Virtual Career Employment and Planning Conference (CEPCON)

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in drastic changes in employment around the world. Thus, the very first virtual Career Employment and Planning Conference of University of Makati (UMak) with the theme, “Preparing Yourself for the Job Market in the New Normal” could not have been more timely. 

Over 2,300 participants registered and attended the conference to witness 15 industry experts give their professional advice and insights to prepare the University of Makati’s graduating students and young alumni for the job market in the new normal. Corporate Communications Director Lourlene Ugaddan graced the occasion as Master of Ceremonies and facilitated the roundtable discussion.

To open the conference, UMak Faculty Professor Maria Theresa Federico-Francisco shared an anecdote on “Turning Lemons into Lemonade” and compared the sourness of the lemon to difficulties in life, but later turning these into a lemonade and transforming it into something positive and desirable. As she discussed the early signs of the Philippines’ recovery using the country’s robust macroeconomic fundamentals in her presentation, she advised the students to use this opportunity and encouraged them to be optimistic and have a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.

The first batch of roundtable discussion included Alan Fontanilla of Served Manila and  Philippine Association of National Advertisers Foundation, Joanne Topacio of ADP Philippines, Dennis Supetran of Ernst & Young, MJ Felipe of VXI Global, May Ann Aure of Le Reve Mobile Bar and Concentrix, Ryan De Una of Hen. Pio Del Pilar Elementary, and Glen Romano of DOJ Marawi Task Force Panel of Prosecutors and City of Manila.


One unifying piece of advice emerged from the first batch of discussants – Go out of your comfort zone and give your very best every second of the day.  Being immersed in different organizations or fields will allow a young professional to acquire more experience to expand his or her knowledge and skills whether it’s their chosen career path or not. Everyone has their own journey, but the ones that will make it to the end of the line are those who expanded their horizons and improvised as they progressed and did their best to win.

For the second part of the program, John Paul Miranda, a UMak working student from Cardinal Health International Philippines (CHIP), shared his experiences in achieving work-life balance. He initially observed his lifestyle for a few months and adjusted his schedule along the way. It also helped that CHIP was very understanding and allowed him to have a more flexible schedule. For him, work-life balance is not literally giving 50% to work and the other 50% to living your life. It’s living his life 100% while still giving another 110% of commitment to his job and customers. CHIP equipped him with values and discipline needed to carry out his tasks at work while still providing him opportunities to exercise his passion.

Before proceeding to the second roundtable discussion, UMak Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Elyxzur Ramos, conveyed his gratitude to all the industry experts and all the graduating students for attending the conference. He mentioned three skills or characteristics that are a must during this time of crisis – communication skills, right attitude and values towards work, and the expertise on how to be able to use and manipulate technology. He said, Kahit saan ka pumasok, yang’ tatlong yan ay kailangan” (“Wherever you work, those three are needed”).  He expressed hope that the University did their part to train all of their students well and that the industry panelists would see these skills in the UMak graduates.

The second roundtable discussion included Katrina Ramos of Tata Consultancy  Services, Marielle Quinones of Direc Business, JM Diloy of Greenfield Marketers One, Paolo Bayangos of Optum Global, Ann Hapin of Cavite Center for Mental Health, Philip Arandia of Bloomsfield, and Rommel Alegre Jr. of Makati Medical Center. 


A relevant and meaningful insight stood out from among the many interesting discussion points – When you are in doubt of your career path during this pandemic, just know that there are several opportunities that can be explored outside that are open for everyone to try. Learn to evaluate your career options and decide which ones are best for you at this stage of your life.

The program ended with closing remarks from the Vice President of Student Service and Community Development, Prof. Virgilio Tabbu. He thanked the industry experts for giving their professional guidance. He also reached out to all the UMak graduating students who will soon look for jobs in three months and the young graduates who may be struggling, experiencing depression and anxiety looking for work, to remain hopeful, to persevere, and to keep good work ethics at the forefront to be successful in their professional life. 


Lastly, he shared his own words of advice on morality, “Anuman ang gagawin niyo kapag nasa trabaho na, laging gawin ang tama at mabuti, hindi dahil sa makakatanggap ng parangal at hindi rin dahil sa makakatanggap ng parusa, kundi dapat gawin ninyo ang tama at mabuti sa trabaho dahil ito ang inyong prinsipyo sa buhay nang wala nang hinihinging kapalit” (“Whatever you do once you are already working, always do what is right and good, not because you will receive recognition and not because you may receive punishment, but do what is right and good at work because this is your principle in life without asking for anything in return”).


(Written by Erikka Andria R. Vargas; Images edited by Erikka Andria R. Vargas)