You Can Thrive During Tough Times: See the Opportunity, Not the Crisis

By Mike Banos, Appreared in American Chronicle September 18, 2009

Planters Development Bank, the multi-awarded bank for Small and Medium Enterprises has extended its SME Advocacy Program to the fastest growing region in the Philippines through its SME Speaker Series.

Plantersbank brought in Anthony Pangilinan, acclaimed management trainer, motivational speaker and productivity consultant to share with local entrepreneurs his winning management techniques and life skills Sept. 2, at a "by-invitation" only session at one of the city´s top hotels with the theme "Managing Through Difficult Times: Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive".

Attended by over 200 of the CEOs of Mindanao´s private companies coming from as far away as Sulu, Pangilinan found himself in esteemed company, many of those present coming from Northern Mindanao, the fastest growing regional economy in 2008.

Region 10 grew by 5.3 percent in 2008, thanks to the robust performance of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry (AFF) sector. This was faster than the national average of 3.8% and faster than all other regions from all over the country.

Northern Mindanao also sustained its status as Mindanao´s biggest regional economy, increasing its share of the island´s economy from 27.9 percent in 2007 to 28.3 percent in 2008.; 30.6 percent of service, 30.3 percent for industry and 24.5 percent for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Region 10 also sustained its growth in per capita GRDP, growing by 3.2 percent in 2008, the only region in Mindanao to record a per capita GRDP rate above the national average, one of only three regional economies to do so in 2008, ranking third nationwide.

In a previous visit, Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting, chairman and chief executive officer of Planters Development Bank, cited Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao for its forward-looking SME sector .

"In Cagayan de Oro, we see a progressive, empowered SME sector," he said. "We have been enjoying strong gains in our loans in the past four years, with growth as much as 100% in the last two years." He said be believes that's the reason why it is a high growth area and they are establishing a new branch in the city soon.

"We share Cagayan de Oro's vision of a city that is progressive, prosperous and teeming with social and economic opportunities," Tambunting said in an earlier press statement. "We think this vision can be achieved by promoting entrepreneurship, which is the driver for creating new jobs, improving people's incomes and providing a better quality of life."

"Seventeen ago we saw a lot of opportunities here," Tambunting said, citing the time when Cagayan de Oro became Plantersbank's first branch in Mindanao in 1991. "As we go on, we see a lot those becoming reality. As I see development in Cagayan de Oro, it's something you must really be proud of."

Although the present performance of the global and Philippine economies is nothing to cheer about, Pangilinan urged the participants to look at the situation not merely to find ways to survive, but rather to thrive.

"Change your mindset from victim to victor," he said. "See the opportunity, not the crisis."
He cited how many Filipino-Chinese family businesses always seemed to rise about the crisis, even during the dark days of the previous Asian financial crisis of the mid-1990s.

"Companies fail because of a lack of focus," Pangilinan urged. He exhorted the many young entrepreneurs present to know what´s best for them. "Need and competence are the basis for any sale. If you have a passion for it, you won´t give up so easily."

He cited Andy Ferreira, dean of the Asian Institute of Management, who said: "Your top 10 interests are your top 10 options."

Bobby F. Banaag, first vice president of Plantersbank corporate communications, said Plantersbank is reinforcing its commitment to entrepreneurs through the SME Speaker Series, a component of its nationwide SME Advocacy program.

Now on its second year, the Plantersbank SME Speaker Series is just one of Plantersbank´s portfolio of innovations for enabling entrepreneurs, which also include the SME social networking site and the SME Industrial Park, the country´s first industrial development solely focused on SMEs.

Plantersbank has been cited for its Double Bottomline Banking approach during the recent CSR Leadership Awards of the Management Association of the Philippines for its unique focus on Small and Medium Enterprises as lender, advocate and provider of enabling services, and successfully integrating corporate social responsibility into the core business. It also became the first-ever recipient of the President´s Citation for "Best Practice in Improving Access to Finance" during the launching ceremonies of National MSME Development Week on July 8.


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Dr. Tony Alessandra helps companies build customers, relationships, and the bottom-line. Companies learn how to achieve market dominance through Dr. Alessandra's specific strategies designed to outmarket, outsell, and outservice the competition.

Dr. Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having fought his way out of NYC and eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of Marketing, an entrepreneur, a business author and sought-after keynote speaker. Tony Alessandra earned his MBA from the University of Connecticut and his PhD in Marketing from Georgia State University. Dr. Alessandra is president of a company that offers online assessments and tests; co-founder of an online e-learning company; and Chairman of the Board of a company that offers online digital accelerated-learning programs.

More About Tony Alessandra...
Dr. Alessandra is a widely published author with 14 books translated into 17 foreign languages, including Charisma, The Platinum Rule, The Art of Managing People, Collaborative Selling and Communicating at Work. Tony Alessandra is also featured in over 50 audio/video programs and films on Relationship Strategies, Effective Listening and Non-Manipulative Selling. Dr. Alessandra is also the originator of the internationally-recognized behavioral style assessment tool known as The Platinum Rule.

Recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as "one of America's most electrifying speakers," Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985--and is a member of the Speakers Roundtable; a group of 20 of the world's top professional speakers. Tony Alessandra's polished style, powerful message and proven ability as a consummate business strategist, consistently earns rave reviews.

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What is an After Dinner Speaker?

An after dinner speaker is someone who is hired, usually for a fee, to entertain a group of people. The after dinner speaker will usually be the highlight of the evening. He or she is rather like the best man at a wedding, and is someone who is knowledgeable on a particular subject and can speak at length about it.

After dinner speaking can be seen as an art in itself. The speaker must have the ability to entertain their audience in a captivating manner. Part comedian, part lecturer, the after dinner speaker should have a certain "wow" factor. They should be someone that the audience or guests are looking forward to hearing and seeing.

After dinner speaking has become big business. It can be seen as a way of rewarding your company at an official lunch. They can also be brought in at a charity evening to help promote the charity. You can now hire speakers from all walks of life. Sports stars, celebrities, politicians, musicians and even mountain climbers are just a few of the types of after dinner speaker that can be hired.

If you have ever been a best man at a wedding or had to make a speech in front of a large number of people, you will know how daunting it is. The after dinner speaker will have gone through the process many times. They will have their talks and speeches honed to a fine art. Many have come from backgrounds where speaking in public is part of their everyday job.

The after dinner speaker will also have a number of tricks up their sleeves. They will know how to deal with hecklers in the audience. It takes either a very brave or a very drunk person to heckle a professional after dinner speaker. Many speakers will have a stock of comebacks and put downs for the heckler that will leave the heckler looking decidedly embarrassed.

An after dinner speaker will be able to tailor their speeches or stories to a particular audience. If a business is having a dinner, then the speaker may be someone who has achieved a degree of success in that field. A College dinner may have an ex student to speak who has since went on to achieve some recognized expertise that the current students aspire to.

Of course, not all after dinner speakers are celebrities or stars. People from all walks of life can add to the evening’s entertainment. The ability to entertain and hold an audience’s attention is one of the most important factors. Some people have this ability while talking in length just about their lives. But if you do require a celebrity or particular expert, be sure your budget can cover their asking price. A top of the range after dinner speaker can cost as much as 5,000 to even 10,000 US dollars (USD) for a few hours.


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