By Rosemarie “Bubu” Andres, EO Global Chair, FY2018/2019, an EO Philippines member and co-founder of Candy Corner, the number one source of quality candies and chocolates in the Philippines.
The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely. You’re leading a company, walking an uncharted path without anyone else in the world who can comprehend your unique experience, worries and frustrations. It can be very isolating.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. As humans, we’re not meant to be isolated. We thrive in groups. There are prosperous associations of entrepreneurs who gather to support, motivate and guide each other, to overcome challenges, leading to greater success—for each company and the community at large.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is one such community for entrepreneurs, and what I particularly love and respect about our community of 13,000+ members worldwide is that EO has this spirit, this feeling all its own.
My Introduction to the EO Spirit
I remember the first time I experienced that EO spirit.
It was 3 September 1999. I stood on a sidewalk, watching, as everything my husband and I had built burst into flames when a fire from the warehouse next door spread to ours. I choked on smoke and gasped with my hand over my mouth as I watched the roof collapse. I cried enough tears to put out that fire. There was nothing left of our dreams and hard work but ash.
Any collateral we had for a loan to rebuild was soot. There was a problem with our insurance. We had very young kids. So, we put on our boots and face masks and started rebuilding.
How I Found EO
A classmate of mine introduced me to EO. He thought EO could help me, so he shared the organization with me. That is the spirit that brought me to EO.
I saw the value immediately and joined. Since then, I have shared the ups and downs of business with my Forum of supportive, intelligent and caring friends for the last 17 years.
There is a spirit that is EO, a thirst for learning. By embracing it, I was able to apply learning to my business, and with the help of my Forum, I applied that same learning to me, as a human, a wife and a mom.
In EO we have a spirit of growth and resilience. We were able to rebuild and not just recover. After that fire, we made our business better than before. With EO, we didn’t just survive, we thrived.
The EO community has had an exponential impact on me. The learning and sharing we gain from Forum helped us rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, seeking heights unimaginable. That’s what we do in EO. We support each other and make things better.
The Spirit of Bayanihan
My husband and I were overwhelmed after that fire. But not in the way you might think: What overwhelmed us, more than the loss we endured, was the outpouring of love we experienced. Friends and family were quick to offer cash, loans, collateral to loan against—we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. Our community did not just stand on the sidelines and offer thoughts and prayers: They rolled up their sleeves and lifted us toward a new future.
It was awe-inspiring to witness that love in action.
This is the spirit of EO that we can’t get anywhere else. A spirit of resilience, grit, growth, learning, boldly going and community … brotherhood and sisterhood … a connectedness: Love.
You may think it is too many words to describe a feeling—but this is the feeling that is EO—our community. This spirit that connects us all. And as I searched for one word to describe it, one came to mind: Bayanihan.
I am a proud Filipino. We are known for our hospitality, dedication to community and spirit of cooperation—a spirit we call Bayanihan. This word describes a beautiful act in the Philippines: When a rural family moves their home, their house moves with them. A traditional Filipino house is made of natural materials like bamboo and leaves and is called a Bahay Kubo. Their community comes together in unity to move their home, with nothing expected in return.
The Bayanihan spirit is also the spirit of EO. We have this natural willingness to help each other and be there for each other in good times and bad. We are vulnerable enough to accept experience sharing and collective action. We share small moments in the corners of events that last a lifetime—often joyous, sometimes difficult—but all real.
Unity in Community
Our EO legacy is building and moving this house, this world that is our house, together, to stand for generations. For our children and their children.
Our unity in community means that we are not defined by a chapter, or a region, or a country. We are borderless. We are all one community. One brand. One culture. One EO.
Bayanihan. I share with you Bayanihan because it is a piece of me. It is the heart of my culture. It is a sense of community where people care for each other and a bigger cause. This spirit is also not unique to my culture. It is in other cultures too. In Kenya, it is called Harambee. In Tanzania, it’s called Umoja. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is called Gotong-royong. In Ireland, it is called Meitheal. And in Catalunya, it is depicted through their Tower of People.
This sense of community is at the heart of all our cultures and the root of our humanity. Our entrepreneurial journey may be long and hard—but with a community, we are never alone. And with our family and EO community together, using our hearts to solve our world’s problems, we face a brighter future!
Since joining EO in 2001, Bubu Andres has made a mark at all levels of the organization, both as a passionate member of EO Philippines and in various leadership positions. When she’s not making a mark within EO, Bubu serves as the co-founder and CFO of Candy Corner Philippines, Inc., as well as CFO of Global Beer Exchange, and co-founder and general manager of Snapsnack Foods Corp. Outside of entrepreneurship, Bubu is celebrating life with her husband, Ricky, and their three children: Rina, Robbie and Rissa.