It is with honor and a great sense of humility that I gratefully receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award of the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators or I-A-B-C. I understand that this organization has over 15-thousand members in 80 countries and that the Philippine chapter was the first established in Asia Pacific in the early 80s.
Your bestowing on me the CEO EXCEL Lifetime Achievement award or Communication Excellence in Organizations is particularly touching for me at this time. Next month, I will be celebrating my 80th birthday and on June 12, the Lopez Group will be celebrating its 82nd anniversary. Some of you might say that in the Lopez Group, both the CEO and the Group itself are longevity-prone or built to last. Well, that is our intention and our ultimate objective, that the life of our Group of Companies be measured hopefully not just in terms of decades but in centuries.
Many of you are familiar with the Phoenix-like nature of the Lopez Group. Now and then some great calamity like war, and martial law, and a hostile government would come upon us. But we always rise again to soar even greater heights. This is not an accident, this ability to last and outlast our challenges and challengers is made possible by a careful nurturing of a corporate culture that values performance excellence and adaptability in the conduct of our various businesses.
Let me take a few minutes to say something about how we do business at the Lopez Group.
WE, in the Lopez Group, believe that our primary reason for being is to serve the Filipino people. Thus we shall do business and in all ways act in a manner that will result in the long-term mutual benefit of the Group and the various publics and communities that we serve. We want to always be responsible stewards of all our resources, ever mindful of our obligation to present and future generations of Filipinos.
In our service to the Filipino people, we are guided by the following distinct Lopez Values – a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit, business excellence, a strong sense of social justice and corporate social responsibility, nationalism, team work, a strong work ethic, integrity, and an over-riding concern for employee welfare and wellness. We know from generations of experience that it is by living according to these values that a company will be built to last.
We are not a small organization, we are more than 30 companies in total and it is a challenge to cascade our corporate values down the line to all these companies. The corporate communications professionals in our Group have utilized various communication media in reaching out to our over 14,000 employees with the help of our human resources professionals. Communicating with everyone in the Group is always work in progress as we employ all available means to reach out including lately, what you younger folks call social media. We have also enlisted a top book writer, Raul Rodrigo, who has written a total of 6 books in the past 9 years about our family and group of companies and he is not finished yet.
As you can imagine, communicating to all the Lopez Group employees is like communicating to a microcosm of the Philippine population. Having everyone see a common vision is a task we constantly face.
But, as any one of you must surely know as professional communicators, there is no substitute for a CEO who is totally committed to the need to get this job done and done well. In this sense, the CEO must lead by example and must show by his actions that he and the company are worthy of the dedication and loyalty of everyone in the organization.
Allow me to once more thank IABC Philippines for this honor. Let me assure all of you that we at the Lopez Group are as committed to world class standards of professionalism as IABC is. It is my hope that the time will come that an award like this one will be bestowed on a Filipino and a Filipino organization not just by the local chapter of IABC but by IABC itself in its annual world congress.
Thank you and a good evening to you all.