Despite its constancy and familiarity, change is a concept that never tires of being unsettling. But how can we make change work to our advantage? Former DOF Undersecretary, Businessman and Executive Coach, Jimbo Reverente, shares three evergreen learnings that have helped him succeed in life.
Lesson #1: Embrace life's twists and turns
This may come as a shock to some, but despite his great success, Jose Emmanuel Reverente, or Jimbo to his dear friends and family, never really planned to set off into the world of finance as a career.
“…what I really wanted to study in college was psychology and philosophy, the social sciences. I wanted to know what made people tick, and what people do in making decisions,” Jimbo reveals, “but because I was good in math, I did industrial engineering instead. I was struggling with that because I was good with what I did, but I couldn’t get so passionate about it.”
It was his father, who had built his own name in the corporate world, influenced Jimbo to consider a field in business and follow his footsteps. Jimbo looked up to his dad as a towering role model and eventually decided to take on a direction that was closer to his father’s journey.
Tucking in his passions for the meantime, Jimbo set out to establish his credibility and centered his priorities on growing in his chosen profession. After several years of building his early career working for some of the biggest conglomerates in the country, Jimbo found himself crossing oceans in pursuit of the proverbial greener pastures and a sparkling MBA at Cornell University.
In the US, Jimbo spent his time breaking grounds in the world of business strategy, operations and finance. However, although the American dream cradled and equipped him with experiences that helped him build his career; for Jimbo, he couldn’t quite build a deeper passion for the operational side of business, having a bigger heart for its relational side–which is understanding people and building up leaders. He shares:
“At the end of the day, I was solving problems, but even as I was trying to solve operations problems, what I would see more was the human side of the issue, the human background: why change management or change efforts fail and a lot of it had to do with the motivation with people. Losing prestige, losing pace, losing their roles in organization, so it’s a human factor that led to change failing.”
After more than a decade of staying in the US, Jimbo felt that it was time to follow his passion. He then made the life-changing decision to return to the Philippines to apply his talents and serve his country.
Lesson #2: Find your place.
Upon Jimbo’s return to the Philippines, Jimbo welcomed the chance to join and work for the government. After his year-long stint as an Undersecretary for the Department of Finance, he went back to serve in the private sector for a while until he stumbled upon an opportunity to pursue his passion to empower people and communities, as a business coach and consultant to industry leaders and executives in the country.
“I was proud to be part of the generation that went through EDSA I, “ he shares, reflecting on a moment in the country’s history which not only changed the entire course of a nation but also his own, “That’s also one of the reasons why I came back because I felt that revolution wasn’t completed. The generation of my parents, they weren’t able to make it happen…and then my generation got a shot at it, but didn’t do great either.”
As a testament to this fact, he now serves as the Program Director of Exponential Organizations at the Rizal Academy for Innovation and Leadership, a program designed to help leaders execute their vision to grow their business exponentially through technology.
Jimbo’s strong sensibility to keep his commitment to serve the country solidified his iron-clad reputation among his peers and colleagues, and even earned him the trust of various corporate executives.
Describing what the view is like from where he stands, Jimbo shares, “I’m in the part of my career where I’m doing something I’m very passionate about, [sic] and resonates very deeply with what I care about which is change management, teaching, mentoring, consulting. I feel that I’m in a much better place.”
Picking up on these lessons, today, Jimbo is dedicated to help make sure the people next in line have what it takes to finally make the difference they started: “Hopefully, the mission will be completed by the younger people so that we are able to deliver a First World Philippines that we all deserve. We deserve good leaders but getting good leaders starts from having educated and economically independent people.”
Lesson #3: Invest in Communities of Change
Before Jimbo fully committed to guiding others in their careers and professions, giving back through education has been something he and his family always believed in doing. In fact, when he was younger, his parents would make a way to save funds to send a scholar through school. Learning from his parents’ experience, he shares:
“Looking back, there was no way to keep that money flowing. If my dad funded it for one year, he had to fund it again the next year — it wasn’t a revolving fund. Therefore, it wasn’t sustainable. He also wasn’t able to develop a relationship with the beneficiaries. There wasn’t any sense of community.”
This sustainability aspect of the equation was a gap he found answered at InvestEd and convinced him to join its growing community of lenders. InvestEd enables institutions and individuals such as himself to invest in loans to unbanked college students through a unique investment model that maximizes both mission and profit.
Years of expertise doing business in the Philippines and in the US trained Jimbo to have a good eye on investments. One thing he found worth investing in was education financing efforts that don’t just stop at providing financial services, but also builds a community of support that nurtures more students towards personal and professional success, “The beautiful thing is that (InvestEd) embeds that pay-it-forward culture. The money comes back and we’re able to help other people,” Jimbo says.
Beyond his personal mission to give back, Jimbo has a firm conviction that fostering a community that invests in the youth’s education plays a far greater role in orchestrating the future of the country.
“Rizal had this saying that education brings out the brilliance of the nation,” notes Jimbo, pulling a favorite quote from the country’s national hero, “So any time we can help young people become economically independent through education, that will really rise to societal impact across the board. To take people out of poverty, make sure they get the right education, have them ready for the next economy — only then will we generate politically aware people.”
The changes brought by the times force us to pause and reevaluate the future we want. The process of reexamining our journey, the commitments we keep, as well as the investments we make, all go together in recalibrating our direction as a people — and for Jimbo, pursuing this vision always begins with a single step:
“We still have so much to do, so where do we start? We start with the kids, we start with culture building and education. That’s where it all begins.”