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Answering the tough question: “What do you do for a living?”

Posted By Cherrilyn ". Baylon, Tuesday, 10 October 2017

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It always happens during events, gatherings and reunions – being ask questions like, “What do you do for a living?” and “Where do you work?” and I always feel proud answering that I work for a non-profit, non-government organization that promotes sustainable global trade. It is not my childhood dream nor my career choice upon entering college but fate has been so good in directing me into a career path that is both my expertise and passion.


It all starts here

        My involvement with development work started a year before I finish my Management Accounting degree in college. I’ve been selected as one of the students who will undergo training on feasibility study and project proposal preparation to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access financing to start or expand their own businesses under a program initiated by the non-profit, non-government organization, MASICAP MSME Development Foundation, Inc. This experience opened my eyes to the important role of SMEs in my country, the Philippines, and gave me a clearer view of how businesses create opportunities, increase wealth and improve the economic condition of a community. It gave me direction to the career path that will later on fuel my passion to continue working for countryside development.

Lycah with their proponent (Left) and her MASICAP II teammates Cheng and Mina during a banana plantation visit

        And continues on

Fast forward, seven years since I started working with SMEs in my MASICAP II stint, I found myself travelling around the Philippines as an export consultant (EC) working for the Hinrich Foundation. Being an export consultant is a tough job that requires dedication, knowledge and good networking skills. It is the consultant’s responsibility to research and write about the export and domestic situation of an industry and help promote supplier beneficiaries through various marketing platforms. It is more than just profiling companies and putting them up on an online platform rather, it is helping to create opportunities for trade to prosper. It is central to the consultant’s job to help connect suppliers and buyers to facilitate trade. As an EC I have worked with suppliers from as far as Vigan City in the northern part of Luzon to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao. I have also travelled to major supply hubs in the country including Albay, Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, and Metro Manila.

Lycah conducting a supplier training

        An export consultant’s life or an EC life as I call it is not an easy life. I had my fair share of misadventures like getting lost during fieldworks, travelling under extreme weather conditions, and unable to meet certain targets. But despite all these, there are a lot of reasons that make this job very rewarding. Among those are the lessons I learned from talking to supplier beneficiaries who are entrepreneurs, advocates, and teachers; the success stories of suppliers getting orders through our marketing initiatives; the friendship and trust earned from spending time with our supplier beneficiaries; the family I gained from working with HF team members and the joy of working for a job that means more than the paycheck I receive.

Lycah with Yoling and Federico Sevilla of The Leather Collection, a supplier beneficiary


And it’ll never end

Working with SMEs will always be in the core of my career path and I hope that as I progress on, I can continue to contribute to the development of my country’s economic growth either through working in an NGO, in the government or being an entrepreneur myself. I hope that there will be more talented and young people who will have the passion for development work. I also hope that they get affiliated with organizations that are providing opportunities to help facilitate trade like the Hinrich Foundation. I personally believe that the next generation can do so much to effect change in their own ways and I hope that they will always be proud when asked the question, “What do you do for a living?”.

Lycah with the HF Manila Team


Lycah with The HF Team

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