When I was in college, there was this one classmate who always blew everyone away with what he wanted to do after college: he wanted to be his own boss. A young man calling the shots was a completely new thought 10 years ago.
Mark Zuckerberg was barely out of “The” Facebook and at that time, it seemed impossible. However, this kind of thinking is imbibed in our generation’s culture and it’s the type that lives on.
Just take my old friend, Camille Cabrera. We’ve known each other since we were seven and Camille has always had this grit and persistence to lead (like really, we would pull each other’s hair just to see who was tougher) and this is one she has taken with her to this day.
She then affirms this, “Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had that “entrepreneurial” spirit in me. In high school, I offered voice and stage performance lessons to kids and teens in our barangay and had several sidelines in college. Then right after college, I opened a salon and wellness spa while going to a normal 9-to-5.”
However, being employed in a 9-to-5 only reinforced what Camille already knew, this wasn’t for her, “I’ve never wanted to be an employee all my life. Although the training I received when I was in that field and the discipline that developed from it is very valuable, I feel that I would be able to use my knowledge and leadership skills best as an entrepreneur.”
She goes on to say, “It’s not being spoiled, which is a common misinterpretation, but it’s just that I believe that I will learn so much more and at a quicker pace as an entrepreneur.”
Camille, who manages the family construction business that operates in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea with a company in the United States, says it’s her parents’ influence that boosted her ideals, “My parents are both businessmen so I know how difficult it is to run your own business (literally blood, sweat, and tears) but I guess the fulfillment is worth it.”
A graduate of Ateneo De Manila University, Camille furthered her education at the prestigious Asian Institute of Management where she met her partners for her consultancy and trading firm. The company, which is called 301 Trading and Consultancy, is the brainchild of Camille and her AIM classmates—Jia Fuentes-Santos and Bryan Mendoza.
The trio started the company in early 2017, right after graduation.
“So far we have worked on consultancy projects that promotes business growth and expansion, marketing and branding, and communications strategy. We are also exploring the possibilities of getting into trading since that is related to my family business and feel that there’s a huge opportunity for it,” she said.
They also had the chance to work on diverse industries such as food, wellness and beauty, agriculture, and manufacturing. Camille embraces the learning she receives from all these projects, “It really makes you think and put into use what you have learned. The collaboration with owners, board of directors, and top management in order to solve problems, expand the business’ reach, and target the right market is tough but also very rewarding.”
She says that while they seem to be earning less as compared to other MBA graduates, Camille, along with her partners, believe that the advantages outweigh it, “We are learning so much from this experience and we meet a lot of different people. Our network has grown exponentially and we meet everyone from the president of companies to board directors and so on. And it’s by presenting our ideas to these people that we get to grow.”
She adds that through the mentorship of her AIM professors and their parents, they are able to develop their confidence as a company.
Also, there is also the fact that they are young and constantly have to prove their worth. However, Camille is persistent to win, as she always has been, “The main vision of the company is to be the driving force behind the drivers of our economy —this means we want to help and target SMEs since majority of businesses here in the Philippines are SMEs. We also have plans for the trading part that we are further looking into.”
When asked what keeps her going despite the challenges, she then says in her signature Camille “can do anything” attitude.
“I believe that what keeps us going as a company is the fact that we are all equally committed to this. We knew our first two years will be difficult but we have the same personal goals that are aligned with our goals as a team.
Knowing this gives me the confidence and validation I need to keep going. We also draw strength from our own families as they continuously support us in our endeavors. At the end of the day, we’re just happy that we get to experience all this together, and as one team. We always pray and hope that all our efforts and hard work will pay off, and that we will be able to reach our goals,” she asserted like a true millennial.
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