In the dynamic landscape of professional growth, the ability to forge connections and collaborations across diverse industries has become pivotal. This was the focal point during the Asian Institute of Management’s (AIM) Career Services Office Mentorship Program Cycle 5 Hybrid Learning Session One on 22 August 2023. Under the guidance of Moderator Professor Rafael “Rico” Camus, the panelists delved into the nuances of networking, sharing invaluable insights from their diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Jed Dominguez, Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison Philippines and an adept finance and accounting professional, provided insights into networking as an acquired and enjoyable skill. His perspective centered on finding a common ground as a cornerstone for initiating conversations. Jed emphasized that preparation and a psychological willingness to engage are vital components in maximizing the potential of serendipitous encounters.

Andrew Escaler, Executive Vice President of Pasudeco Development Corp., offered a poignant narrative underscoring the significance of intentional networking. He recounted a strategic instance when he capitalized on a conference to connect with a representative from Glencore, the largest trading company. This experience exemplified how seizing the moment for purposeful conversations can lead to lasting and impactful connections.

Joy Santamarina, a seasoned business transformation leader and Chief Transformation Officer from Energy Development Corporation, emphasized the harmonious interaction between serendipity and preparedness. She advocates for active participation in seemingly chance encounters, emphasizing that serendipity favors those who are prepared. Joy emphasized the broader notion that networking isn’t just about accumulating contacts; it’s about fostering meaningful relationships.

Philip Ouano, MDM 2020, an accomplished AIM alumnus from the Master in Development Management program and Deputy Senior Military Assistant to the Undersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development from the Department of National Defense, contributed a unique perspective to the conversation. He underscored the intricate balance between flexibility and cultural sensitivity in networking. Philip shared the challenges of effectively engaging with individuals at different levels of influence, stressing the importance of using appropriate language and approaches in various settings.

AIM’s Mentorship Program Cycle 5 Hybrid Learning Session One cultivated an environment of thought-provoking discussion that encapsulated the essence of networking as a multifaceted skill that thrives on both preparation and openness, imparting the participants with a refined outlook and toolkit for establishing collaboration that transcend the transactional.

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