He earned an MBA Degree from De La Salle University and attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He was included in the list of Heroes of Philanthropy by the Forbes Asia’s Magazine of 2008 along with his three fellow Filipino business men namely Oscar Lopez, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Ramon Del Rosario. Gokongwei is the founder and chairman emeritus of John Gokongwei Summit Holdings Inc. (JS Summit Holdings Inc. ), one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines competing with well-known companies such as SM Malls and Ayala.
JG Summit Holdings Inc. core businesses are: Universal Robina Corporation, Robinsons Land Corporation, United Industrial Corporation of Singapore, Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc. , JG Summit Petrochemicals Corporation, Cebu Pacific Air, Robinsons Savings Bank and JG Summit Capital Services Corporation. What made him a leader? The qualities that Gokongwei possesses made him a successful business tycoon. He is a type of person who is a risk-taker; he was never afraid to take the next steps for his empire to grow.
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He is an optimistic person, failures and mistakes were never a barrier for him, he always try to have a healthy attitude towards failure, it’s a part of being an entrepreneur which is clearly stated in his quote: “Success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the small successes achieved day by day that build a company. So, don’t be impatient or focused on immediate financial rewards. ” In addition, he never denied that some of his business strategies were taken from other businesses but he believes creativity and innovation are more important factors.
And lastly he inspires people by delivering speeches about his life. He never fails to encourage youth to become entrepreneurs. He has been invited a number of times in the past to deliver speech in university commencement exercises. When he became a leader and where it happened? He strongly believed that entrepreneurship is a calling as he says in his statement: “What propels me is not the money I made, although that has been great. Nor is it even the satisfaction of helping my countrymen.
Entrepreneurship, for me, is a path to a life lived to the fullest. It is a road strewn with challenges that constantly tested my character. For those who want a life of adventure, this is it. ” His leadership story began during his teenage years when he started as market vendor. He also ventured into other businesses such as trading goods until Universal Corn Products (UCP), later called Universal Robina Corporation (URC), was established in the year 1957 to operate as a cornstarch manufacturing company in Manila, Philippines.
In 1961, the Gokongwei’s Consoliadated Corporation introduced Blend 45 coffee which is a substitute for the expensive coffee of Nestle’s Nescafe. Robinsons Land Corporation was incorporated in 1980. Robinsons flagship mall, Robinson’s Galleria opened in 1990. He also had interests in real estate thus he invested in United Industrial Corporation Limited (UIC), a Singapore listed company. In 1987, Gokongwei owned 47. 45% of Digital Telecommunications, Inc. With these businesses as foundation, Gokongwei established JG Summit Holdings in the year 1990, and went public in 1993.
That is when he was formally recognized locally and internationally as one of the successful business tycoons. Why it happened? Gokongwei was born wealthy. His father owned movie houses. Their family lived in a big house in Forbes Park, Cebu. He went to San Carlos University for schooling. Gokongwei’s success as a business tycoon all started during his teenage years when his father died of typhoid complications. Unfortunately, his father’s businesses were built on credit as a result their house, cars, and businesses were all gone to the bank and they were left with nothing.
His siblings were sent to China where the living standards were lower. Being the eldest and at the age of 13, the responsibility of taking care of his family was on his shoulders. He and his mother sold jewelry and roasted peanuts and sent money regularly to China. But that was not enough to satisfy their daily needs, Gokongwei courageously opened a small stall in a market where his competitors were much older than him. He sold soaps, candles and thread.
At a young age, he possessed the ability to think like that of a business man, the logic reason why Gokongwei sold those kind products because they were essentially the basic necessities of the people in the villages. How it happened? The success of Gokongwei can be traced through his experiences. What he had achieved now is because of his past. He loves what he does. He believes that if you want to be successful, you must be bold enough to overcome trials; you should work hard and keep on dreaming because at the end your efforts will bear fruits. “Love what you do. Entrepreneurship is ultimately about passion.
It is not about fame or fortune, so the most important thing is that you have to love what you do, through thick or thin, through good or bad, till death do you part. “– Gokongwei Lance Y. , President and Chief Operating Officer of JGSHI “As I look back, I ask myself, “What if I had stopped at cornstarch? ” I would probably be the owner of the biggest cornstarch group in the country today or just as possibly, be broke. But I chose to live my life unafraid even during times when I was afraid. I discovered that opportunities don’t find you; you find your opportunities.
I found those opportunities when my father passed away, when war came, through changes in presidents and their policies, during martial law, despite coup de etats, past economic booms and busts, and in the midst of market shifts and movements”-“Gokongwei Jr. , John L. , AdMU, March 1 2002. Critical Analysis about Leadership Dr. Marites A. Khanser analyzed the entrepreneurial style of John Gokongwei and features the nine rules that made him a successful business tycoon in the book published “John L. Gokongwei Jr: The Path of Entrepreneurship’’. John L. Gokongwei is a transformational leader.
According to the website, http://www. businessdictionary. com transformational leadership is defined as; “Style of leadership in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executes the change with the commitment of the members of the group. ” Gokongwei possessed the following abilities and skills that made him a transformational leader: Firstly, he accepted the fact change is an inevitable factor and entrepreneurs should always be flexible enough to look out for opportunities and make the best out of these changes.
Secondly, he believes that all members in the organization are important towards achieving goals for success. They must be empowered and always encouraged to work hard. Thirdly, Gokongwei faced a lot of challenges in his business career, some of his early businesses failed but these failures did not discourage him in fact he had learned a lot from his experiences. Fourthly, he owns a number of businesses which are entirely from different business sectors. He was very much successful in building brands and in turn he was gaining reputation.
Moreover, not being able to finish his studies was never a hindrance for him; his family members were always supporting him in managing his business empire. In addition, Gokongwei was not at all bothered about business risks, he enjoyed playing the game of business. He knows how to handle stress. Furthermore, even though his businesses occupied most of his time, he always finds a way to get enough rest and relax in order to think of new business ideas and improvement.
He also emphasized the importance of reading and traveling to different places to enrich one’s mind. And lastly, for Gokongwei, philanthropic activities is a must, it’s a way of giving back to the community. His business generated thousands of jobs and he also donated money to Ateneo de Manila University to support business education in the Philippines.