Serving the organization with noble leadership

July 7, 2020 | By: Arch. Renato A. Heray, FUAP (as published in The Manila Times last July 7, 2020)

AT the start of the fiscal year 2019-2020, my heart was full of gratitude, excitement, joy and determination, among other emotions. Given this valuable opportunity to lead my beloved professional organization, the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), and to work hand-in-hand with all other volunteer colleagues, staff and industry partners as part of the committee and organization — is considerably one of the treasured blessings in my professional life.

June 30, 2020 is the day when I was solemnly and faithfully sworn in to office as the 27th national president of the UAP, the Integrated and Accredited Professional Organization of Architects and eight-time recipient of the prestigious Professional Regulation Commission’s Most Outstanding Accredited Professional Organization Award.

There may be a lot of struggles with the global effect of this coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic to go along with several professional and organizational concerns that we are presently facing; but these challenges to start my term as the UAP national president will be my motivating force to be more determined and courageous, not by being superior and demanding, but in taking good care of the welfare of my team, colleagues in the profession, the general membership and the organization in general with guidance from our elders, college of fellows, mentors, most especially from our Divine Architect — our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “As long as we make the best effort, we are capable of, we cannot feel discouraged by our failures. We cannot claim any successes either. We should give God all the credit and be extremely sincere when we do.”

These inspiring words from one of the most honored servants will be my constant reminder to be humble enough in giving my best effort to deliver noble leadership; not to falter in times of difficulties, but rather uphold good governance in any given circumstances; and to do all of these things with humility and to prioritize the general membership through the “member first” policy.

A huge organization like the UAP — with 152 local and 22 international chapters — deserves leadership in action through service with principle.

Every chance to serve is also a chance to help and it is not always on how much we have contributed, but how much love we put into our work that will manifest outwardly onto our service. And this kind of action defines “noble leadership.”

This is not just for photo ops, social media mileage nor a status symbol. This is not just superficially on papers, reports, awards and in fancy recognition rights, but most significantly, the purpose of our service to others is to sincerely uplift the well-being of humanity. It is just a complimentary advantage to promote our profession to the public.

Therefore, service guided by principle and love with the right intention sums up noble leadership.

Every leader is different. Their governance varies. It is not generic — accomplishments are substantial and mistakes are inevitable. But we cannot generalize the accomplishments or mistakes of one leader for all.

This is the time to start anew, to face reality, challenges and other works that had been left unfinished by the previous leadership.

It is now a new beginning, a refreshing fiscal year, and I want to start it right, not to please anyone but rather do things for the greater good of the general membership and the organization by being transparent with my actions. To govern with transparency will allow each one of us to be part of UAP and every member should matter. It is my goal that no one will be an audience, rather most of us be involved and inclusive in every step in UAP.

We will give our best efforts to always think that no member will be left behind.

UAP is the prime professional organization of architects, not exclusive to just a few and not just for a group of people. We will always aim to have a high membership participation that can bind us together with unity, love and respect.

I will lead an administration that is equitable, without bias or partiality, one that is consensus- oriented. One that seeks to develop a work environment and atmosphere of mutual trust, support and respect and a place where the members feel they have a place in the organization.

I will strive to be effective and efficient in governance. Having the advancement of technology nowadays, we can certainly implement programs that will promote transparency, inclusivity and participation, which can ignite our passion to be united as a team. No team is exempted in dealing with wide-range struggles and obstacles that may occur at any given time.

Under my leadership, together with my team, we will be as responsive as we can be in our communications and addressing solutions to issues. We cannot just hold back, leave important concerns unresolved and instill doubts in the minds of the general membership.

Focusing on how to move forward given the current scenario at hand while bringing with us the lessons learned from previous successes or failures, will be our focal point in resolving matters. But let us not neglect that leaders, not just the members, should follow the UAP by-laws, standards of professional practice, code of ethics and other related laws and regulations of the architects. The actions that cannot be undone should be treated fairly and accordingly. From this point on, as the leader of this organization, it is my duty to always protect and be of service to the members, the organization and profession and I should be accountable for all my decisions and actions (So help me God!).

It is also a good time to remind the UAP National Board of Directors, regardless of position and ranking, that we are just representatives of the general membership in our organization and profession.

We should be mindful of our every members’ representation, and not thinking or acting just as an individual for oneself but for the whole UAP. Therefore, let us lead to be a servant with these principles under “good governance” for the benefit of UAP alone.

I can testify that service is the heart of my leadership, giving emphasis now on the primary beneficiary that is the UAP general membership. As I start my term as the leader of our beloved UAP, my objective is to filter every program, decision and action towards giving importance and priority to general membership by considering “members first” (policy) at all times.

I cannot please everyone, I cannot provide everything, I may not solve every problem, but rest assured that I can act and do things with passion and great love for the United Architects of the Philippines side-by-side with my team. We will draw strength and rely on the wisdom from our Divine Architect — our Lord Jesus.

In the entirety of my term of service, I would like to hold onto this encouraging word once again from Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

On that note, I personally want to declare this: Every area, every district, every chapter and every architect member of the UAP are valued and respected in this leadership and in our journey of “noble leadership, good governance and member first.”

All of us, together, we can do great things. With the guidance from our Almighty God, with the support of my family — my wife Dra. Mercy Heary and my children, Raymund, Clarence, Hannah and Natalie — our UAP administrative team and the whole organization.

It is my prayer to provide the UAP what it truly deserves — noble leadership, good governance and always put “members first.”

Muli nating pasiglahin ang pagsasamahan ng nagkakaisang Arkitektong Filipino!
Mabuhay ang United Architects of the Philippine!

The author is the current national president of the United Architects of the Philippine (UAP)s. He has been in the private practice for more than 34 years. He is also a landscape architect, fellow of the UAP, Asean Architect and a fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects Singapore, a member of the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects, IFLA. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the Feati University and is presently a professorial guest lecturer at De La Salle University Dasmariñas, Malayan Colleges Laguna, and University of Santo Tomas.

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