Jonathan De Luzuriaga or JDL is a born leader. All throughout his school life he has excelled in school politics by consistently becoming the President of the Student Council of every educational institution he has attended. Coming from a family of politicians (his middle name is Defensor), he planned early on that his path is towards public service. He ran as councilor but as he describes it – “failed miserably” in the elections during the late 1990s.
What was first thought as a failure became a turning point in his life. The two viable options he was looking at after an attempt in politics were the banking sector and a new industry phenomenon – the BPO. “When I first entered the arena, I was still busy licking my wounds.” He owes much of his success to his ever-supportive wife who took front and center as things were seemingly falling apart for him. She was also the reason why he chose to be part of the industry.
Early Career in the IT-BPM Space
He started out his career in the industry as a supervisor for a customer service account for a computer hardware supplier. This was where he learned the ropes and being one of the first folks to enter this new space, it was relatively easy for him to spread his wings. He quickly rose through the ranks and became an Operations Manager for various accounts. His talent was immediately noticed by the Industry players and was asked to join some of the larger players in the Industry.
His first real shot at corporate stardom came when Mr. Oscar Sañez gave him a shot at becoming the Executive Director for Industry Affairs of what was once known as the Business Processing Association of the Philippines. Asked about how his impression about his role, he jokingly remarked: “I had to drink a bottle of antacid every day.” It gave him an opportunity to be more intimate with the industry and its subsectors including software, health information, animation, and gaming.
Many people assert that Jonathan has a consultant and analyst mindset, as a testament to this, a World Bank commissioned project for Central Africa was assigned to him. He stayed in Africa for a substantial amount of time to lead the creation of the IT-BPM Center of Excellence for Central Africa. After his stint there, he took on the role of Managing Director for Tholons South East Asia.
The Obstacles on the Road
Jonathan admits that it is really tough to manage the expectations of the industry. “We all do this for flag and country but it is difficult to manage expectations of various industry stakeholders”. As the IT-BPM sector is quite diverse, the challenges are also quite varied. Industry Initiatives cover from Talent Development to Government Relations to Industry Promotion. Addressing these challenges became his stepping stones towards achieving his goals not only for himself but for the industry as well.
True enough, he came to realize his lifelong dream of running his own firm. He currently owns a software development and consulting firm – Compos Mentis Inc. or CMI Tech.
He is confident that the industry will continue to flourish. “From the beginning, it has been the industry trying to fend for itself. The Industry strength really lies in the talent of the Filipino people and there are very few factors that can affect that. We are one of the few countries who possess a scalable and knowledgeable talent pool that is relatively efficient when it comes to cost.”
Jonathan is a big football fan and used to actively play as a striker. He adores the Barcelona team and is all out in support of the Philippine Azkals. Blessed with two beautiful children – an 18-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son, he admits that his life is anchored on his family. He stressed that an open communication between him, his wife and his children are what keeps their relationship strong. “You cannot move forward if your own backyard is in disarray” – he added.
He was a free spirit during his younger days, enjoying life to its fullest with music as one of the focal points of his activities. He is a lead singer of a band and plays practically all kinds of stringed instruments. Nothing much has changed according to him as he professes that he has a knack for finding ways to enjoy life. This is the same principle he would like his children to grow up with, a passion for what they do. As such he said: “There is only one thing that I really pray for – and that is for them to be happy whatever it is that they want to do.”
Family is his top priority and he keeps a balance by exposing them to what he does. His very demanding job would sometimes take him to different places. He shared that at one time, he was asked to travel to which he demandingly replied: “No qualms doing it but my family has to be with me.”
Jonathan De Luzuriaga’s View on Millennials – the New Workforce
Jonathan acknowledges that the new workforce is very intellectual and talented and hopes that with their God-given gifts, they use it all for the greater good. He saw in them a very deep concern over everything especially on topics relating to environment and politics. His advice is for them to focus on values – “certain things do not change, respect and love for environment and fellow men must be front and center regardless of technological advancements.”
He is currently spearheading a big project that many consider as an imminent breakthrough in the Industry – Spring Valley. It is the Philippine’s version of Silicon Valley that aims to be the melting pot of all Technology and innovation-centric individuals. He envisions the country to reach greater heights with the IT-BPM Industry through this initiative. Considering that the Philippines is a growing destination for entrepreneurs with startup ideas where much of the market is relatively untapped, he intends to maximize the Philippine’s vast resource of talents. “This is going to be a perfect place for the next wave of talent as there will be a very good environment for them with a perfect balance of technology and ecology” – he further added.
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