“Practice what you preach.” This in essence seems to be the life story of Chiqui Escareal-Go’s family, as they go about doing what they do best and excelling in it too. Chiqui is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mansmith and Fielders Inc., a leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. Their company offers one of the widest and most extensive range of marketing short courses and seminars, at the same time serving as consultants to a number of companies in the country. Her husband and business partner Josiah Go, is considered one of the nation’s foremost marketing guru, while her daughter Tricia Gosingtian is currently one of the country’s more famous fashion and lifestyle teen blogger-turned-commercial endorser.
“Mansmith and Fielders all started as a hobby and a result of a passion for learning, which my husband wanted to pass on to our employees, as we are also entrepreneurs,” Chiqui said.
She remembers that when Josiah first decided to establish the company formally in 1990, it was already an innovation in itself because it was the only training company that was specializing in marketing and sales. She pointed out that during that time, the training companies that existed offered mostly a smorgasbord of courses that could range to anything from marketing and sales, to time management to leadership, and even campus journalism.
The original partners that formed the company when it started were all academicians. According to Chiqui, this was because her husband had no formal background in training at that time. After a while, Josiah bought out his partners and decided to run Mansmith and Fielders by himself. She remembers that to survive, they had a lot of shared services with their other entrepreneurial endeavors, such as their Waters Philippines, which was a seller of water purifiers, as well as the importer of the Noah Ion cell cleanse, in a multi-level marketing set-up. Back then, she recalled, Mansmith had a staff of three, including a program manager, a staff and a messenger. The rest were consultants and trainers who were exclusive to them.
“Our target markets then were corporations who didn’t have their own training departments. Up to now, there are still a lot of companies that don’t have their own internal training and rely on specialists like us to train their people,” Chiqui said.
In 2004, Chiqui took over the company as president and CEO, while her husband Josiah retained the title of chairman and chief marketing strategist. That year was also quite memorable for her, as during one of their organized training seminars, she had an epiphany from the remark made by one of their participants. “The participant told me she wasn’t there to learn. We’re here because we’re up for promotion,” she added.
Training future leaders
The realization, she says, eventually became a turning point for them, as they understood that they were actually shaping future leaders, thus they changed their tagline to “helping your marketing and sales team soar.” They also turned into an advocacy-based company, where a substantial amount of their profits go to various advocacies every year for youth empowerment and education. They also put up the “Young Market Masters Awards,” which seeks to honor young achievers who excel in sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. At the same time, they also got inspired to put up the Mansmith Market Masters Conference, the only charity conference where 100 percent of the proceeds goes to various advocacies like scholarship programs for marketing professors.
“We also have a program that trains the top 25 graduating students in a free marketing management bootcamp as a resume equalizer for those not coming from Ateneo, UP and De La Salle,” she said.
Through all the trainings, seminars and the meetings with clients, Chiqui has also managed to write several books and is actively involve with a number of organizations. One of them is the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, where she is currently vice president, and she excitedly said that the organization is scheduled to hold its 3rd Women’s Business Summit on March 6, 2014, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City. The theme, she said, is very much appropriate for March as it is also the international women’s month.
“The framework of the whole-day conference focuses on when to start building the capabilities of women for them to be best that they can be: the dynamics at home that have enabled these women to find their voice as a teen, women in corporate boards, women in finance, even father and daughter relationships, mentoring and entrepreneurship. This is because a woman cannot separate business from family, and both aspects must be looked into for a woman to be successful, she points out. It does help that women are born multi-taskers,” she added.
This is also the same inspiration she applies for herself in juggling her many roles for business and family. What is important, she said, is to learn how to prioritize and keep a healthy balance of both. And judging from how her family and her career are in fast gear these days, she is proof that it is indeed possible to have the best of both worlds.