“Why We Need To Market the Idea of People to Other People”: Thoughts from Adrienne Tengco

Interview with Adrienne Tengco, former intern of WYA Asia Pacific and WYA Europe

What I learned about Filipinos in short time I worked with them is that they are enthusiastic, motivational and good in everything digital and mediatized. Recently I had the chance to talk to one of them, Adrienne Tengco.

She was not an exception. At some point, I had an impression that she is making an interview more dynamic and interesting, and that I’m mostly standing in the way.

So, I decided to move over and let her determine the pace.

– “I feel like most of who I am, is defined by the people and things I love“, she says.

– “Ok, what’s that?”, I respond.

– “I love the women who raised me – my grandmother, mother, and nanny. They are 3 of the strongest and fiercest persons I know and I can only aspire to be like them as I grow older.”

– “And what else?”

– “I love Dolan, my dog. He was my grandmother’s birthday gift to me when I was 6 and we have been inseparable ever since. The duration of my stay here in Brussels is the longest we have been apart.” That’s 2.5 months for all those who are wondering.

– “I love reading”, she continues, “I especially love the feeling of reading a book that you just cannot put down. This happened to me a lot when I was young, so I would often read under the covers after my bedtime, which is why I now have to wear glasses.”

I look around to her fellow interns, and everybody says glasses look great on her. So, no problem I think.

– “And what else?”, I ask.

– “I love music of all genres from Broadway show tunes to rap to motion picture scores, but I have a soft spot for indie and alternative music. I also love going to concerts because I find it really interesting to see how artists are able to transform their songs to visual experiences via the stage design, lights, etc. An example of a band who does this extremely well is The 1975 (also my favorite band).”

– “What do you love that formed you significantly?”

– “I love my college organization, the Business Management Society. Through them, I was able to learn so many things about myself, my capabilities, and my passion. I discovered a drive I never knew I had. My experiences with them also led me to two other loves, events planning and socio-civic activities.”

I told you she made this dynamic and interesting without me interrupting.

Now I want to hear more about how she came to WYA and what keeps her here. She tells me: “Before I even really understood what WYA was, I had already stayed in the WYA HQ Flat for a few days (my current boss Ewa and I became brief roommates), attended WYA’s Christmas Cocktail, met the WYA founder, the past president, and a few members of the staff, and hung out with the current president.”

Some of WYA staff members tell me that some of them still haven’t done all of this. All these happened because of her best friend, Pauline, invited Adrienne to visit her brother Miko in New York. “I have always felt like this was such a crazy and weird way to begin my WYA journey”, she exclaims.

She was, in fact, one of the persons who did the internship with WYA twice, and did it in the different regions. She explains me these experiences: “The only similarity I can find between my WYA Asia Pacific and WYA Europe internship experiences is the type of people I met. I have become friends, even great friends, with my old and current co-interns, and I would love to keep them in my life for its entirety. Despite coming from different backgrounds, it was easy to become friends with them because we all shared the WYA values.”

Learning about human dignity, about the fact that we all have the dignity that cannot be taken away from us, gave her a new perspective. “I was never one to think too much about the issues our society commonly faces but being in WYA taught me to care and helped me understand why caring is so important. Not only good for teaching, WYA is also great at encouraging us to do something about the issues we care about”, she says.

Adrienne with her fellow interns in WYA Europe flat

“Probably the thing I love most about this organization is its genuine love for and belief in people. We are taught to defend the human dignity of every person because of everyone, given the right means and opportunities, is capable of achieving so much.”

She explains to me that in the discussions regarding population and sustainable development, they were all taught that people are the Earth’s greatest resource, that we are able to solve the problems we face, and that we are innovative and creative beings. “I find this so refreshing because most organizations openly show their disdain for the growing population”, she tells me.

I’m wondering why does she find this inspirational. “I think this idea is particularly interesting to me because it has a lot to do with perception. Marketing, the course I took for my bachelor’s degree, is all about perception too. It deals with crafting a brand image that will resonate positively with consumers. It is about convincing your audience that your product is what they need or want.”

“But what this has to do with WYA?”, I ask.

“It is a bit weird to think that we need organizations like WYA to market the idea of people to other people”, she concluded.

It made me think. Sometimes the most fundamental human values are most difficult to “sell” in a world “superficial” sometimes stands in a way of “fundamental”.

I guess the world indeed needs people like Adrienne to market the idea of people to other people.

Written by Timo van Meertens, freelance journalist and occasional contributor to WYA blog