• Birthday musings



    EVERY time my birthday comes, I tend to reflect on where I am now in what I do, in my advocacies, what else to aspire for, and what else to put in my bucket list.

    Business-wise, I love what we do at ECHOStore. When we started in 2008, we thought we would have a store, just one store to keep us busy and allow us access to sustainable lifestyle. To date, we have six stores (and in Cebu is coming soon), an online store, and a few thousand followers on social media, traditional media, and consumers whose lives we touch.

    Advocacy-wise, I have three on my plate: Coffee, Women Entrepreneurship, and Environment. So far, so good.

    There now is a worldwide movement called #HeforShe launched by no less than Emma Watson of the Harry Potter fame. This will help us empower women all over the world to think of their lives as important as everyone else’s life.

    In the Environment area, a Climate Change summit just happened at the UN, which was the same day as Emma Watson’s UN Women event. So now, every nation has to step up climate change initiatives. That’s good.

    Next is coffee. Media has been helping us spread the word about coffee. And this is what’s important. Now, people know we are moving around the country and going to Davao this October to focus on Mindanao as a market and as a producer of quality coffee.

    We will bring our Coffee Origins event to Abreeza Mall in Davao City. We are also moving our National Coffee Summit to SEDA Hotel on Oct 15. And back-to-back with coffee, we are holding a Cacao and Chocolate summit on Oct 16 also at SEDA Hotel.

    In October, we will be representing the country in Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Torino, Italy. ECHOstore, Binalot, ECHOcafe and everything we do business-wise makes sense with our involvement in Slow Food International.

    Binalot preserves heirloom recipes, is the slower fast food, and uses local ingredients of course. ECHOcafe uses all the farm-to-table ingredients we get from small farmers like guava jelly, arugula, local nuts and dried fruits.

    Getting older but wiser I hope. Each birthday becomes a milestone for career and advocacy.

    Farmer, Environment and Green Promoter, Coffee advocate and women’s empowerment. I have a lot on my plate . . . but they are all related. We have established the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) Philippine chapter, so that combines coffee and women empowerment. We joined the Women Corporate Directors as a Philippine chapter—that empowers women at the top to be in boards that decide futures of companies. Again, women empowerment.

    So what does one wish for on her birthday? I wish for more blessings like Emma Watson speaking for women, PNoy speaking for Climate Change and who knows? Maybe Manny Pacquiao will speak about coffee . . . Philippinecoffee, that is. I hope I see him in Davao for our Coffee event as I know he bought a local franchise of BluGre Coffee, a known coffee brand in Mindanao.

    We advocates cannot do it alone. We need powerful people, influencers, idols and thought leaders to engage the youth, the middle aged and even the seniors. Each one has a role to play—no matter what age group you are. You can help save women from abuse, empower them by buying from women groups and their supporters, and generally adopting a mindset that’s #HeforShe.

    You can help save the Earth and delaying or even reversing climate change by choosing what your eat, what you use at home, and lessening your carbon footprint.

    And you can help the coffee industry by helping us save and promote Philippine coffee. Simply by making sure that you drink Philippine coffee! Join us in Davao at Abreeza Mall this October 13 to 17, or attend our Coffee seminar at Enderun on October 11, or join a fun farm tour on October 25.

    And on this occasion, let me thank all our readers for following this column for the last five years. We still have a lot of work to do!

    * * *

    Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Makati, Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on environment, women empowermentand coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph


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