Contributed by Tina Stalder
DR. Julieta Z. Dungca, dean, School of Science and Technology at Centro Escolar University (CEU), invited Dina dela Paz-Stalder (FWN 100(tm) Global 2017) to be the keynote speaker at the practicum graduation of the Science and Technology students. Dina was asked to share her “Blow. Fall. Bounce” leadership story in DISRUPT 3.0. Filipina Women: Rising.
Dina, the president and CEO of Stalder Group of Companies, is a graduate of CEU and she has been donating her time and resources to femtor some of the students.
The School of Science and Technology, according to their website, “seeks to develop the logical, creative, and critical thinking skills of its students to improve and enhance their scientific and technological skills, to strengthen their aesthetic and cultural values; and thus, prepare them to become productive and world-class professionals. Ultimately, they will be empowered to contribute to the quality of life of the world.”
CEU is the FIRST to offer a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Cosmetic Science not only in the Philippines but also in Asia. The curriculum includes subjects in the management and operation of the cosmetic industry and entrepreneurial skills to help students start their own business. A vital component of the degree program in Cosmetic Science is a 300-hour practicum training in the various cosmetics industry. Students in other degree programs also do practicum training. Thus, the practicum graduation consisted of students from different science and technology degree programs.
Dina’s story starts from Laguna to the UK and back to the Philippines. Now, her products have started crossing borders and have brand name recognition in Asia, the United States, and Europe. Her group of companies earned a blue-ribbon award from the Laguna Lake Development Authority, as an environmentally responsible business. In addition to employment, the company provides housing for employees.
Right after sharing her story at CEU, Dina visited Kuala Lumpur and met with the University of Malaysia (UM) to lay the groundwork for a CEU-UM-Stalder Lab collaboration and exchange program.
The students were asked to share their insights about the true to life story of the speaker, the key takeaways from the leadership story, and the importance of this kind of talk. Among the responses were: “The true to life story is very inspiring and very relevant to us because all of us are just starting in life and it would help us be mindful of our choices and be inspired for a brighter future.” “The essence of sacrifices, kindness, perseverance makes us realize that life is really complicated.” “I hope our school will invite this kind of speaker, a true escolarina.”
So many of the students were inspired and touched by her rags-to-riches story; from her hard, knock-down “blows” and “falls” that have taught her to strive and sacrifice so much, to her most awaited “bounce” and finally achieving success. Her life story served as an “eye-opener;” the first step of these students in opening their minds and hearts to their new journey. Through her story, students said, that she has taught them that despite having a rough past, nothing is impossible. Perseverance, determination, and hard work can let everyone look past their struggles. It may be difficult today, but it does not have to be difficult forever. Everyone can make a change. Everyone can achieve their goals. Not only did they love her story, but they even hoped for similar stories and more remarkable speakers like her. Vulnerable. Relatable. Resilient. Inspirational.