Certified Digital Marketer introduces Digital Leadership Program

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Hans Roxas-Chua
Hans Roxas Chua, co-director of Certified Digital Marketer

IN a business environment more staggeringly fickle than ever, people with the power and desire to effect change are at a crossroads: They can either be the disruptor or the disrupted. A new short but rigorous course from Certified Digital Marketer (CDM), a professional program for businesspeople, called “Digital Leadership Program” (DLP), aims to make disruptors of those people.

“This program is supposed to not just help people who are in positions that can influence change cope with radical shifts but to take advantage of them,” Hans Roxas Chua, co-director of CDM, said.

Individuals from various backgrounds and industries and with different roles are all welcome to participate, not just senior executives. But getting the most out the course requires certain traits. The most essential ones are openness to new ideas and willingness to collaborate, experiment, fail and learn complex concepts.

Having deep knowledge of and considerable experience in one’s organizational role is also advisable. “If you’re coming in from a particular field, we’re assuming, at the least, your expertise or experience in that area should be significant enough so that you have a foundation from which you can spark change,” Mr. Chua said.

He added, paradoxically, “We want you to know your function inside out, but at the same time, we want you to leave everything you know behind you and look at things with a fresh point of view.”

The six-week Digital Leadership Program is built around Certified Digital Marketer’s transformational leadership framework, which shows the loci of influence a leader has to consider when implementing change, with each step corresponding to an objective that must be pursued to ensure that innovation is adaptable into the future, mutually beneficial to all stakeholders, and feasible for both the organization and the individual.

The framework draws inspiration from the “Golden Circle” leadership model of Simon Sinek, a best-selling author and motivational speaker. The Golden Circle is actually composed of  three concentric circles: the first circle stands for what organizations do, the second for how organizations do what they do, and the third for why organizations exist.

Instead of three, CDM’s framework has four concentric circles, each one, from the innermost to the outermost, representing the self, organization, market and context. The goal is to examine and enhance the most vital aspects of each domain.

The first circle is all about cultivating the characteristics transformation leaders ought to possess in the age of disruption. These are, Mr. Chua said, looking at things differently, valuing mutualism and collaboration, being in perpetual square one, always reinventing oneself, to name a few.

“After we have a strong foundation when it comes to self, the next phase is how do you interface with your organization,” Mr. Chua said. “Now you look at culture, ways of working, what does it mean to be agile, how do you create teams that are lean and agile, how do you have an organization that allows it people to have small experiments, learn from failures, use data to build a better product or service.”

The outermost circles—the market and context—deal with digital business models, platform thinking, design thinking, product prototyping, disruptive trends, and scenario planning, among others.

Classes are especially designed to be experiential, favoring collaboration and real-life application. According to Mr. Chua, only 30% of the program is devoted to lectures and majority of the activities are done in groups. The coursework’s design is enriching, especially since the participants come from various industries and varying professional backgrounds. Mr. Chua added: “It’s also exciting, because everybody has the same mindset of wanting to be the change agent in my organization.”

DLP students get to work with a real client facing existing issues from the get go. Over a period of six weeks, they are challenged to probe the client’s organizational structure, products, practices and strategies as well as spot pain points and come up with creative solutions.

Participants partake in thought experiments like forming a pizza production manufacturing line, where they weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing and building things in-house. Mr. Chua said participants have to employ their newly acquired knowledge at work, then produce four thought papers wherein they apply their learnings in the workplace.

The panel is composed of esteemed mentors including Peachy Pacquing, Chief Connector and Mission Controller of The Just League; Doc Ligot, Founder and Managing Consultant at Cirrolytix; Donald Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Philippines; Mark Ruiz, Co-founder and President of Hapinoy; and Ed Mapa, Founder of Castle by the River.

Also, by the end of the program, the participants will have come up with four scenarios that will likely unfold in their industries in the coming years to help them future-proof their organizations.

The first run of the Digital Leadership Program was successfully conducted last July. The program is now accepting participants for its next set of classes, which will run from November to December. Certified Digital Marketer, in partnership with BusinessWorld, is holding a digital leadership grant program that entitles qualified individuals to up to 50% discount.

“Those individuals can apply and based on their achievements, their goals and what they would do after learning all these skills in the program, we give them between 25% to 50% grant,” Mr. Chua said.

“It’s a way for us to make it available to more people,” he added. “There are so many people who can actually become great transformation agents in their organizations or their industries.” People who are interested in the grant program may apply at



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