This week, I am starting my 2×2 (or two by two) series on some of our young people who, I believe, are among the most promising of their generation. This is in keeping with the Social Set initiative to present some of our outstanding men and women under the age of 50 who, we believe, will make their presence felt in this new decade.
While they are known to me personally, as I have worked with them in various projects and organizations, or because their parents move in the same circles as I do, I chose them for their accomplishments. Coming from various backgrounds, they embody the Filipino who aims for upward mobility or, if their families are already there, the Filipino who, realizing they have the opportunities, make use of them not only for their personal development and their families but the society at large.
My choice is personal yet they conform to the criteria that the Social Set has come up with, and which we will reveal in due time. It is enough said, at this point, that these young people possess the guts that made it possible for them to be where they are now. And, of course, they are not stopping because they know there are more heights to be conquered.
Right below 50 is that age when one proves themselves and, already, one knows who will make it or not, although, of course, the climb to success can happen to some at their senior years, but that is another story.
I am featuring a gentleman and a lady who have made their mark in society and who, notwithstanding the challenges of the times, continue to do what they do best.
Businessman for the Lord
Kerwin Haw is only in his early 40s and yet, has proven himself worthy of emulation among the youth.
His migrating to Canada at the young age of 13 helped Kerwin develop his personal life skills such as independence and discipline.
A former student of the Grace Christian High School, Kerwin took some summer jobs that taught him hard work and persistence in achieving one’s goals. His first taste of success came when he obtained his degree in Business Administration at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Kerwin, today, manages Advance Computer Forms Inc., and sits as director of Advance Paper Corporation. Advance Computer Forms, a printing company, has achieved quality management system ISO 9001 standard giving it an international competitive advantage.
Thanks to Kevin, the company has transformed into the largest business forms manufacturer in the Philippines and continues to be at the forefront of responding to the needs of the commerce and industry sector for paper and printing services.
Working with all his heart
Initially, Kerwin viewed success as the achievement of what one has set out to do in one’s work plan. But sometime at the start of the last decade, he woke up to the inspiration that true success “is leaving a godly legacy for his family and employees.”
“My advocacy is to be able to share Christ through the people I encounter,” says Kerwin, who is a father to four kids and husband to Abigail. No wonder that Kerwin has changed even his work habits, as instead of rushing off to work, he now wakes up earlier to spend some quiet time with God as he reads the bible seeking wisdom from Him.
He applies the verses in Colossians 3:23 — “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart for the Lord and not for men” — in everything he does, whether at the office, in the community or at home. Where before he depended largely on himself to make tough decisions, he has learned “pause, pray and seek wisdom from Him. God has led me to the best decisions I have made in business and his personal life.” A fulfilling day for Kerwin is Monday which he dedicates to Bible studies in the company of other business owners with whom he shares his experience of living a life pleasing to God.
Businesswoman of true grit
Best known for advocating Anti-Human Trafficking and Anti-Modern Day Slavery, Shelly Lazaro stands tall among the men and women of her generation for adopting causes that address the concerns of the underprivileged Filipinos, whose human rights have been violated.
Indeed, behind Shelly’s beautiful face and glamorous persona is a hardcore fighter for human rights. Shelly has been actively involved with Voice of the Free Foundation (formerly Visayan Forum Foundation) for almost 15 years and has served as Acting Chair, Board of Director, and Adviser.
Voice of the Free is one of the biggest, most efficient and highly recognized organizations that fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The foundation works to intercept traffickers and their victims as they travel from one place to another. Shelly and her co-volunteers take care of rescued victims, mostly young girls aged six to 15, (although they have also encountered and rescued babies!) at their halfway houses at the ports.
If long-term support is required, they bring them to their Center of Hope. They provide therapy, education and skills training. They also counsel the families and assess their capability to protect the victims should they return home. They conduct massive awareness campaigns thru their youth movement called iFight. They go to schools and teach the students how to identify traffickers. They urge them to look for warning signals and to report suspects in their communities.
Shelley has held top leadership positions. She became club president and deputy governor of Rotary International, president of the Club Bulakeño and club director of Zonta International. Just recently Shelly was appointed Advisor of the ASEAN Youth Organization.
In her 20s, Shelley founded a cosmetics importation and distribution company that brings in global brands of premium beauty and wellness products. She now owns Cytherea Group of Companies that include Cytherea Global Cosmetics, Cytherea Global Spa and Wellness, Sparitual Philippines, Massada Natural Therapy PH, Luminess PH, Home Rituals The Village Spa, Home Rituals Premiere Lifestyle Spa, Aiden and Andie Nail & Skin Therapy, among others.
Shelly hosts a Lifestyle & Advocacy TV talk show Going Live with Shelly Lazaro on Net 25 and Eagle Broadcasting. She also has a regular morning show segment on Pambansang Almusal with her seven-year-old son, Aiden.
A proud mother, Shelly is a hands-on mom when it comes to taking care of her little baseball superstar, Aiden, who is a baseball school varsity, co-captain of the Pony League, Philippine team. He has brought pride to the country by winning international tournaments and is set to represent the Philippines in the World Series with his Philippine Bazookas team.