by Devon Higgins
I am Ossie, 26 years old and youngest of five kids. My father was a journalist and documentary filmmaker, my mother was a former school teacher and was heavily into social development work. I grew up in a small town in South Cotabato, in Mindanao, Philippines. I graduated in MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology and majored in Language and Literature. It was during my last year in college that I met Kristian Pettyjohn, co-founder of PhotoUp.
I came to be part of PhotoUp when I was still working for Kristian’s web-dev company as a designer. When they rolled out the initial concept for PhotoUp, I jumped at the opportunity to be PhotoUp’s first ever photo editor. About two and a half years after officially launching, I am now operations manager for PhotoUp’s Cebu Office.
Why am I at PhotoUp is something I ask myself continuously. It’s a question whose answer evolves as the company continues to grow. I am at PhotoUp, primarily, to realize the visions we have set for the company when we were still starting out. As these visions materialize, what keeps me here is the quest to realize the next set of goals and visions we have for the company.
My vision for PhotoUp is for it to become an institution where young, highly talented individuals are given opportunities to kickstart their career. I envision PhotoUp to be a place where potential leaders are nurtured, supported, and cultivated. To a smaller degree, we are already accomplishing this through our Employee Development Program, and Community Impact Projects.
The EDP is an opt-in program where members are given financial support to pursue professional goals; be it further education, skills training, seminars or anything that will allow PhotoUp employees upward mobility, skill-enhancement, and professional development. As a company, PhotoUp is willing to match up to 7.5% of their employees base salary every month towards these goals. The only major requirement we ask of our employees in order to receive these funds is that they must organize, facilitate, and attend a monthly Community Impact Project.
So far, with the first year of the EDP and CIP about to close, we were able to organize and lead programs such as planting trees, supplemental feeding, donation drives, and painting and rehabilitation of public school infrastructure. Through these programs, we are establishing a long- term partnership within our community where we can be involved in youth-centered programs and activities, and provide great impact.
Personally, where I see myself going isn’t as important as what I am doing to get there. My only goal moving forward is to learn as much as I can, and be able to channel what I learn into building more communities and leaders.