John Gokongwei’s Speech at the 20th Ad Congress

Here is the speech that Mr. John Gokongwei delivered at the 20th Ad Congress last November 21, 2007.

Before I begin, I want to say please bear with me, an 81-year-old man who just flew in from San Francisco 36 hours ago and is still suffering from jet lag. However, I hope I will be able to say what you want to hear…

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Thank you very much for having me here tonight to open the Ad Congress. I know how important this event is for our marketing and advertising colleagues. My people get very excited and go into a panic, every other year, at this time.

I would like to talk about my life, entrepreneurship, and globalization. I would like to talk about how we can become a great nation.

You may wonder how one is connected to the other, but I promise that, as there is truth in advertising, the connection will come.

Let me begin with a story I have told many times. My own.

I was born to a rich Chinese-Filipino family. I spent my childhood in Cebu where my father owned a chain of movie houses, including the first air-conditioned one outside Manila. I was the eldest of six children and lived in a big house in Cebu’s Forbes Park.

A chauffeur drove me to school everyday as I went to San Carlos University, then and still one of the country’s top schools. I topped my classes and had many friends. I would bring them to watch movies for free at my father’s movie houses.

When I was 13, my father died suddenly of complications due to typhoid. Everything I enjoyed vanished instantly. My father’s empire was built on credit. When he died, we lost everything—our big house, our cars, our business—to the banks.

I felt angry at the world for taking away my father, and for taking away all that I enjoyed before. When the free movies disappeared, I also lost half my friends. On the day I had to walk two miles to school for the very first time, I cried to my mother, a widow at 32.

But she said: “You should feel lucky. Some people have no shoes to walk to school. What can you do? Your father died with 10 centavos in his pocket.”

So, what can I do? I worked.

My mother sent my siblings to China where living standards were lower. She and I stayed in Cebu to work, and we sent them money regularly. My mother sold her jewelry. When that ran out, we sold roasted peanuts in the backyard of our much-smaller home. When that wasn’t enough, I opened a small stall in a palengke.

I chose one among several palengkes a few miles outside the city because there were fewer goods available for the people there. I woke up at five o’clock every morning for the long bicycle ride to the palengke with my basket of goods.

There, I set up a table about three feet by two feet in size. I laid out my goods—soap, candles, and thread—and kept selling until everything was bought. Why these goods? Because these were hard times and this was a poor village, so people wanted and needed the basics—soap to keep them clean, candles to light the night, and thread to sew their clothes.

I was surrounded by other vendors, all of them much older. Many of them could be my grandparents. And they knew the ways of the palengke far more than a boy of 15, especially one who had never worked before.

But being young had its advantages. I did not tire as easily, and I moved more quickly.

I was also more aggressive. After each day, I would make about 20 pesos in profit! There was enough to feed my siblings and still enough to pour back into the business. The pesos I made in the palengke were the pesos that went into building the business I have today.

After this experience, I told myself, “If I can compete with people so much older than me, if I can support my whole family at 15, I can do anything!”

Looking back, I wonder, what would have happened if my father had not left my family with nothing? Would I have become the man I am? Who knows?

The important thing to know is that life will always deal us a few bad cards. But we have to play those cards the best we can. And WE can play to win!

This was one lesson I picked up when I was a teenager. It has been my guiding principle ever since. And I have had 66 years to practice self-determination. When I wanted something, the best person to depend on was myself.

And so I continued to work.

In 1943, I expanded and began trading goods between Cebu and Manila. From Cebu, I would transport tires on a small boat called a batel. After traveling for five days to Lucena, I would load them into a truck for the six- hour trip to Manila. I would end up sitting on top of my goods so they would not be stolen!

In Manila, I would then purchase other goods from the earnings I made from the tires, to sell in Cebu. Then, when WWII ended, I saw the opportunity for trading goods in post-war Philippines.

I was 20 years old. With my brother Henry, I put up Amasia Trading which imported onions, flour, used clothing, old newspapers and magazines, and fruits from the United States.

In 1948, my mother and I got my siblings back from China. I also converted a two-story building in Cebu to serve as our home, office, and warehouse all at the same time. The whole family began helping out with the business.

