Day 05 - Self: Family & Community

The EO Spirit of Unity in Community

Rosemarie "Bubu" Andres
EO Global Chair and Co-Founder of Candy Corner

The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely. You’re leading a company, walking an uncharted path without anyone else in the world who can comprehend your unique experience, worries and frustrations. It can be very isolating.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As humans, we’re not meant to be isolated. We thrive in groups. There are prosperous associations of entrepreneurs who gather to support, motivate and guide each other, to overcome challenges, leading to greater success—for each company and the community at large.

EO is one such community, and what I particularly love and respect about our community of 13,000+ members worldwide—is that EO has this spirit, this feeling all its own.

My Introduction to the EO Spirit

I remember the first time I experienced that EO spirit.

It was 3 September 1999. I stood on a sidewalk, watching, as everything my husband and I had built burst into flames when a fire from the warehouse next door spread to ours. I choked on smoke and gasped with my hand over my mouth as I watched the roof collapse. I cried enough tears to put out that fire. There was nothing left of our dreams and hard work but ash.

Any collateral we had for a loan to rebuild was soot. There was a problem with our insurance. We had very young kids. So, we put on our boots and face masks and started rebuilding.

It reminded me of a line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem If:

“Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.”

That was us. It was the hardest thing I have ever experienced.

How I Found EO

A classmate of mine introduced me to EO. He thought EO could help me, so he shared the organization with me. That is the spirit that brought me to EO.

I saw the value immediately and joined. Since then, I have shared the ups and downs of business with my Forum of supportive, intelligent and caring friends for the last 17 years.

There is a spirit that is EO, a thirst for learning. By embracing it, I was able to apply learning to my business, and with the help of my Forum, I applied that same learning to me, as a human, a wife and a mom.

In EO we have a spirit of growth and resilience. We were able to rebuild and not just recover. After that fire, we made our business better than before. With EO, we didn’t just survive, we thrived.

The EO community has had an exponential impact on me. The learning and sharing we gain from Forum helped us rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, seeking heights unimaginable. That’s what we do in EO. We support each other and make things better.

The Spirit of Bayanihan

My husband and I were overwhelmed after that fire. Absolutely gobsmacked, overwhelmed. But not in the way you might think:

What overwhelmed us, more than the loss we endured, was the outpouring of love we experienced. Friends and family were quick to offer cash, loans, collateral to loan against—we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. Our community did not just stand on the sidelines and offer thoughts and prayers: They rolled up their sleeves and lifted us toward a new future.  It was awe-inspiring to witness that love in action.

This is the spirit of EO that we can’t get anywhere else. A spirit of resilience, grit, growth, learning, boldly going and community … brotherhood and sisterhood … a connectedness: Love.

You may think it is too many words to describe a feeling—but this is the feeling that is EO—our community. This spirit that connects us all. And as I searched for one word to describe it, one came to mind: Bayanihan.

I am a proud Filipino. We are known for our hospitality, dedication to community and spirit of cooperation—a spirit we call Bayanihan. This word describes a beautiful act in the Philippines: When a rural family moves their home, their house moves with them. A traditional Filipino house is made of natural materials like bamboo and leaves and is called a Bahay Kubo. Their community comes together in unity to move their home, with nothing expected in return.

The Bayanihan spirit is also the spirit of EO. We have this natural willingness to help each other and be there for each other in good times and bad. We are vulnerable enough to accept experience sharing and collective action. We share small moments in the corners of events that last a lifetime—often joyous, sometimes difficult—but all real.

Unity in Community

As entrepreneurs, we aren’t typically helping each other move our individual houses. We build stuff. We make things. We move things together, unified in this community.

Our EO legacy is building and moving this house, this world that is our house, together, to stand for generations. For our children and their children.

We are inclusive of our community and of each entrepreneur’s family because as capitalists, we know that diversity is a competitive advantage. Diversity is a result of inclusion, and thus inclusion isn’t just a nice-to-have, it is fuel for our growth. Imagine the impact when we reach more of the 400 million entrepreneurs, and their families, around the world. The human story will transform with more EO.

Our unity in community—the EO spirit—means that we are not defined by a chapter, or a region, or a country. We are borderless. We are all one community. One brand. One culture. One EO.

Bayanihan. I share with you Bayanihan because it is a piece of me. It is the heart of my culture. It is a sense of community where people care for each other and a bigger cause. This spirit is also not unique to my culture. It is in other cultures too. In Kenya, it is called Harambee. In Tanzania, it’s called Umoja. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is called Gotong-royong. In Ireland, it is called Meitheal. And in Catalunya, it is depicted through their Tower of People. We are united by this spirit and EO.

This sense of community is at the heart of all our cultures and the root of our humanity.

Did you know that the oldest Chinese symbol is the heart?  In the ancient Roman city of Jerash in Jordan, the only road in and out of the city is the Cardo. The Cardo Maximus. The heart. In our bodies, blood must flow in and out of the heart to feed the brain. Everything must go in and out through the heart.

History tells us the key to success is to lead with our core, to let our hearts be our guide as we build this gift we’ve received, our EO community.

Let’s expand those feelings, our heart, to every part of our lives.

How Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

At the heart of EO is entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship will solve the most significant world problems and build a future we can’t even imagine today. And in EO, we have the power to accelerate that. How? Through our community. It is with pride and joy that I share the stories of some of our fellow entrepreneurs who are changing the world through our unity in community:

With unity in community, entrepreneurs have the power to make the world a better place. We can be an accelerant for growth, peace and prosperity. EO has partnered with the United Nations to make our mark as we help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and make our world better for everyone.

Entrepreneurship will solve the world’s most significant problems and build a future unimaginable today.

Our entrepreneurial journey may be long and hard—but with a community, we are never alone. And with our family and EO community together, using our hearts to solve our world’s problems, we face a brighter future!

Resilience. Growth. Family. Peace. Prosperity. Heart. Community. Love. One EO!

Additional Posts on the Importance of Family and Community in Your Entrepreneurial Journey:

Does Your Company Do Enough to Support Working Parents? Four Factors to Consider
How to Grow a Business and a Family at the Same Time
In Love, In Partnership: How One Couple Finds Success at Home and at Work
Creating Balance Between Your Business and Family
Supporting Working Parents Works for Your Business, Too
5 Ways One Entrepreneur Is Giving Disadvantaged Teens a Fresh Start
Climbing for a Cause: Dave Bacon Shares How He’s Making an Impact
Empower Your Family with Boundaries, Accountability and Hard Work
Climbing for a Cause: Dave Bacon Shares How He’s Making an Impact
A Few Surefire Ways to Support the UN SDGs
10 Tips for Family Business Success
Supporting Working Parents Works for Your Business, Too

Rosemarie "Bubu" Andres
EO Global Chair and Co-Founder of Candy Corner
Rosemarie "Bubu" Andres, EO Global Chair, an EO Philippines member and Co-Founder of Candy Corner, the number one source of quality candies and chocolates in the Philippines.

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