SparkUp holds 6th SparkUp Series leg at Ateneo de Manila University

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At the most recent stop of SparkUp’s Spark Series, Ateneo de Manila University, last Sept.12, a trio of talks helped illuminate who the Gen Zers are, the need for sustainability and important workplace values and skills.

Bianca Eyales, associate consultant at Acumen Strategy Consultants, opened the series with her presentation about her firm’s findings about generation Z, a cohort whose members – born roughly between the latter half of 1990s to the first half of 2010s – are often lumped in with the millennials. “Why is Gen Z relevant today? Because while many of us might think of them as children or students, the oldest Gen Zers are actually already entering the workforce and are emerging consumers. Hence, many organizations, many companies are trying to understand Generation Z,” she said.

Gen Zers, Acumen found, are quite heavy Internet users, going online to connect with family and friends and to be informed; when they’re offline, they get bored easily. They express themselves better online than in person, and recognize that they have a problem with connecting with others offline. They enjoy life and pursue new adventures, but they do so with a sense of responsibility. They care not only about financial rewards when it comes to looking for jobs, but also ethical reputation and growth opportunities.

Meanwhile, Jay Soriano, vice-president and head of integrated planning at Energy Development Corp., emphasized the need to shift to renewable energy away from coal, the continuous use of which only exacerbates climate change. “We believe that business, next to the government, has a pivotal role in protecting our planet from the disastrous effects of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for our youth,” he said.

Mr. Soriano encouraged audience members to patronize the products of companies that have committed themselves to clean energy. He also said, “For those who are keen to embrace sustainability, there are green jobs and sustainable or environmentally responsible companies that you can apply for and build a career in.”

In her talk, Kay Mañebo, senior vice-president for wealth and investment management of Wells Fargo Enterprise Global Services Philippines, extolled the values of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. “It’s very important that we don’t discriminate against race, religion, political views, etc. Why is that? It’s because we need to have diverse thoughts. Only when we have diverse thoughts can we really grow as a company. Because if we think alike, we will never progress,” she said.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is another lesson Ms. Mañebo imparted to the attendees of the talks. She recounted how she had to move out of her own comfort zone when she transferred from one company to another, from one role to another. “You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” she said.

Ms. Mañebo also touched on what corporate culture is. “Corporate culture is nothing but a company’s vision, values and goals that everyone brings to life. How do you bring it to life? You can only bring it to life if you believe in it,” she said.