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Creating for a Better World: StraightArrow Founder Wins Agora Award

Written by: Ari Santiago
January 24, 2018 • 5-minute read


Every year, the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) hosts the Agora Awards, recognizing individuals who have contributed significantly to the Philippine marketing industry and services, in the words of Awards Director Amrei Dizon, as “torchbearers of ingenuity and innovation.”

At this year’s 38th Agora Awards ceremony, StraightArrow Managing Director Haraya “Ia” Del Rosario-Gust received the Agora Award for Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship (Medium-Scale Enterprise).

It Takes a Village

The Agora Awards are about marketing excellence within a community.

As the chairperson for the panel of judges, Dr. Donald Lim defined their criteria as “how many new-generation marketing leaders you have taught, how many people you have helped, and how many lives you have enriched.”

For Ia, the award was an affirmation that she and her team are on the right path toward achieving their vision.  StraightArrow’s founding seven years ago with a group of two, herself included,  marked the start of her entrepreneurial journey.

Despite the team’s size, the company prioritizes a much bigger community. From the beginning, they envisioned building a Creative Nation where Filipino creatives actively help their peers succeed in their field.  

This vision of community is rooted in Ia’s entrepreneurial beginnings. While startups are often shown as the products of unique individual passion, StraightArrow was built on society: the support of Ia’s family and the love she shared with other Filipino creatives.

“We can’t achieve big visions on our own. We need each other’s help.”, she says.  Borrowing the words of an African proverb, she went on to say “It takes a  village to raise an entrepreneur… I’m so fully charged because I work with amazing tribes—from my family and my friends, to our leaders, to everyone in the team.”

The focus on moving outward, on bringing creativity into the margins, is an essential part of StraightArrow. This is captured not only in its advocacy for a creative nation but in its massive transformative purpose: to Create for the World. The phrase is at the core of the company’s brand and is reflected in the quality of service StraightArrow provides for its clients worldwide.

A Matter of Trust

Branding was also the subject of keynote speaker Joey Lina’s address.

“It’s a collection of your real moments and experiences that will define you: what you are, who you are, what you do...Branding is a matter of trust.”

Joey’s perspective comes from his public service career and current management of the historic Manila Hotel. Having handled the governance of a province and an institution that maintains itself as “the true heart of the Philippines,” he sees the Philippines from perspectives local and international, private and public.

About branding, he stressed the necessity of collaborating on effectively building the brand of the country—of making people’s trust in it.

While acknowledging the improvements in the country in economics and technology, he also spoke of the costs of progress and the obstacles yet to be overcome—ones that would take cooperation across sectors and industries.

“We can help,” he said, “by doing what we do well—in our case, being good marketers.”

So saying, Joey returned to his earlier point. While marketing may not be a comprehensive answer to the country’s challenges, what makes a good marketer a good citizen: excellence, consistency, honesty in communication—it’s a matter of trust.

Creating for a Better World

Just as Ia draws strength from those around her, she recognizes that entrepreneurship gives her the opportunity—and the means—to give back.

“As entrepreneurs… we can decide to live our purpose and work with people—employees and clients—who share that purpose. We can focus collective intellect and energy and, like a laser, cut through steel.”

Seven years from its beginnings, StraightArrow is glad to join the cause with the PMA in helping move the country forward, especially for Filipino creatives.

While our vision of a creative nation remains unchanged, our branding brings this vision outward.

While we aspire for a community that nurtures creative talent, we wish to see that talent put to good, meaningful use.

And so, in closing, our managing director left her peers with this message:

Stay the course. Let’s create for a better world together.

Join us in building a creative nation and creating for the world.

Join our team. Apply today.

Ari Santiago
Ari Santiago
is a content marketing specialist for StraightArrow Corporation with a penchant for video and tabletop games. Sometimes wanders, but isn’t quite lost.



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