Learning never ends: Jerry Roa

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


IT may be his second time as president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but Jeruel Roa admits he was still surprised when the results of the board election found him in the position.

Though not an entrepreneur, Roa has been active with the MCCI, having been appointed company representative when he still worked for San Miguel Corp. He was also president from 2000 to 2001.

He is currently vice president for administration and corporate affairs of the Centre for International Education (CIE) and juggles his responsibilities as chamber president at the same time. While he has no complaints, he admits it can be different for an employee attending to chamber commitments because his time is not always his own.

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He is thankful to past presidents Eric Ng Mendoza and Phillip Tan, saying their efforts have revitalized membership into the chamber.

As president, he hopes to continue the momentum set by his predecessors and wants it acknowledged that the success of the MCCI’s activities is not solely on him but on the team and the members who work with him.

“I believe in the power of the collective. What we are now, what we have done and what we still can do is a result of our collective efforts,” he said.

Roa said the members of the MCCI and its board of directors all have different backgrounds and come from different industries. Their experiences, he said, are useful when working for the advocacies of the MCCI.

Roa himself has seen his share of different experiences. Before his 20-year stint in San Miguel, he wrote for a local magazine for two years. After spending many years with the brewery, Roa and his family decided to try living in New Zealand, hoping to find better interventions for his son, who has autism. Eventually, they returned to Cebu, citing the support of family was more important than trying to make it on their own.

For two and a half years in New Zealand, Roa said he learned skills in customer service by working as ground crew of an airline, a call center agent for an insurance firm and in a hotel in Auckland, New Zealand. He admitted it was a change of pace for him, as these jobs were entry-level positions, but said he learned many things working these jobs. It also made him realize the importance of qualifications. Roa said there were many jobs available in New Zealand but some positions could not be filled because of the lack of qualifications.

Dealing with people helps him in dealing with students and their parents at the CIE. His past experiences have made it easy for him to work with people from different backgrounds.

Asked what field he enjoyed the most, Roa can only think of them as a whole that made him who he is today. “Each one had its own good points. I treasure them. I can’t say I enjoyed one best,” he explained.

He feels the same way about the MCCI’s programs, many of which are keeping him busy these days as they celebrate Mandaue Business Month.

One thing Roa values is the culture of learning, something he thinks he has gained from being an employee.

“It (learning process) never ends. Even now, I am still in learning mode. I have not closed my eyes yet,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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