Press Release from the Male Champions of Change Philippines and Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ANZCHAM)

IN PHOTO: First row: His Excellency Steven J. Robinson AO, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines; Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and COO of Ayala Corporation; Andrew Penn, CEO and Managing Director of Telstra Corporation Ltd.; Ma. Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia, MCC PH Co-Convenor, PhilWEN Chair, and PBCWE Co-Chair.
Second row: Daniel Alexander, COO of Manulife Business Global Services and ANZCHAM President; John Philip Orbeta, Chief Human Resource Officer and Corporate Resources Group Head of Ayala Corporation; Benjamin Romualdez, Country Managing Director of Telstra Philippines; Julia Abad, PBCWE Executive Director
Third row: Cielo Narvaez, Country Operations Manager of Telstra Philippines, ANZCHAM Board of Director, and ANZCHAM Women in Business Committee Governor; Maricar Gonzales, ANZCHAM Executive Director; Jo Cruz-Almazar, Co-Chair of ANZCHAM Women in Busines Committee and Head of Communications and Branding of QBE; Reuben James Barrete, MCC PH Program Director.

25 March 2021, Webinar via Zoom – In celebration of International Women’s Month, the Male Champions of Change Philippines (MCC PH), in partnership with the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ANZCHAM), ANZCHAM Women in Business Committee, Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN), and Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government, hosted a webinar entitled, “#ChooseToChallenge: Inclusive Leadership in Times of Crisis”. It served as a venue for business executives to discuss best practices and practical action points to refine their inclusive leadership strategies in building diverse organizational structures and advancing gender equality.

“Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are high on the ANZCHAM Agenda. Since 2015, we have been committed to promoting and encouraging inclusive workplace practices and environments by connecting our members to other members who share the same advocacies, engaging them in trainings and workshops to develop their D&I policies, and promoting the interest of our members through roundtable discussions. Our Women in Business committee has been providing events such as these since 2016 and we have been extremely successful in driving the development of D&I stories within our community”, said Daniel Alexander, Chief Operating Officer of Manulife Global Business Services and President of ANZCHAM.

Leaders must learn to navigate the changed business landscape with new ways of thinking and working.  Sustainability is key to a resilient recovery; one avenue for those determined to institute workplace gender equality within their organization is sustainability reporting. Regular and consistent data-gathering and assessment will allow companies to track their progress in creating a sustainable, diverse and inclusive workplace.

In his keynote address, His Excellency Steven J. Robinson AO, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, said “Australia advocates for gender equality in all areas, especially in the business sector.  This webinar underlines the importance of inclusive leadership, particularly in times of crisis.  The current challenges present an opportunity for companies to make significant investments in building a more flexible and empathetic workplace. I join other leaders in emphasizing that gender equality and women in leadership are not merely assets, but they are a business imperative in order to enhance performance, productivity and high-quality decision-making.”

The need for inclusive leadership is amplified in crises. Leadership that seeks to ensure that every individual is respected, valued and empowered is essential in driving organizations to thrive throughout and beyond the recovery period. Diversity and inclusion within teams serve as a mainspring for enhanced performance, productivity and high-quality decision-making.

“Gender equality is just the start of what is a much longer and more meaningful journey. There are other areas in the intersection of gender equality and diversity that we have yet to fully consider, which certainly presents opportunities to make a difference. Research and experience have shown that meaningful insights, relevant products and services, and impactful solutions to complex global challenges are only possible through a diverse group with a wide range of perspectives. By working together and engaging in constructive dialogue and strong partnership, we can make change happen”, said Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and COO of Ayala Corporation.

In 2018, Ayala Land, one of the subsidiaries of Ayala Corporation and a Founding Member of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), is the first real estate company to receive the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Assess Certification through PBCWE. EDGE is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification for workplace gender equality.

Men and women have equal parts to fulfill in the attainment of gender equality. Leaders who deliberately practice inclusive leadership and proactively expand their capability and learning to lead diverse teams will retain and acquire the best talent available. Engaging in courageous conversations allows leaders to be cognizant of their biases and encourages them to challenge their mindset.

“It is important that as leaders of our industries, we continuously make deliberate actions and efforts to advance all genders with equal opportunity and respect at work. This, however, will only be possible if we change mindsets, create inclusive workplace cultures, and adopt positive social attitudes. As we stride through with this global pandemic, we are reminded that as business leaders, our actions do not only impact our organizations, but our actions also transcend beyond our work because we are a community. We are not only individually accountable, but as a collective, we must generate change for all. This is the reason why leadership matters”, said Ma. Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia, MCC PH Co-Convenor, PhilWEN Chair, and PBCWE Co-Chair.

The online event was co-presented by ANZ Banking Group, Ayala Land International Sales, GHD, Pacific Cross Philippines, Peppermoney, QBE Insurance, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, and Telstra Philippines.