Saturday, October 05, 2013

Eisenhower Fellowships: My experience during selection process

It was in the third quarter of 2012 when I got word from the Metrobank Foundation Inc. that Mr Chito Sobrepena, its energetic President, nominated me to the upcoming Eisenhower Fellowships 2013. (Click the highlighted link to know more about this program)

I knew that this prestigious program has gathered more than a thousand of outstanding leaders around the world across different fields of expertise. These individuals would form the vast network of contacts who collaborate on certain projects that would make a difference in the lives of people. I had my small share of community projects in the country but I could do more!

I was deeply honored for the nomination but inside me, I was not sure if my accomplishments and leadership potentials would suit the parameters set by the selection committee. There is no harm in trying. I gave it a try anyway.

Selection process

I met at least 10 of the candidates during the pre-screening process that was held at a hotel in Manila. They were all accomplished leaders from different sectors including the arts, public service and socio-civic organizations. I was the only military officer in the group. 

One by one, we were ushered to a private room to be interviewed by the members of the nominating committee including Mr Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala , Mr Chito Sobrepena EF fellow Lt Gen Ismael 'Billy' Villareal, among others. Their mere presence made me a little bit nervous. I tried my best to maintain my composure. I am a Ranger!

The interview was short and focused on my 'fellowship interests' and possible 'consequential outcomes' that I would do back home if I will be selected. I provided direct answers and cited concrete examples based on my past experiences. In short, I told them that I wanted to help end all armed conflicts in the country through other means than 'military solution'. I also said that I wanted to help improve meritocracy in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and contribute towards it advancement.

I really didn't know if I would be 'short-listed'. I was aware that all those who came for the interview were all highly accomplished leaders in their own fields. It was indeed a tight race.

It was more than a month after the interview that I received a letter from Eisenhower Fellowships that I was among the candidates from the Philippines. I couldn't describe my happiness. To be short-listed is already an honor. To be selected is like heaven!

The final interview was done through phone during office hours (their time). Therefore, I had my interview at around 9:00 pm. I talked to at least 3 interviewers. Again, I narrated my fellowship interests and consequential outcomes. I used my communication skills. (Nose bleed!)

It was in March 2013 that I received a letter from the President of Eisenhower Fellowships, Mr John Wolf, congratulating me for being selected as a fellow. I was told to start preparing for the 7-week travel. I couldn't believe it. All I can say was 'Hooooah!'.

Together with film director Omar Ali, I became part of the EF Southeast Asia Regional Program 2013 fellows who will travel around the United States to meet leaders from different sectors and learn more about its culture and people. 

After Lt Gen Billy Villareal and Col Charlie Galvez, I became the third officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join the elite list of EF fellows around the world.

I was very proud of the rare opportunity to carry the Philippine flag and represent our country in this unique gathering of leaders. 

I thanked all those who believed in me, especially Metrobank Foundation Inc. which selected me as one of "The Outstanding Soldiers in 2004".

I will do more to serve others when I come back. 

The rest is history.

1 comment:

  1. The real soldiers can do anything for public services.