In 1957, at age 31, I spotted an opportunity in corn-starch manufacturing. But I was going to compete with Ludo and Luym, the richest group in Cebu and the biggest cornstarch manufacturers. I borrowed money to finance the project.

The first bank I approached made me wait for two hours, only to refuse my loan. The second one, China Bank, approved a P500,000-peso clean loan for me.

Years later, the banker who extended that loan, Dr. Albino Sycip said that he saw something special in me. Today, I still wonder what that was, but I still thank Dr. Sycip to this day.

Upon launching our first product, Panda corn starch, a price war ensued. After the smoke cleared, Universal Corn Products was still left standing. It is the foundation upon which JG Summit Holdings now stands.

Interestingly, the price war also forced the closure of a third cornstarch company, and one of their chemists was Lucio Tan, who always kids me that I caused him to lose his job. I always reply that if it were not for me, he will not be one of the richest men in the Philippines today.

When my business grew, and it was time for me to bring in more people–my family, the professionals, the consultants, more employees–I knew that I had to be there to teach them what I knew.

When dad died at age 34, he did not leave a succession plan. From that, I learned that one must teach people to take over a business at any time.

The values of hard work that I learned from my father, I taught to my children. They started doing jobs here and there even when they were still in high school. Six years ago, I announced my retirement and handed the reins to my youngest brother James and only son Lance.

But my children tease me because I still go to the office every day and make myself useful. I just hired my first Executive Assistant and moved into a bigger and nicer office.

Building a business to the size of JG Summit was not easy. Many challenges were thrown my way. I could have walked away from them, keeping the business small, but safe. Instead, I chose to fight.

But this did not mean I won each time.

By 1976, at age 50, we had built significant businesses in food products anchored by a branded coffee called Blend 45, and agro-industrial products under the Robina Farms brand.

That year, I faced one of my biggest challenges, and lost. And my loss was highly publicized, too. But I still believe that this was one of my defining moments.

In that decade, not many business opportunities were available due to the political and economic environment. Many Filipinos were already sending their money out of the country.

As a Filipino, I felt that our money must be invested here. I decided to purchase shares in San Miguel, then one of the Philippines’ biggest corporations.

By 1976, I had acquired enough shares to sit on its board.

The media called me an upstart. “Who is Gokongwei and why is he doing all those terrible things to San Miguel?” ran one headline of the day. In another article, I was described as a pygmy going up against the powers-that- be.

The San Miguel board of directors itself even paid for an ad in all the country’s top newspapers telling the public why I should not be on the board.

On the day of reckoning, shareholders quickly filled up the auditorium to witness the battle. My brother James and I had prepared for many hours for this debate. We were nervous and excited at the same time.

In the end, I did not get the board seat because of the Supreme Court Ruling. But I was able to prove to others–and to myself–that I was willing to put up a fight. I succeeded because I overcame my fear, and tried. I believe this battle helped define who I am today.

In a twist to this story, I was invited to sit on the board of Anscor and San Miguel Hong Kong 5 years later. Lose some, win some.

Since then, I’ve become known as a serious player in the business world, but the challenges haven’t stopped coming.

Let me tell you about the three most recent challenges. In all three, conventional wisdom bet against us. See, we set up businesses against market Goliaths in very high-capital industries: airline, telecoms, and beverage.

Challenge No. 1: In 1996, we decided to start an airline.

At the time, the dominant airline in the country was PAL, and if you wanted to travel cheaply, you did not fly. You went by sea or by land.

However, my son Lance and I had a vision for Cebu Pacific: We wanted every Filipino to fly.

Inspired by the low-cost carrier models in the United States, we believed that an airline based on the no-frills concept would work here. No hot meals. No newspaper. Mono-class seating. Operating with a single aircraft type. Faster turn around time.

It all worked, thus enabling Cebu Pacific to pass on savings to the consumer.

How did we do this? By sticking to our philosophy of “low cost, great value.”

And we stick to that philosophy to this day. Cebu Pacific offers incentives. Customers can avail themselves of a tiered pricing scheme, with promotional seats for as low a P1. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket.

Cebu Pacific also made it convenient for passengers by making online booking available. This year, 1.25 million flights will be booked through our website. This reduced our distribution costs dramatically. Low cost. Great value.

