Staying true to its goal of helping Filipinos reach their full potential, Microsoft Philippines recently invited Myrna Padilla, founder of local BPO firm Mynd Consulting, to share her inspiring story at the recent ADB conference, co-sponsored by Microsoft Philippines.
With this year’s theme of “Inclusive Growth through Better Governance and Partnerships,” more than 5,000 delegates attended the 45th ADB conference, an annual four-day event that gathered finance ministers, policy makers, business leaders, civil society representatives, and media to discuss one of the most pressing issues today – how to bring the benefits of Asia’s rapid growth to all levels of society, especially the poor.
In support of the ADB conference theme, Microsoft Philippines stressed the role of technology in inclusive, knowledge-based growth. “We believe that, used and deployed appropriately, technology can accelerate learning. Research shows that technology coupled with good teaching practices does improve educational outcomes. Not only that, technology allows these positive impacts to scale, so that a teacher can get the same result with 200 students that he or she might get with 20,” said Dondi Mapa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Philippines. He continued, “I have a favorite quote from Nelson Mandela – he said ‘It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor… that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.’ And to that I would add, that a domestic helper can become the founder of a high-tech consulting company!”
Mapa was referring to Myrna Padilla, one of the speakers at the ADB conference, who shared her inspiring transformation from overseas worker to president of her own outsourcing firm. Padilla, who left high school one year short of earning her diploma, became a domestic helper for 20 years in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. A natural born leader, she felt driven to help stop the exploitation of Overseas Filipino Workers, and established the Mindanao Hong Kong Worker’s Federation in 1999.
Yet she never gave up her dream of changing her life and returning to the Philippines to be with her family. When her Chinese employer’s eight-year-old son taught her how to use email, she realized she could use technology as a means to live out her dream.
Empowered by technology, she connected with her family in the Philippines through the Internet. But she didn’t stop there. With everything she knew about the Internet, Padilla put up her first BPO firm Mynd Tech in 2006, which has now evolved into Davao-based Mynd Consulting.
Mynd Consulting helps develop outsourcing strategies for companies of all sizes. In addition, Mynd provides virtual employees to clients in both Europe and the U.S on a long term basis, as well as, offering mobile and web based application development services.
“Because of the empowering nature of technology, I started dreaming. I dreamed of coming back home and starting a business that will create jobs for others. But the dream did not stop there. Today, through an initiative we call OFWWatch.com, we are using social media to empower migrant workers to join in the fight against human trafficking,” Padilla said.
According to Padilla, “One day, using a combination of mobile and social media technology, we will be able to detect if a migrant worker’s communication with the outside world has been cut. In effect, we will be able to hear a migrant worker’s cry for help even in the dark,” she said.
Microsoft urges the local community to face head-on the challenge of ICT playing an ever more important role in the human development and economic growth of nations. Mapa added, “Learning does not take place in a vacuum, and effective education needs the perspectives and resources of not only the teachers and students, but those of the parents, administrators, local governments, non-profit organizations, and even industry partners like Microsoft. Advancing education in dramatic fashion requires the active involvement of each of these stakeholders, with everyone focused on the same core vision of change. We salute Myrna for being a change model and an inspiration on utilizing technology to realize one’s full potential.”
For over 15 years, Microsoft Philippines has been providing software, services and solutions to transform the lives of Filipinos. It is with stories such as this that Microsoft’s drive to provide technology as a tool of empowerment and national transformation becomes evident.