Ancilla: Another amazing true-to-life success story
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo 2006-09-18
MY COLUMN about “Amazing true-to-life success stories” over a month ago drew a lot of feedback from readers here and abroad. They found the lives of outstanding men and women whose successes had been navigated by their strong faith and spirituality particularly moving. Our Philippine correspondent for Mainichi Shimbun Alan Tanjusay was among those who felt edified by these stories.

Thus, I felt it would be good to add in yet another story that can be classified under the genre of another amazing true-to-life success story. It is the story my good friend from way back in college—Tita Datu-Puangco and her company Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting.

Tita Datu-Puangco is an active member of the Focolare Movement. Thus it comes as no surprise that Tita was one of those who immediately responded to Focolare founder Chiara Lubich’s inspiration for bridging the wealth gap through the practice of a management paradigm that is now known as the Economy of Communion or EoC.

Fifteen years ago Chiara Lubich launched the Economy of Communion in Brazil, in response to the poverty she saw in Sao Paolo, the tall skyscrapers surrounded by the favelas or slums of the poor. Enterprises were established while existing enterprises were linked to utilize profits in such a way that it reduces the imbalance of wealth in the community.

Profits were divided into 3 parts: one part was allocated for reinvestment into the enterprise. A second part was allocated for the poor of the community, and the third part was allocated for the structures that would form new men.

Hearing about this new economic model or paradigm of helping the poor, Tita felt a calling that prodded her to set-up Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting. “I was then teaching as a professor at the Asian Institute of Management. Before then my career background was as Manager for Organization Development of San Miguel Corporation and Vice President of Bank of Philippine Islands for Organization Development and Corporate Affairs.” Tita said.

She added: “I have been one of the idealistic student leaders at the time of the third quarter storm. After graduation from college, I realized one can not change society unless one starts with change within herself.”

Tita further narrates: “I felt drawn to the ideas of being an Ancillan, a helping hand like Mary but in my case to help grow enterprises by enhancing the dignity of man as she/he works in an enterprise. Our company established through the years best practices in strategy management, planning and implementing change, organization research, the set-up and improvement of human resource systems and the design and conduct of training and development programs.”

Tita originally planned to work solo but she felt that the Lord drew her to work in community with other consultants. “In my first year I had three clients and over a million pesos of work to do. I could not do things alone. So I had to move out from a room I converted into an office above the garage of my house. I also had to enlist the help of friends and former officemates who came to my help forming the first batch of Ancilla consultants.” She revealed.

“We gave of our profits, but God can not be outdone in generosity. He has grown our enterprise and over the financials, we regard and cherish the solid contributions we have made to our clients and who in turn through their patronage helped us grow.”

Tita and her team credits Ancilla’s achievements primarily, to the strong presence and blessing of Jesus Christ in their midst working as a community of consultants. Following is what they have so far accomplished over the last fifteen years:

ELEMENT: 1991 2006 Staff 2 people (1 consultant, 1 secretary) 55 people (25 consultants, 30 associates) Consultant Disciplines Mainly Human Resources and Organization Development Added competencies in: Finance, Operations, Marketing and Information Technology to render holistic enterprise management services Client Base 3 companies Over 500 companies serviced Divisions/Centers None • Corporate Training and Consulting Services • Ancilla Business Training Center • Ancilla English Language Center • Ancilla Saudi • School of Organization Development Services Mainly Training Training • Consulting • Business Process Outsourcing Consulting Technology Partners and Affiliations None Enterprise Development Group Palo Alto, Ca • Symlog Diagnostics • San Diego, Ca • Eagles Flight International • Guelph, Canada • Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Institute (SAIDI) • Central Commission of the Economy pf Communion • Rome, Italy Geographic Reach Philippines Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Hong Kong • (Through our multinational clients)

Tita and her team also attribute their high productivity to the trials and difficulties they had gone through, starting from the time three of their consultants perished in a plane crash while on official client service. “With faith we believed in the words of Jesus that unless a grain of wheat dies, it does not bear much fruit. Embracing this suffering has led to our maturity as leaders of the enterprise and the growth of the company.” Tita shared.

Today Ancilla has emerged as one of the leaders in management training and consulting in the country. For the past four years, Tita has also provided advice to help people deal with a wide variety of work-related problems through her column (“Advice for anxious people at work”) in the Philippine Daily Inquirer every Sunday.

Representing Ancilla in 2004, Tita received the Top Ten Entrepreneurs of the Year Award from the Entrepreneur Magazine.

To celebrate Ancilla’s 15th anniversary, they have decided to plow something back to their clients and to the country through a CEO 1000 Summit, a gathering of the top Chief Executive Officers of the country this September27th and 28th. The Summit’s theme is: Moving our country, Leading our enterprises.

Tita stated: “We know that CEOs acting in unity and synergy can help respond positively to our country and enterprise challenges. We want a multi-sectoral participation: CEOs from business, NGOs, foundations, cooperatives, academe, and local government units. We want conversations and learning sessions where we choose to recognize the things that unite us rather than focus on issues that divide us. When trust builds, we can move forward together.”

When asked how she accomplished Ancilla’s leader position in their field, Tita answered:

“First is to select carefully the consultants who join us—the right combination of experience and expertise. We also seek those with the humility to understand that in a dynamic global environment they have to continue to learn faster than our clients or perish. Hubris and arrogance has no place in our enterprise. Regularly we go through "moments of truth" giving feedback to one another on what we do well and what did not go so well. Our gospel based culture allows us to do this with much charity.

“Second, is getting global partners for the specific practices we want to be known for. For example our partnership with Enterprise Development Group from Palo Alto, California has given us elegant frameworks in the field of strategic planning and managing change. Our global partners have enabled us to gain entry into many multinational and big companies. Today, they are giving us access to their other regional branches so we can work in the region. They have also enabled us to compete head to head with multinational companies in our field.”

“Third, is to build best practices especially in knowledge acquisition and management. We have invested in information technology that allows us to deliver a customized training program given a 24-hour notice. We have also documented everything that we have done the past 15 years and our clients gain access to our experience. In a number of cases, clients go to us to be briefed on their development history.”

“Fourth, is delivering perfect work to clients. We begin with a sharp diagnosis of needs, excellent delivery, evaluation and assessment up to work application levels. For long term consulting projects, we conduct after action learning review with clients where we measure what the goals are and whether these were in fact achieved.”

“Fifth, is living the economy of communion practices inside the enterprise. We work in a culture of unity and mutual love, sharing time, talent and treasures inside the company. We also regularly dialogue and share best practices with competitors.”

“Sixth, is growing the competence of our associates who provide support to consultants. We are happy to note that 12 of them are now managers in client corporations. We have served as a leadership center to them and we manage their transition, when they are ready to move on to bigger companies. We have also been a training ground for consultants from Italy, France, Scotland and even Colombia within the Focolare global community.”

For Ancilla and the other amazing success stories of the EoC, the involvement of their “Divine hidden partner” has proved to be an outstanding competitive edge.

You may email William M. Esposo at:

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