When we started 11 years ago, Cebu Pacific flew only 360,000 passengers, with 24 daily flights to 3 destinations. This year, we expect to fly more than five million passengers, with over 120 daily flights to 20 local destinations and 12 Asian cities.

Today, we are the largest in terms of domestic flights, routes and destinations. We also have the youngest fleet in the region after acquiring new Airbus 319s and 320s. In January, new ATR planes will arrive.

These are smaller planes that can land on smaller air strips like those in Palawan and Caticlan. Now you don’t have to take a two-hour ride by mini-bus to get to the beach.

Largely because of Cebu Pacific, the average Filipino can now afford to fly. In 2005, 1 out of 12 Filipinos flew within a year. In 2012, by continuing to offer low fares, we hope to reduce that ratio to 1 out of 6. We want to see more and more Filipinos see their country and the world!

Challenge No. 2: In 2003, we established Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. and developed a brand for the mobile phone business called Sun Cellular.

Prior to the launch of the brand, we were actually involved in a transaction to purchase PLDT shares of the majority shareholder.

The question in everyone’s mind was how we could measure up to the two telecom giants. They were entrenched and we were late by eight years! PLDT held the landline monopoly for quite a while, and was first in the mobile phone industry.

Globe was a younger company, but it launched digital mobile technology here.

But being a late player had its advantages. We could now build our platform from a broader perspective. We worked with more advanced technologies and intelligent systems not available ten years ago. We chose our suppliers based on the most cost-efficient hardware and software.

Being a Johnny-come- lately allowed us to create and launch more innovative products, more quickly.

All these provided us with the opportunity to give the consumers a choice that would rock their world.

The concept was simple. We would offer Filipinos to call and text as much as they want for a fixed monthly fee. For P250 a month, they could get in touch with anyone within the Sun network at any time. This means great savings of as much as 2/3 of their regular phone bill! Suddenly, we gained traction.

Within one year of its introduction, Sun hit one million customers.

Once again, the paradigm shifts – this time in the telecom industry. Sun’s 24/7 Call and Text unlimited changed the landscape of mobile-phone usage.

Today, we have over 4 million subscribers and 2000 cell sites around the archipelago. In a country where 97% of the market is pre-paid, we believe we have hit on the right strategy.

Sun Cellular is a Johnny-come- lately, but it’s doing all right. It is a third player, but a significant one, in an industry where Cassandras believed a third player would perish.

And as we have done in the realm of air travel, so have we done in the telecom world: We
have changed the marketplace. In the end, it is all about making life better for the consumer by giving them choices.

Challenge No. 3: In 2004, we launched C2, the green tea drink that would change the face of the local beverage industry — then, a playground of cola companies.

Iced tea was just a sugary brown drink served bottomless in restaurants. For many years, hardly was there any significant product innovation in the beverage business.

Admittedly, we had little experience in this area. Universal Robina Corporation is the leader in snack foods but our only background in beverage was instant coffee. Moreover, we would be entering the playground of huge multinationals.

We decided to play anyway.

It all began when I was in China in 2003 and noticed the immense popularity of bottled iced tea. I thought that this product would have huge potential here. We knew that the Philippines was not a traditional tea-drinking country since more familiar to consumers were colas in returnable glass bottles.

But precisely, this made the market ready for a different kind of beverage. One that refreshes yet gives the health benefits of green tea.

We positioned it as a “spa” in a bottle. A drink that cools and cleans…thus, C2 was born.

C2 immediately caught on with consumers. When we launched C2 in 2004, we sold 100,000 bottles in the first month. Three years later, Filipinos drink around 30 million bottles of C2 per month. Indeed, C2 is in a good place.

With Cebu Pacific, Sun Cellular, and C2, the JG Summit team took control of its destiny. And we did so in industries where old giants had set the rules of the game. It’s not that we did not fear the giants. We knew we could have been crushed at the word go.

So we just made sure we came prepared with great products and great strategies. We ended up changing the rules of the game instead.

There goes the principle of self-determination, again. I tell you, it works for individuals as it does for companies. And as I firmly believe, it works for nations.

I have always wondered, like many of us, why we Filipinos have not lived up to our potential.

