Truly earned, not given: On JCI Manila’s 75th year, the Ke brothers’ members-first leadership made for a record-breaking year

December 07, 2023 – Alike Editorial

The Manila Chapter of the Junior Chamber International (JCI Manila) continues to go big in fostering young Filipino leaders across industries through career, business, and partnership opportunities while also promoting active civic engagement; working together with the government, helping many less fortunate communities and worthy causes in the process.

Under new leadership in 2023, the organization has continued this thrust of entrepreneurship in service of community development under brothers Eric and Eds Ke, respectively the current JCI Manila president and board director.

JCI Manila 2023 Director Shih Hao Hsu, Director Edison Ke, President Eric Ke, Secretary General Christopher Liao, Executive Treasurer Ramon King III, and Vice President Migo Ochoa

Underdog on overwatch

The annual election was tough as Eric and Eds’ party, the 15-member strong Leadership, Faith, Grit (LFG), was considered the underdog team. JCI Manila is an invite-only group currently housing 583 members.

The brothers’ longtime focus was on developing members individually, helping each go hard and go big in any endeavor, and their campaign focus, “members first” was only natural.

In 2023, this thrust was continued with fellow board members Calel Gosingtian, Chris Liao, Ramon King III, Migo Ochoa, Victor Queyquep, Paul Tan, Gio Valencia, JM Santos, Calvin Grageda, Ervinne Que, Shih-Hao Hsu, Mark Pizzaro, and Francis Deo.

JCI Manila 2023 Director Shih Hao Hsu, Executive Treasurer Ramon King III, President Eric Ke, Director Edison Ke, Secretary General Christopher Liao, and Vice President Migo Ochoa

They didn’t just walk but ran the talk as this year’s projects focused on education, with the theme “Go big,” with a special focus on classroom rehabilitation funded in part by the successful stellar engagement with JCI Manila’s Color Run for Education 2023 where 4,000 athletes took part. The funds raised from the race were such that they went beyond classrooms and were able to build a whole school.

JCI Manila 2023 President Eric Ke

Supplementing these were youth-development initiatives such as sports camps focused on underappreciated sports like baseball and skateboarding. More sectors were also reached, such as youth in conflict with the law and indigenous people looking for education opportunities.

Given Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the most basics of life were also covered, ensuring that school is continued with ease. As such, JCI Manila worked with local governments to improve clean water access infrastructure, a record-breaking year directly benefitting around 64,000 people while indirectly helping another 500,000 in 2023.

Education opportunities were also extended to JCI Manila’s own members through leadership activities in partnership with local government units, NGOs, and companies, including educational institutions such as Enderun Colleges and mission-specific orgs such as the Philippine Red Cross.

JCI Manila 2023 Director - Membership Benefits, Edison Ke

“JCI Manila made me realize the concept of continuous learning,” shares Eric Ke, expounding on their term’s focus. He wants the organization to “speed up the learning process, to grow collectively so we’ll have more leaders.”

Jumping off of this, JCI Manila continued its Business Networking Nights with other accredited socio-civic organizations such as the Rotary, Lions, and similar clubs, extending also to JCI Bangkok and JCI Thailand.

There were also more than 10 foreign trips and 30-plus domestic trips in 2023 for members to develop networks with JCI chapters here and abroad – a feat for the organization! A notable extended collaboration this year was with JCIs Tokyo and Nagoya respectively, with each chapter then visiting the Philippines after, hosted by JCI Manila.

JCI Manila was also the largest Philippine chapter to send delegates – including the board of directors – to the 2023 JCI World Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

JCI Manila 2023 Secretary General Christopher Liao, Vice President Migo Ochoa, President Eric Ke, Executive Treasurer Ramon King III, Director Shih Hao Hsu, and Director Edison Ke

It’s the whole package, really

But it wasn’t all work, given the hustle of service in their chosen sectors, JCI Manila members were spoiled for choice in leisure programs in 2023, from basketball and football competitions, moto derbies, e-sports tournaments, and even comedy and music nights.

With the above menu of holistic opportunities, it’s no wonder JCI Manila felt that 2023 truly embodied LFG’s leadership focus and platform. Happy members after all, make for happier programs impacting people beyond the organization, a chain reaction, a torch lighting other torches.

JCI Manila 2023 Vice President Migo Ochoa, Director Edison Ke, Secretary General Christopher Liao, President Eric Ke, Director Shih Hao Hsu, and Executive Treasurer Ramon King III

If anything, what the organization was able to accomplish under this year further testifies to the power of grit nourished by faith and grounded in leadership. It was and is a balancing act with his “blood brothers,” Eds Ke tells Alike, not only referring to Eric but to “the place where I met and will meet lifelong brothers. It was now our duty to the org and the nation.”

At this point in his career and life, established and secure, Eds cannot help but note how the year was all about paying things forward, to both JCI members and to partner communities they are serving, sharing that “leadership is truly earned, not given. Service to humanity is the best work of life.”

JCI Manila 2023 President Eric Ke and Director Edison Ke


Real stories. Real people.

We believe that life isn’t about a binary of ones and zeros - but about the sum of our hopes and dreams, our struggles and heartaches, our tragedies and triumphs.

The things that unite us are far stronger than the things that divide us.

And those stories are why we are alike.