Myrna Padilla, founder of local BPO firm Mynd Consulting, shared her inspiring story from being a former overseas worker to president of her own outsourcing firm at a recent Asian Development Bank conference.
With this year’s theme of “Inclusive Growth through Better Governance and Partnerships,” more than 5,000 delegates attended the 45th ADB conference, an annual four-day event that gathered finance ministers, policy makers, business leaders, civil society representatives, and media to discuss one of the most pressing issues today – how to bring the benefits of Asia’s rapid growth to all levels of society, especially the poor.
In support of the ADB conference theme, Microsoft Philippines stressed the role of technology in inclusive, knowledge-based growth. “We believe that, used and deployed appropriately, technology can accelerate learning. Research shows that technology coupled with good teaching practices does improve educational outcomes. Not only that, technology allows these positive impacts to scale, so that a teacher can get the same result with 200 students that he or she might get with 20,” said Dondi Mapa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Philippines. He continued, “I have a favorite quote from Nelson Mandela – he said ‘It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor... that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.’ And to that I would add, that a domestic helper can become the founder of a high-tech consulting company!”
Mapa was referring to Myrna Padilla, one of the speakers at the conference, who shared her transformation from overseas worker to president of her own outsourcing firm. Padilla, who left high school one year short of earning her diploma, became a domestic helper for 20 years in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. A natural born leader, she felt driven to help stop the exploitation of Overseas Filipino Workers, and established the Mindanao Hong Kong Worker’s Federation in 1999.
Yet she never gave up her dream of changing her life and returning to the Philippines to be with her family. When her Chinese employer’s eight-year-old son taught her how to use email, she realized she could use technology as a means to live out her dream.