We have proven we can. Manny Pacquiao and Efren Bata Reyes in sports. Lea Salonga and the UP Madrigal Singers in performing arts. Monique Lhuillier and Rafe Totenco in fashion.

And these are just the names made famous by the media. There are many more who may not be celebrities but who have gained respect on the world stage.

But to be a truly great nation, we must also excel as entrepreneurs before the world. We must create Filipino brands for the global market place.

If we want to be philosophical, we can say that, with a world-class brand, we create pride for our nation. If we want to be practical, we can say that, with brands that succeed in the world, we create more jobs for our people, right here.

Then, we are able to take part in what’s really important—giving our people a big opportunity to raise their standards of living, giving them a real chance to improve their lives.

We can do it. Our neighbors have done it. So can we.

In the last 54 years, Korea worked hard to rebuild itself after a world war and a civil war destroyed it. From an agricultural economy in 1945, it shifted to light industry, consumer products, and heavy industry in the ’80s.

At the turn of the 21st century, the Korean government focused on making Korea the world’s leading IT nation. It did this by grabbing market share in key sectors like semiconductors, robotics, and biotechnology.

Today, one remarkable Korean brand has made it to the list of Top 100 Global Brands: Samsung.

Less then a decade ago, Samsung meant nothing to consumers. By focusing on quality, design, and innovation, Samsung improved its products and its image. Today, it has surpassed the Japanese brand Sony.

Now another Korean brand, LG Collins, is following in the footsteps of Samsung. It has also broken into the Top 100 Global Brands list.

What about China? Who would have thought that only 30 years after opening itself up to a market economy, China would become the world’s fourth largest economy?

Goods made in China are still thought of as cheap. Yet many brands around the world outsource their manufacturing to this country. China’s own brands—like Lenovo, Haier, Chery QQ, and Huawei—are fast gaining ground as well. I have no doubt they will be the next big electronics, technology and car brands in the world.

Lee Kwan Yu’s book “From Third World to First” captures Singapore’s aspiration to join the First World. According to the book, Singapore was a trading post that the British developed as a nodal point in its maritime empire.

The racial riots there made its officials determined to build a “multiracial society that would give equality to all citizens, regardless of race, language or religion.”

When Singapore was asked to leave the Malaysian Federation of States in 1965, Lee Kwan Yew developed strategies that he executed with single-mindedness despite their being unpopular. He and his cabinet started to build a nation by establishing the basics: building infrastructure, establishing an army, weeding out corruption, providing mass housing, building a financial center.

Forty short years after, Singapore has been transformed into the richest South East Asian country today, with a per capita income of US$32,000.

These days, Singapore is transforming itself once more. This time it wants to be the creative hub in Asia, maybe even the world. More and more, it is attracting the best minds from all over the world in filmmaking, biotechnology, media, and finance.

Meantime, Singaporeans have also created world-class brands: Banyan Tree in the hospitality industry, Singapore Airlines in the Airline industry and Singapore Telecoms in the telco industry.

I often wonder: Why can’t the Philippines, or a Filipino, do this?

Fifty years after independence, we have yet to create a truly global brand. We cannot say the Philippines is too small because it has 86 million people.

Switzerland, with 9 million people, created Nestle. Sweden, also with 9 million people, created Ericsson. Finland, even smaller with five million people, created Nokia.

All three are major global brands, among others.

Yes, our country is well-known for its labor, as we continue to export people around the world. And after India, we are grabbing a bigger chunk of the pie in the call-center and Business Process Outsourcing industries.

But by and large, the Philippines has no big industrial base, and Filipinos do not create world-class products.

We should not be afraid to try—even if we are laughed at.

Japan, laughed at for its cars, produced Toyota. Korea, for its electronics, produced Samsung. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ biggest companies 50 years ago—majority of which are multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and Unilever Philippines, for example—are still the biggest companies today.

There are very few big, local challengers. But already, hats off to Filipino entrepreneurs making strides to globalize their brands.

Goldilocks has had much success in the Unites States and Canada, where half of its customers are non-Filipinos. Coffee-chain Figaro may be a small player in the coffee world today, but it is making the leap to the big time.

