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LOOK: Mayor Vico Sotto Gives Advice About Leadership in UPLB Talk

"The more important question that we should ask ourselves is, 'Why do I want to lead?'"

Last Friday, November 27, The Rhetoricians— a speech communication organization from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)— held its annual talk through Zoom for the first time.

Entitled Powerhouse 2020: Youth Leadership, this year’s talk is the sixth installment of the event, which started back in 2015 with writer and actor Juan Miguel Severo sharing his thoughts on career and passion. (WATCH: Elijah Canlas Shares His Lessons Learned on Film and Acting)

In the succeeding years, the organization has been able to tap the likes of journalist Atom Araullo, director Pepe Diokno, writer and professor Ramon Bautista, and novelist Ricky Lee to speak in front of students and guests in UPLB, discussing different topics. And this year, the organization was fortunate enough to be able to guest the Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.

Photo from The Rhetoricians Facebook

Mayor Vico on Teamwork

Mayor Vico opened his speech by jokingly saying, “Una, ‘di ko alam kung kasama pa ako sa salitang ‘youth.’ Kasi kung babasahin natin ‘yung Youth in Nation-Building Act, ‘yung depinisyon ng kabataan ay hanggang 30 years old, eh kaka-31 ko lang noong June.” He even added that he is upset that he’s no longer considered as part of the youth.

“Regardless, however you define the word youth, definitely we are the younger generation–makiki-generation muna ako sa inyo for the purposes of this meeting,” the mayor said. (Read: ‘Set Aside Politics And Work Together’ – Archbishop to Govt Leaders)

Bilang mas nakababatang henerasyon, marami tayong nakikitang gusto nating baguhin,” the mayor started. “Ang tanong: anong gagawin natin? At may magagawa ba tayo?” He then went on to say that his favorite analogy when it comes to inciting change is the analogy of a giant wheel by Jim Collins, one of his favorite authors.

According to the mayor, the giant wheel is representative of the “change” we want to see— and if we want to see it roll and move forward, we would have to work together in groups, not just individually.

Photo from The Rhetoricians Facebook

‘Why Do I Want to Lead?’

“It will actually come to a point that wheel reaches so much momentum that if you go on the other side to stop that wheel from moving, you’re going to get crushed,” he said. “So ganoon din sa atin, bakit natin gustong maging leader?” Mayor Vico went on, “That’s something I always ask myself, I always question my intentions as a leader.” (Read: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Rid of Those Nega Vibes)

Mayor Vico then addressed the audience, saying that as they receive more opportunities to lead, even as young as they are now, he hopes that they would always ask themselves why and not just how. “Yung how madali lang ‘yan eh, kung gusto mong makaroon ng posisyon, gumawa ka ng strategy para magkaroon ka ng posisyon o ma-promote ka sa trabaho,” he said.

“But the more important question in everything that we do, and I hope that we always ask ourselves, is ‘Bakit? — Why do I want to lead?’ and I hope it’s always related to pushing for change.” Mayor Vico said. (Read: 4 Millennial Frontliners Who Are Making A Big Difference)

The mayor then ended his message with a thought-provoking line: “If change isn’t sought for, then a leader isn’t needed; if change isn’t called for, all we need is a skilled manager who makes sure everything runs smoothly.”

Young Leader’s Perspective

Photo from The Rhetoricians Facebook

Apart from Mayor Vico, UPLB USC Chairperson and BS Nutrition student Jainno Bongon also shared his thoughts on leadership and the importance of youth involvement in local and national issues. (Read: How Typhoon Yolanda Inspired This Millennial to Fight for Climate Justice)

The young student leader said that while being a student leader can be tiring with all the programs, meetings, and other initiatives like the relief operations for the victims of the recent typhoons, the job is still fulfilling. “It’s nothing short of stressful… Pero fulfilling din siya at the same time kasi you get to see people come together, helping one another and to unite in crafting solutions to problems,” Bongon said. “Leadership has no hard and fast routes. It employs creativity, flexibility, and scientific analysis.”

You may listen to and watch the entire Powerhouse 2020: Youth Leadership talk with Jainno Bongon and Mayor Vico Sotto through this link.

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