The PSTD unConvention 2016 held last June 2-3 at the Hennan Regency Hotel, Boracay Island  just concluded, and yet the spirit of friendship, fun and creativity among Learning and Development (L&D) professionals still lingers.  I call it “The Uncon Hangover”.

While I was in the convention, I shared with a friend that this has been the most memorable gathering that I experienced by far in PSTD. I cannot clearly explain the energy and enthusiasm that I felt while fulfilling my task as a Social Media Communications Lead for the unConvention. I had been enriched in so many ways, one of which was through interviewing speakers and engaging with co-L&D practitioners. I would associate my total experience as a plant — being abundantly watered and refreshed during those 2 days.

The success of the PSTD unConvention can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Out-of-the-box activities all throughout the two days
  2. Dedicated volunteers and committee members
  3. Innovative topics and diverse background of speakers
  4. Strong presence in social media channels which boosted learning, offline and online
  5. The magic of Boracay Island, which immediately glues people together

With all these factors, one would ask: Who was taking the lead in all these? Who are the key drivers of the PSTD Unconvention? I could immediately think of two significant people: Mr. Ian Colorina of MERALCO, who was the Chair of the event, and Ms. Elvie Tarrobal, the 2015-2016 PSTD President & Managing Director of Career Clinic & Enterprise Solutions Inc. These two people have shown resiliency amidst pressure, maturity in all situations, and creativity amidst tradition.

While in Bora, I had been fortunate to get to know Elvie a little better, as I was her “roomie” during my stay. I had the chance to interview her in the comfort of our well-ironed mattresses and got to know her personally and professionally.

My AHA! Moment is this: If there is a famous person I can associate Elvie with, she is like the famous king in Greek Mythology, MIDAS, who is known for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This came to be called the “golden touch” or the Midas touch.  Whenever Elvie puts her heart and mind on something, one can await for success.

Get to Know Her Better, and Learn Some of Her Secrets as a Leader
On Elvie’s Personal Aspirations
JV: It’s truly challenging to become the president of PSTD, given its demands from various angles. How do you strike your own sense of “balance” — self, family, career and then the Association?

ET:  Finding balance is a tough challenge for someone like me (busy buddy) but I would always remind myself of the commitment I made to my work and to my personal life/family.  It’s a commitment that aligns with what I love doing, then pursuing it is effortless.  It may sound easy but its also my journey of discovering and honing the gifts that I have. Being with PSTD for the last 4 to 6 years as a volunteer makes me realize what my sense of purpose is, that is, to share my time and talent with those whom I encounter, while enjoying the company of my colleagues and enlarging my network. It is really about service, that somehow finds its way back to me in many forms as I find meaning and satisfaction in the things I do in the service of others.


JV: What do you love to do in your free time? What are hobbies? What are you currently pursuing passionately?

ET: I deliberately make time for things that matter to me, so I spend it with my love ones.  I have been a working Mom ever since, so I always mark my calendar for non negotiable dates. That’s my commitment to my family.  Weekends are sacred for me. I love going out of town on long road trips with my family because that’s the time I can have good conversation with my hubby and my kids –especially when we are all inside the car bonding with one another.

My career is my hobby so I am continuously pursuing it — it would entail learning new things, creating, reading and writing but most of all spending time with friends, travelling with them and enjoying their company.

On Elvie’s Professional Path
JV: Ultimately, how do you want to see yourself 5 years from now? 

ET: I run my own company called Career Clinic &Enterprise Solutions Inc.  I consider myself as a social entrepreneur. My line of service is about helping people realize their full potentials and empower them to realize their dreams — be it in their personal or professional life. Career Clinic enable them to build bridges to their future careers and re-discover what they are good at and what they need to develop their selves.  This is where training and honing skills come in.

I see myself in the near future as a thought leader in competency development and assessment because I believe that with it, the organization for which the people work for stands to benefit immensely in terms of increased productivity, high people performance and greater adaptability to change.

On Elvie’s Vision for the Association
JV: So far, what have been the lessons you are gaining by serving as PSTD’s President? 

ET: It was tough to manage change during my term but it was tougher to stabilize continuity of strength in the midst of change, that is the legacy of the 2015 BOT.  We need to strengthen what had been built by our predecessors; we need to strengthen our backroom support so the Board can focus on developing strategies that will ensure getting to the desired destination we want to be.


JV: For aspiring next-in-line officers, what are your fundamental tips for them? 

ET: I only have three things: commitment, passion and willingness to serve selflessly


JV: What is your ultimate dream for the association? 

ET: I dream for PSTD to have a a thousand members strong in the next 2 years. This may sound “mababaw” or trivial but increasing membership is one of the greatest proofs of gaining unity to achieve individual and organizational interest.


JV: What should the PSTD officers and members start doing in order to move fast-forward to this dream? 

ET: Take risks and be bold in our action. We also need to re-visit PSTD’s vision so we have a greater focus and direction.

As the PSTD President soon bids goodbye to her term, I hope that this article helped in getting to know her a little bit more. One thing I am sure: Whatever she focuses on, usually turns into gold – personally and professionally, just like having the Midas touch.


God bless your next journey, Ms. President.