Two Filipinas, Bea Valdez and Tina Ocampo, are now selling their Philippine-made jewelry and bags all over the world. Their labels are now at Barney’s and Bergdorf’s in the U.S. and in many other high-end shops in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

When we started our own foray outside the Philippines 30 years ago, it wasn’t a walk in the park. We set up a small factory in Hong Kong to manufacture Jack and Jill potato chips there.

Today, we are all over Asia. We have the number-one-potato- chips brand in Malaysia and Singapore. We are the leading biscuit manufacturer in Thailand, and a significant player in the candy market in Indonesia.

Our Aces cereal brand is a market leader in many parts of China. C2 is now doing very well in Vietnam, selling over 3 million bottles a month there, after only 6 months in the market. Soon, we will launch C2 in other South East Asian markets.

I am 81 today. But I do not forget the little boy that I was in the palengke in Cebu. I still believe in family. I still want to make good. I still don’t mind going up against those older and better than me. I still believe hard work will not fail me. And I still believe in people willing to think the same way.

Through the years, the market place has expanded: between cities, between countries, between continents. I want to urge you all here to think bigger.

Why serve 86 million when you can sell to four billion Asians? And that’s just to start you off. Because there is still the world beyond Asia.

When you go back to your offices, think of ways to sell and market your products and services to the world. Create world-class brands. You can if you really tried. I did.

As a boy, I sold peanuts from my backyard. Today, I sell snacks to the world.

I want to see other Filipinos do the same.

Thank you and good evening once again.

[John Gokongwei’s Speech at the 20th Ad Congress, 21 November 2007]

43 thoughts on “John Gokongwei’s Speech at the 20th Ad Congress

  1. Wow very inspiring speech. I also hoping that someday i can be like John Gokongwei and also to all Filipinos for our country and people.

  2. Mr. Gokongwei, I wish you would still live longer to inspire younger people to strive harder though faced with adversities and worldly uncertainties..

  3. Being a Cebuano ,makes us proud and humbled by Mr.Gokongwei’s real life experiences .
    You inspired us to make life better not only for our country but the whole world.
    God bless you and your family !

  4. Mabuhay Ka Mr. Gokongwei.

    Very inspiring. Hope this will not only inspire young Filipinos but also those in power and goverment position. A Filipino like you is why we don’t loose hope. “Kaya natin to”.

  5. Humbling, inspiring, a daunting challenge… that someday one can make something of himself, his family and his country if one truly believes, focuses and consistently achieves this vision despite overwhelming odds. A testament to excellence!

  6. I ‘m inspired of your humble beginnings. I hope every Pinoys will do the same determination that you did. Not the the “pwede na yan” attitude, but beyond excellence attitude. God bless you…John

  7. A very inspiring read. It reminds me that nothing is impossible if you just put you heart to it. Thank you for reminding me not to give up on my dreams no matter what.Continue inspiring people especially the youth, may the lord bless you a thousand folds!

  8. I am a pure Filipino who are currently living outside the Philippines for economic reasons. I have mental reservation with the Filipino-Chinese in my Country as to their level of nationalism, but after I have read this speech, deep in my heart I consider this man the real Filipino Patriot.
    His story is not far from mine, and I have printed this article for my children for them to draw their strength and inspiration.
    Mabuhay ka John, isa kang tunay na Filipino!

  9. congratulations and Mabuhay Mr. Gokonwei. Your speech is quite inspring. I wiash all filipinos will be like you in your determination to help yourslef and family and turn it into an empire of successful companies.
    I belong to a small investment club. How do we invest in your companies?. Are you in the NYSE. Amex or other asian exchanges?

  10. Pingback: John Gokongwei's Speech at the 20th Ad Congress | SONNIE'S PORCH

  11. Pingback: John Gokongwei on entrepreneurship and becoming a great nation » MicroISV Notebook

  12. Hello,

    I think I am lucky enough to read the speech made by Mr. John Gokongwei Jr. on the 20th Ad Congress held last November of 2007.

    I was really inspired by his principles in life, entrepreneurship and his dream for our country and our people. Because of the inspiring experiences and visions he shared, I read more articles about him from the internet. And I brought his speech in my classes and tell some details / facts about his life to inspire my students.

