I once read, “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
As I recall back two years ago at Washington D.C. with AICI at its 25 th year, everything was new
and strange for a first timer like me. Being naturally curious and talkative, meeting people for the
first time was an enlightening experience. The next thing I knew, new friendships were formed
from the common meeting of the minds.
Arriving two days before conference from Vancouver International Airport landing in warm and
humid Mexico City felt like back home in the Philippines. What else is new? Maria Isabel
Sheraton Hotel being 30 minutes away from the airport played gracious host to the delegates
from 31 countries this year.
The pre-conference day Wednesday was done in a relaxed atmosphere. Converging at the ground
floor area made everyone’s day seem brighter than usual. While the tour vehicles were being
filled up, people can be seen happily mingling, exchanging contact details, adding each other in
social media and simply chatting non-stop. The trip to the Frida Kahlo Museum is one positive
experience. Seeing the actual house, exhibit items and set-up made us appreciate the lifestyle of
the owners and especially the lessons learned. Living like a local is another noteworthy
observation. From the food, to basic Spanish phrases which is not new to us Filipinos, to walking
on the streets and taking public transport.. all these contributed to the memorability of the trip.
So how can one have a flourishing future from conferences as this?
Absorb and attract. Breathe in the sessions from keynote to the specifics. Day 1 for me proved to be a welcome surprise as was asked to help be a panel together with our very own Delby Bragais, AICI CIM with some of the big names in AICI industry world. Thank you to our AICI Philippine Chapter delegates who contributed answers and insights. The next thing I know Carla Mathis, AICI CIM asked me to join her on stage and was given the chance to speak. Being a Filipino mattered more at that time than being an image consultant. What we share impacts not just our image but our country as a whole. A short moment in the frontline pointed out that
garbage do exist in the Philippines, and an overwhelming one. So sustainable fashion do have a future in our country. The blessings of the Lord come in many forms as my name was drawn as a happy bonus in the raffle for a pair of sustainable shoes made by Stella McCartney.
Appeal and appreciate. Being friendly and reaching out to others may not be easy for all of us. But to get out there and make a statement, we do need to stretch that muscle and extend a hand. Appreciate the differences that exist between our personalities and diverse cultures. My personal take here for one is deliberately talking to another with a different language I do not speak and finding out more about what they do turns out to be informative. Collaborations start from somewhere and this is one of them. The future is bright if we are thankful for all that is happening in the present.
Analyze and assert. It makes for a worthwhile learning to listen, to ask and to also doubt if need be. As new concepts are heard especially if or the first time, it helps to pay attention and think about what was shared. Do not be afraid to stand your ground and say your thoughts. This is one area where freedom of expression is very much welcome. I remember in one of the sessions, I teared up as I heard one of the image consultants share about her health issue. Meeting her there prompted me to comment and say a prayer of assurance to let her know that God exists and loves
In closing let us be reminded of what inspirational speaker Anthony Robbins said, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”