Louie John M. Banta, member of the PSTD Publications Committee, recently sat down with PSTD President Irene Isleta to discuss about her plans and vision for PSTD this year. The following is a transcript of their conversation.
Louie: It’s a great time to be a member of the Philippine Society for Talent Development. And why is that? 2023 is the year of the post peak pandemic period. And of course, we have a new president, a new leader for PSTD this year. Kilalanin natin siya. Introducing, the new PSTD president, Irene Isleta. Congratulations, Irene.
Irene: Thanks, Louie. And thank you for doing this for PSTD.
Louie: Alam ko matagal ka na rin na sumusuporta talaga sa society. How does it feel to now be the overall leader for the society?
Irene: I am excited and inspired, but of course, somehow scary. Overwhelming kasi. Pero whenever I would see the commitment and passion of, you know, the entire board now, mare-rekindle lagi ‘yung, commitment, you get to be more motivated and inspired. So yeah, it’s still surreal, but there’s a lot to do.
Louie: And that’s a good thing because I know that there are a lot of people who are really in front or behind the scenes supporting this.
Irene: And I’m very grateful and very touched talaga for the support.
Louie: You’ve been in field with PSTD for quite some time. Walk us through very quickly on your journey, your most memorable experience sa society.
Irene: Oh, medyo madaming journey. So, my relationship with PSTD is kind of sporadic. I have known PSTD since 2006 when my organization now then wanted me to renew our membership. Doon nagumpisa. And then I would attend training programs from time to time kasi in person pa noon. And then… when I attended the first National Convention, during the time of Fe Marie, I got so… ano… parang biglang — “Uy! Ang ganda” — ‘no? Kasi ‘yun ‘yung, ano eh… introduction ng talent development framework. From training to talent development. So I ran for the board in 2020. So we had a set plan in person, Feb. 2020, biglang…
Irene: …nag-pandemic. So that was quite an experience. And then during the pandemic eh, biglang shift talaga… the TD community was in a standstill, parang tigil lahat ang programa, hindi ba? So it was a test of resilience for PSTD, Mr. Resilient (chuckles). Prior to being in the board, I was also a Gawad Maestro recipient. L&D Manager of the Year in 2018. Tapos, ‘yun na ako naging active member of the board ng 2020.
Louie: And then yung convention noong October, I was there.
Irene: I think we made the mark, PSTD — because walang ina-attendan those in the academe, those who resigned from work, those who lost their jobs, but PSTD in fact, PSTD making a difference, right? And also and you know, sabi ko nga… hindi kami titigil sa PSTD in doing that. So nag-continue ‘yon 2021 and 2022.
Louie: Yeah… and now, you’re the president. Ang tataas ng expectations kasi nga bumalik ang face to face.
Irene: Oo, sobra. This was never part of my plan. Nandoon lang ako sa gusto kong tumulong because I want to make a difference also. Ako ‘yung type of person na I will coach, mentor you. I would develop people kasi I came from the academe also. So automatic sa atin.
Louie: Tapos, ang organization ngayon for the last 16 years, health care. So caring for people.
Irene: Caring, padin. Caring. And you know, the program that won a Gawad?
Irene: Was about making sure that our health care workers know how to attend to our patients. So, siguro ito ‘yung mission ko. When you’re called to do something, you cannot refuse. And I think God has really positioned me to be the leader at this time.
Louie: Getting to know you further as a person, can you give three other adjectives to describe Irene Isleta as a person.
Irene: Hindi first time tinanong ‘yan sa akin and it’s always difficult for me to describe myself, even to say something about myself. But people would always describe me as feisty in a good way. Even with my very strong features because my roots are Hispanic, pero, half Hispanic, half Mangyan. Mama ko kasi Mangyan.
Louie: Okay. Feisty, disruptor.
Irene: Yes. So I am someone who will not just sit and watch if I know that I can do something to change people’s lives, to improve people’s lives in this particular case, the talent development profession. If I’m going to be asked about my top five strengths profile. So my number one is achiever and then communication. Third is activator or ideation and connectedness. My sixth is learner.
Louie: What is your top passion? What are you most passionate about, your top motivator?
Irene: It’s really making a difference. Making sure that I’m able to help people become better versions of themselves. So I think I am where I am supposed to be. I tried shifting… shifting work and roles pero babalik ako lagi dito. Alam mo ‘iyon so again, I think this is my mission. And of course, my family and the people I work with. I am just so grateful, Louie, that sobra yung level of passion of the current set of boards from Ian to Fe Marie to June, Roy, Rommel and the rest, and we will make sure that things will really happen this year.
Louie: At sa pagkakilala ko sa PSTD board as a community, talagang at the start, matindi talaga ‘yung tulungan eh, at saka yung sense ng community at saka yung, mga collaboration.
Irene: Oh, we thrive in volunteerism. You’re a volunteer. I’m a volunteer, ganun tumakbo for the last 51 years ang PSTD and I think it’s a good formula and ingredient para tumakbo ang organization.
Louie: Anong pinaka vision or aspiration mo for PSTD in the next 12 months?
Irene: 12 months. Okay… first off, ang hirap that you’re only given 12 months. January is almost over, right? That’s why we started. My aspiration is for PSTD to be the go-to organization of every talent development professional. So whatever PSTD was not able to deliver because of the pandemic, we are going to start this year so 12 months is not enough. We will be guided by what I have already said as strategic themes: ‘yung engage, transform, diversify and expand and grow and sustain. And there’s a lot of initiatives under those strategic themes for the 2023 priorities.
Louie: Nakapasimple ‘no? Go-to organization. Parang kung trainer ka, by profession, vision, compassion.
Irene: Yung parang top of the mind mo.
Louie: Anong message mo sa mga PSTD members? With the plans and programs and with that mission, the aspiration, what do we want to tell our PSTD members?
Irene: Simple lang, come join us and the rest of the board and let’s make things happen and engage in conversations, make your presence felt because we will not be able to deliver anything without your support and without your participation.
Louie: For those who are not yet members, what’s your message?
Irene: Register na! So text lang tayo, message us. The professional team will be always willing to assist in the registration, so we will see you in the next Tipanan as members of the Philippine Society for Talent Development.
Louie: Further allowing our members to get to know you as PSTD President, slambook questions.
Irene: Ohhh! Fast talk!
Louie: How do people call you? Nickname?
Louie: MBTI profile?
Louie: Dream job?
Irene: Dati, doctor and lawyer. Ngayon, vlogger.
Louie: Favorite food.
Irene: Cheese and sausages.
Irene: Singing, Netflix-ing… at, eating.
Louie: Favorite TV show
Irene: How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends, CSI, NCIS.
Louie: Favorite book.
Irene: The Secret.
Louie: Hero or idol?
Louie: Favorite quote?
Irene: “Things happen for a reason.” If something is not for you, be thankful for it, because it means there are other much better opportunity.
Louie: Thank you, Irene, for allowing our members to get to know you as PSTD President. We will make this go-to organization for every Filipino L&D professional. Irene Isleta, congratulations.
Irene: Louie Banta, Thank you, Mr. Resilient.
This interview provides a glimpse into the background, motivators and aspirations of PSTD Pres. Irene Isleta. Her determination to make things happen and push for more breakthrough serves as an inspiration to us all. Get to know her and meet her in the monthly PSTD Tipanan. Register now to be a PSTD member and meet driven Talent Development professionals like her.
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