    I am planning to translate his speech in Filipino and include that in the book I am presently writing. But I don’t know where I could find him to ask for his permission. I hope he would not turn me down.

    I am a professor in one of the most known universities in Manila and I am teaching Filipino subjects. As a teacher, my goal is not only to feed my students’ minds but most especially to mould them as Filipino Chrsitian person and inspire them to be the best that they can be.

    I hope I could have an idea on how will I contact him for my plan. And I wish you could help me on this.

    I will be waiting for your response. Good day and God bless!

    Sincerly,

    Mrs. Zendel M. Taruc

  13. Pingback: John Gokongwei , Jr. 20th Ad Congress Speech « Rodel E. Dagumampan

  14. I always live by “cliches”… and from this time on, I think I’ll live yours and hoping this would influence and make a big difference in my life. I am always looking for that “leap” to help me spread my wings and fly. In my heart, I have to believe that “The important thing to know is that life will deal us a few bad cards, but we have to play those cards that best we can. And WE can play to win!”

  15. You are truly a master Sir John. You are like my elder brother, he always keeps on reminding me “spend your money wisely, save, save, save…, and try hitting business while you are still young”.

  16. I have great admiration for Mr. John Gokongwei, esp for his hardwork and success. However, as a customer of one of his businesses (Robinson’s Land Corp), I realized that the empire he has built is now suffering from bureaucratic red tape, indifference, and inefficiency.

    Indeed, I can’t imagine why my OR for my amortization payments for a condo unit that I purchased from RLC would reach me only a few days before my next monthly PDC becomes due? I complained about this to the company but was told that the situation is beyond their control.

    Therefore I am wondering how Mr. Gokongwei’s business could continue to grow and compete worldwide with a very inefficient corporate bureaucracy.

    I strongly suggest that Mr. Gokongwei try to pause a while and re-examine the cost effectiveness of each of his business operation beforre it becomes too late.

    Best wishes and good luck.

    Ed Llarena, Jr.
    Managing Partner
    Emilla Consulting
    Manila, Philippines

    (helps improve corporate governance worldwide, esp in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Pacific Region)

    [From the Admin] Thank you, Mr. Llarena. We will forward your comment to our colleagues in RLC. http://robinsonsland.com/contact.php

  17. Success indeed depends on one’s capability to take risk. Success is equate to one’s determination and the willingness to put up a good fight and win.

    John Gokongwei’s life is an inspiration. His life reflects that even to the lowest state, one can rise like a phoenix. It is just a matter of how one plays his cards. Gokongwei has painted a scenario that everything is possible even the most impossible of dreams. It all starts with a dream. Continue to dream dreams and make things happen by persisting and pursuing *creativity* to be a tool in turning a *profitable venture.*

    Remember that *passion* is the key to any opportunity. Simply do not just chase that *dream* but carve it in your heart and visualize your success. 🙂

  18. I salute you Sir John,you made me inspire and dream even more!

    You are truly Philippines most treasured person…

    Thank you!

  19. hi! it feels good to read your speech, i wasn’t able to hear it from you on the opening of the ad congress… you’re such an inspiration to all of us, especially for young people like me…=) i wish you more blessing.. i’ll tell everyone to read your speech because i know they will be inspired too..

  20. Dear Mr. Gokungwei

    Hi…I was deeply motivated and inspired to work today after I read your testimony and forever will be!Sure to put you ahead of me with my journey to catch me in time of adversity.
    Just like today, I log on to your website for business purposes.I wouldlike to senda proposal for Corporate Giveaways and Employees’ Award
    Jewelry to the mother company (A JG SUMMIT),Instead,I got hooked reading withyour beautiful story.I believe it was God’s will to bring me to you.
    Going back to my mean purpose,I hope you could refer me to the right person.If you wish, you can log on to http://www.vydomingo.com or call [deleted due to privacy issues].

    Sir,It would be my pleasure to serve you.THANK YOU and GODBLESS!

    Respectfully Yours,

    Venus S. Macatumpag
    Sales and Marketing
    Specialist

  21. I believe that the more Filipinos can do what what Mr. John Gokongwei did for our country If we pursue the dreams that was being implanted to us since we were children. All we have is do what we think is right even if people around us laughs. With his experiences, truly nothing is impossible with hardwork, hardwork and hardwork and faith in God.

