She Talks Asia 2023 deals with thriving in a post-pandemic era
“How are you, really?”
It’s a short but loaded question that may be difficult to answer, especially after the past three years. But that was the recurring question in She Talks Asia 2023, the first-ever IRL summit held since the onslaught of the pandemic. While everyone celebrated that we all rose from the ashes of the dumpster fire of 2020, we still struggle with recalibrating our lives in this post-pandemic world. And this is exactly why 2023's summit was called Rebuild; the whole-day conference explored different ways to reconstruct and restore different parts of our lives that need some extra attention and TLC.
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Thriving Amid Life’s Curveballs
Bianca Gonzales-Intal and Issa Guevarra-Cabreira of Globe Telecom
The morning started with She Talks Asia co-founder Bianca Gonzales-Intal in a conversation with Issa Guevarra-Cabreira, Globe Telecom’s Chief Commercial Officer. While many may know her by her title, Issa also dove deep into the mental load a woman experiences—as a leader, an employee, a wife, a mother and her own person. And these roles we juggle often subject us to the crossroads of difficult decisions. But when we make ones that are right in our hearts, these always have amazing trade-offs.
Iza Calzado, Hershey Neri and Maxene Magalona
Speaking of taking care of yourself, co-founder Iza Calzado joins survivor and content creator Hershey Neri, and actress and yoga and meditation teacher Maxene Magalona, to speak on the importance of holistic well-being and healing. The first step to healing and rebuilding yourself is acknowledging that you need help or change. A helpful mantra to remember: “I am shaped by my past, but I am not defined by it.” Eventually, we learn to seek the help we need, the way Hershey went to therapy and Maxene found an anchor through meditation and yoga, ways that helped them connect to their souls on a deeper level that they now impart to their own audiences.
Confident Beauty, Powered by You
Jaycee Matias of Bobbi Brown
Apart from empowering us mentally and emotionally, She Talks Asia also offers practical ways to boost our confidence. This time, Bobbi Brown and MAC Cosmetics Education Manager Jaycee Matias sends off the summit attendees with practical tips on enhancing their appearances with makeup. Confident beauty comes from within, but there’s no harm in some help boosted by the best beat routine.
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Lynn Pinugu, Grace Leonor of IKEA, Nina Dizon-Cabrera of Niv Della Beauty Innovations Inc and Kelly Go of Auro Chocolates
Moderated by Lynn Pinugu, this part of the She Talks Asia Summit spoke on career highs and lows, especially in an era when burnout often results in quiet quitting. The mantra for Kelly Go is, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” For Nina Dizon-Cabrera, it’s choosing her battles, listening to her body and managing her time more efficiently. Meanwhile, for Grace Leonor, managing personal energy also lies in remaining calm when faced with struggles and not always jumping the gun.
In an exclusive conversation with Wonder, Grace talks about how non-toxic company culture stems from the freedom to express oneself. “What I have now [with IKEA] is non-toxic, where you are freely able to express yourself, where you are freely giving the environment where people can ask questions without fearing reprisal.” It’s a culture that allows employees to explore and develop their capabilities without being held back. Grace still cultivates this by fostering an open relationship with her employees and co-workers by welcoming light conversations and breaking the myth that HR personnel are all business and no play. Because it’s this comfort and ease that also fosters the environment she heroes and hopes to spread.
Rizza Lana of Lana PH and Mink PH and Nicole Suarez of The Bullish Life
It’s no secret that apart from mental, emotional and physical hurdles, the pandemic also provided us with financial challenges. That’s why Rizza Lana and Nicole Suarez led the panel to guide everyone in making better money decisions. In this, self-awareness is essential when preparing for emergencies, taking risks when engaging with debts and seeing if it’s the ripe time to make significant money-related moves. Instead of focusing on a scarcity mindset, Rizza suggests zeroing in on abundance. Seeing it as abundant and limitless allows you to explore more possibilities to diversify your sources of income. She repeats, “I have enough, and I am opulently rich in all areas of my life.” For Nicole, the mindset also manifests in knowing there are always enough resources for everyone to grow holistically.
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Life Lessons From A Queen
Eva Le Queen
Founder and matriarch of Drag Playhouse PH, Eva Le Queen, takes the stage to speak on self-empowerment and building one’s self-worth. The Queen breaks it down into three steps. Work with Integrity. This means being punctual, remaining rooted in your principles and following through on the things that you’ve committed. Next, do things with excellence. You owe it to yourself—you and your work deserve no less, so do your best and make excellence your brand. Lastly, do things with intent. Knowing your purpose helps you hold your ground when push comes to shove, which is integral to self-worth.
When our inner saboteur strikes and we can’t shake it off, Eva Le Queens recommends: “Maybe, if you can’t help judging yourself, at least be kind to others.” Of course, you might use the judgment and prejudice you subject yourself to on other people. But if you start being kind to others, it might just be the first step down the path of compassion for yourself. In an interview with Wonder, Eva Le Queen also points to Marina Summers for inspiring her to be the empowered Drag Queen and Human. “Her energy, really, was one of the major forces that catapulted me to where I am,” she shares. “I wish that kind of sisterhood for everyone. I wish everyone will find a Marina Summers in their lives. Someone na hindi lang ito-tolerate yung meron sayo (someone who won’t just tolerate you), but she will really pull you up.”
If there’s one last thing She Talks Asia 2023 has taught me, it’s the importance of a sisterhood that helps you when the going gets tough. All these conversations and much-needed guidance wouldn’t happen without a couple of peers and our fellow ates who made it possible. We’ll see you at the next summit! But until then, take care of yourself and remember that rebuilding any and all aspects of your life is also a process.
Art Macky Arquilla