Written by Raul Estrella
Photo by Ysa Mercado
The Ateneo Biological Organization (BOx) began its annual Leadership and Empowerment Apprenticeship Program (LEAP) last January 25, 2023 and has continued it throughout the second semester. The program gives participants an opportunity to take part in developing and training their skills to become future leaders of BOx.
The project was spearheaded by Project Head Allyson Cachola and PMO Project Head Rafael Gonzalez. Meanwhile it was supervised by VP for Training and Development Iris Castelo and AVP for Leadership and Empowerment Ysabel Mercado.
A leader’s adaptability
This year’s iteration of LEAP found itself undergoing changes in comparison to its predecessors. Mercado stated that the “timing and scheduling were planned during the semester to allow for maximum participation and engagement from BOx members.”
With that in mind, Castelo stated that the project team encountered various challenges for the onsite implementation of the program, taking into account “all the holidays, moratorium, and academic workload of all those involved with LEAP.” The shift to near-full onsite classes also played a part in the project’s implementation.
That being said, Castelo believed that the push for face-to-face workshops remained necessary as she felt that “it would be more effective in-person, as interactive activities would have more impact on the participants,” hence its shortened implementation.
Everything goes on
Despite the sudden change in pacing, LEAP continued to hold its series of workshops and activities that aimed to develop skills in communication and leadership, and gain experience as well.
“We planned this project with a theme of growth in mind, and really wanted members to learn how to empower themselves and others throughout their journey towards leadership in BOx,” said Castelo.
LEAP held its two main workshops on January 27 and March 17 respectively, with the first workshop being merged with lessons on the project management system of BOx, as part of a newly-implemented inclusion of the Project Management Orientation (PMO) that previously consisted of a series of workshops.
The program still retained its inclusion of a Minor Task, Major Task, and Grand Task as the main member participations. Each of these tasks played a role to immerse participants in their interested departments.
LEAP wrapped up its activities in a culminating activity on April 22. Despite the difficulties faced by the project team, the workshops and activities were still adapted and executed as part of its 2023 iteration.
Castelo noted the challenge of planning LEAP given the overwhelming number of factors to take into account when scheduling, as well as the personal challenge of wanting the project to be as perfect as possible. Mercado added that there were also necessary changes to be made with marketing and participant retention, but still considered it a success nonetheless.
When asked what words she had for the readers, Castelo drew insight from her own experience as an officer of this project, stating “if there’s anything I’ve learned throughout LEAP… it’s that leadership is a journey where you will learn more along the way than beforehand. You could have all the necessary skills and experience before you take on a leadership position yet still learn so many more things once you’re actually in the EB.”
Estrella R., Castelo I. LEAP VP for Training and Development Interview. 2023 Apr 17.
Estrella R., Mercado Y. LEAP AVP for Leadership and Empowerment Interview. 2023 Apr 18.