  22. A message of full depth and sincereness to the development of one’s country.
    If the going gets tough, the tough gets going! That’s what you are John Gokongwei! I value entrepreneurship as to health also. Hope to succeed on my plans and goals in life and be a very good doctor and businessman as well.

  23. Wow!!! very inspiring story BUT, do you look back the people who work hard to make you RICH…I’m sure your success will not realized without the contributions of so many individuals (employees…managers: non-managers) who directly decides what good for your company. Thanks and No Thanks for 8 years I spend in your company depositing millions of money every month. I am part of your middle managers in URC sales. At age 81, retired, Did you ever think your people who is part of your succes will be happy if someday they will retire too? Who will say to their sons and daughters that i’m proud working with the JG Summit. I Don’t Know any person who retired in your company will say good after they spend their life working with you. But I know a lot of names who are very disgusted after their retirement. If ever a newly grad ask me if I recommend to your in your company… my answer would be NO…NO…NO..NEVER. Don’t ruined your career and life working with this kind of company… look for others that could you proud of.

    1. I am secured if ever I work in one of the umbrella of JG Summit?

  24. Indeep a very inspiring speech. I think Mr. John Gokongwei has outlined very well the secrets to a successful entrepreuneurship. I am hopeful that these kind of inspirational words will find its way to the less fortunate Filipinos so that we can keep their hopes alive and still dream of a better life.

  25. SIR JOHN,
    I once worked with one of your companies before, URC Pampanga. However young I was back then, I already admired how you really got to expand your businesses four-fold in so short a time.

    But this speech of yours really moved me more! And I really think this is indeed INSPIRING! And I also never regretted making you my business idol back then, and NOW!

    I pray for your good health & longer life to be able touch more people, especially their entrepreneur-spirit to help prime our economy.
    God bless you & your family.
    JOEY
    Now, I opted to test my wares & learnings and went into business too. I chose to create a difference (however small) in our society, rather than just spend my time complaining or pointing fingers to others (who DID IT!). I do not intend to retire without an impact to our society as God made me special and talented like Him!

  26. no doubt, it is inspiring…but it makes me wonder “how” ; like his family environment, genes, or birth order. i bet it would be interesting to discuss how/what makes people such as Mr. Gokongwei successful

    we salute you, sir,may the youth have the same passion in life as yours

  27. Mr. Gokongwei,
    Very impressed with your speech, I do’t know if you still remeber me but you used to visit in ur office before at Board of Investment under Gov. Lanuza.

    Hope that I could have an appointment with you, regarding a business proposal where ou can have a cell site for sun cellular.

    Hope that you will give me an opportunity to discuss this matter with you at to meet u again.

    Congratualations to your success.

  28. I am always looking for that “leap” to help me spread my wings and fly. In my heart, I have to believe that “The important thing to know is that life will deal us a few bad cards, but we have to play those cards that best we can. And WE can play to win!”

  29. i was inspired of that speech…and there is a line that i can never forget state that”if i can compete with people so much older than me,if i can support my family at 15,I CAN DO ANYTHING”

  30. truly inspiring! one great seed can produce a million more fruits.God bless the Gokongweis!

  31. A very inspiring story. I bookmarked it in my pc so that I can read it all over again.

    keep up the good work

  32. Dear Sir/Madam:

    I am Emmelin V. Gonzales. I graduated from the UST Conservatory of Music. At present I am a Music Teacher in Public High School and an Amateur Composer.
    I wish to submit and present to you my commercial jingle compositions. I hope to hear from you. Thank you so much.
    Respectfully Yours,
    Emmelin V. Gonzales

  33. Pingback: John Gokongwei's Speech at the 20th Ad Congress | Create Wealth

  34. Sir GOKONGWEI is one of my strong pillars of my life that will always leads my way to have a great play regarding business through his thoughts and accomplishment in his life! ..two thumbs up for you my MENTOR!

  35. Wow! im so amazed… I really admired the determination you have… and the kind of leadership you have. You are always my example every time my teacher ask me about th characteristic of an effective and efficient leader.. im hoping that after my graduation i can work in one of your companies.

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