3rd Belle De Jour Women's Summit is the "Woman Redefined"

Some habits of an empowered woman are continuous learning and exploring new things while making friends in the process. Last March 11 at the Sm Aura Samsung Hall, I attended along with nearly 500 participants, the 3rd Women’s Summit which was organized by Viviamo! Inc., the company behind Belle De Jour (BDJ) Power Planner. This year's theme is “Women Redefined” aimed to equip millennials with encouraging messages from strong female role models who are redefining the society’s standards for women.

“Our society has constantly bombarded today’s women - especially the millennials - with unrealistic standards regarding beauty and career, making it hard for them to find themselves and lead an authentic life. Through the Women’s Summit, Viviamo! Inc. hopes to empower them as they pursue fulfillment while being true to their identity,” shared BDJ founder Darlyn Ty-Nilo.

At the summit, guests were treated to inspiring talks and fun activities at the Samsung
Hall of SM Aura Premier. The day began with a keynote speech by Ty-Nilo, who talked
about the importance of claiming one’s success.

“To own up to your success is not a form of bragging, rather a means to realize that all
the sweat and tears that you put into your job are making a difference,” she said,
adding, “Women should learn to acknowledge their achievements so that they can
inspire others to reach for their dreams.”

Meanwhile, Rachel de Villa, co-founder and chief technology officer of Cropital, opened
the first plenary session entitled Resilient Females, which focused on overcoming one’s
circumstances and maximizing one’s blessings. De Villa shared that she has always
considered herself a problem solver, so she developed Cropital when she found the
opportunity to help Filipino farmers access financial support. Through Cropital, anyone
can provide farmers with funds for proper equipment and training from agriculture

For her part, PinoyAkoBlog.com owner Jover Laurio continues to publish critical articles
on the country’s political situation, despite the relentless cyberbullying and death
threats. Laurio has drawn flak for being outspoken in her fight against fake news.
At the second plenary dubbed Courageous Females, resource speakers talked about
living their authentic selves and defying expectations regarding women’s roles in the
society. Blu Pingoy, for instance, courageously pursued her dream of becoming a pilot,
a job usually taken on by males. With her persistence, Pingoy became one of the first
few female commercial pilots in the country.

Meanwhile, singer-songwriter and alopecia areata awareness advocate Abby Asistio did
not allow the society’s standards to define her. As someone who suffered from alopecia
or hair loss at an early age, she encouraged women to embrace their uniqueness and
get over their insecurities.

“Even if society says kailangan long hair para maging girly ka, eh hindi ako long-haired eh. Dapat manggaling sa sarili ko na, okay lang kahit hindi long hair, maganda pa ako with short hair. Just be open to embracing your own uniqueness.”

Aside from promoting resilience and courage, the summit also stressed the value of
paving one’s path and sustaining success in the third plenary session called
Resourceful Females, featuring businesswomen Audrey Tangonan and Kathleen Yu.
Starting a business is risky, but Sinaya Cup founder Audrey Tangonan persevered
because she believed that her idea can genuinely improve people’s lives. Now, her
menstrual cup business has attained massive success locally and internationally.
Kathleen Yu, owner of Manila-based tech start-up Rumarocket Inc., also shared the
moving story of her business.

From the initial failures, Kathleen resolved to learn from mistakes and bounce back. “As long as I was alive, I could always change and grow and learn and become different,” she said.

These speakers’ thoughts echo the women’s advocacy of Belle De Jour, which has
always aimed to empower modern Filipina women by equipping them with knowledge,
confidence, and self-appreciation.

As Ty-Nilo explains, “We hope to help build a world where women are bound not by societal expectations, but by their vision of who they really want to be.”

The 3rd BDJ Women’s Summit was co-presented by Chinoy TV, Lipault and Sun Life
Financial. Major sponsors include Food Panda, Modess, Wacoal, GCash, Style Genie,
Biore, Caronia, Celeteque, Cinnabon, Fitness Gourmet, Jergens, Jollibee, Kipling,Liese, MegRhythm, Parisian Shoes and Bags, Serenitea, Zenutrients, Features andShades, and Award Extremes Inc.Ace Water Spa, Chef Tony, Frankie’s, Goldilocks, and McDonald’s provided loot bagsand raffle pr i zes, while Adobo Magazine, Rappler, and When in Manila served as media partners.

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