Jim Ayala: Not Your Ordinary CEO

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Matthew Yap’s first post:

My first week at HSSi was full of unexpected experiences and challenges; however, at the same time, it was also one of the most enriching chapters of my life. I was able to gain new perspectives and broaden my knowledge through the many interesting people that I’ve met and through the various projects that I’ve participated in. During my first day, I was filled with a great deal of apprehension, but now that I’ve learned a lot during the first week alone, I look forward to working with HSSi in the coming months.

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On the first day of my internship, a few HSSi representatives and I went to an unelectrified, off the grid community in Antipolo to visit a local public school. We went there to check on HSSi’s ongoing project that provides local students, who do not have electricity at home, access to solar powered lamps.

One thing that came as surprising to me in this trip was the dedication that Mr. Ayala, the CEO of HSSi, showed this project. You would expect a person of great stature to let his subordinates handle projects like this since they require a huge amount of effort and commitment, but Mr. Ayala is no ordinary CEO. He took the initiative to drive us all the way to the school in Antipolo, which was around 2 hours away from Makati City. The path going there wasn’t even smooth since it was full of rugged rocks and steep roads. When we got to the school, Mr. Ayala held a mini-conference with the school’s students, parents and teachers regarding the solar lamps and its impact to their lives. Full of charisma, he was able to connect with the people and eagerly listened to their feedback, opinions, and recommendations about the solar lamps. During the meeting, he presented himself as an empathetic person who was aware and sensitive to the needs of the people in the community. He acted like a public servant with strong will and great determination to alleviate the problems of his suffering countrymen and went out of his way to accommodate those who do not have access to basic resources. At the end of the meeting, he made a promise to the people and vowed to do his best to improve their quality of life.

In this experience, I did not see my boss as a wealthy and powerful CEO but as a compassionate person who is committed to ending poverty and making a difference in the lives of his fellow citizens. It was through Mr. Ayala that I have learned the value of social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. I have always thought of businesses as greedy organizations that just want to make profit, but now, I’ve realized that there are some corporations who actually care about the welfare of the people and hope to make a positive impact to the community without asking for much in return.

Matthew Yap is a high school student at the Xavier School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

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