ALUMNI WATCH – One-on-One with Von Lacorte

As college students, we are always interested and curious about what happens to the higher batches after they graduate, and what it’s like to be a young professional. Well, what better way to know than to interview one? I got the chance to interview Von Lacorte, a Southville alumnus who happens to be my former classmate in one subject during my first semester in Southville. Looking back, I can say that he was really a good and promising student, and I’m not surprised to see him successful in his career. Here is my interview with Von:

Jam Gay: Please tell us something about yourself.

Von Lacorte: I’m an AB Mass Communication graduate of Southville International School & Colleges, batch 2009 and currently taking up Masters in Marketing Communications at De La Salle University. I am passionate when it comes to sports. Most of my free time is dedicated to basketball, tennis and swimming.

J.G.: What is the best thing you learned in Southville that you were able to apply in your career?

V.L.: The “5Cs” of Southville have really played a vital role in my career. You always have to be competent in every aspect of your job. It is what keeps you separated from being marked as one of the “others”. With competence comes your commitment to achieve, never let anything get in the way of achieving your goal. In my industry, collaboration is a must. You will have to work with several departments in order to come up with powerful communication campaigns. When it comes to creativity, it’s either you have it, or you don’t. Marketing communications is an industry for creativity. You may not be visually creative, but at least, you have to be a creative thinker who can come up with bright ideas for your clients.

J.G.: Let’s reminisce for a moment. What was your favorite subject?

V.L.: Writing for Print and Technical Writing. These two subjects really pushed me to the edge during my college days. It almost came to the point that I was willing to drop both subjects and just take them as tutorials. Writing is one of my weaknesses, and I was juggling between creative writing in the morning, then business writing in the afternoon. Just imagine the torture of shifting from one totally different writing style to another in one day. But knowing my character and pride, I fought and endured the endless brain-swelling all semester long and ended up getting the highest grades in both subjects.

J.G.: How did you get into this kind of career?

V.L.: The moment I entered Southville, I already knew that I would end up in marketing communications. During my junior year, my professor Roel S. Ramirez, APR, strengthened my belief in the industry which pushed me more to venture into this. Right after graduation, Sir Roel endorsed me to Mr. Charlie Agatep himself. For 15 months as a PR Consultant, I focused more on corporate communications and crisis management, handling multiple accounts across different industries. After which, I moved on to another phase of my career when I joined TeamAsia as Senior Account Manager of the Business Development Team. Soon, opportunities slowly started to open up for me and it was just a matter of grabbing the best one. I am currently the Head of Business Development for Radar Manila Marketing Communications, handling all aspects of business development – advertising, creative campaigns, public relations, digital marketing and event management.

J.G.: What is your job description?

V.L.: As Business Development Manager, my general task is to bring in new businesses/clients for the company and at the same time maintain a harmonious relationship with existing ones. Part of bringing in new businesses is to spearhead a team to craft different communication campaigns that fit a client’s requirements. The real challenge in this job is selling an idea and different strategies that will address the client’s communication problems. In this industry, creativity is key. Your ideas and strategies are the ones that are being bought by clients. J.G.: What are the perks that come with the job?

V.L.: Probably the best thing right now about my job is the network of individuals that I have established. At 25 years old, I already talk to CEOs and VPs of multinational corporations. The likes of Ayala, MVP, Montinola, and other big personalities became personal contacts, not just business. The opportunity of having these people under your radar is just overwhelming. Apart from these individuals are also the media personalities that I have met, since media connection is the heart and soul of being a PR practitioner. I have established a solid relationship with these people based on personality itself.

J.G.: How do you deal with stress?

V.L.: I make sure to leave the country at least once every three months just to get away from all the stress of the corporate world. Occasional leaves always do the trick; I come back in full shape and ready to take on the challenges of work. In addition to my trips, I make it a point to get together with friends for a couple of drinks once in a while. Being with friends always makes your problems go away. J.G.: What are your plans for the next five years?

V.L.: Probably finish my masters degree and end up as a Vice President for Corporate Communications / Marketing Communications of some global corporation. My ultimate goal is to become VP when I’m 30, CEO by 40, retire and start my own marketing communications agency by the time I’m 50.

J.G.: What advice can you give to Southville students when it comes to choosing the right career?

V.L.: Choose what makes you happy, and the money will follow! Once you start doing what you really love, everything will eventually fall into place. Do good and work on what you currently have, aim high, dream big, and execute like there’s no tomorrow. Hunger and determination are always vital in succeeding. Stay hungry. There’s no such thing as choosing the right career – instead, we forge/shape the career that is right for us.