We recently spoke with Rosemarie “Bubu” Andres about her term as the FY2018/2019 EO Global Chair. Bubu is a proud EO Philippines member and co-founder of Candy Corner, the number one source of quality candies and chocolates in the Philippines.
What inspired you to seek the position of Global Chair?
There were many things. One factor was the realization that, since I was the only female Global Board member at that time, not seeking the position would mean there would be no female Global Chair again for at least four years.
I also wanted to show the world what Filipinos can do—Philippine pride.
Another factor was the change that EO was going through at that time. Building on that could take the organization toward the next level. The opportunity to impact that change was clear if I invested the time and energy.
What specific actions did you hope to accomplish during the year?
I really wanted the board to unite toward moving EO forward. I thought, “EO is like a start-up company that experienced accelerated growth without its systems catching up.” We needed to organize ourselves to prepare for taking the organization to the next level. That meant many improvements in policies and procedures, processes and governance, as well as a mindset toward one of structure and discipline.
We were also becoming somewhat of a government institution—slow and resting on our laurels. The world is changing at such an accelerated pace. If we didn’t innovate, we would be left behind.
Lastly, I was getting tired of hearing of the different biases among members around the world: black or white, man or woman, east versus west. It was causing discrimination and fractures in our community.
We needed to build our one EO community. There was so much good within EO and among our members. We needed to let the light shine on the good all-around and be stronger as one.
As a board, we agreed on five goals for the year and we all worked towards achieving those goals, with the help of our tier one leaders and succeeded.
As you look back on your time as Global Chair, what stands out as a primary lesson?
I saw the power of a good, positive culture: the value of an inclusive, supportive culture within the organization, and even within the Global Board. Culture truly trumps strategy every day.
What shining moment stands out as your personal highlight?
Did you know that my first time ever speaking in front of a crowd was at 2018 EO Global Leadership Conference (GLC) Toronto? And I did it! That was a shining moment, I thought. Add to that, being able to dance onstage beside apl.de.ap [pictured at right, with Bubu], with members of the Philippine chapter, the Global Board and member leaders from around the world!
That finale to my speech at GLC Toronto was a truly memorable moment. It highlighted the sense of community and showed the great things that come out of supporting one another and working together for a common cause—the Bayanihan spirit!
It seems like you were everywhere during your Global Chair year! Did you keep a tally of all of the events you attended?
It’s interesting that people thought I was everywhere, but I may have been one of the Chairs with the least amount of travel. I was strategic about my travel! I attended only one regional event—EO Unlimited in Hamburg, simply because it was close enough to Portugal University that I could easily attend within the same trip. I even made our third in-person meeting and Annual Planning Meeting (APM) in the Philippines because I knew it was the best way for people to discover my beautiful country and meet my amazing chapter!
I feel fortunate that I could work my EO travel and still have regular family travels. In the end, I suppose it did seem like I was everywhere this past year!
I planned ahead for my term as Chair. I talked to my family about the time commitment for EO. Of course, I couldn’t stop my now son-in-law from proposing to my daughter, so that was one joyful event we had to work out during my Chair term! Boy, THAT was a challenge!
I also talked to key executives in my company and asked them for only two things:
1. Please solve everything you can, and call me only when you feel desperate or stuck.
2. No leaving me!
They knew they had to run everything without me, and I knew they were capable of doing so.
How do you feel this role has changed you personally?
This role has helped me mature in more ways than one. I learned to rise above negativity and focus on the good and the positive in all people and all things. I learned to focus on goals yet be mindful of people.
I remember something a friend told me: If you speak the truth with love, it will be okay. So, whether it was bad news or difficult conversations I had to have, I did it nicely, honestly, and with respect. We have to speak the truth because it is the only way we can get better.
In the spirit of experience share, what might you share with future Global Chairs?
Many, many things!
1. Set your goals as a board at the beginning of the year. A consultant to guide the board in setting these goals would be a great resource to consider.
2. Listen. Listen with all your heart to what people are saying and, sometimes, what people are NOT saying. Everyone needs to be heard.
3. Engage people in discussions. Speak your mind but listen to others. You may be wrong.
4. Speak the truth and speak from your heart. People know when it isn’t real.
5. Make people accountable for their actions.
6. Trust but verify.
7. Stand up for those who need your help.
8. You can’t please everybody.
9. Sometimes, you will just have to put a stop to it. The buck stops with you.
10. Be fair.
11. Be inclusive.
12. Choose your battles wisely. Before you speak or act, consider this: Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?
13. Be proud of what you are doing.
14. Include your family in your journey. Having them with you makes it more joyful and fulfilling.
15. Remember Maya Angelou’s words: “People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Now that you’ve given back to EO in such a significant way, what’s next for you?
It is time to focus on family, our home, our business and our community.
There are so many changes in the business environment now, and I have learned so many things the last few years. We have begun conceptualizing great goals to pivot our business toward exponential growth; I am excited about guiding our team toward achieving them.
We also have new businesses we want to take on as a family. Then, there is our family travel… Now, we can go back to our usual haunts. I’m quite excited!
I end my term as Global Chair with so much joy, a sense of fulfillment and no regrets. Everyone on the FY2018/2019 board left it feeling happy and fulfilled. We’ve become good friends and our relationships won’t end with board service. We trust the incoming board will continue with any unfinished business, in addition to everything they are planning to accomplish!
It is going to be a very exciting FY2019/2020 under Jason Sze’s leadership. I look forward to watching, supporting and cheering him on from the sidelines!
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.