The Philippine Marketing Association presented future marketers with essential skills for a budding career.

Targeting the marketing leaders of tomorrow, the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) selected “Marketing Life Hacks” as the focus of their recent Strategic Marketing Conference (StratMark) for Students. Held last October 9, 2019, more than 700 future marketers from colleges across the country filled the Ballroom of Winford Manila Resort & Casino.

Providing students with a guide to a fulfilling marketing career, the one-day conference was packed with insightful talks from a wide range of speakers. This included an impressive line-up of Agora Youth Awards alumni—past winners of the country’s premier marketing recognition for students.

To officially open StratMark 2019, a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held with Winford Manila Resort and Casino’s Director for Corporate Communications, Jose Maria Ledesma III. Representing the PMA were the association’s Vice President, Michelle D. Ballesteros; Treasurer, Cristina L. Oreta; Director for Youth and Academe, Jaana Fernandez-Abrogena; Director for Membership, Faye Marie A. Martinez; and Chair for General Membership Meetings, Marco Antonio Montes. PJMA Federation President, Eunice Valdez was also present.


(L-R): PJMA Federation President, Eunice Valdez; PMA Director for Youth and Academe, and StratMark 2019 Director-in-Charge, Jaana Loreen F. Abrogena; PMA Director for Membership, Faye Marie A. Martinez; PMA Vice President, Michelle D. Ballesteros; Winford Manila Resort and Casino’s Director for Corporate Communications, Jose Maria Ledesma III; PMA Chair for GMM, Marco Antonio Montes; PMA Treasurer, Ma. Cristina L. Oreta

A speaker for both the Morning Plenary Session and the Breakout Session, Agora Youth Awardee (1995-1996) Rhycel Marcelo-Monserrate, Founder and General Manager of Merci Dieu Marketing

Morning Plenary Session

The program began with a warm welcome from Jaana Fernandez-Abrogena, who is also StratMark 2019’s Director-in-Charge, expressing her excitement over the full day of learning that the students could look forward to.

The Plenary Session talks started with this year’s Keynote Speaker, Doreen Cooper, who is an international trainer, and a communications and self-development professional. Having also authored “#Adulting: 5 Secrets to Embracing Change in Life and Career,” she shared key insights on preparing for adulthood to help students better assess their personal and professional decisions, from building skills to learning about finances and self-care.

Afterwards, Diana Aaron-Ong, Nestle Infant Nutrition’s Consumer Marketing Manager and a 2003-2004 Agora Youth Awardee, spoke about growing your marketing career in the real world. Discussing the difference between reality and expectation, she shared that at the core, marketing is about being a team player and valuing each person’s strengths; or as she aptly coined it, one must “join forces” in order to have “joint fortes.”

Tackling how to thrive in an agency, Bea Lim—TeamAsia’s Managing Director, the PMA’s Director for PR and Communications, and a 2008-2009 Agora Youth Awardee—showed how agency life can offer a vibrant, creative, and fulfilling future. Presenting a holistic approach to the job, she highlighted the importance of Team, Work, and Self in creating a rewarding career.

Closing the morning session, Rhycel Marcelo-Monserrate, Founder and General Manager of Merci Dieu Marketing and a 1995-1996 Agora Youth Awardee, gave a heartfelt speech on the value of ethics in the workplace. She explained that there is such a thing as bad success, wherein triumphs are a result of compromising principles, and that it is only through proper ethics—putting values into action—that one will truly succeed and stand out.

The Breakout Sessions

In the afternoon, audiences were invited to choose from a series of breakout sessions. Designed to enhance the students’ essential marketing skills, the topics ranged from presentation design to creating campaigns and market research.

Breakout Session Series 1

Imparting essential marketing skills, Leah Guba-Ayeng, National Sales & Marketing Manager of Prestige Paper Products, demonstrated to students how to properly create a deck and how they can build on their presentation skills.

Teaching the importance of a campaign brief in marketing, Bea Lim returned for the afternoon session to explain the role of a good brief in the whole campaign process. She listed down the essentials that every brief should have, noting what to do to make it even more effective.

A 1998-1999 Agora Youth Awardee and Resorts World Manila’s Head of Corporate Communications, Archie Nicasio drew from his experience in the industry—handling a variety of events from musicals to concerts—to discuss what it takes to build a successful PR career.

Breakout Session Series 2

Speaking on the importance of Market Research, Mitch Cruz-Peralta—Head of Market Innovations and Customer Insights at Globe Telecom, and a 2000-2001 Agora Youth Awardee—showed how proper research helps marketers know what to do and how.

With many of the student attendees preparing to enter the workforce, Dean Bulaon, Kalibrr’s Program Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships, taught the audience how to build their careers and credibility, starting with the right cover letter, resume, and interview preparations.

Proving how marketing can make sense of all the information around us, Albet Roble Buddahim, President & Co-founder of Katapult Digital and a 2005-2006 Agora Youth Awardee, explained and demonstrated to students the value of data and analytics in action.

Special Session for Faculty Members

While the students were at the different breakout sessions, a special session designed for marketing and business professors was also held at the VIP Room.

Strengthening the PMA’s vision of enriching marketing as an academic focus, Rhycel T. Marcelo-Monserrate was tapped to share how teachers can go beyond the four walls of the classroom to further enrich the lives of future marketers.

Afternoon Plenary Session

Gathering everyone back at the main ballroom, the plenary session re-opened with a special video message from PMA President Faith Abano, who hailed the students as the future of Philippine marketing, encouraging each of them to keep in mind what they learned from the conference speakers and to put these lessons into practice.

StratMark 2019 also saw the induction of the 2019-2020 National Executive Board of the Philippine Junior Marketing Association (PJMA), the official youth arm of the PMA. Officiating the oathtaking of the young officers was PMA Vice President Michelle D. Ballesteros.

Treating the audience with musical performances, the Perkins Twins showcased their songs and dance moves, enlivening the Winford Manila Ballroom. Setting a good example for the youth, Jesse and Christian also spoke about personal marketing through social media, and that this should be done responsibly and as a platform for good. 

Recording artist, Elise Huang of MINT College, who is also a member of the MINT Junior Marketing Association, also came up on stage, impressing audiences with her unique brand of music, including her original song, “Coffee.”

StratMark: A Commitment to Nurture Future Marketers

Gathering marketing and business students from across the country, StratMark is a highly-anticipated educational event that allows pupils and professors to learn best practices and marketing insights directly from industry experts and youth icons.

“The PMA was formed 65 years ago with the vision of promoting the marketing profession in the country—and this begins with our future marketers,” says PMA Director for Youth and Academe, Jaana Fernandez-Abrogena. “Today, we hold true to that promise through StratMark, our flagship student conference, which continues to provide opportunities for our future marketing leaders to learn more and aspire for greater.”

About the Agora Youth Awards (AYA)

A collaboration between the Philippine Marketing Association, the academe, and affiliate organizations for marketing students, the AYA recognizes the best marketing students and student association. The annual award provides future Filipino marketers with opportunities for deeper learning, testing their ability to apply knowledge and theory in actual business cases. Guided by the same standards and principles as its parent, the Agora Awards, it is considered the highest marketing accolade in the Philippines for students.

Raffle Winners

Grand Raffle Winner of a Staycation at Winford Manila Resort and Casino

About the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA)

Founded in 1954, the PMA was established to create awareness for the power of marketing in business, industry, and the academe. Pioneering various initiatives across the country, the Association works to develop and promote marketing as a science and a profession, and to serve as the policy-making and the recommendatory arm of the government on marketing-related issues. Today, the PMA remains the leading institution for marketing excellence in the Philippines.