’t be afraid of change, it’s a part of life – actually the most exciting part of life. Yet, always remember what is most important. As crucial as change is, an anchor is essential for us to be able to maximize our experiences.”


Aisa Mijeno

Scientist and Founder of SALt

Aisa Mijeno became the subject of awe and healthy envy when she shared the stage with no less than US President Barack Obama and Alibaba founder Jack Ma during the 2015 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit. Mijeno is an inspiring educator and a Filipina scientist who founded SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting), the company which manufactures LED lamps that are powered by salt water, which has helped thousands of families in poor communities in far-flung areas.

“I feel most empowered every time I see someone use the (SALT lamp) product that we have and appreciate it. As a part-time faculty member at De La Salle Lipa, I also feel empowered when I teach, because I get to share not just the theoretical side of the subject or course, but I’m also able to share what I’ve experienced outside the educational institution. They get a chance to immerse themselves in the stories that I share.”


Fatima "Effy" Elmubarak

Social media personality

Filipino-Sudanese Effy Elmubarak may identify herself as a hospital pharmacist, but this 20-year-old young woman is also a social media personality who champions feminism and equality. For most of her young life, she had experienced bullying and discrimination because of her race, looks and religion, but she has been able to beautifully overcome it all. Today, she’s not only empowered, but she has also found herself empowering others.

“A lot of people say the hijab is compulsory and there’s a debate going on about whether the hijab is forcing modesty on women. I have a different take. For me, it’s my own way of straying away from the traditional notion of what you call beautiful. I am beautiful in my own right and by my own standards—it’s set by me. “


April Cuenca

Founder, Tripkada

What started as April Cuenca’s toughest challenge in life eventually led her to finding her purpose. She lost her athletic scholarship in college and dropped out, but soon discovered a passion for travel. From her experience working at a travel agency, she developed the idea for Tripkada, a pooling app, which has become a powerful means to boost local tourism.

“I find that my purpose is really community development. As we encourage more people to travel to smaller destinations, we’re able to help develop those destinations in a sustainable and responsible manner. As we promote tourism, this opens up more opportunities for the locals to earn a living.”


Rebecca Bustamante

Founder, Asia CEO Awards

Rebecca Bustamante’s love for family and her humble beginnings, even working as a domestic helper in Singapore, served as motivation to improve her life. Her inspiring “maid-to-made” life story chronicles how she rose from poverty to eventually founding the Asia CEO Awards, an annual event that recognizes Filipino business leaders, and Chalr√© Associates, a multinational recruitment firm for senior management executive positions.

“I welcome challenges with an open heart and open mind. Because even if the journey is difficult and it seems insurmountable, I know that I’ll overcome it. It’s like climbing a mountain. When you reach the peak, you’ll say, ‘I’m glad I did it!’ Whatever challenges you come across, appreciate it, because they’ll lead you to greater opportunities and will help you find greater purpose.”


Nicola Nievera

PR officer of Marco Polo Ortigas

Cavite native Cola Nievera continues to extend exceptional service in the country’s Forbes Travel Guide five-star award-winning hotel, Marco Polo Ortigas, while constantly facing the challenging demands of its customers and of the industry. The dedicated public relations officer began in digital marketing and publishing before transferring to the hospitality industry. Motivated to learn, she handles marketing communications and media relations of the premier hotel, portraying professionalism and poise everywhere she goes.

“Being in the hospitality industry, taking care of other people – which is a natural trait of women – is a huge part of our job. Being able to make others feel at home makes us feel that what we’re doing is worthwhile. It's not something superficial, na parang I just wanna take care of this guest because it's my job. I learned (how to deal with people) from my mom who is patient, strong and caring. I've always put that in mind, that if my mom is like that, I can be like that also.”



Produced by Ide8 team and Lorenz Namalata

Photography by Emerson Leonor

Styled by Myrrh Lao To and team

Makeup by MAC Cosmetics PH

Hairstyling by Muriel Vega Perez and team

Production Design Princess Baretto and team

Shot on Location at Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

Interns Roline Red Ricafort and Jan Adriel Salvatierra