Most people would always notice that there is an aura of joy emanating from Ms. Joji Aguila. Her smile would readily tell you that she is easy to talk to and having a conversation with her is like being treated to a wonderland of wisdom. As she spontaneously recounts all her daily activities, it is easy to notice that her thought organization is impeccable.
Being the Senior Director of HGS’ Learning and Development, her day actually starts in the evening. Part of her work is to have a regular “touch-base” with her trainers. “It gives me a better understanding of the younger generation, I understand their struggles, and I am able to resolve their problems within the bounds of my power.”
As with any other executive, her day is laden with meetings and issues. To make it all work, she keeps a calendar that she strictly observes. She makes sure that her inbox is empty before leaving the office and to do that, she advised skimming through the mail, doing a quick analysis, and marking them accordingly. In her line of work, she explained that one should have a knack for foresight to be able to give possible solutions and innovations for any given problem.
Asked about the greatest challenge in her current job, she replied: “In the learning and development profession, there are not a lot of opportunities, unlike any other verticals. There is but a handful of us in this profession, you have to be passionate and walk your talk otherwise you will not be a believable leadership development practitioner – it is both content and process.”
She came from a prominent family of Engineers but she and her friends really wanted to take Fine Arts and major in Advertising. As fate would have it, they passed by the College of Engineering and her interest was piqued by the number of boys exiting the door as they did not qualify for the course. She took the qualifying exam, and the rest was history.
The UST College of Engineering found a gem in Joji as she represented the school in various intellectual competitions, bagging major awards and championships.
She considers passing the board exam on her first attempt as a trophy. She specializes in water works and on her first corporate stint, the HR saw her potential and recommended her for a training role. Being naturally articulate and efficient, this has opened her path to her current position in Training and Leadership Development.
Her phone and gadgets are full of e-books and admits that she is spending much on buying classic works from the likes of William Blake and Mark Twain. “I read at least a chapter or more a day” – she says as she showed her phone and the long list of reading materials.
Joji is an avid fan of historical fiction from the story of Mary Queen of Scott (Reign) to The Outlander. She binges on the hit ‘90s series Friends. “ I want to reminisce about the ‘90s and laugh about the time back then” – she gleefully shared as she talked about the show’s characters.
Ms. Joji, as she is fondly called around the office, is a prolific writer who started writing back in college. She recalls having one of her articles as a cover in their school newsletter. She also contributed articles for BPO Hot Jobs where her snarky, fun, and unique style of writing garnered her a significant number of followers. The publication’s editor keeps on pushing her to write more but her busy schedule gets in the way.
She is happily married to an amazing man for 19 years. Her better half, Mr. Milo Aguila is a brilliant entrepreneur who is also as her reading buddy and great critic. Their relationship is centered on their faith and in Christ who she adores. “I follow the bible, I follow Jesus Christ, he is the true north.”
She was the first president of BANAK – Baler Aurora Ngayon Angkan at Kasaysayan. It is now formalized to an NGO aimed at propagating awareness of the history of the families in Baler. She is proud of her roots and talked about her ancestors. “I descended from a family of preachers and influencers, back when people used their thumbmarks as their signature, my great grandfather already wrote fine Spanish scripts.” This has kept her flame glowing and realizing her ancestor’s contributions, she can’t help but follow their lead. “It gives me inspiration, fulfillment, and I am proud that I descended from great men, [I find] joy and satisfaction knowing that they contributed well to the society” – she added.
Getting on the topic of the Millenials, Joji provided an inspiring thought: “The generation changes but the content of integrity and courage are the same, learning stays the same - it's just that the container now changes as generations ebb and flow.”
She ascertained that there will be a dearth of leaders who have integrity, ethics, and wisdom. She further explained that the “wisdomization” of the current generation is underdeveloped. This according to her is brought about the entrepreneurship mentality wherein the young people wish not to stay but to build their own. Addressing this issue, she explained, “people can be very young but has wisdom. The role of the Learning and Development practitioners is to make sure that the future leaders have wisdom.”
Joji firmly believes that leadership cannot be dichotomized, as such, she gave her advice on establishing a career: Character, Integrity, Learning, and a Sense of Mission.
She stressed that character and integrity are important but it has to be hinged to something higher than the person. She further discussed that the greatest men believed in God – “If you have God, you will have character and integrity.”
On learning agility she gave this inspiring thought - “In this VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, one has to have learning agility, fail fast and learn, then quickly move forward.”
Her thoughts on Sense of Mission – “venture to where that will make you move, doing this for the glory of God. Money will follow, follow your passion and mission and just compensation will follow.”
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